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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  12:32:40  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Poll Question:

I know it's a tough question. It's not easy to choose just one because we do have a lot of favorites. But all things considered---the number of novels he/she wrote [his/her prolificness], and the number of books you did enjoy, stayed in your mind the longest, challenged you in many ways, and moved you the most---who do you think is the Greatest Fantasist of All Time?

Choices:

Raymond E. Feist
J.R.R. Tolkien
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Margaret Weis
David Eddings
G.R.R. Martin
Melanie Rawn
Steven Erikson
David Gemmel
Robert Jordan
David Farland
Other

(Anonymous Vote)

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Light
Learned Scribe

Australia
231 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  13:22:54  Show Profile Send Light a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How would you define Fantasist? And in that case how would you define Fantasy? ....Say my favourite author is not on the list and he's only written four books and none of them feature elves, dwarves, goblins (the usual Tolkien-stuff) and really all it has to define it as Fantasy is magic (and wikipedia does indeed say it is a fantasy), would he then be eligible for the title of a Fantasist?

"A true warrior needs no sword" - Thors (Vinland Saga)
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  13:45:29  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Light, it depends on the level of significance of the magic used in the story, and other factors. Who is it, anyway? I'd be able to provide better judgment if I know who it is.

A fantasist is one who writes stories involving magic, paranormal magic, monsters and other creatures that don't exist in the realm of reality.

Every beginning has an end.
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Light
Learned Scribe

Australia
231 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  13:47:23  Show Profile Send Light a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My favourite author is Brent Weeks, author of the Night Angel Trilogy and the Black Prism. If you haven't read these...then do so.

"A true warrior needs no sword" - Thors (Vinland Saga)
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  13:53:46  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

I've read The Night Angel Trilogy. Despite Weeks's weak world-building, a writing style that borders on amateurish, and seeming fondness of killing off his characters, I quite enjoyed the series. It shines with outstanding character development and excellent plots.

Every beginning has an end.
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GRYPHON
Senior Scribe

USA
520 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  13:54:12  Show Profile  Visit GRYPHON's Homepage Send GRYPHON a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Tolkien...
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Drakul
Senior Scribe

USA
363 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  13:57:34  Show Profile  Visit Drakul's Homepage  Click to see Drakul's MSN Messenger address Send Drakul a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by GRYPHON

Tolkien...



I agree. Tolkien.

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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  14:14:46  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

I acknowledge that Tolkien first popularized modern fantasy and created a lot of firsts in the said literary genre, most of which are borrowed by so many authors. But I wouldn't call him the greatest. I voted Feist, not only because of the sheer number of books he wrote, but also because most of them hold a special place in my heart. Feist is really excellent in exploiting the entire emotional spectrum, in evoking the nuances of his worlds, in observing consistency all throughout the long series, in making believable heroes and villains, in character development, and in integrating philosophy without sounding overly didactic.

Every beginning has an end.
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Light
Learned Scribe

Australia
231 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  14:18:56  Show Profile Send Light a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


I've read The Night Angel Trilogy. Despite Weeks's weak world-building, a writing style that borders on amateurish, and seeming fondness of killing off his characters, I quite enjoyed the series. It shines with outstanding character development and excellent plots.

While I don't want to degenerate into a rabid dog as I pointlessly attempt to defend my favourite author I have to say that I disagree with you. I personally found Weeks' world clearer and more vivid in my mind than any other. He doesn't actively world-build that's for sure. He world-builds when and as necessary. He keeps everything relevant to the story, not telling us the history of the mountains in the background that they will never climb or the tower in the center of the city they will never see. Maybe that's weak world-building but to me it's good world-building. Nor do I believe his writing style borders on amateruish, it's simple but, wait what was that I said at the start about...WOOF!

Regardless I voted 'Other' for Brent Weeks. And don't get me started on Tolkien.

EDIT: Wait, where's Brynweir. She will back me up.

"A true warrior needs no sword" - Thors (Vinland Saga)

Edited by - Light on 01 Oct 2011 14:22:47
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  14:31:36  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Light

quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


I've read The Night Angel Trilogy. Despite Weeks's weak world-building, a writing style that borders on amateurish, and seeming fondness of killing off his characters, I quite enjoyed the series. It shines with outstanding character development and excellent plots.

While I don't want to degenerate into a rabid dog as I pointlessly attempt to defend my favourite author I have to say that I disagree with you. I personally found Weeks' world clearer and more vivid in my mind than any other. He doesn't actively world-build that's for sure. He world-builds when and as necessary. He keeps everything relevant to the story, not telling us the history of the mountains in the background that they will never climb or the tower in the center of the city they will never see. Maybe that's weak world-building but to me it's good world-building. Nor do I believe his writing style borders on amateruish, it's simple but, wait what was that I said at the start about...WOOF!

Regardless I voted 'Other' for Brent Weeks. And don't get me started on Tolkien.

EDIT: Wait, where's Brynweir. She will back me up.

Fortunately, Weeks's good points far outweigh the bad. So I wouldn't dwell too much on the latter.

Weeks is also good in laying mysteries that always keep the reader guessing, and in choosing the names of his characters, which are often dulcet and match the characters' personalities.

Every beginning has an end.
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Farrel
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
238 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  15:12:38  Show Profile Send Farrel a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I voted for G.R.R. Martin, I do love my Tolkien, it's just that there's so much more intrigue and it's far grittier

I do find the length of time between his books quite infuriating and have wondered whether he will manage to complete the series.
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31134 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  15:39:11  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I voted for Tolkien. He's not my favorite, but he's the one that put fantasy on the map, and who wrote the template that most other fantasy authors use. He's prolly the most read fantasy author -- other folks may have written more, but if you've read fantasy, you've prolly read Tolkien. Heck, there are people that have read no fantasy other than Tolkien... And he's influenced a lot of fantasy authors.

I may like other authors better, but if you want to ask who the greatest is, you can't beat the guy that influenced everything.

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Light
Learned Scribe

Australia
231 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  16:24:49  Show Profile Send Light a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

I voted for Tolkien. He's not my favorite, but he's the one that put fantasy on the map, and who wrote the template that most other fantasy authors use. He's prolly the most read fantasy author -- other folks may have written more, but if you've read fantasy, you've prolly read Tolkien. Heck, there are people that have read no fantasy other than Tolkien... And he's influenced a lot of fantasy authors.

I may like other authors better, but if you want to ask who the greatest is, you can't beat the guy that influenced everything.

PLEASE! Stop saying 'prolly'. And don't you dare reply with a 'I'll prolly stop'. Seriously though this is pretty much why I dislike Tolkien. He was so influential (and still is) that much of fantasy literature seems to just be his books reworded.

"A true warrior needs no sword" - Thors (Vinland Saga)
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  16:39:41  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

Reading LotR was like a drudgery.

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Baleful Avatar
Learned Scribe

Canada
161 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  17:04:28  Show Profile  Visit Baleful Avatar's Homepage Send Baleful Avatar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Posted on behalf of The Hooded One, who is travelling and just sent me this in an e-mail:


I'd personally only choose two from your poll list, Dennis, to even be considered for such a title. And that's the problem with such opinion polls - - they are inevitably overwhelmingly personal. The very roster of choices you proposed betrays the age and tastes of the pollster . . . as it always will.
Unfortunately, the poll format at Candlekeep doesn't serve such polls well; we need far more choices to be on the table. I can think of a score of superb writers, just off the top of my head, that are more deserving of being listed as choices than all but two of those you did list, yet in this poll they end up riding blankshield under the banner of "Other."
As a longtime reader, collector, editor, and occasional writer of fantasy, I think what irks me the most is your introductory post: "who do you think is the Greatest Fantasist of All Time?" in the same short paragraph as you say: "It's not easy to choose just one because we do have a lot of favorites."
Hear me well: YOUR favorite (or mine!) is NOT the same thing as "Greatest."
More veterans see this distinction, and more younglings seemingly cannot.
Nor can any of us EVER judge "All Time" because "time" hasn't ended yet, and the passage of time (and changing tastes) inevitably and continuously changes opinions as to "greatest."
My shelves contain many, many books by authors who were once overwhelming popular (Kipling, Bulywer-Lytton, even Charteris [[and before you say, "Who?," let it be said that book accounting was far more hidden/incomplete/inaccurate in earlier times than it is today, and yet through just one publisher, we know from the incomplete records kept that Charteris sold at least 95 MILLION copies of his books]]) and are largely forgotten, neglected, or overlooked today.
I'd be happier if you polled Candlekeep scribes as to which fantasists they personally considered "of lasting worth."
Being as "Greatest" is ANOTHER term that can be furiously argued/disagreed over...
love,
THO

. . . And for what it's worth, I kinda agree with her.

Edited by - Baleful Avatar on 01 Oct 2011 17:11:35
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Malcolm
Learned Scribe

242 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  17:10:16  Show Profile  Visit Malcolm's Homepage Send Malcolm a Private Message  Reply with Quote
"Seriously though this is pretty much why I dislike Tolkien. He was so influential (and still is) that much of fantasy literature seems to just be his books reworded."

And this is Tolkien's fault how, exactly?

He's a little too dead to be blamed for anything now. And perhaps being so influential is what makes him "greatest," rather than the fact that one scribe dislikes him.
Just sayin.' I'm with THO: I don't have one favourite, and I think attempts to proclaim just one author "the Greatest" are not all that far removed from trolling: they practically guarantee dissent among us, rather than being about the Realms or making a happier community at the Keep. For not much gain, that I can see.
I would be happier with what our Lovely Lady Hooded proposed: "lasting worth" writers, so some of us might be introduced to writers we might not have come across before...
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The Hooded One
Lady Herald of Realmslore

5054 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  17:29:00  Show Profile  Visit The Hooded One's Homepage Send The Hooded One a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Hi, all. THO herself here, stopping in for a bathroom break at a public library during my drive, and using their public Internet terminals.
Thanks to Baleful Avatar for posting my message.
And yes, it IS my message. "I am The Hooded One, and I approve this message."

Ray Feist on the list, but not Guy Kay, Leiber, LeGuin, or Bellairs? (And if it's naked popularity that qualifies, where are Pratchett, Rowling, and Baum? [yes, Baum: over forty Oz movies, seventy-some plays, travelling carnivals, and umpteen books, including many authorized and unauthorized sequels, many of which are still appearing today], not to mention Lovecraft, and...oh, forget it.) Heh. Have at it, guys and gals.
love to all,
THO
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Blueblade
Senior Scribe

USA
804 Posts

Posted - 01 Oct 2011 :  17:33:28  Show Profile  Visit Blueblade's Homepage Send Blueblade a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Heh. I can do that rant, too. Farland, but no Zelazny? Weis but not Kurtz? And if we're going with popularity, where's Howard for Conan, Kull, Solomon Kane, et al? And Lovecraft?
And heck, if it's influencing others, our own Ed should be on the list; his influence is still affecting fantasy game fiction, right now...
Dennis, you rascal! You made me THINK on a Saturday morning!
BB
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  01:56:19  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote

THO,

That's why I proposed to have the choices on the poll increased. But even so, it's still impossible to include all the "worthy" candidates, hence the "Other" option. And no, you're incorrect to say the list betrays my tastes. I admit some of the authors on the list are my favorites, but most are definitely not. I read Tolkien, Rawn, Weis, Gemmel, Jordan, and Martin, but they are not my favorites, and would have gladly replaced their names with Richard Lee Byers, Paul S. Kemp, Troy Denning, J.K. Rowling, LeGuin, Weeks, Sanderson, Knaak, Jones, and many others. So why did I put them on the list despite my lack of interest in their books? Well, I acknowledge their contributions to literature, and because I'm not selfish that I would have only my favorites.

Every beginning has an end.
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Therise
Master of Realmslore

1265 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  04:54:49  Show Profile Send Therise a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Dennis


THO,

That's why I proposed to have the choices on the poll increased. But even so, it's still impossible to include all the "worthy" candidates, hence the "Other" option. And no, you're incorrect to say the list betrays my tastes. I admit some of the authors on the list are my favorites, but most are definitely not. I read Tolkien, Rawn, Weis, Gemmel, Jordan, and Martin, but they are not my favorites, and would have gladly replaced their names with Richard Lee Byers, Paul S. Kemp, Troy Denning, J.K. Rowling, LeGuin, Weeks, Sanderson, Knaak, Jones, and many others. So why did I put them on the list despite my lack of interest in their books? Well, I acknowledge their contributions to literature, and because I'm not selfish that I would have only my favorites.


The Dennis doth protest too much, methinks.

She nailed you, it happens. Just own it.

And THO - thanks for reminding us about The Saint. I definitely need something good to read this week, and I tend to forget about certain authors I've read a while ago.


4E Realms was awful, but it's water under the Boareskyr Bridge. Let's make 5E Realms truly shine!

Edited by - Therise on 02 Oct 2011 05:01:30
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D-brane
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
140 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  05:11:18  Show Profile  Visit D-brane's Homepage Send D-brane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd have to go with Clark Ashton Smith.

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  05:31:13  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by D-brane

I'd have to go with Clark Ashton Smith.

I haven't yet read his works. But I heard good reviews of his The Return Of The Sorcerer, which is a collection of his short fiction. A friend of mine, who loves classic, recommended The City of the Singing Flame, which happens to be in that anthology. I'll get to it soon...

Every beginning has an end.

Edited by - Dennis on 02 Oct 2011 05:48:15
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D-brane
Learned Scribe

United Kingdom
140 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  06:12:01  Show Profile  Visit D-brane's Homepage Send D-brane a Private Message  Reply with Quote
You can freely read the vast majority of his works online here.

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence."
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6607 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  06:33:20  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Dennis

A fantasist is one who writes stories involving magic, paranormal magic, monsters and other creatures that don't exist in the realm of reality.
Well, under that definition I'd say even authors of the occult, fellows like John Dee, would certainly qualify. Then again, so would Stephen King. Definition too broad; fails to address quality, content, and purpose of the fiction.

My real preference would align towards such as Snorri Sturluson (Skaldic Eddas of Norse mythology), Paracelsus (alchemy and medicine), or Homer and Herodotus (classical mythology, folklore, and history). They all wrote about things which they considered truthful and real in their ages, yet we would consider fantasy if they were written today. I could cite other sources but don't wish to degrade this scroll into a theological flame war.

Although, in less uncertain terms, I'd say von Goethe might be my favourite; more than mere fiction because his writings also contain actual story. Just can't go wrong with the classics.

[/Ayrik]

Edited by - Ayrik on 02 Oct 2011 06:35:43
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Brimstone
Great Reader

USA
2977 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  06:54:33  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I would vote Tolkien also.

For some strange reason it wont let me.


"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
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Dennis
Great Reader

9933 Posts

Posted - 02 Oct 2011 :  07:12:57  Show Profile Send Dennis a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

For some strange reason it wont let me.

Really?

Wooly, Sage, you might want to look into this. [I hope this isn't some kind of a sign of the return of the naughty gremlins.]

Every beginning has an end.
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