Roundtable: While GRRM Fans Wait for Book Six…

Karen Burnham

Many authors who were published well before J. K. Rowling saw bumps in their sales because kids started picking up their books while waiting for the next Harry Potter to come out. Tamora Pierce, Pat Wrede, and all those other authors were then sold as the ‘next HP.’  We saw this again with Twilight–L. J. Smith’s backlist  suddenly became hot property. Every publisher has a vampire series suddenly.  And we’re seeing it with Hunger Games and dystopia.  Every time a book series goes from being just bestselling to a cultural phenomena, other authors see a bump in sales.

So all these new George R. R. Martin (GRRM) fans are going to devour A Game of Thrones and/or A Dance with Dragons and then be bereft until Book 6 comes out.

What could we suggest for suggestions of high fantasy book series for people (adults) who are just joining the field, or know the field but want to know more?

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Tim Pratt

My favorite of the gritty Martin-esque “fantasy-with-minimal-magic” school are Joe Abercrombie and K.J. Parker, especially Best Served Cold by the former and the Engineer Trilogy by the latter. And since I’m always looking for more in that vein, I’d be interested to see what others recommend!

Rachel Swirsky

Getting in with the obvious ones:

Guy Gavriel Kay’s breath-taking historical fantasy work, particularly Tigana, The Sarantine Mosaic, and Lions of Al-Rassan.

N. K. Jemisin’s recently discussed Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and Broken Kingdoms.

If they can count as epic fantasy, Kij Johnson’s Fudoki and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series.

I also have a fondness for C. Dale Brittain’s Yurt series, although those may be too light in comparison to GRRM.

Cat Rambo

Books that I’ve been suggesting to people that want to keep reading big epic fantasy include:

Glen Cook’s The Black Company series
Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Curse of Chalion
Elizabeth Moon’s Paksenarrion books
Katherine Kurtz’s Derynni series
Pat Rothfuss
Judith Tarr
Robert Jordan/Brandon Sanderson’s Wheel of Time (although I must admit I’m waiting for Sanderson to finish up the series before I go reread the first six and then finish up my reading of it)

Gardner Dozois

Haven’t read tremendously widely here, but I’d second K.J. Parker and Joe Abercrombie, particularly Parker, as the stuff most likely to appeal to GRRM fans.  Maybe Lev Grossman and Patrick Rothfuss, although the tone is slightly different. Daniel Abraham’s fantasy work shows some clear GRRM influence, I think.

Would GRRM fans respond well to Guy Gavriel Kay, I wonder?  It’s a very different tone, less gritty.

Paul Witcover

I would second or is it third the Parker and Abercrombie.  R. Scott Bakker’s Prince of Nothing series is excellent, and Steven Erikson’s Malazan books may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they are gritty, rigorously thought out, and definitely not your standard high fantasy.  Scott Lynch and Robert V.S. Reddick also spring to mind.  These should all be of interest to anyone who is enjoying ASOIAF.

Cecelia Holland

Watership Down. I realize it doesn’t meet the swear/sex criteria but it’s as well written as GRRM and the action sequences are unparalleled. It has the same immediate reality, you don’t feel you’re looking at today in costume.

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8 thoughts on “Roundtable: While GRRM Fans Wait for Book Six…

  • July 13, 2011 at 8:41 am

    For that historical feeling with more than a touch of the fantastic, I do recommend Chelsea Quinn Yarbro’s Saint-Germain novels (including the Olivia Clemens trilogy). Often harsh and always unflinching in its portrayal , this is an excellent counterpoint to Anne Rice on one hand and the saccharine feminized histories of recent prodigy on the other.

  • July 13, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I would recommend the trilogy by Daniel Fox (Chaz Brenchley): Dragon in Chains, Jade Man’s Skin and Hidden Cities

  • July 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Peter Orullion’s “The Unremembered” is very much in feel like Jordan’s “Wheel Of Time” and up there with Ken Scholes’ “Psalms of Isak” as the best fantasy I’ve ready in the past two years. Both are highly recommended as epic fantasy.

  • July 13, 2011 at 7:03 pm

    I’d recommend Sherwood Smith’s Inda series and Kate Elliott’s Spirit Gate books. Both of those series are finished, too.

  • July 13, 2011 at 8:09 pm

    You guys know there’s and app for this right? If I use Novelist (on my Public Library’s web-site), and look at the appeal factors for SOIAF, then pick Epic and Fantasy from the genre, go with intricately plotted from the storyline, and gritty for the writing style I get these recommendations: Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever by Stephen R. Donaldson (all 3 trilogies), Chronicles of Siala by Alexei Pekhov, and Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook. You can play around and pick different factors. But those are pretty good suggestions. Personally, I also think Joe Abercrombie, Steven Erikson, and R Scott Bakker are also really good suggestions. I love Watership Down, but I’m not sure I would hand it to someone jonesing for more GRRM.

  • July 14, 2011 at 3:47 am

    I think Vance’s Lyonesse trilogy deserves wider appreciation, so I’d recommend it to anyone. Certainly Vance was merciless with some of his seemingly important characters, as is GRRM’s wont. I suppose some Catholics might take umbrage at Umphred, though.

  • July 16, 2011 at 10:12 am

    And what about David Gemmell? I haven’t read much of his work (and it was a long time ago), so I’m not going to make any recommendations, but it seems to be well suited to GRRM fans.


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