The OF Blog: Time for a little snark

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Time for a little snark

I was browsing through a few forums and came across a link to a site called Best Fantasy Books. Curious, I decided to read and see what was chosen. The author of this list seems to have read little more than multi-volume epic fantasies.

Great, just fucking great. All I need is yet another damn "greatest" list that seems to be devoted so much to multi-volume epic/secondary world fantasies as to make me wonder if this person is all that widely-read in the first place. While some of the books on that list I have enjoyed quite a bit (even if he seems to have confused Steven Erikson with the author of Arc d'X, among other brilliant standalone novels), I can't help but to wonder if that domain name is a misnomer. Sheesh.

I rarely bother pointing out annoying crap, but for some reason, reading that around 12:30 AM made me go, "Oh, really? And what else have you read besides turgid doorstopper multi-volume pieces?" I'll probably be in my more typical mildly sarcastic mood tomorrow.


Chris, The Book Swede said...

Hehe :) I will say that I absolutely second his recommendation of the Swans' War trilogy, however. Sadly overlooked.

Joe said...

I thought I was well-read in the "turgid doorstopper multi-volume" genre, but he pointed out a couple that I missed.

The Mistwalker series from Brian Sanderson sounds awesome! Plus, he's finishing Wheel of Time! (Brandon will be so disappointed)

Anonymous said...

Not surprising. I think it's been obvious for a while now that for a vast number of readers epic/heroic/high fantasy = the fantasy genre. I went through a stage a couple of years ago where I got (or maybe pretended to get) all offended when I encountered such readers. I remember going to the general sf/f section of a rather large Star Wars board I used to post on a lot and pretty much undressing Jordan/Martin-style readers for not buying Hal Duncan's Vellum.

Strangely enough, nowadays I experience a similar feeling of slight annoyance when I encounter favorite lists that are heavily composed of Weird City fiction. It usually passes pretty quickly, though. Now I've pretty much dropped the opinion that readers are obligated to read anything other than what they want to read.

- Zach H.

Mulluane said...

In defense of turgid doorstopper multi-volume books, let me explain why I read them.I am not a casual reader. I devour books at an astonishing rate so when I get money for books I want huge books with lots of pages and a big story. That is the only way I can survive those large periods of time between book buying ventures and feel like I got something substantial for my money.

Yes this means that I miss out on alot of great reads but for me books = sanity so I need something that I can get lost in for days, not just hours.

Lsrry said...


I can understand and agree with that as well. That's why I try not to pigeonhole anything into "THE" groups, such as "THE best..." without at least acknowledging what I have and have not covered in-depth. Always more to learn.

Chris, Joe:

Yeah, there are some decent multi-volume works on that list; my use of that "turgid doorstopper" moniker was in reference to the uniformity of the size/volume angle. And yeah, Brandon Sanderson might be disappointed as well :P


While I can understand that attitude, don't you risk missing out on stories of say 200-350 pages that are very rewarding when read? I read more than a book a day and sometimes the smaller-sized books pack more enjoyment than reading an extra 200-300 pages of exposition. Most 500+ page novels have a hard time justifying their length, but that's a topic for another time, I suppose.

Mulluane said...

I most definitely miss out on some great reads by trying to stretch my dollar. It is unfortunate but, if this makes sense, I'd rather my $7.99 last 2-3 days instead of one afternoon.

For some readers, it is all in the economics, quantity over quality, not that there aren't plenty of doorstops that satisfy both.

(And before somebody asks, I live in a rural county with a library that could fit in a closet and I have no way to get there anyway.)

I'm betting I'm not alone in this method of book choice, especially with the economy so bad right now, hopefully, one day it will not be a concern and I can catch up on all those jewels I'm missing out on.

Anonymous said...

I saw the list a while ago (posted on some fantasy blog).

I took some of suggestions and found the author was bang on with the books he/she was recommending.

It also looks like the author updated the list and website recently, too.

Pretty usefull -- for me anyways.

Anastasia said...

I gotta step up in defense of the lists (the 25 top and the "must read") - they aren't bad at all. Better than more other "definitive best of fantasy" lists that I've seen.

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