Well Andy, thanks to you I'm about to go spend a boat-load of money at the bookstore. I think Railsea is first.
That or City & the City... Mieville is pretty cool.
agreed! I am reading Perdido Street Station right now - its amazing! I will add both of these titles to my reading list - thanks! ;-)
Yes, i read Perdido Street some time ago as my first Mieville's book and was really surprised. I keep thinking of all the images that persist in my head! So, yes, I was gladly pleased to see two of his books in this list, and as others have said, I plan to read them soon, once I understand the order in which they were written.
Good list, Andy.
Where is Game of Thrones?!
Haven't read it :)
Quite rightly that trash was not included on this list. The problem with GOT is that the first couple of books were pretty good then it really crashed and burned.
First, Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) is not over yet - there are (at least) two more books, so we can't say if it ends up "crashing and burning." I personally did not have a problem with the most recent two books - yes, the pacing has slowed down, but they were still marvelous reads and I'm excited for more. The first three are pretty much masterpieces in terms of writing and fantasy and world-building, though.
I haven't read the series, but I plan to, and from what I've heard, the books are awesome. The TV series is awful though. It's like, if I wanted to just watch porn, I would just watch porn. But I don't. Soooo.... I don't watch the GOT tv show. Gonna wait for the book, as soon as I can manage to find/get a copy.
Well, if you don't like the sex in the show, then you probably won't like the sex in the books. There's a reason the show ended up on HBO ... It's awful how prudish people are. Sex is an important part of life. The show is fabulous!
Wow, sounds awesome. Whatever floats your boat, dude (or doesn't, I guess!) ;)
Personally, I'm hooked on the world of A Song of Ice and Fire. If you're not sure you want to invest that much time into reading the series yet then I highly recommend you read "The Hedge Knight" just to get a feel of what that world is like. It's a short story from George R.R. Martin so it won't take up much of your time but enough to want more.
Come now - 'porn' is only there for the shock value and takes up maybe 5% of time. There is some amazing acting and direction going on there and if you like your humor dry and smart - it's brilliant!
Possibly you're right, but I don't want to compromise my morals, regardless. I don't care if that means I get labeled a "prude" or not. "Observe what the masses are doing, and do the opposite" is kind of my credo. BTW: I can't believe that Admin deleted my comment above. Just what, precisely, was it violating? Maybe they thought it would 'offend' someone. But if that's the case, then the prejudice that most people have against morality, truth, values, and character, is simply mind-boggling.
I personally thought Game of Thrones was horribly written and full of unbelievable characters.
I think Kate Elliot's Crown of Stars series should be on this list. Also Sheri Tepper. Maybe Six Moon Dance. Surely Ann McCaffrey's Pern series should be on the list. What about Lois McMaster Bujold, probably The Curse of Challion or maybe her Sharing Knife series. And of course CJ Cherryh should be on the list but it's hard to pick just one of her books.
The Vorkosigan Saga - a space based world-building saga by Lois McMaster Bujold - is the series I recommend to everyone.
I love the Vorkosigan Saga but the Curse of Challion or the Sharing Knife series may be better examples of world building. Vorkosigan is best for the characters. Bujold's other series are strong in character development but the worldbuilding is what sets them apart.
Great list; China Miéville looks interesting.
I think Jasper Ffordes' Shades of Grey is great.
A place where colour determines position and how you see things, great concept.
That Fforde one is something I will pick up, soon :)
Really surprised to not see any George R.R. Martin or Robert Jordan in here. Both have created massive worlds within their series. Brandon Sanderson is also missing; he's created a whole universe in his books.
I agree with all of these recommendations for addition. All of the above are fantastic universes.
One of my faves, but I think is currently out of print, is "West of Eden" by Harry Harrison. It takes place in an alternate America where instead of Europeans finding the new world and the native Americans there, intelligent dinosaurs evolved in what would be Europe and came and discovered America. Although they don't call it that. It sounds corny but was really well written and is narrated by a human boy who was raised as a slave to the dinosaurs. The dinosaurs are far more advanced than the native humans but their technology is biological based. For example they grow their cities by genetically altering trees to grow as buildings with rooms etc. they use a spy camera grown into the belly of birds etc. it was a great a vivid portrayal and one of my fav books of all time. Any scifi lover should not miss if I can find it.
I just got a copy of that from Paperbackswap.com!
Awesome List, thanks! (BTW, the Silmirillion is my all time favorite Tolkien/fantasy book :D)
While I generally agree with most of items on the list (Clearly Tolkien is No. 1).
I agree with the posters above that Lois McMaster Bujold greatly deserves to be on the list. The Vorkosigan books are probably the best, but Chalion is wonderful, as well. Her use of language, humor and interesting characters make her a real treat to read.
Jordan's Wheel of Time is worthwile, especially since it is now complete. Pern (Macaffery), while much better in the first several than with the later books, is worthy of consideration. The semi-juvenile Harper Hall books are especially good. Katherine Kurtz (Deryni and The Adept) deserves some consideration.
In adition, I strongly recommend David Weber. Nearly all of Honor Harrington series (Manticore novels) are excellent. My current favorite, though, is the ongoing series set on Safehold (beginning with Off Armageddon Reef). The (sadly discontinued) Hell's Gate collaboration with Linda Evans is excellent - especially from a world-building aspect, and the pseudo-historical collaborations with Eric Flint (particlarly the Belisarius novels) are exceedingly enjoyable.
Finally, it is a crime to forget aout Guy Gavriel Kay. The Summer Tree trilogy and vaguely related books such as Tigana are must reads, and the Sailing to Sarantium duology defintely captured my imagination.
Omitting George R. R. Martin is fine with me. I gave up on the series after all the characters I cared about were killed off. Mieville is a bit weird for me, but I somewhat enjoyed a few of them.
Where is Gardens of the Moon, the first of the Malazan Book of the Fallen series? Erikson has rebuilt fantasy and magic in this series.
Funny that I never considered my novel "From Here to There" a World Builder story but there is no doubt that is exactly what it is. Setting the story within a futuristic sustainable community takes the reader to a not-so-distant earth where a substantial size population have created a society that thrives on systems that are both goof for them but good for the environment at the same time. That is a World that I would love to visit.
When I read the description of this section being worlds that were changed down to the very laws of physics, I immediately thought of the Mistborn books by Brandon Sanderson and how chemistry and magic were intertwined and turned on their ear. Great trilogy.
If "worlds being changed down to the very law of physics" is part of world building - then I'd recommend the "ember verse" novels starting with "Dies the Fire: A Novel of the Change " by S.M. Stirling.
I got about four books into this series before other books got in the way and I'm planning to go back and finish it someday. As a former Girl Scout (who still enjoys camping quite a bit), there are a lot of survival situations that just make me shake my head . . .
Oops, I just jumped out and read some reviews of the next book in the series and got this "450 pages of "fight, have a banquet, describe the scenery." Now I'm a bit worried . . . ;-)
We should not forget the "Ringworld" series, by Larry Niven, in this category.
Excellent list! Most of these I've read, or got on my wish list - you've given me a title or two to add to that! Of course, there's a lot of other possibilities. The 'Mordant's Need' duology by Stephen Donaldson would by my choice, or anything by Alastair Reynolds or Guy Gavriel Kay.
Brilliant, definitely a few more books on my 'get arse into gear and read' list.
I must say I adore the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, every time I read these books I find myself re-immersed in the wonderful universe he's created. The awful film adaptation of the first book did nothing to recreate what is contained in his prose. I must go and read some more on your list so I can properly tell whether Pullman's books rank with your top ten, but I'd be surprised if they didn't.
Thanks for this list! Since you love epic fantasy world building, consider adding The Silk & Steel Saga to your list! The first five books, The Steel Queen, The Flame Priest, The Skeleton King, The Poison Priestess, and The Knight Marshal are all published and getting great reviews. A recent review by Risingshadow: "What amazes me most is the epic scope of this fantasy series. Since the beginning Karen Azinger has gradually managed to add more depth to the world of Erdhe and has also deepened the characters in each new book. She has created a vast fantasy world that's full of wonders, horrors and fascinating characters. There's an amazing amount of richness in this series and the author brings the world to life by writing about the different places and what the characters do. I have to mention that I'm impressed by the author's skillful worldbuilding and effortless character development." http://www.risingshadow.net/articles/306-a-review-of-karen-azinger-s-the-knight-marshal