a reading list for fantasy enthusiasts (II)
My initial reaction to E.D.’s latest post was something along the lines of “oh dear, I’m not sure we need a comprehensive rundown of our favorite erotic fiction.” Fortunately, he’s talking about the other fantasy genre, so I’m happy to chime in with my recommendations. My (short) list is proudly traditional and leans rather heavily on the Welsh. Enjoy:
Porius – John Cowper Powys. A bit dull in stretches, but a must-read for fans of philosophical meanderings, ethnic conflict in post-Roman Britain, and giants.
Sword at Sunset – Rosemary Sutcliff. Arthurian revisionism has taken a few hits of late, so ignore the new stuff and go straight to the source. Sutcliff’s wonderful book is the first to re-imagine Arthur as a Romano-Celtic cavalry commander.
Any of the Conan stories – Robert E. Howard. The original sword-and-sorcery enthusiast, and a Texan to boot, Howard single-handedly invented the genre. Quite a few of these are awful to mediocre, but several of his longer Conan stories remain very enjoyable. Beyond the Black River is my personal favorite.
Tales of the Dying Earth – Jack Vance. An antecedent to Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun, mixing science fiction, fantasy, and occasionally impenetrable prose.