Friday, December 4, 2015

Great writing, in Sword and Magic Fantasy Fiction

I write about Lord Dunsany and Robert E. Howard, but there are many many more great writers to find, and likely have.  But, since I've received a few emails asking me to discuss authors other than Dunsany and Howard, regarding Fantasy as a genre, here are a few others to consider.

George R.R. Martin is the creative talent who is responsible for the enormous tale, A GAME OF THRONES.  He is meticulous, cunning, and eloquent in his creation of a violent power struggle among factions and forces in a fantasy setting.  The television series has brought the books more popularity, but the books were enormously successful prior to the tv series.

You cannot mention the fantasy genre in literature without mentioning J.R.R. Tolkien.  His work is popular, considered the work from which many others flow, and the first work many writers in the genre had read.  The film years of the 2000s were dominated by the adaptations of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy by Tolkien.  And the 2010s saw further adaptations of his works.  The written works of Tolkien haven't been forgotten but, there are likely many who have seen the movies but never read the books.  That is a shame because Tolkien's depth comes from a knowledge of human language and an understanding of human history and interactions.  Such foundations makes his works beyond compare for readability and originality.

Robert Jordan wrote some works for other writers, some for creative talents as a ghostwriter, and some under a different name for review purposes, to establish a creative distance from his own name.  He wrote The Wheel of Time as an envisioned six book epic story that involved perceptions of God and the enemy, Shaytan, in an violent conflict that determines the fate of the world.  It is called high fantasy, as it involves displays of magic, characters who can wield forces, and more that goes beyond use of swords and wizards chanting a couple spells.  Sadly, Jordan died before the end of the saga.  It was completed with the assistance of another writer, using notes.  The saga envisioned as a 6 book work, ended up as a 14 book saga.  If you like enormous tales, here is your work to read.


Alan Dean Foster is a favorite author of mine.  His Spellsinger saga is funny, fun and heroic.  It is not hardcore blood and battle, but it is fantasy, and fun to read.  His website

Ursula K. Le Guin is recognized for her magnificent use of language and depth of cultural investigation.  Her Earthsea books are among my very favorites.  Her website

The work of Karl Edward Wagner is dark, well written and mystical.  Kane, his character is powerful, beyond measure, with magic, martial skills, and abilities that are nearly god-like.  He is however, still appealing. While this is not uplifting, and some have called it amoral, but it remains interesting at the same time.   His estate's website

Michael Moorcock is as much of a great writer and famous fantasy personage as Tolkien, Martin, Jordan, Howard or Dunsany, but he is here because I don't read him as much as I study his words.  He is a great writer, but writes characters who I rarely like.  So I find his writing to be great, but his style rather stunning.  Who'd have thought making a character unlovable could make him interesting?
His website

Fritz Leiber wrote many tales, in more than just Fantasy, but through out the genres of Speculative Fiction.  His characters Fafhrd & Gray Mouser and tales of Lankhmar were highly respected and thought of, by critics of his day.  Taken as works for the day, they entertain well.  A website devoted to his works...

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