Friday, April 25, 2008

Fantasy and SciFi

Megan's comment on my 100th post really got me thinking. I said I love fantasy and science fiction books (#22), but it has been quite a while since I have read any! Sad. Part of that, I believe, is because I am very picky about what I read. I am especially wary of books that seem too popular. For example, I didn't read any of the Harry Potter books until just before #5 came out. Of course once I started I was hooked. I haven't read any of the Twilight books for the same reason. Another reason why I haven't read any scifi or fantasy lately is because I read them all when I was a tween/teen! During the summer I would go to the library and check out 3-5 books (usually 200+ pages), read them all in one week, then go back and get more the next week. I quickly burned through the entire fantasy section of the library and most of the science fiction section. Ah, to have that kind of time again!

So what are my favorites? In fantasy my absolute favorite books are the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I think I have read these books more times than any other book (except the scriptures). I first read them when I was in 7th grade. I come by my obsession honestly; my mother was a ring nut. She once skipped all her college classes to read through the whole thing in 3 days (I think, correct me if I'm wrong). She wanted to name me Arwen, but my dad wouldn't agree to it. Just FYI, if we ever have a girl, she will be named Arwen (or maybe Arwyn).

As for favorite science fiction, that one is a little harder to choose. I'd have to go with the Foundation series, just because I've read them more times than the others. Probably not the whole series though, just the first 3 books. Isaac Asimov is definitely my favorite scifi author. I read every book they had of his in the library, short stories, the robot novels, etc. Ray Bradbury runs a very close second. I like his short stories better and his novels are definitely more thought provoking. Of his books, I really enjoyed "The Illustrated Man" (short stories), "Something Wicked this Way Comes" (maybe not strictly scifi), "The Martian Chronicles", and of course "Fahrenheit 451". My favorite short story of his is "A Sound of Thunder". Wow!

Here are my second tier favorites:

Shannara Series (though I stopped when I got tired of the formula)
Magic Kingdom for Sale-Sold
The Dark is Rising series, Susan Cooper
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Merlin Series, Mary Stewart
Harry Potter series (of course)
The Hobbit
A Wrinkle in Time series
The Last Unicorn

Science Fiction
Sphere (book is SO much better than the movie)
Jurassic Park
2001: A Space Odyssey (also 2010 and 2061)
Richter 10

I'm sure there are more I could list, but these are the ones that come to mind first.

Not really on topic, but I just have to bring up one of my favorite, newly discovered, sites for bookophiles: Share all your favorite (and not so favorite) books with your friends! And be my friend too!

What are your favorites?


Brooke said...

I like a few of Orson Scott Card's as far as scifi. And some Ray Bradbury. Those were really the only ones I tried out.

As for fantasy, I was recently told I should read The Neverending Story. I'd seen the movie as a kid (loved it), but never read it. Have you?

Megan said...

Wow, thanks! Now I have a lot more ideas. Good post.

Liz said...

Do you like Ursula Le Guin? I read her Earthsea series, and really loved it, especially Tombs of Atuan and Tehanu. She has a new series out. I can't remember the name of the series, but the books are Gifts, Powers and Voices, although maybe not in that order.

Alberta said...

Brooke, I haven't read The Neverending Story, but I did love the movie. I'll have to add it to my list!

Liz, I don't remember reading any Ursula Le Guin, though I have heard of her books. Of course, it's entirely possible I've read them and forgotten about it, it's happened before! :P Sometimes I read too fast to really absorb the story. I'll have to check them out and see!

Amy said...

When I first learned of Harry Potter I think there were already three books in existence. I absolutely refused to read them, because everyone was insisting I read them and they were soooo good. I don't know why I finally decided to read them, but wondered why I resisted so hard. I absolutely fell in love. So now I no longer resist what is popular on principle. Ha ha, you already know I'm a Twilight nut. Thanks for the post.

benspendlove said...

Ray Bradbury is my favorite author of all time. I just bought the sequel to "Dandelion Wine", which is one of my favorite books, though it's not really sci-fi. Anyway, here's my list!

Fahrenheit 451
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Bradbury's many stories
Foundation Series
The Eyes of Heisenberg

And I actually read the Voyage of the Jerle Shannara series, which was quite a departure for me, since I normally don't read fantasy. If you haven't read them, I'd recommend it as they aren't like earlier Shannara books. The second book actually turns kind of sci-fi. I also really like the Running with the Demon books, which are set in present-day earth.

And speaking of present day Earth, Ann Marie just read the Dark is Rising sequence to Sahara. I got to listen to/read parts of the books, but since I'm at work all day I missed a lot. Pardon the expression but DANG that's a good series. Susan Cooper's writing is excellent. We also recently finished all the Narnia books, and they're among my favorites, too. If anyone is still writing books like that, I'd like to know, cause I haven't found any. The trend lately seems to be to pack as much complication and detail into books as you can. It's like we're regressing back to Tolstoy or Hugo storytelling, but with smut thrown in.

Continuing the list:
The Dark is Rising Sequence
The Chronicles of Narnia
And of course, Lord of the Rings

I'm not going to put Terry Brooks on the list, as I probably won't read them again. But they're the best recently written books I've read.

I read one co-authored by Arthur C Clarke called the Eye of Time or something like that. It was good. I don't think Clarke did most of the writing, but it was probably better that way. (3001 was a major disappointment.) It had lots of smut in it, though.

I'm reading Next by Michael Crichton, and I must say he's really slipping. He takes so many shortcuts and cop-outs no one would mistake it for good writing. The information is there, but the storytelling is lacking. I guess when you're Michael Crichton, the only thing that matters is that you publish books, not how good they are.

Anyway, I'll stop. I could go on forever.