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JeffV
Posted on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 10:39 am:   

A discussion on one of my message board threads has led to the possible need for a General thread on which people post their top 10 works of all time. It's up to you if you limit it to "fantasy" or include SF/Horror or combinations of these genres. Or eschew the idea of genre altogether. I may use some of these lists to help me compile a list of the best 100 fantasy books of all time, for classes I will be teaching in the future.

Jeff V.
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Des
Posted on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 10:50 am:   

My top ten Fantasy Fiction list of all time:

The Holy Sinner - Thomas Mann
The Sot-Weed Factor - John Barth
The Unconsoled - Kazuo Ishiguro
Our Lady of Darkness - Fritz Leiber
Ringstones - Sarban
Jimbo - Algernon Blackwood
A Fragment Of Life - Arthur Machen
Selected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen (the fantasy ones)
Collected Stories of Lord Dunsany
The Night Land -William Hope Hodgson.
Des
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Brendan
Posted on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 11:34 am:   

Here is my list. I am not sure I really believe it to be the actual ten best books. But it is at least representative of a few of the authors I like.

1) Strindberg, August – Inferno
2) Baron Corvo: Hadrian the Seventh
3) Goncourt Brothers – The Zemganno Brothers
4) Huysmans, J. K. – Against the Grain
5) Mirbeau, Octave – Torture Garden
6) Gautier, Theophile - Avatar
7) Stoker, Bram – Dracula
8) Wu Cheng’en – Journey to the West
9) Lorrain, Jean – Monsieur de Phocas
10) Apuleius – The Golden Ass

Brendan
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Brendan
Posted on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 11:38 am:   

A correction. The Zemganno Brothers is actually only by one of the Goncourts.

So here is the list again, proper:

1) Strindberg, August – Inferno
2) Baron Corvo: Hadrian the Seventh
3) Goncourt, Edmond de – The Zemganno Brothers
4) Huysmans, J. K. – Against the Grain
5) Mirbeau, Octave – Torture Garden
6) Gautier, Theophile - Avatar
7) Stoker, Bram – Dracula
8) Wu Cheng’en – Journey to the West
9) Lorrain, Jean – Monsieur de Phocas
10) Apuleius – The Golden Ass

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Brendan
Posted on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 11:41 am:   

Just as an aside, here is something I ran across by Gorky describing his reaction to the Zemganno Brothers:

"My hands shook with pleasure at reading this book. I wept aloud when I read of the unfortunate acrobat, his legs broken, crawling up to the attic, to where his brother was practising his favourite art."

Brendan
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jonathan briggs
Posted on Sunday, March 09, 2003 - 10:46 pm:   

I wouldn't presume to dictate the format of these lists, but here's a suggestion: Could we get a few sentences on each title about why these works should be included on a "best of" list? As a reader, I think a kind of shorthand synopsis/thumbnail sketch would be helpful to me in deciding whether I want to read the book, rather than just a list of 10 titles I've probly never heard of. Just a thought.

Hey, Jeff, could you elaborate a little on these classes you'll be teaching?
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Rhys
Posted on Monday, March 10, 2003 - 02:29 am:   

These are my top 10 novels of all time. That's not necessarily the same as my top 10 books of all time, though it might be! (I'm not sure!)

THE SOT-WEED FACTOR -- John Barth
LANDSCAPE PAINTED WITH TEA -- Milorad Pavic
A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES -- John Kennedy Toole
FROTH ON THE DAYDREAM -- Boris Vian
BARON IN THE TREES -- Italo Calvino
ALL ABOUT H. HATTERR -- G.V. Desani
THE EXPLOITS OF ENGELBRECHT -- Maurice Richardson
LOCOS: A COMEDY OF GESTURES -- Felipe Alfau
THE STORY OF THE EYE -- Georges Bataille
THE THIRD POLICEMAN -- Flann O'Brien

I probably ought to make some attempt to justify these, but I don't feel ready to. Some of them I haven't read for more than 10 years. Maybe they would no longer be in the list if I re-read them now. Two of these books are not really novels but collections of linked short stories. If these stories weren't linked I wouldn't include them.

I feel I ought to include a Nabokov title, but I can't think of a favourite book of his: I love his entire oeuvre, but I can't pick out just one. If I was pushed I might go for BEND SINISTER or LAUGHTER IN THE DARK (his easiest novel) but certainly not LOLITA or ADA (or even PALE FIRE)! Sorry!

Three books (at random) that almost made it onto my list include THE RECOGNITIONS by William Gaddis, A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS by V.S. Naipaul and Olaf Stapledon's STAR MAKER, which are three novels so totally dissimilar in scope, emotions and aspirations that I am bewildered by my tastes...

I hugely regret not including Borges and Stanislaw Lem. I also regret (to a lesser degree) not including Queneau, Hasek, Cabrera Infante, Arundhati Roy and Umberto Eco. I was also tempted to include something by Thomas Pynchon. But in the end I didn't. Ah well!
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Jay C
Posted on Monday, March 10, 2003 - 06:42 am:   

I cannot do this. It changes from day to day.
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Jeff Topham
Posted on Monday, March 10, 2003 - 08:10 am:   

In the list that follows, I'm going to jettison any concern for category or objectivity (and indeed, even the number 10). What's here is a list of the books that have been the most important to me--books that have awed or moved me, or opened the boundaries of what fiction could be and do. In no particular order:

Gravity's Rainbow, Thomas Pynchon. A deeply flawed book, but one that plumbs the depths of both cruelty and hope. Plus it has a pie fight.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll. Probably the most important book of my childhood. Fresh and wonderful every time I read it.

The Waves, Virginia Woolf. Some of the most beautiful prose I've ever read.

Absalom! Absalom!, William Faulkner. A hell of a story, and in my opinion, the greatest novel of the 20th century.

Little, Big, John Crowley. This one makes me cry. Every time.

Quin's Shanghai Circus, Edward Whittemore. Tragedy, farce, ruminations on history. Idiosyncratic and brilliant.

The Trial, Franz Kafka. Am I the only one who finds this novel hysterical?

Pale Fire. Vladimir Nabokov. Black comedy, playful and brilliant.

100 Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. This has something new to offer every time I read it.

Lanark, Alisdair Gray. A dense, convoluted little-known masterpiece.

The Bloody Chamber and Other Stories, Angela Carter. IMO, Carter's finest work. Prose that reads like poetry, luminous as fairy lights and dark as clotted blood.

Collected Stories, Flannery O'Connor. I don't ultimately share her world-view, but these tragi-comic stories are a brilliant portrait of social and individual pathology.

Ask me tomorrow and I'll probably have a different list.
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Brian Willis
Posted on Tuesday, March 18, 2003 - 08:23 am:   

My top 10 for today (in no particular order)-

TIGER!TIGER! - Alfred Bester
RED HARVEST - Dashiell Hammett
THE THIRD POLICEMAN - Flann O'Brien
FRANKENSTEIN - Mary Shelley
GULLIVER'S TRAVELS - Jonathan Swift
SEXING THE CHERRY - Jeanette Winterson
THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY - G. K. Chesterton
HIS DARK MATERIALS* - Philip Pullman
FROM HELL - Alan Moore, Eddie Campbell
THE THREE STIGMATA OF PALMER ELDRITCH - Philip K. Dick

* - I know it's a trilogy. Should I care?

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Neal Stanifer
Posted on Friday, August 22, 2003 - 11:36 am:   

Fantastical, huh? Okay, in no particular order:

Italo Calvino. If on a winter's night a traveler. My favorite non-Borges metafiction.
Thomas Pynchon. The Crying of Lot 49. "Don't Ever Antagonize The Horn."
Walker Percy. Love in the Ruins. Post-apocalypse with a twist of lime.
Flannery O'Connor. Wise Blood. Haze Motes is my anti-hero.
Samuel Beckett. Watt. A big yellow bun for everyone.
Robert Coover. Pricksongs and Descants. New takes on old tales.
Horace Walpole. The Castle of Otranto. Gothic was poking fun at itself while still in the cradle.
Ovid. The Metamorphoses. Mythology with the lid off.
Jorge Luis Borges. Ficciones. A bookworm's fantasist.
Bernard Malamud. The Natural. Because I always liked Arthurian legend.

Not quite making it onto the list were DeLillo's The Body Artist and Carter's The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman.



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Neal Asher
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 01:33 am:   

Here's my top ten fantasy books on the Guardian website:
http://books.guardian.co.uk/top10s/top10/0,6109,1033620,00.html
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Cheryl Morgan
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 02:57 pm:   

Herewith, pretty much off the top of my head, ten very good books. Yes, I know, there's lots of other good stuff. I just haven't read it all.

The Anubis Gates – Tim Powers - one of those books I keep wanting to re-read
Perdido Street Station – China Mieville - The Scar is technically better, but I'll never forget the shock of reading this
The Course of the Heart – M John Harrison - my #1 by a long way
Chimera – John Barth - couldn't get to grips with The Sot Weed Factor, but this short story collection is wonderful
The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco - nothing to do with Sean Connery, honest
Mythago Wood – Rob Holdstock - slightly stunned that no one else has mentioned this yet
The Book of the New Sun – Gene Wolfe - yes, of course it is fantasy, it has a guy with a big sword, right?
Anno Dracula – Kim Newman - wonderfully inventive and silly
Ash: A Secret History – Mary Gentle - the last word in mediaeval fantasy
Swordspoint – Ellen Kushner - or maybe Thomas the Rhymer, they are both great books

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just asking
Posted on Monday, October 06, 2003 - 10:26 pm:   

Hey Neal, after perusing your list, I have to ask: have you read Steven Erikson's series, The Malazan Book of the Fallen? I've a feeling you'd really enjoy it.
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Neal Asher
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 01:46 am:   

No I haven't. But being as I've been using his message board http://www.malazan.com/6/ubb.x for a little while I intend to search some of his books out. His books were also recommended to me by a scientist in America (Harry Erwin).

http://freespace.virgin.net/n.asher
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Neal
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2003 - 08:59 am:   

Oops, confused names. That was Eric Flint Mr Erwin told me about...
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Neal Asher
Posted on Sunday, October 19, 2003 - 08:07 am:   

I see there was a full-page ad for the Malazan empire books on the back of Interzone. Looks good.
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dlackey
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 08:21 am:   

Stormbringer- Michael Moorcock- The Eternal Champion sequence is my favorite fantasy series. This is arguably the best book in the sequence, although I would have to put in a strong plug for The War Amongst the Angels and the Skrayling Tree.

Imajica- Clive Barker- This is Barker's best book and one of the most original fantasy's I have ever read.

Strange Wine- Harlan Ellison- This collection has some truly stunning stories, including "Hitler Painted Roses".

The October Country- Ray Bradbury- My favorite collection of Bradbury stories, full of darkness and beauty.

American Gods- Neil Gaiman- Echoes of Ellison's "Deathbird Stories", and the best road trip type novel that I've read.

The Dark Tower- Stephen King- There are actually 5 books, with the final 2 forthcoming this year, but King considers it one giant novel. Falls flat at times, but taken as a whole, an amazing fantasy.

A Princess of Mars- Edgar Rice Burroughs- If I had to pick a favorite ERB novel, this would be it. I am a sucker for Mars stories, so long as they are fantastic and not scientific. This is my favorite.

A Wizard of Earthsea- The whole series is great, but I like the first book the best. Spare, haunting, beautiful.

The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian- Robert E Howard- Finally, someone is doing Howard justice. The only good Conan stories are Howard's. This collection has the first 13 stories or so, without any meddling from De Camp and Carter.

The Maker of Universes - Philip Jose Farmer- The World of Tiers rules!!!




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Rhys
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 08:39 am:   

I'm reading STORMBRINGER at this very moment. It's one of the very few Moorcock books I haven't read. Yes, it's wonderful stuff, and I particularly admire its pacing -- straight into battles, cosmic unpheavels and deocide without any fuss! And Elric's moody nature seems more apt here -- when the whole world is being threatened with a hideous transformation -- than in his other adventures.
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Neal Asher
Posted on Monday, February 09, 2004 - 11:52 am:   

I love to read all this. The books that brought me into SF&F (excluding LOTR and the Narnia books) were those luridly covered Edgar Rice Burroughs John Carter on Mars (and Carson of Venus) and all the Moorock books (I've got a small press one called 'The Jade Man's Eyes', an Elric one, and all the rest, and the Conan books (interesting that the cover books depicted Mr Schartzenegger before anyone had even heard of him). I'd also add to that list the E C Tubb Dumarest saga, which I gave up at about books 26 when his hero still hadn't found the Earth he had been searching for from book one.
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kjn
Posted on Tuesday, June 29, 2004 - 05:52 am:   

I agreed with Rhys
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dorwin black
Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2004 - 02:51 pm:   

1. Titus Groan / Gormenghast - Mervyn Peake
First two novels in the Gormenghast Trilogy. Grotesque gothic fantasy about the inhabitants of an ancient decaying castle. Beautifully detailed word pictures in this epic story.

2. The Worm Ouroboros - E.R. Eddison
The ornate prose is a stumbling block for some, but I love it. This novel of pure adventure contains beautiful descriptive passages that paint a vivid picture in the mind's eye.

3. Domnei - James Branch Cabell
Perhaps the most straightforward fantasy of the Poictesme series, written in cabell's distinctively beautiful style.

4. Kai Lung Unrolls His Mat - Ernest Bramah
Oriental Fantasy. A collection of stories related by the ever resourceful and silver tongued Kai Lung as he journeys to rescue his kidnapped bride.

5. The Castle - Franz Kafka
Perhaps partial inspiration for Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast saga.

6. Droll Stories - Honore de Balzac
Perhaps partial inspiration for Cabell's Poictesme series of books.

7. The Book of Wonder - Lord Dunsany
My favorite of Dunsany's early short story collections.

8. Hyperborea - Clark Ashton Smith
Great collection of Smith's Dunsanian short stories set in (where else?)Hyperborea.

9. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath - H.P. Lovecraft
Another Dunsany influenced work.

10. There Were Two Pirates - James Branch Cabell
Very funny autobiographical fantasy of the pirate Jose Gasparilla.
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kennylucius@earthlink.net
Posted on Thursday, December 30, 2004 - 08:59 pm:   

Here is a list of the most-honored Horror books of the last ten years or so.

http://book.awardannals.com/genre/topbooks/horror

American Gods tops the list with 6 literary awards. (Maybe more since the site doesn't track all awards.)
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Simon Owens
Posted on Thursday, February 03, 2005 - 07:25 pm:   

I'll include both works of nonfiction and fiction.

Some favorite shorter works:

The Use of Force --- William Carlos Williams

Quiet Please --- Aimee Bender

Homophobic? Re-read Your Bible-- Peter J. Gomes

First Confession --- Flannery O'connor

Trilobites --- Breece D'J Pancake

Some favorite longer works:

Trumpet--- Jackie Kay

The Stranger---- Albert Camus

The Elements of Moral Philosphy --- James Rachels

A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius --- Dave Eggers

The Unvanquished ---- William Faulkner


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Luke Jackson
Posted on Thursday, September 01, 2005 - 11:18 am:   

We read "The Story of O" for my fantasy class at UC Santa Cruz. Not sure if it's fantasy, but it's a good read.
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Kappabani
Posted on Saturday, December 24, 2005 - 08:56 am:   

In no particular order:

01. Pu Sung-ling - Ghost Stories
02. Jack Vance - The dying Earth
03. Karl E.Wagner - Two Suns setting
04. Lord Dunsany - Short Stories
05. J.B.Cabell - Figures of Earth
06. Kurd Lasswitz - Short Stories
07. Robert Kraft - The new Earth
08. Robert E.Howard - Short Stories
09. E.R.Eddison - Ouroboros, Zimmiamvia
10. Abraham Merritt - all apart from Seven Footprints and Short Stories
10a. Clark A.Smith - Short Stories
10b. Algernon Blackwood - Short Stories
10c. William H.Hodgson - Short Stories, Nightland
10d. Jewgenij Samjatin - We
10e. H.G.Wells - The Isle of Dr.Moreau
10f. Carel Capek - R.U.R.
10g. Edmund Spenser - The Fearie Queen
10h. Roger Zelazny - various
10i. J.L.Borges - Short Stories
10j. M.d.S.Saavedra - Don Quixjote de la Mancha
10k. Felix Dahn - A battle for Rom
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jane
Posted on Wednesday, January 04, 2006 - 02:20 pm:   

his dark materials
his dark materials
his dark materials
his dark materials
his dark materials
his dark materials
his dark materials
his dark materials
his dark materials
his dark materials

by pullman. hehe

and i've read more but i dont remember them at all
...
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reman ali
Posted on Wednesday, March 08, 2006 - 12:50 am:   

i'm looking for the complete translation of Rocambole's adventures by ponson du terrail into english
thank you

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