What fantasy and science fiction books should I read?

Science Fiction and Fantasy Books

The books (and series) I list below are, in my opinion, the best Science Fiction and Fantasy books available. I do not go into the plot on this hub, but simply tell you why I think they are the best; however I do provide links to hubs and external sites should you wish to find out more about the books / series I list.

I have split these books into several categories as I am sure you will think that some of them do not belong on a 'best' list - these other books are listed either because they are popular and bring children back into reading, or because they are influential and create many similar copy cat books.

I know I have left out a lot of series and books – feel free to add books you think should be on the list, and if I’ve read them and agree, I’ll add them to this hub.

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 These are books that are brilliantly written, influential and contain all the elements that make a great sci-fi book.

The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings (the Hobbit / the Fellowship of the Ring / the Two Towers / the
The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings (the Hobbit / the Fellowship of the Ring / the Two Towers / the

If you only read one fantasy series in your life then start out with The Hobbit and finish off with Lord of the Rings. It truly is the 'grandfather' of Fantasy!


The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Although this list isn’t a top 10 (20 or 100) list, there’s no doubt that Lord of the Rings would be number one fantasy book. Tolkien’s ability to create a realistic world endowed with diverse characters, amazing places and frightening monster is unequalled.

The writing itself sets it above most fantasy; some of the descriptions are simply stunning and bring the places to life in your imagination; the songs and poems are superb; the character descriptions leave nothing unknown about a character, by the time you’ve finished Lord of the Rings you know everything (good and bad) about the major characters.

Lord of the Rings has probably influenced more writing than any other book out there; take a look at 90% of fantasy and you’ll see much that has been influenced, and at times much that has simply been copied out of the imagination of Tolkien.

Lord of the Rings created the genre of Fantasy, while there were books before that could be classed as fantasy, such as The Worm Ouroboros, Tolkien really established the genre.



What is interesting about the Earthsea Trilogy is that it doesn’t follow the traditional tenets of fantasy. Instead it focuses more on the journey of a young wizard who grows and learns by making mistakes; it’s this interesting look into the human character that sets the series aside and makes it a classic. It’s one of those series that make you think, rather than being an exciting page turner. It has its moments of excitement, but these are more to compliment the growth of the character rather than to shape the character.

Earthsea is one of those fantasy books that focus more on magic and prophecy, and that is a nice change from the ‘hack and slay’ type fantasy that is very prevalent in the genre. The books are very long, and at times the story does move away from ‘favorite’ characters, but overall they work very well.

Terry Pratchett

OK so you may notice that this isn’t about a book or series, but about a writer. Terry Pratchett is one of the most amazing writers I’ve read; he’s not the best writer, but somehow combines a well written story with a monty-pythonesque comedy act to produce often hysterical novels. There are so many of his books that are excellent that it is really difficult to pick out one or two.

Fantasy is supposed to be serious isn't it? Pratchett’s ability to find the ugliest, meanest and vilest characters and somehow get the reader to love them is amazing – if you read closely, he really has a lot to say about society and how we perceive each other.


ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card


I’ve read quite a few books by Orson Scott Card and find his style to be varied and at times entirely different. I wasn’t impressed with some of his work, so I was pleasantly surprised when I picked up Ender’s Game, and progressed to his other works in the series.

The Enders Game is a science fiction series at its best; with excellent (and perhaps a bit too perfect) characters, some really decent social commentary and a huge smattering of philosophy and speculative science, Card has produced a very intriguing series. There are so many elements, and so many challenges in this series that it really should be read several times to get the best out of it.



I like fantasy that challenges the norms accepted by the Genre. Stephen Donaldson introduces us to a very flawed character who lives in our world, but due to leprosy and other problems ends up in an alternate fantasy world. In the first trilogy Donaldson shows us how Thomas Covenant thinks this world is simply his own ‘crazy’ mind and therefore he becomes cynical and at times evil despite being the hero of the series. As we progress through the Thomas Covenant chronicles (there are 8 books so far) we see a struggle going on that really parallels many of the struggles we all deal with each day; the main character is hugely flawed and therefore makes many errors and mistakes along the way.

It’s this type of social commentary that really makes you think that sets this series aside – I note that at times it is a difficult series to read, due to the darkness and some of the dark and sinister subjects touched, but the effort really is worth it.

SWORD OF TRUTH by Terry Goodkind

Now a major TV series, this series of books is one of the better fantasy series out there. It has many of the elements that make a great fantasy series, but above all deals with a lot of human issues; like many books I read, I like books that challenge me, and often force me to look at things differently; this series did that at many instances, and while some of the books were perhaps I little long, I thoroughly enjoyed the read, and feel that despite the flaws the underlying ‘humanity’ of the books make them stand out.

THE DARK TOWER series by Stephen King

I’ve always loved Stephen King books; not just for the horror and darkness, but also for the character elements he always embeds into them. The DarkTower was an intriguing series for me; it has elements of horror, fantasy, science fiction and classic gun-toting westerns. While at times it simply didn’t make sense, and I must say that the ending was a huge disappointment, I liked the way King moved us back and forth between realities; not only that, the way he did it was real.

It’s this merging of different realities that somehow tie together that make this series worth the read – it’s a long slog, but at times some of the writing is simply brilliant – again the key is the characters, and the fact that you come to love them and worry about them tells you how good the story is.


WATCHMEN by writer Alan Moore, artist Dave Gibbons, and colorist John Higgins.

I’m not usually a super-hero fan, but there’s something about The Watchmen that sets it apart from other super hero books, and almost brings it into the realms of classic science fiction. It’s probably my love of ‘flawed’ characters that appeals to me; so many of the heroes in The Watchmen have deep and dark flaws making it very intriguing to say the least. It’s probably the fact that the heroes are normal people that set it aside from every other super-hero book I’ve ever read.


ELRIC by Michael Moorcock

Wow, flawed hero after flawed hero. Moorcock’s writing has always intrigued me; his ability to shift between universes, characters and worlds is amazing, and to somehow link them all together, and make this link work is amazing. Elric is Moorcock’s most famous hero, and his flawed character combined with the demonic sword he possesses make him one of the best heroes I’ve encountered over the years. Elric is classic fantasy at its best.

LEGEND by David Gemmell

David Gemmel was one of my favorite fantasy / science fiction writers (he sadly passed away a couple of years ago). His first book Legend was one of the best ‘first books’ I’ve ever read – technically it was brilliant, detailing a lot of ‘war’ workings, but somehow while technical, it wasn’t overbearing. The plot was fairly simple if you really get down to it, but it was the way he showed how people deal with adversity, whether they crack or excel, and how attrition has an effect on people that made it unique and special. Throughout all of Gemmel’s books, you always know what he’s talking about, even when there are complicated issues going on – he had a way of explaining complex issues very clearly.

MAGICIAN by Raymond E Feist

Raymond E Feist is one of the best traditional writers of fantasy; when I first bought Magician, I simply devoured the book in hours. Out of all the Tolkieneque books I have read, the Magician series is by far the best. What I like most about Feist’s books are his ability to create detailed plots while introducing a lot of interesting and technical information and ideas. Additionally, I love the way that the series continues on, characters dying of old age etc, forming a history of the world, rather than a history of one event – this keeps the world alive for me, and even though some of my favorite characters are gone, I can identify with events that affect the whole series.

RING WORLD by Larry Niven

Science fiction is often hard to read and I have to admit that when I first picked up this book I put it down within minutes and didn’t pick it up for several months – out of all the books I’ve read, it had one of the worst introductions and I was thoroughly lost very quickly; however, luckily for me I persevered and I am glad I did. What I found was a very interesting and well thought out book, that explores many real issues we have today, and many issues that we could face in the future.

I found it particularly interesting in how different alien races were incorporated into the series, and how humanity adapted and changed the more they began to understand these races (As a side note, this was also what attracted me to the Ender’s game series).



This is really a blast from the past for me and formed part of my early interest in science fiction and fantasy; I read this book probably 25 years ago and while it isn’t really traditional fantasy, it forms part of the foundation of the genre we now see today. It is an intriguing mix of Norse Saga and medieval tale with plenty of fantasy elements. It is a difficult book to read in many ways, as the English is very ‘heavy’ but it really kept my attention with Eddison’s story telling abilities, and the characters he has created.


I found this science fiction / fantasy series (which is still unfinished) while searching for downloadable library books; what I liked about this series was the way that it made commentary on the ‘Big Brother’ type world we live in, and how insidious much of the technology that pervades our society is. It takes elements from some movies I have seen and explores them in a lot more depth – it also throws in a smattering of Dante’s Inferno, making this a lot more mystical than most sci-fi books. I also like that the main characters are not untouchable.


 Mostly these books are immensely popular - they often are not unique and not particularly well written but they somehow capture the imagination of the reader and become very popular (although not listed here, a great example of this would be the Twilight series).

ERAGON by Christopher Paolini

Eragon is one of those series that is not original at all; it has all the standard elements you’d expect from a fantasy series; love, fighting, dragons, magic and monsters. So why do I include on my list of best fantasy / sci-fi. Simply because despite the fact that it really isn’t too original, it is well written and the characters are intriguing and interesting; most strikingly it doesn’t show good and evil as simple black and white, but shows the shades of grey that exist in real life. It gives the good guys character flaws, as well as the bad guys.

ARTEMIS FOWL by Eoin Colfer

I have to admit that I found these books when I was in my 40s. While they are really aimed at a teenage audience they have much that will appeal to adults. In a similar vein to Harry Potter, this series focuses on one young boy who delves into a hidden world full of elves, dwarves and centaurs; they really meld the science fiction genre with the fantasy genre.

Rather than dwelling on the traditional fantasy elements, this series is more interested in high technology and has a more Sherlock Holmes feel to it than fantasy feel. It does possess many elements that are found in traditional fantasy though, and it’s this interesting combination of fantasy, sci-fi and detective novel that make it very interesting.

It’s definitely one of the better teen series out there; not only is it fast paced, but it is also very humorous.

THE WHEEL OF TIME by Robert Jordan

There are similarities in this fantasy series to Sword of Truth but there are also some profound differences. Robert Jordan (who sadly passed away recently) brings his stories to life with vivid action, complex characters, and plots within plots within plots – the complexity of the plots is balanced with a high amount of humor, and yet darkness prevails most of the way through. Jordan took the standard format of high fantasy and twisted it just enough to make his books different and intriguing.


 While these books may not be written that well or may even have borrowed themes from older books, they are very popular and have influenced other writers (Harry Potter for instance has created a whole new 'genre' of similar books)

DRAGONLANCE by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis

After reading Tolkien and then having lots of fun playing ‘role playing games’ I found the Dragonlance books. This simply is fantasy at its purest. Out of all the fantasy books I’ve read over the years, this really captures the essence of fantasy. It has adventure, magic, fighting, back stabbing, deceit, love and betrayal. If you’re looking for traditional high-fantasy then there is none better than the Dragonlance series.


No fantasy or science fiction list would be complete without Harry Potter. This series is perhaps the most famous fantasy series out there, and while some say it will eventually fade away, it still has a place in history.

Rowling has taken the bones of many traditional fantasy and classical ‘myth’ elements and molded into a cohesive story that links them to modern day. While many say her stories are really not that original, she has the ability to tell a story in a way that makes you identify with the characters, including the ‘evil’ ones.

The ability to make you hate someone in a book is a huge testament to the writer’s ability. Harry Potter may not be a classic, but it certainly has re-introduced the skill of reading to many children around the world.

Other Authors worth reading.

The following authors write some decent books, and some will be added to the Hub soon:

  • Douglas Adams
  • Ray Bradbury
  • David Eddings

  • Terry Brooks

  • George R.R. Martin

  • Frank Herbert

  • H G Wells

  • Isaac Asimov

  • Aldous Huxley

  • Robert Silverberg

  • Robert Heinlen

  • Philip K Dick

  • Arthur C Clarke

And many many more....

More by this Author

Let me know books I may have forgotten - if I feel they merit a place on the Hub then I will add them. 179 comments

Drifter0658 profile image

Drifter0658 7 years ago from Carlisle

Not a bad list at all, but you left off some heavy hitters.

Dune, and Foundation come to mind, as do any books by my favorite sci-fi author of all time; Phillip K. Dick. The number of movies that have been based on his books will astound you. Blade Runner and A Scanner Darkly are 2 of at least 10.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

It's funny, as the days go by I'll probably remember a lot more authors and add them. Dune I didn't add on purpose - they are 'mammoth' but at times I found them very boring - I should note the author though! I also forgot Isaac Asimov, Gene Rodenberry (well as the creator of the Star Trek format - there are quite a lot of very good books) - R A Salvitore - wow the list goes on! - there's probably a dozen or so authors that I will add over the next few weeks!

larryfreeman profile image

larryfreeman 7 years ago from Fremont, CA

Thanks for the list! :-)

I would also add Robert Howard (Conan Series), Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, Jonathan Strange and Dr. Morell by Susanna Clarke, and the Fire & Ice Saga by George R. R. Martin


TheSablirab 7 years ago

Ender's Game is an excellent series and am glad that you added it to your list. So many times have I recommended the series or told people about them and they have no idea! And it makes me sad. So thank you for mentioning the book and hopefully more people will read it!

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Larryfreeman: I grew up reading the conan novels - they are pure fantasy, hack and slash, sword and sorcery - I'll consider adding them! Fire and Ice - I'm in two minds about that series...I love the fact that no main character is safe in his books, but I am annoyed that he split the last book in two..and then is taking ages to write the 'second' part...he is also very hard to read at times....

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

TheSablirab: while I can see that some would think the first book wasn't great, the whole series is amazing - I can't wait for the final book that links the 'Ender' quad, with the 'shadow' quad...

Veryfortunate profile image

Veryfortunate 7 years ago

information about book helpful for find good book.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Veryfortunate: thanks - I hope someone benefits from this hub and find a book they never thought about buying!

Charlotte_1981 profile image

Charlotte_1981 7 years ago from Málaga, Spain

Hi SimeyC, I'd definitely include Solaris (Stanislaw Lem) and the Hyperion saga by Dan Simmons. Oh, and Gateway, by Frederik Pohl, one of the finest sci-fi books around.

judydianne profile image

judydianne 7 years ago from Palm Harbor, FL

I think the Harry Potter books will become a classic eventually.

Did you know that Watchmen is now a PS3 game? My son downloaded the demo and is enjoying it. I read the comic novel.

Good hub. There are a few on your list that I will have to try. Thanks.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Charlotte: me thinks I am going to have to create several hubs and have 1-10, 11-20 etc!

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Judydianne: I tend to agree - it'll be read to Grand Children etc and passed down - it may not be the most well written book ever, but it certainly will be around a long time! As for the Watchmen game - yes Iknew about it (XBOX 360) too - I may get it when it goes on discount..for the kids of course!!!

Hub Llama profile image

Hub Llama 7 years ago from Denver, CO

I've read a lot of these, but a couple are new to me. I'll have to check them out. Thanks. Nice Hub.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Hub Llama: let me know if you have read any decent series not on the list! I'm always willing to read more and find some additional 'top' books!

nicomp profile image

nicomp 7 years ago from Ohio, USA

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy!

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

nicomp: I'm actually embarressed that I forgot Douglas Adams - he was one of the best writers I've had the privelage to read - funny, quirky, yet a great story teller! He will be added to the list soon!

explorer9360 profile image

explorer9360 7 years ago

I'm bookmarking this list for later. :-)

MikeNV profile image

MikeNV 7 years ago from Henderson, NV

I've only read a few of these. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is one of my old favorites.

Recalcitrant Egg profile image

Recalcitrant Egg 7 years ago

Nice effort. I agree that Tolkein belongs at the top of the list. LeGuinn as well. O.S.C., Niven, have hits and misses, but overall strong bodies of work. Robert Jordan is, IMHO, a hack.

Scott.Life 7 years ago

The books and series published by Black Library of the UK, are repeated bestsellers. These include the Warhammer, and Warhammer 40,000 books. There is a current series from multiple contributors called the "Horus Heresy" that has been going on for 3 years now. Some of the more notable authors are Graham Mcneil, and Dan Abnett along with Sandy Mitchell. This fictional world was the inspiration behind the creatures and heros of the "Alien" movies and "Starship Troopers"

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Scott.Life: I'll look into some of the authors you mention - I'm always interested in new authors.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Recalcitrant Egg: Thanks. I may agree with you to a certain extent about Jordan - but there are a lot of 'decent' hacks!MikeNV:I always forget about Douglas Adams for some reason - one of my favorite (RIP) authors.

pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 7 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

wow..this is quite interesting Sir.. I want to read them in the future..(i'll try to check them)..thank you Sir for sharing! :)

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Pinkhawk: you are welcome! If you haven't read any of them, I'd suggest reading Tolkien!

bloggerad1970 profile image

bloggerad1970 7 years ago

The Lord of the Rings trilogy was the first "big" book I read. After the initial boring song and dance Shire, I was totally captivated by it and read well into the nights to finish it. It seems like a childish book, but it is actually a very deep book filled with metaphors of real life. Politics, love, jealousy, friendship, betrayal, and even schizoprenia (Gollum) are indicated in subtle ways. The movies were also one of the best transations into film I have ever seen and remain quite true to the original...

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

bloggerad1970: I couldn't agree more - I felt the first 150 or so pages (including Tom Bombadil) were boring and mostly wasted - but after that I was hooked. They do have everything, and the movies were amazingly close to my imagination even down to the casting...

Denno66 7 years ago

Nice hub! Poul Anderson merits some attention, I think. His short story "Flight to Forever" is one of the best of that era. Up there with Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clark, Ray Bradbury. Great choice of stories.Bravo!

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Denno66: thanks - I always forget about Poul Anderson - I've read a lot of the short stories - must go back and re-read!

Williamjordan profile image

Williamjordan 7 years ago from Houston TX

You must read Quest For a Fallen Star

But I have to agree Tolkien is the best. I read for the frist time in 1975 been In love with it ever since

cr8ve1 profile image

cr8ve1 7 years ago

HI SimeyC

I just thought about one of my all time favorite Authors: Steven Brust and his Vlad Taltos series.

There is another series that he wrote also that had nothing to do with Vlad Taltos, but they are very good reading also.

And what about the author of "The Chronicles of Narnia"? I can't remember their name off the top of my head...sorry!

Epleeba1 profile image

Epleeba1 7 years ago from Deep inside my own dark existence

Each of us has personal favs. I agree with a couple of yours including Terry Pratchett and the Ringworld series by Larry Niven.

I have always enjoyed Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan series including Fountain of Honor and Harry Harrison's Stainless Steel Rat series.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Epleeba1: I could never get into Bujold's work - seem to remember there were a lot of long and similar names always got confuse! Wow - Harry Harrison - now there's a blast from the past - must go and re-read his work!

waterpark1 profile image

waterpark1 7 years ago

Good list. I am always looking for different book series to try. I know he is a fairly obscure author, but have you read anything by JIm Butcher? Dresden Files, or Codex of Alera? I found them very fast paced and driven, which makes them easy to read. Not on the top of this list, but worth a mention for anyone looking for a new series.

FantasyGirl profile image

FantasyGirl 7 years ago from USA

I really loved A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine l'Engle. That book has stayed with me for years.

I also agree with Waterpark1: the Jim Butcher Dresden Files books are very good.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

FantasyGirl & Waterpark: just bought a Jim Butcher book - will read soon! Also I forgot about the Wrinkle in time - great book!

Epleeba: I just downloaded som Bujols from my local library - going to listen into the car and see if I can get into him!

Shaiha profile image

Shaiha 7 years ago from Washington

Since it appears that you like dark fantasy, might want to check out Anne Bishop's Dark Jewels Trilogy

kwalters profile image

kwalters 7 years ago

I'm surprised Jules Verne hasn't been mentioned, or my favorite when growing up, The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Shaiha: this rings a bell - may have read a while ago? I'll check them out (again?)!

kwalters: I always forget Jules Verne - there's a ton of the older authors who really started the Sci-Fi genre that I should include! I guess I'm going to have to do a 'part two' to this hub!

General: thanks for the comments about Bujold - half way through the 'knife: beguiled' - it is very good - I really like Bujold's work - there's only really characters in the book so far and I am hooked. Going to add Bujold to 'Part 2' of this hub!!!

JHOLLO74 profile image

JHOLLO74 7 years ago from USA

EXCELLENT HUB! Wow I got to pick up one of those books.

1974 profile image

1974 7 years ago from Florida


This is a great hub, although each list in Sci-fi and Fantasy could easily support it's own Hub. I'll forgive you this one time for not including "Dune" on the list, it is a long book and even longer series to get through. I also want to recommend an author I think you might enjoy, Piers Anthony. He is probably best known for his "Xanth" series, but I truly enjoyed his "Apprentice Adept" series the most as it deals with alternate worlds of sci fi and fantasy, Two birds with one stone!

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

1974: I'm definitely going to do a part 2 to this hub! I have read a lot of Piers Anthony - his Xanth series is fun, as was his 'incarnations of immortality' series!

I never got into Dune, although I played all the video games!!!! I should add it though - even though I didn't like it, doesn't mean it isn't a classic!

Christopher Dapo profile image

Christopher Dapo 7 years ago from Havelock, NC

Nice list!

You missed my all time favorite - Alexander Key

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Christopher Dapo: I forgot about Key - 'Escape to Witch Mountain' was one of my favorite books as a kid! Just made into a movie too (again!).

Chloe Comfort profile image

Chloe Comfort 7 years ago from Long Island

Great hub. Have read all the books by Donaldson, Jordan and Goodkind. Will make sure to check the others out. Kudos!

peachesxxx profile image

peachesxxx 7 years ago

just finished unseen accademicals by t pratchett

the discworld just gets bigger and better

hope terry is coping with his illness ok

sincovitch 7 years ago

I noticed some mention of wrinkle in time.

just thought i would mention (many don't know)

that it is a series

There is also:

A Wind in The Door

A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Many Waters

I've read all but the last.

Good, but Wrinkle in Time definitely the best

Jawa Lunk 7 years ago

Awesome list!! I'm a big fan of most of them! I hope when my hubs are complete, and my book goes to print, it will one day be listed with all of these! (fingers crossed) One can hope for that anyway :P

Thanks for sharing the list!

deWriterMD profile image

deWriterMD 7 years ago from Metro DC

Thanks for the good start...I'm not much for Fantasy and prefer 'harder' SF to the Harry Porter, et al, types. However, I'm shocked that you didn't include four of the all-time MASTERS of the genre, Robert Heinlein (my personal fav), Arthur C. Clark, H. G. Wells, and Isaac Asimov! Of these, I would nominate "Time Enough for Love" for Heinlein, "2001: A Space Odyssey" for Clark, "The Time Machine" or "War of the Worlds" for Wells, and the "Foundation" series or "I, Robot" for Asimov. There's also a stable of others who warrant inclusion among the Fantasy class, including C.S.Lewis (the "Chronicles of Narnia"), Douglas Adams ("The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", Richard Adams ("Watership Down"), Poul Anderson ("Operation" series), Marion Zimmer Bradley ("Avalon" books), Edgar Rice Burroughs (everything "Mars"), Lewis Carroll (the "Alice" books), Robert Jordan (the "Conan Chronicles"), Anne McCaffrey ("Dragonriders of Pern"), Anne Rice ("Vampire Chronicles"), Robert Silverberg ("Majipoor Chronicles"), Mary Stewart (the "Merlin Trilogy"), and J.R.R. Tolkien (the "Rings" series)...and the list goes on...

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

deWriterMD - one correction..I did include Tolkien - numero uno! *grin* as for the other - you are absolutely right - I knew that when I finished my list there would be plenty of comments about those I missed out...some I missed out because I simply forgot them (bad me!) and others for different reasons. For instance..Burroughs - the Mars series - now I'm torn on this one - it isn't the best sci-fi I've read, however it was way ahead of its time and modern writers would be hard pressed to creats some of the ideas in the series....Douglas Adams - I can't beleive I missed him...Robert Jordan - not the best writer but certainly, as a young man growing up, his series was a must-have - I guess his is the best pure fanstasy (hack and slay type fantasy)....Asimov, Clark, Wells - my bad....they are masters and innovative....there are dozens more I missed out....problem I have is that I've read so many over hte last thirty years that it's hard to actually remember them all until someone says 'what about'....there's another series I just remembered which was pretty good...Golden Torc, and then there was a womderfully sexist series called Gor..similar to Conan...and then there was one with a Genie..a warrio...another Genie...hmmm....lots of sex in it..lots of high adventure....wow I could go on!! I will definitely do a 'best of part 2' to list some of the authors you mention and add more that I remember...

machine 7 years ago

Nice list, I've read or Watched most of them. I can't Get into the Watchmen though, The Alternate reality thing just doesn't do it for me, particularly if its set in modern times.

That animation with Jude Law, "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" Sealed it. Having said that, LOTR was fab.

Liza delos Reyes 7 years ago

This is a great list, but I believe that Terry Brooks should have been given a wider space. Some have criticized him as a copycat (having based his Shannara series after Lord of the Rings), but I believe that plots will always be based on some other plots. It is the way the author tells the story that makes all the difference; and in this, I believe that Brooks is one of the best story tellers of all time. His supporting characters and antagonists are the main strengths of his books. Everyone should get to know Garet Jax (the wishsong of shannara)! Such great descriptive powers that you can practically see the events like you're watching movie adaptations of the books.

gryffon 7 years ago

I agree with Liza. Even LOTR was based upon several other plots, and myths prior to Tolkien's day. I think what makes his story so unique is the rich deep history that he gives the story. When I first read it, I was eleven or twelve and I remember thinking that it seemed so real to me. Did it really happen? It's silly now that I think back on it but that is the power that he instilled in his story.

It most definitely is the standard by which I measure a lot my reading.

I think "The Reluctant Swordsman" series deserves a mention on this list as well as Piers Anthony's "Bio Of A Space Tyrant".

And let's not forget to tip our hats to Micheal Crichton.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Liza - yes Terry Brooks is a great writer especially where he's linking the new world to our own world - very interesting!

Gryffon: correct LOTR was based on a lot, but I do love the history and that is what makes it stand out!

There are so many other authors I didn't add - I'm just going to have to do a 'part 2' hub!!!

Lloyd Thompson 7 years ago

Good work my friend. Thanks for reminding me of some I forgot and guding me to others that I think I will most assuredly grow to appreciate.

WriteAngled profile image

WriteAngled 7 years ago from Treorci, Cymru

I find Earthsea so very superior to Harry Potter in every way. It's a pity that Ursula Le Guin was never hyped by her publishers in the same way as Rowling was.

I would add the Fionavar Tapestry (trilogy) by Guy Gavriel Kay, the Deverry series by Katherine Kerr, and The Last Unicorn by Peter Beagle.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

WriteAngled: I found Fionavar Tapestry (trilogy) by Guy Gavriel Kay to be difficult to get into initially - but once I started it was excellent and well worth the struggle!

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texasdaye 7 years ago from Castroville, Texas

Great Hub. I have read only a few from your list. I have seen quite a bit about Ender's Game, I will have to try it. I actually have a 1977 set of the J.R.R. Tolkien set of "The Lord of the Rings" with the Hobbit in it. I loved it. Thank you for great resources for more reading!

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 7 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Texasdaye: thanks! Ender's Game is one of the best books I've read for a long time, but I'd say it's probably more male oriented - however - the rest of the series is just as good if not better....there are 7 or 8 books more!!!

Fallan032008 profile image

Fallan032008 6 years ago

You've listed a lot that I enjoy reading and I'm probably going to be reading the others now also. Another good author that could be mentioned I think would be E. E. Knight I really enjoyed reading his Age of Fire series.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Fallan032008: I'll check that series out - it's vaguely familiar so I may have read it...thanks though!

SamAntone 6 years ago

I liked your reviews; makes me want to read more. I did read and enjoy Ringworld. How about Riverworld, by Phillip Jose Farmer? Although it was a fascinating series, I think he left some mysteries unanswered across the various books, and then resolved **some** of them way too easily or briefly in the end.

Matthew Schulze 6 years ago

I Robot should be in this list

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

SamAntone: I'm always on the fence about books that leave unanswered questions - on the one hand I feel cheated in a way, but in another way I feel I can 'dream' about what may have happened after the books ended - keeping the books alive.

Matthew Shculze: I'm actually just getting around to reading this now! It was a great movie, but I suspect it will be an even better book - it'll probably appear on my 'part 2' hub!

Stuart L 6 years ago

Robert Sheckley should be mentioned up there as one of the great short story writer of Sci Fi. He wrote in the 40s-2005. His sardonic, comical twisted endings along with excellent story telling abilities was praised by all the great writers. He also wrote radio show dramas in sci fi in the hey day of radio. Many of his stories were adapted for sci fi movies.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Stuart L: thanks for this; I often forget how many great short story writers there were - perhaps I'll dedicate a web site to all of them!

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RachaelLefler 6 years ago from Illinois

Wow, I agree with this completely, but for me, I would add Piers Anthony. I just like his zany sense of humor and the Xanth series in particular's interesting way of looking at classical mythology/fantasy. I don't like the ereader thing either. I prefer not just the feel of a book, but the look too. Computer screens are too bright to read anything intently for long. It can make my eyes hurt.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

RachelLefler: I have read a lot of Piers Anthony - the Xanth series when I was a teen, and more recently the incarnations series - I agree he is a zany writer and I enjoy his work ! As for e-readers - the Kindle is anti-glare - it's pretty much like reading a book....and you can change the font...however I do agree that it's still not quite the same as a book!!!

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RachaelLefler 6 years ago from Illinois

Yeah, it isn't. I really like the Incarnations series, but I haven't gotten a chance to read all of it, I just read up until the one about Nature. I want to finish that series...

Adam 6 years ago

Should also check out the Malazan Book of the Fallen series by Steven Erikson. Redefines the word epic.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Adam: thank you - i'm always looking for writers I haven't read...

goldengod15 profile image

goldengod15 6 years ago

lol mate ,our choices seem to match.. unbelievably i haven't read some of the books here :p will do so soon and hope u benefit som frm my list as well xD

Julie 6 years ago


DR Hitt profile image

DR Hitt 6 years ago from Phoenix, AZ


you said books not authors and Dune is the best sci-fi book EVER written. Sure the others are terrible but if you say books in the title you can't take it back mid-hub!

I have a fantasy only hub you can see here:




p.s.: DUNE!

Chasuk 6 years ago

If "popular" and "best" were synonymous, I might agree with your list, or at least more of it. But they aren't, so I don't. :-)

You include Eoin Colfer, but not Philip Pullman or Garth Nix?

That's a very serious sin of omission!

AuraEmber profile image

AuraEmber 6 years ago

"A Song of Ice and Fire" by George Martin, should defiantly be added to the hub. I'm a little surprised that you refer to the entire series by Christopher Paolini, instead of just "Eragon." "Brisingr" seemed to fail at everything that "Eragon" succeeded in.

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SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

AuraEmber: I found all three of the Eragon books to have their own virtues - while the last one perhaps wasn't as 'classic' as Eragon it did teach me a lot more about the characters. AS for 'Ice and Fire' - I agree it should probably be show-cased - the reason I haven't is probably because for a casual fantasy reader it will be a very very difficult read - it takes a lot of effort to get into and many will not finish it - I didn't when I first picked it up many years ago...

dblyn profile image

dblyn 6 years ago from Staten Island, NY

Wow, great hub. People have mentioned many great authors and books but nobody has mentioned Jack Chalker "Midnight at the Well of Souls" - it's a classic. I also didn't see Fritz Lieber..

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

dblyn: thanks! I must check out JAck Chalker - looks intriguing. I also forgot about Fritz Lieber - there will be a follow up hub - I've missed so many great authors!!!

Chasuk 6 years ago


When you describe "A Song of Ice and Fire" as having come out many years ago, I suddenly feel very old.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Chasuk: LOL when I think that I first read LOTR in 1977 I feel really old too!

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 6 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

A long time since I read much SciFi. I like Asimov, bradbury, occasionally HG Well, Jules Verne (although I had a Lit professor who said it he was for children only, but genre fiction was not respectable back then.

Thorn058 profile image

Thorn058 6 years ago from Grand Forks, ND

It was great to see that you listed David Eddings in your list at the end and while I didn't read through all the your many comments I didn't see anyone who mentioned Tad Williams. His fantasy series Memory,Sorrow and Thorn is a masterpiece in my opinion and his Otherworld series is a superb blend of fantasy and sci-fi. How the man keeps so many different plot lines in the same book straight is beyond me but he is well worth an honorable mention in my opinion.

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Michael122 6 years ago from Pleasant Grove

When I read that book it was one of the best books I have ever read.

estranged911 profile image

estranged911 6 years ago from India!

How about the Sandman Series by Neil Gaiman? I think it deserves a good place among the best of fantasy books.

bobby 6 years ago

what about avatar: the last airbender series they the best but your list is very helpful thnx

Lori Devoti profile image

Lori Devoti 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Have you read Connie Willis? She is one of my all time favorites. I recommend The Doomsday Book :)

scottira 6 years ago

While I do agree with some of your book choices, I cannot honestly say that all of those are the best fantasy books of all time. A few of them are too simplistic in plot to be really great literature. Plus the ideas in them are all stolen from Tolkien. Eragon for one. Just not well written enough for me and too straight forward though still a good book. Artemis Fowl series. Funny and good but its just simply written and straight forward. I always quessed the whole plot. It never surprised me.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Scottira: I actually agree with you - pehaps I need to amend the title and introduction - it's more a 'best, popular and inlfuential' - Eeagon has basically rewritted all the old classics, but it is popular and is helping get children read; same thing with Aretmis Fowl - I'll re-organize the page and add some categories - there are a lot more books I will add.

One thing though - if you look at 90% of Fantasy they all have aspects of Tolkien - and interestingly enough Tolkien actually wasn't that new really, using a lot of mythology and books like The Worm Ourobourous and others as reference books almost! Tolkien is the true classic though both in terms of content and art!

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kaltopsyd 6 years ago from Trinidad originally, but now in the USA

I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I've only read one set of books mentioned in your Hub. Can you guess? It's Harry Potter. Yup. I enjoyed that series so much that I was actually sad when I finished the last book.

I've always wanted to read the Artemis Foul and Eragon series but ne'er got around to it. For the past year or two I've been busy reading books by Tamora Pierce. Anyway I should bookmark this Hub so I can get around to reading those books when I have the chance. Thanks!

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m_man360 6 years ago

The Foundation Series by Isaac Asimov..just great.

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punkfairy53 6 years ago from Boston

Suzanne collin's the Hunger Games trilogy, that is all I have to say!!!!

englishkiwi 6 years ago

Great hub but just had to mention one author; Brandon Sanderson, fairly new but his Mistborn series (along with pretty much all his other books) is a must read. He's finishing off Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series and doing a great job IMO. Thanks:)

Shelly Bryant profile image

Shelly Bryant 6 years ago from Singapore and/or Shanghai

Excellent hub.

I have a couple I'd like to add too. Diana Wynne Jones is a great writer, with a huge body of work to choose from.

Also, there's Geraldine Harris. Her Seven Citadels series rivals anything else I've ever read, in the genre or otherwise. Unfortunately, it's out of print because of some legal disputes with publishing rights, etc., but it is a series worth searching out and reading.

tmbridgeland profile image

tmbridgeland 6 years ago from Small Town, Illinois

Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle wrote 'The Mote In God's Eye' one of the top SF books ever.

korculablue profile image

korculablue 6 years ago

Thank you so much Simey. I have really enjoyed reading all your comments and thanks to the contributions by so many interesting people I now have quite a list of authors I haven't read. Robin Hobb is worthy of a mention I think, also Janny Wurt who has written as a co author with Raymond Feist, also Tad Williams and Maggie Fury.

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dawnangelicgreen 6 years ago from Boise, ID

I was super happy to see The Dark Tower series on this list as I could not put it down. I was also glad to find a few new reads. I did not have the time to read all of the comments so I am not certain if anyone else mentioned it but Octavia Butler and Simon Green are pretty awesome reads as well. Great job!

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Really appreciate the authors you mention - I'm collating Part 2 of the list - but am having to read a lot of books (as per the suggestions on the comments - now I have another two authors to check out!!!).

yukoneric 6 years ago

Many good books here that I have read. Perhaps one of the most original and creative series that I think has gone without mention is The Chronicles of the Black Company by Glen Cook.

toneyc79 6 years ago

u might check out a series of books the halfblood chronicles by andre norton and mercedes lackey, there is also Dennis L. McKiernan's The Iron Tower trilogy and for something new the mercedes thomson novels by patricia briggs.

p.s.robert c. obrien Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and the sequel written by his daughter.and his books may fall more under horror than fantasy or sci fi but the underlying themes are there dean koontz.

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Karen Wodke 6 years ago from Midwest

This is a great article. Very informative. I love sci-fi and you have given me some ideas for books I should read.

toneyc79 6 years ago

also the crystal cave,the hollowed hills,the last enchantment.all three by Mary Stewart.ed greenwood is another great writer. Richard A. Knaak is also really good.

and deborah chester is another must read writer in particular the golden one and the other two books in this trilogy.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Toneyc79: I forgot about Mary Stewart too - going to have to go back and read her stuff - will try out the other authors you mentioned too thanks!

T.R. 6 years ago

Have you read The Ice Princess by Theodore Svea yet? In the fantasy story a prince has his heart, memories, and crown stolen by a cold and cruel unattainable beauty.

pchung74 6 years ago

Fine list. There are also so many excellent works out there by little known authors. Some of my favorites are The Masters of Solitude by Marvin Kaye and Parke Godwin, WE by Yevgeny Zamyatin, Earth Abides by George R. Stewart, and Aniara by Harry Martinson.

Lord_Boofhead 6 years ago

What about William Gibson's Sprawl Series?

Neuromancer, Count Zero, Mona Lisa Over Drive and 2/3rds of the short stories in Burning Chrome (including the title story and Johnny Mnemonic). pretty well kick started the whole Cyberpunk thing...

toneyc79 6 years ago

the shadowrun series is another that belongs on the influential list

Doug Turner Jr. 6 years ago

The King Dark Tower series is good. I don't consider Goodkind's Truth series exceptional, but they are usually always entertaining and worth reading. I'd love to hear what you think about Martin's Game of Thrones series, if you haven't already written on the subject. To me, Martin is the greatest and everyone else is just second best. His storytelling is simply peerless.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Doug Turner Jr: I do like the Game of Thrones series but did get a little frustrated with the last book! They are very well written and I love the fact that no one is safe - they will heavily feature in Part 2 of this list!

I note I am reading Brandon Sanderson's Stormlight Archive (The Way of Kings) at the moment at it is one of the best fantasies I have read so far - it's up there with Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings!

arthurchappell profile image

arthurchappell 6 years ago from Manchester, England

very good list. Inevitably there are missing classics, Arthur C Clark, Alfred Bester, Jphn Wyndham, Orwell's 1984, etc

Ian 6 years ago

A friend from Swiss told me about Markus Heitz some months ago. I read the dwarves serie in Dutch. I liked it very much. Do you know this serie and if so what is your opinion about it?

bye and have a nice day

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Ian - not haven't read this series - i'm going to see if I can find a translation

erumkhan profile image

erumkhan 6 years ago from Pakistan

great hub!!!i loved lord of the rings...its the best epic fiction ever written.

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evvy_09 6 years ago from Athens, AL

Besides Tolkiens books I love the Dune series for science fiction. The Xanth series for fantasy, a little similar to Monty Python.

And I can't forget the Alien Chronicles, the first one is the Golden One. Reminds me of a version of the Moses story but with alien races on different planets. No humans at all in this one.

Voted up and you have great taste in books and games

severbeck 6 years ago

As far as classics go I think you forgot the Foundation series and Robot series by Issac Asimov. These books were basically the start of modern sci-fi. (I know Arther C. Clark and Philip K. Dick were major players but I find most sci-fi authors' writing style derivative of Asimov.)

Stories Inc. profile image

Stories Inc. 6 years ago

Man, you seem to have read it all.

Since you're such an expert on the fantasy-niche, I'd love to know what you think of the makings of this fantasy novel:


I'm getting serious about trying to have it published when it's done and I could really use some feedback while I'm writing it to make sure it will be good enough.

Scirocco 6 years ago

The way of kings was exceptional, that series will even rival The wheel of time almost when its finished. Some concepts are very alien in it, which makes it worse then it could have been. To the list I would like to add Simon greens Deathstalker books they are really epic. And the Deed of Paksenarrion on the fantasy side, best short series I have read with a female hero.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 6 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Scirocco - absolutely - I just finished reading Way of Kings and it probably one of the best fantasy books I have read in 20 years! And there's another 9 books on the way!

abradford55 profile image

abradford55 6 years ago from Howell,MI

Love your selection even though there are some I am not familiar with, thanks for sharing them.

RedElf profile image

RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

Love the Thomas Covenant books - also fond of the "Amber" series by Zelazny (good "swords, sorcery and intrigue"). Two of my favs are missing though - Anne McCaffrey's Dragon books and her Harper Hall trilogy, and Andre Norton (perhaps before your time, but one of the early masters of the genre). As well, Asimov's "Victory Unintentional", one of his "robot" short stories, is delightfully wry. You have compiled a great list here.

Glemoh101 profile image

Glemoh101 6 years ago

Lord of rings its my favorite , thanks for your writing

PeregrinatingPenn 5 years ago

Since we're talking about both sci-fi and fantasy here, I cannot believe no one has mentioned Elizabeth Moon. I've been reading SF&F for over 40 years, and reviewed it professionally for ten years, and her Deed of Paksenarrion is the best fantasy trilogy I've ever read, bar none. While a lot of people vote for LOTR, and Moon takes a lot of basic assumptions from LOTR, the story she builds on it is entirely unique. Her character Paksenarrian is one of the most beautifully realized and lovingly developed in the catalog of SF&F literature. The three-volume story of how Paks grows from the daughter of a sheepfarmer to a Paladin of the gods is the sort of rich rewarding reading all too hard to find anywhere. That Moon herself spent several years in the Marine Corps helps her to give Paks and her world a degree of realism rarely seen in science fiction or fantasy. Recently Moon has returned to the world of Paksennarien with two new books, but the first three should be read before these two new ones, as having this background story helps immeasurably in understanding the characters from the beginning of the new stories.

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KevinCDavison 5 years ago

If you're a fan of fiction, please consider reading my series Athyxian Chronicles. You can find them on amazon or wherever books are sold. Titles- Reign of Viscus, Minions of the Servant, and An Assassin's Revenge are my three titles in the series. Enjoy!

callumfox 5 years ago

Perfect list of the classics. Books that are epic in scope and have heft to them. Great how you gave your article sections in classics, popular, and influential.

meow48 profile image

meow48 5 years ago from usa

nice overview. thankyou i enjoyed this hub. take care, meow48

marguax profile image

marguax 5 years ago

Way to include Pratchett! What about the Name of the Wind?

Jubei 5 years ago

Withoute "Dune" series this thread is nothing but a low IQ community with no sense of true reading skills. That's too bad humanity is becoming more and more retarded :(

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 5 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Jubei: everyone is entitled to their opinion. Dune was a good series I agree and probably merits a position on this list. But to say that just because it isn't on the list that the community has a low IQ and no reading skills is a little much.

retb 5 years ago

Goodkind's Sword of Truth series started out very well and ended very badly. It is the only book series I have ever read that I regret finishing.

Eragon series is for teenagers.

Gene Wolfe, Robert Heinlein and George RR Martin ought to be on any "best" list for sci fi/fantasy.

Bonearrow 5 years ago

just finished LOTR again, also on the 3rd book of Covenant, favorite is the Amber series, deathstalker is great, and i enjoyed Vlad taltos, Dune is good - fiction and religion with cult groups and aristos, just ordered the Ruby knight to read again, next i want to read Game of Thrones and The way of kings - thanks to you guys

ThePelton profile image

ThePelton 5 years ago from Martinsburg, WV USA

I may be one of the last to have done so, considering that the last book came out several years ago, but I just finished the Harry Potter series, and even though it is massive, you just don't notice that. J.K. Rowling gets your attention at the beginning, and holds it well, and I would recommend it to anyone who likes that style. 8>)

jadaye 5 years ago

im still into RA Salvatore and David Eddings., however I love Harry Potter,. anyways, it's a great list

Ian 5 years ago

Hi SimeyC,

Did you already found a translation of "The Dwarves" form Markus Heitz? Still curious what you think about it.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 5 years ago from NJ, USA Author

IAn - not yet - might see if I can download it and put it through translation

TigerTommy1982 profile image

TigerTommy1982 5 years ago

R. A. Salvatore (Drizzt Do'Urden), Melanie Rawn (Dragon Prince and Dragon Star series), Jennifer Roberson (Sword-Dancer series), and Kate Elliott (Crown of Stars and Crossroads series) all deserve some mention here. I'm particularly surprised that you didn't include Salvatore since his world was made into video games and Drizzt has had such a lasting impact...

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 5 years ago from NJ, USA Author

TigerTommy: there's no dount that Salvatore will feature in Part 2 of this hub. Salvatore writes more traditional 'hack and slay' type fantasy - IMHO it's not truly classic fantasy but it is an excellent read - my second hub will foucs on this type of writing that isn't classic but is great.... I always found the Rawn series to be good but not quite as convincing as I Would have liked - as for Roberson and Elliot - I'll have to check them out more!

TigerTommy1982 profile image

TigerTommy1982 5 years ago

I'd like to warn you that Elliott is not for the faint of heart. She doesn't shy away from themes like slavery, rape, and other very adult subjects in her books. Out of all the authors I've ever read, she and George RR Martin are probably the ones who do the worst things to their characters sometimes. Roberson deals with some of the same themes, although not to the extent that Elliott does (or at least, her books are shorter in length anyway). Both authors are very affecting though.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 5 years ago from NJ, USA Author

I've read Martin - I've also read Donaldson who has some very dark themes including rape too....but these books are among the best I've read...

TheMonk profile image

TheMonk 5 years ago from Brazil

Don´t kill me, but I actually think that the Lord of the Rings film was better than the book. I read the book and it have a lot of fillers. Gosh! I never got to the third book.

Ann Wang 5 years ago

There are a couple of SFF books that I think deserve mention on your list. While not as well heard of as some of the books/series you included, these are all extremely well-received, well-written, and very effective novels:

the Speed of Dark (by Elizabeth Moon)

Armor (by John Steakley)

the Last Unicorn (by Peter Beagle)

JacksBlogs 5 years ago

Howdy SimeyC - - I give you my big thumbs up for Ender's Game. I wrote a HUB about Ender's Game called "The Book Every HUB Writer Should Read" - and that book is Ender's Game. With your permission I will link my site to yours so others can read your comments about Ender's Game and maybe buy it here. Link yours to mine if you wish.

And I suggest you re-write to have separate HUBs for the ten best sci-fi and ten best fantasy books. That way you can satisfy the Dune fans who commented - and I agree Dune should be included - and you'll have room for more quality sci-fi writers like Ursula LeGuin and David Brin too whom you seemed to have missed. Nice HUB.

- - JACK

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 5 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Ann Wang: thanks for the additional books- I'll check them out at the library.

JacksBlogs: I'll add a link! BTW I am in the process of writing 'Part 2' - I'm re-organizing so that Part 1 will focus on Fantasy and Part 2 will focus on Science Fiction. I can then incorporate a lot more of the books listed in the comments!

fashion 5 years ago

Great and informative hub.Thanks for sharing.

Brian M 5 years ago

My favorite series is the Amber series by Roger Zelazny...I think I saw someone else mention it, but did you not enjoy that series as much?


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

Okay I am in total agreement with this list. Frankyl the only one which I've not read is teh King series... must get to that one!

clayg2 5 years ago

What about Cook and Erikson. Two of the best!

Gaey Tran 5 years ago



lpmagic 5 years ago

Good list, I have read all of these, there are many good comments as well, as additional reading material much of which I haveread as well. I would say, for me two missing links here would be Robert heinline (I'm sure I misspelled that) also one of the most enthralling books I ever read and its follow up, "The mote in gods eye" and "The hand that grasps" Mote was an especially good read, and it had the caveate of making you think, spectacular, good work here!

julian 5 years ago

What about the night Angel series? By Brent Weeks?

julian 5 years ago

What about the night Angel series? By Brent Weeks?

5 years ago

The King Killer Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss.

KBEvolve profile image

KBEvolve 5 years ago from United States

I find it a little problematic that George R.R. Martin only got a notable mention here. The Song of Ice and Fire deserved a spot in the first list.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 5 years ago from NJ, USA Author

KBEvolve: I'm still not convinced about George R R Martin - I loved the first book, it was fresh and full of suprises - it was however very difficult to get in to (however so was Lord of the Rings) - I found that his unpredictability did become predictable in the end so it did put me off! I guess if we talk about quality of writing then he is a master, if we talk about plot then I'm on the fence.....I am going to review this list after reading the latest Martin book this week and it'll probably get more than a mention!

zkmcg 5 years ago

the name of the wind by patrick rothfuss

JohnGreasyGamer profile image

JohnGreasyGamer 5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

I was gonna suggest the Dark Tower, but I see you've got it there. I've never read them, but I'm willing to give them a shot if I had a recommendation.

I'd also recommend video game books - perhaps even World of Warcraft novels, as if you're a fan they offer a load of lore for your knowledge base. And if not, they're still a good Fantasy read.

Great Hub, as always! Keep up the good work! ^^

Questor 5 years ago

An impressive list, how do you feel about Piers Anthony, Alan Dean Foster & Simco R Green.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 5 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Questor: Piers Anthony Incarnations series was pretty good, and I did enjoy the Xanth novels - he seems a little inconsistent to me though. The other two are also very good writers - and will feature in part 2 (or part 3!) of this list!

Scott Fischer profile image

Scott Fischer 5 years ago from Spring, Tx

SimeyC....I like this hub...luckily I got one of my own...I am a big fan of the authors you mentioned....but you left one out...RA Salvatore.

Jen Shum 5 years ago

I love fantasy books and wonder if u guys have read Joanne Bertin... Her Dragonlord series s awesome.. Also love David Eddings and Anne McCaffrey and am looking forward to trying some of these books so thanks!

G. Smithers 4 years ago

The books I've read from this list were great - I think ER Eddison is one of the greatest fantasists I've ever read. Regarding George RR Martin "I guess if we talk about quality of writing then he is a master." I found the opposite!? His prose was wooden. I suspect he gives people what they want - action and moral ambiguity - but I don't think he's in the same league as Tolkien, Eddison, Peake, Pratchett, Harrison, Vance, Davidson..

Cesar 4 years ago

Nice list

DZig 4 years ago

Liked the list.

Suggestion: Check out Gene Wolfe - Book of the New Sun series. Wolfe is a gem among the pedantic and shallow authors of the past 3 decades. Uses a style called unreliable narration, which can be confusing to most but extraordinarily satisfying if you have the propensity to pay attention to what you are reading. When read properly, you have a picture painted for you that is Da Vinci level.

If you think Tolkien is a hard read or if you think that the first 150 pages of the Fellowship of the Ring is pointless filler - you really don't understand classic literature at all do you? Tolkien literally created his own world, every piece of it carefully formulated. Every chapter had a purpose. If you take out the first 150 pages, you lose a very important connection that you build between Frodo and the other hobbits and yourself. Just saying.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 4 years ago from NJ, USA Author

DZIG: don't get me wrong, I agree that the first 150 or so pages are very important to the overall book - but I know many readers who stopped reading because they couldn't get through this part. I am one of those who kept on going. LOTR was the first 'classic' book of this genre that I read - if you've never read fantasy before then it's possible you may not return if you don't complete the book!

Fitzlevity 4 years ago

Great list, I think that I have probably read most of these and some at least twice. I'd be interested in knowing what you think of the Saga of the Pliocene Exiles by Julian May? I loved this series, in particular her approach to the metapsychic powers.

SimeyC profile image

SimeyC 4 years ago from NJ, USA Author

Fitzlevity: I'm not sure if it's the same series -but I remember reading the 'Golden Torc' series by Julian May! Definitely deserving of being on my Part 2!!!

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Dame Scribe 4 years ago from Canada

I really enjoyed the 'Dune' series. It does make one look at 'society' and compare. Edgar Rice Burroughs, 'Mars' series is also wonderful. I enjoy books that reflect humanity over all. Fantastic list and great job! :)

louromano profile image

louromano 4 years ago

Wow, great hub. People have mentioned many great authors and books but nobody has mentioned Jack Chalker "Midnight at the Well of Souls" - it's a classic. I also didn't see Fritz Lieber Thanks.

clinto 4 years ago

The 'Dune' series truly is the greatest sci fi ever writen.Few books have such depth of ideals,and originality.

KDuBarry03 4 years ago

Very insiteful! I will definitely reread some of these titles and read the ones I haven't!

lazylightning 4 years ago

Hey SmileyC you must check out Peter F. Hamilton's Reality Dysfunction!! It'll blow your mind.

Also I wasn't convinced about Song of Ice and Fire the first time around but it eventually rocked my world.

nakmeister profile image

nakmeister 4 years ago from Lancaster, UK

Wow, what a brilliant hub. I've read quite a few of the authors in your article but there's several I will have to try out, and all the fab comments have just increased my to be read pile a lot!

ThePelton profile image

ThePelton 4 years ago from Martinsburg, WV USA

Ray Bradbury died recently. He will be missed.

Jared B 4 years ago

I enjoyed the Sword of Truth book series to point of reading the whole thing a second time and your view of it aligns well with mine. Also, the T.V. Series was a total butchery of the book series because to do it justice you would have to hire multiple quality actors, spend a lot of money and time on it, and create a new rating from how graphic it would be. Finally, I was happy and surprised to find that the author created a continuation series with the first book titled as the Omen Machine.

connieread profile image

connieread 4 years ago from England

Great list! I used to be obsessed with Douglas Adams and Artemis Fowl, then King and Tolkien. Will have a read of some of the others- thanks

diplorging profile image

diplorging 4 years ago from Serbia

This is a great list, especially for new fans of the genre who want to hear what else is out there. From my point of view, Tolkien certainly is grandfather of the genre, and is a classic, but I prefer the Jordan and Martin. I certainly did not like Magician, but I love Pratchett and Artemis Fowl very much.

Wr1t3r profile image

Wr1t3r 4 years ago from Oregon

This is a good list and an excellent review. I find it interesting that no one that I could see mentioned C.S. Lewis. I know he isn't as 'fantasy' as some would like, but I think his work is excellent. I'm glad you mentioned David Eddings, he is one of my favorite authors. I would like to also add Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series as well as Lloyd Alexander. You should also read The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. That is the first of an excellent series of books that does a good job of incorporating modern ideas into a fantasy book.

I know many of the books I have listed could probably be considered young adult or clean fantasy, but they are just as exciting and inspiring as Lord of the Rings (which I love).

Ivy 3 years ago

i like you're list and i've only noticed a few that i haven't already read so i'm glad to be in the loop so to say. but there was one series i was hoping to see. it might be considered a little too adult for your list but check it out anyway it's a good set. the series is called sevenwaters and the author is Juliet Marillier. here's a wikipedia link to her books for this series it's really enchanting!

have a great day!



NS Whiteside profile image

NS Whiteside 3 years ago from Shorewood, IL

Thanks Simey C for the helpful reviews.

aziasaaa profile image

aziasaaa 2 years ago from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

ah great list of books :)

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

I couldn't get on with the Thomas Covenant books, I don't know why, its my kind of book but...But raymond feist books are awesome! great list!

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