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George R.R. Martin - what to read (after Song of Ice and Fire)

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George R.R. Martin - what to read (after Song of Ice and Fire)

Old 03-11-06, 12:04 AM
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George R.R. Martin - what to read (after Song of Ice and Fire)

So I'm just about to start A Feast for Crows (which is why I'm avoiding that thread like the plague), and I'd like to read more of Martin, but when I Amazoned him, the results were so scattered that I just didn't know where to start.

Those who know his work ... where would I go next? I'm absolutly gushing about A Song of Ice and Fire - and I hardly EVER gush about books anymore. His prose and characterization are just so above and beyond anything I've read in genre fiction for so long that I know I need to read more of him.

Point me in the right direction. Hook a brotha up.
Old 03-12-06, 12:59 AM
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He hasn't really written that much besides aSoIaF. He's got a few novels from the early 80s. Mostly, prior to aSoIaF, he was doing two things -- writing scripts in Hollywood (mostly for the 80s Twilight Zone and for Beauty & the Beast), and he was the editor of the Wild Cards books, which are very good and well worth tracking down if you like superheroes.

He's got a bibliography on his webpage -- http://www.georgerrmartin.com

If you're looking for similar authors, I recommend Glen Cook (Black Company series) and Steven Erickson (Malazan Book of the Fallen series). I also recommend you pick up the two Legends short story colections, each of which has a Martin SoIaF short story, as well as a bunch of other short stories. Read the Martin stuff, then read the other short stories, then read stuff by those of the other authors whose short stories you like.
Old 03-12-06, 01:23 AM
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Check out his short-story collections. There's a very good (but very expensive) one being sold by Subterranean Press these day. Or look on abebooks.com for old paperbacks. Most of the stories I've read by him are original, well-plotted and very vivid.

I also enjoyed Tuf Voyaging, an episodic novel by him.
Old 03-12-06, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by JasonF
If you're looking for similar authors, I recommend Glen Cook (Black Company series) and Steven Erickson (Malazan Book of the Fallen series).
Thanks for the recommendations. I tried one of the Black Company novels once and actually didn't even finish it. I found the writing weak and the plotting just obnoxiously cliche. I rarely abandon a book without finishing, so I won't be going back to Cook. It's possible that the one I read was simply a poor example of his work, but it was so poor that he's not getting a second chance with me.

Will keep my eye open for Erickson, but honestly, I've really all but given up hope of finding good fantasy out there. Of course, I said the same before I read Martin and was very pleasantly surprised, so ....
Old 03-12-06, 02:09 PM
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Try Paul Kearney. He is a British author and his Monarchies of God series was well done in my opinion.
Old 03-12-06, 04:25 PM
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Scott Bakker's series is pretty highly regarded in some circles & is often metioned along side Martin & Erikson.

For me right now Erikson & Martin are 1 and 1a.
Old 03-13-06, 01:18 PM
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If you're not averse to a vampire story, "Fevre Dream" comes highly recommended (and is in print). His short stories are excellent, and well-worth seeking out. They're hard to find, but I believe "A Song for Lya" (one of the best) is still in print.
Old 03-14-06, 01:48 AM
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Robin Hobb. Strong characterization and focus on character-driven storytelling is the key to Martin's work IMO and Hobb does this well.

Pending the completion of Ice & Fire I think Martin will rank as my #2 favorite author (right after Hobb).

Start with the Farseer trilogy:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...Fencoding=UTF8

Last edited by GreenMonkey; 03-20-06 at 11:01 PM.
Old 03-18-06, 04:08 PM
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Tuf Voyaging is one of my favorites. Highly recommended.

Fevre Dream is really good too, I didn't like Dying of the Light but it is an interesting read.

Windhaven is pretty good too (cowritten with Lisa Tuttle). I highly recommended the mosaic novel, Wild Cards series, it is pretty captivating.
Old 03-19-06, 11:45 PM
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Thanks for the tips Lastblade.
Old 03-23-06, 08:09 PM
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Robin Hobb's books are great.
Old 03-28-06, 01:10 AM
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I really enjoy Robert Jordan and the Wheel of time books. Especially the first 5 or so.
Old 03-28-06, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Dashed
I really enjoy Robert Jordan and the Wheel of time books. Especially the first 5 or so.
Ok I have to disagree here vehemently.

In my opinion Jordan is extremly poorly written. Here are two examples illustrating what I mean:

-All the characters are the same, they are seldom even 2 dimensional most being 1 dimensional, there appears to be little to no thought given to any of the characters beyond the bare minimum to include in the story. How many women in the series tug their braids? Its ridiculous! Contrast with Martin where every character comes across as unique and fleshed out. Even small unimportant characters in Martin have more thought and effort put into them than main characters in Jordan. Heck the Harry Potter books have more depth to them than Jordan's books and they are written primarily for kids!

-There is endless filler and fluff. Honestly look at what actually happens in the books. You could take his entire series to-date and condense it into a single trilogy without losign a single thing of substance. Compare to Martin's series where every detail appears to have meaning. A story told to a child at bedtime gives important clues as to events that have happened in the past and forshadowing to future happenings both at the same time! Martin is dense reading but it is all important.

If you enjoy Jordan's series fantastic, i'm happy for you there is a lot of entertainment in such a large series. However, for someone who enjoys Martin's series I see no reason whatsoever to recommend Jordan.

Ok so as to not make this entirely just a thread de-railment I will suggest a few other authors I would recommend:
David Gemmel: Brit author who has several series out, not in the same league as Martin but quite entertaining and enjoyable. Several of his series are historical fiction as well if you enjoy that.
Rob Hobb: Well written but rather depressing to my taste. I am glad I read his Assassin series but I do not think I will ever re-read it.
Tolkien: No comments needed really.
Feist: Magician series. Very good series, several followup series and stories set in the same world.
Old 03-28-06, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Nuff
Rob Hobb: Well written but rather depressing to my taste. I am glad I read his Assassin series but I do not think I will ever re-read it.
FYI, the author's name is Robin Hobb, and she's a she, not a he.

And while I prefer Martin to Jordan, I really think you are selling Jordan short. The books are spacious and at times meandering -- if all you're interested in is the plot, then you could edit them down -- but not as full of fluff as you make them appear. And the characters certainly do all have different voices. Off the top of my head, the main characters are Rand, Perrin, Mat, Nynaeve, Moiraine, Elayne, Aviendha, Lan and Egwene, each of which is very different from the others (though, as you point out, Jordan does have his female character tug their braids surprisingly often. They also sniff a lot and cross their arms under their breasts at the drop of a hat).

The main problem I have with Jordan is he's got 85 gajillion characters and I can't keep track of them. Martin's got a ton of characters, too, but he lists them all in the back, which helps me remember that Petyr Pimple is fourth in line for Walder Frey's throne or whatever.
Old 03-29-06, 12:12 PM
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To be honest, I appreciate all of the recommendations people have offered here, but I'm not all that interested in recommendations for other authors. I wanted to know what books of Martin's I should check out.

I've read plenty of fantasy, and most of it abysmal. In fact, despite reading just radioactivly glowing reviews of A Song of Ice and Fire for years, I still declined to try another fantasy series for years. Finally caved in and discovered that the reviews were every bit deserved.

I'm aware of Jordan and Hobb and Cook and the others. And for the most part, I group them with the piles and piles of fantasy I've read (or tried to read) and discarded. So the intentions are appreciated, but other authors just isn't what I was looking for in this thread.
Old 04-09-06, 01:42 AM
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I hate to admit it though, but I enjoy Jordan's latest Wheel of Time book much more than Feast for Crows. But then again, Crossroads of Twilight was a complete waste of time so it is more like an apology to people still reading this never-ending saga.

EDIT: There is a new Wild Cards book that just came out, called Death Draws Five. The bad news is that the publisher had gone under immediately after the publication so you might want to buy the hardcover while it is still available. I really really like the Wild Cards series, I just wish I can buy Vol. 4 and above easily. I guess I have to try ebay or Amazon's zshop.

Last edited by Lastblade; 04-09-06 at 01:45 AM.
Old 04-09-06, 09:37 PM
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Feast is certianly a cut below the previous three. But, IMHO, still well above Jordan.
Old 04-10-06, 09:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mgbfan
Feast is certianly a cut below the previous three. But, IMHO, still well above Jordan.


Ugh, Jordan.

Although I hate to agree with mgbfan who is obviously anti-fantasy
Old 04-11-06, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by GreenMonkey
Although I hate to agree with mgbfan who is obviously anti-fantasy
Heh - well at times I do feel that way. I'm actually anti-BAD-fantasy, which unfortunatly is most of it.
Old 04-21-06, 01:44 PM
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I just finished reading his novella The Hedge Knight. Find that one and read it if you haven't already. It's set in the Song of Ice & Fire Universe, but about 100 years before that series. Even if the story wasn't that good (which it is!) it would be worth reading just to read about all the long dead Kings and Knights who are alive and well in the book.
Old 05-09-06, 04:02 AM
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Originally Posted by GreenMonkey
Robin Hobb. Strong characterization and focus on character-driven storytelling is the key to Martin's work IMO and Hobb does this well.

Pending the completion of Ice & Fire I think Martin will rank as my #2 favorite author (right after Hobb).

Start with the Farseer trilogy:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...Fencoding=UTF8
Big disagreement on Hobb. I know some people love her, but I actually think she is one of my least favorite authors of any genre. The ending of the second farseer book was annoyingly stupid, and the entire book was just dull. I did not empathize or understand the actions and motivations of almost any character in the series. HATED it. Have no interest in ever reading anything by her again.

Last edited by johnnysd; 05-09-06 at 04:28 AM.
Old 05-09-06, 04:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Nuff
Ok I have to disagree here vehemently.

In my opinion Jordan is extremly poorly written. Here are two examples illustrating what I mean:

-All the characters are the same, they are seldom even 2 dimensional most being 1 dimensional, there appears to be little to no thought given to any of the characters beyond the bare minimum to include in the story. How many women in the series tug their braids? Its ridiculous! Contrast with Martin where every character comes across as unique and fleshed out. Even small unimportant characters in Martin have more thought and effort put into them than main characters in Jordan. Heck the Harry Potter books have more depth to them than Jordan's books and they are written primarily for kids!

-There is endless filler and fluff. Honestly look at what actually happens in the books. You could take his entire series to-date and condense it into a single trilogy without losign a single thing of substance. Compare to Martin's series where every detail appears to have meaning. A story told to a child at bedtime gives important clues as to events that have happened in the past and forshadowing to future happenings both at the same time! Martin is dense reading but it is all important.

If you enjoy Jordan's series fantastic, i'm happy for you there is a lot of entertainment in such a large series. However, for someone who enjoys Martin's series I see no reason whatsoever to recommend Jordan.

Ok so as to not make this entirely just a thread de-railment I will suggest a few other authors I would recommend:
David Gemmel: Brit author who has several series out, not in the same league as Martin but quite entertaining and enjoyable. Several of his series are historical fiction as well if you enjoy that.
Rob Hobb: Well written but rather depressing to my taste. I am glad I read his Assassin series but I do not think I will ever re-read it.
Tolkien: No comments needed really.
Feist: Magician series. Very good series, several followup series and stories set in the same world.

It seems to be in vogue to hate Jordan, but the fact remains that A Song of Ice and Fire exists BECAUSE of the Wheel of Time. Martin takes Jordan's structure and the psuedo first person concept directly from him. Both are excellent. Martin's story is much more medieval and at least hard R rated, but realistic and brutal. Jordan is more high fantasy in a PG-13 world. Both have well rounded characters that are quite different, but Martin's are more gray and certainly darker.

People I think forget how incredibly good the first 6 books of the Wheel of Time really are. They are exciting, interesting, complex and extremely visual. Jordan builds to a climax and ends a book better than almost any author I have ever read. Many scenes in the Wheel of Time stick in my memory more than almost any other author. The Battle at Falme, Shadar Logoth, Dumai Wells, the end of Eye of the World, etc....

Martin's series has started incredibly well also, and is a high point in fantasy no doubt. I love both. Martin has an ability to shock you which Jordan lacks somewhat in comparison. No one is truly safe in Martin's world, while the same cannot be said of Jordan. The Red Wedding especially was shocking and unexpected.

Now, no one can argue that Jordan's books have not been as strong since Lord of Chaos. But A Feast for Crows was no where near as strong as the first three in ASOIAF, and was actually dull for the most part. I preferred Knife of Dreams quite a bit, actually. Both are suffering from the same problem in my view. As the story goes on it gets more and more complex. Neither author is exactly sparse in their prose so the books get longer and longer, and less and less seems to actually happen as it gets harder and harder to connect the dots in the series. Both authors have discussed that they know the main events that happen but not necessarily exactly have they get to them. And it is showing for both of them. Jordan is just much farther along than Martin so it seems worse for him.

I certainly understand someone liking Martin better than Jordan. Heck, they are probably my two favorite authors and in my view no one in fantasy really comes close to these two. But the people who trash Jordan are really not reflective of how good his books are or how much fun it is to read him. I have probably gotten 10 or 15 people to start reading Jordan, and everyone has gone on to read all the books and he is one of the, if not THE favorite author of all of them. Jordan is simply a great storyteller. There could be less sniffing, braid tugging, clasped arms, dress descriptions, etc.... but the story is still fantastic.
Old 05-10-06, 01:33 AM
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Originally Posted by johnnysd
Big disagreement on Hobb. I know some people love her, but I actually think she is one of my least favorite authors of any genre. The ending of the second farseer book was annoyingly stupid, and the entire book was just dull. I did not empathize or understand the actions and motivations of almost any character in the series. HATED it. Have no interest in ever reading anything by her again.
Different strokes for different folks I guess. I consider Jordan's books the biggest waste of my time for a fantasy book in recent years...well, OK, that was Edding's new Dreamers series. Jordan ranks at #2 though.

I don't think Jordan is a good writer at all, honestly. Books drag on, meander, and generally go nowhere...and IMO are very LOTR derivative.

I'd expect a Jordan fan to hate Hobb. Jordan's characters are underdeveloped and unimaginative. Epic fantasy with poorly developed characterization. I consider him Hobb's antethesis
Old 05-11-06, 02:14 AM
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Originally Posted by GreenMonkey
I'd expect a Jordan fan to hate Hobb. Jordan's characters are underdeveloped and unimaginative. Epic fantasy with poorly developed characterization. I consider him Hobb's antethesis

See, I think that the characterizations of Hobb are poorly developed and actually unbelievable. I never believed any of the characters were genuine. You actually emphasize and identify with the actions and motivations and characterizations of the characters in the Farseer trilogy? I do not find that with Jordan. I think his characters are true to his world and dramatically more interesting. I would rather read Ulysses by Joyce again then another Hobb book. I think they are dreadful.
Old 05-11-06, 07:02 AM
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Originally Posted by johnnysd
It seems to be in vogue to hate Jordan, but the fact remains that A Song of Ice and Fire exists BECAUSE of the Wheel of Time. Martin takes Jordan's structure and the psuedo first person concept directly from him. Both are excellent. Martin's story is much more medieval and at least hard R rated, but realistic and brutal. Jordan is more high fantasy in a PG-13 world. Both have well rounded characters that are quite different, but Martin's are more gray and certainly darker.
I agree with the rest of your post except for the majority of this paragraph. You seem to make the assumption that Jordan invented the psuedo first person concept and that Martin deliberately copied him. I've read a bunch of his interviews and nowhere has he mentioned that. If no WoT then no ASOIF???? That's bullshit. How do you come to that conclusion? Martin's "first person" style also seems to be more developed as far as making you feel like you're reading it from that character's perspective.

As for the Wheel of Time having "well rounded" characters...haha...I couldn't say that with a straight face. There are certainly a few - a very few - more rounded characters, like Lanfear, but honestly most of the characters are flat. Good or Bad. Noisy or quiet. etc...

But you're right. The WoT series were excellent up until the 6th book, notwithstanding the flaws in his writing. The bottom line is whether or not the book entertained me and that it did. However, starting from after Dumai Wells (in the 6th book) up until Crossroads, the books have been subpar for Jordan's standards.

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