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Holy crap, skiffy "intimidating avatar" old man is showing a nanometric interest in fantasy media?! That's a bad omen! It's the end of the world!

sob story
When I say I'm completely, only into science fiction, I'm lying. The presence of sword fights and space knights in my headcanon is the biggest proof to that. I fancy a lot of low/high fantasy series like Soulsborne, Berserk, Monster Hunter, Forgotten Realms and what not, however, if there's one thing these series alone couldn't bring was inspiration for fantasy stories/roleplays.

I approached somebody once, asking them to write with me since I really liked their character and the idea behind it, even getting to the point of brainstorming with them and all. In fact, I had two partners whose I brainstormed a lot... Just to completely leave them drifting when I found out I wasn't confident enough in the consistency of my own writing and the backstory of my character and couldn't bring myself to give them something akin to a halfway cooked, already chewed on meal.

So here I am looking for inspiration, specially if it's something unusual, underrated even, because I want to get into fantasy solely to be able to write with those amazing people.

It is what the title says, are there any novels or comics, web comics maybe, that are your personal favorites and you would like to recommend for others? Specially to yours truly, mind you. I can't really give any suggestions myself because I've read very few, if not only one, book and that was Chronicles of Narnia, even though I stopped halfway of the last story because of the racist/misogynistic implications and all.

Yeah, bonus points if the stories are not an allegory to blatant xenophobia, regardless of the excuses about "writers from another time". I'm looking at you, Lovecraft.

Extra bonus points if it's not "heavily inspired by Tolkien" and the only thing that it has for fantasy is literally dwarves and elves sharing the same land.

Super extra bonus points if it's written by an aspiring writer, like those on Wattpad or Fanfiction.net originals.

Now go, surprise me.



If this threads takes off, I might as well make it into a community list of recommended reads, as well put your personal reasons of why you liked it.

I adore Narnia and Middle Earth, so my tastes might not line up with yours. LOL

BUT...

I shall still suggest Mouse Guard

There's even a wonderful Role Playing Game for it, by the same folks who did Burning Wheel.

I might not have big repertoire but look at this site, literary category.

Here

Juls wrote:
I shall still suggest Mouse Guard

There's even a wonderful Role Playing Game for it, by the same folks who did Burning Wheel.

HA

Ironically, I BAWLED at the scene of Voyage of the Dawn Treader where (big spoilers) Reepicheep sailed away to the Aslan's Country, I didn't knew I needed Reepi until that scene, where he was gone after all of those farewells. Literally cried like a baby reading that. :'U So something tells me I'm 'gonna love these. Definitely checking it out.

Hmm, personally I really enjoyed His Majesties Dark Materials .. (most people know it as the Golden Compass but thats just book 1) but I guess that is more mainstream. There is a lot context in it about "souls" that often rubs major religions the wrong way. but the story itself is very interesting.. all three books cover an adventure to save not just one world, but all worlds. its a very multi-dimension series you dont get a taste of until the last few pages of the first book.

hmm other then that im not terribly familiar with less popular novels.

There are a few fun ones by the game critic Yahtzee Croshaw that are down right hilarious - but also very well written.
Mogworld was perhaps my favorite, its about a pessimistic undead character who is trying to permanently die and then figures out he is actualy an NPC in a MMO
Jam was a great apocalypse story. - very creative, very funny.
Differently Morphous was about people who developed magical powers and the police force that managed them.
and
Will Save the Galaxy for Food was a very tongue and cheek sci-fi story that took a very fun and different look at the novelty of futuristic settings.

If you want to read an inscrutably complicated fantasy series with enough lore to drown in, I would suggest the Malazan Book of the Fallen!

The two big draws for me were the presence of monstrous humanoids that weren't just elves or orcs, and also the unique magic system. Magic is channeled sparingly through Warrens (which are part of a nexus of interdimensional wormholes, so to speak, presided over by the eldritch and the arcane).

Never had the time to finish the series, but the premise was interesting!

I've mostly had my head stuck down into Transmetropolitan since May but i have a few recommendations that you might enjoy!

This first two have a REALLY soft magic system (actually, in one of them magic is indirectly implied but never really mentioned or acknowledged at all), but ever since I read them I've been preaching them like a gospel and since none of my friends will read them I've come to indoctrinate you:
Booth "Beautiful Darkness" and "Beauty" by Kerascoët. Although "Beautiful Darkness" is VERY dark and makes little focus on it's "fantasy aspect (asides from the fact that the cast are all lil' fairies living happily in the forest), the writing and artwork are both beautiful, and I find myself turning back to re-read it months after I first did.
As for "Beauty", of the two from Kerascoët I've mentioned, it is the one delving more in the fantasy genre, the setting being itself much alike a classical fairy tale.The artwork is just as stunning as in Beautiful Darkness, and a bit clearer due the medium used, playing a lot with color palettes and with this sort of european medieval undertone to the artwork itself. Although it doesn't delve as much in the nature of men (faerie?)as the first one, this one does depict instances of sexual assault, so if you are deeply disturbed by such I do not recommend it.

On the less nature-of-men-ish, ax-wielding, undead-rising side of the spectrum there is Brides of Helheim. This one is actually a follow up from a comic called Helheim by the same authors, but I haven't yet had the time to read it completely. With a fantasy setting based around the Nordic mythos, it depicts the story of a draugr warrior against an evil warlock. I don't know if the writing is great or not, but I'm gay for Joelle Jones art so I strongly recommend this one (and Helheim I guess).

If you are looking for inspo in Fantasy tho, there's always the good ol' and innumerable comics/writings/media about World of Warcraft and DnD. Or, if you feel in the mood for some dank sweet dark fantasy, Darkest dungeon has little wording but a LOT of visuals that are great inspo. I'm sorry that the recommendations are so little, but I've been mostly wired to the cyberpunk sphere lately. However, I'll return with some more stuff when I remember/find some if u dont mind!

Well, on the comics side, some webcomics that seem relevant here would be:

-Zebra Girl (which has now concluded), a modern supernatural tale about a woman who gets turned into a demon and sometimes ends up in other dimensions

-Goblins, a D&D-inspired fantasy where the characters actually talk about game mechanics as just part of reality

-Strays, a short-lived fantasy-land comic focused on some animal shifter folks where the main guy and girl don't hook up (she's only 12 for most of the comic, soooo...). The setting is actually developed far beyond what is ever shown.

-Gunnerkrieg Court, a (modern?) fantasy with scifi aspects that's arguably at a school without too much being about school-related stuff. Lots of legendary beings show up.

-Girl Genius/Agatha H., webcomic/novelization respectively that's mostly about the adventures of one young woman in an alternate history full of mad science. It's gaslight fantasy, more fantastic and less gear-centric than more familiar steampunk.

@Rim
RimCaster wrote:
I might not have big repertoire but look at this site, literary category.

Here

The blog itself sound like it was written by someone who's angry at what Tolkien did to the genre like I am, so I might as well delve deep into it as well.

@Mipps
Mipps wrote:
Hmm, personally I really enjoyed His Majesties Dark Materials .. (most people know it as the Golden Compass but thats just book 1) but I guess that is more mainstream. There is a lot context in it about "souls" that often rubs major religions the wrong way. but the story itself is very interesting.. all three books cover an adventure to save not just one world, but all worlds. its a very multi-dimension series you dont get a taste of until the last few pages of the first book.

hmm other then that im not terribly familiar with less popular novels.

There are a few fun ones by the game critic Yahtzee Croshaw that are down right hilarious - but also very well written.
Mogworld was perhaps my favorite, its about a pessimistic undead character who is trying to permanently die and then figures out he is actualy an NPC in a MMO
Jam was a great apocalypse story. - very creative, very funny.
Differently Morphous was about people who developed magical powers and the police force that managed them.
and
Will Save the Galaxy for Food was a very tongue and cheek sci-fi story that took a very fun and different look at the novelty of futuristic settings.

You see, the reason that Narnia series, despite I liking it at first, left a sour taste in my mouth (or my eyes aching, for that matter) Lewis didn't even so give the littlest attempt to hide the christian allegory from it. It's not even about the authors poking at religions, in fact, it's cool when they give their own interpretations about the belief systems, but its patronizing something that's already mainstream while stomping on another religion or anything pagan, regarding it as an evil force into the context of their story. But the way Lewis described Charn was haunting, how Narnia is born was beautiful. And I definitely miss how well he writes food porn.

I've only vaguely hear about Yahtzee since I don't really follow up with mainstream game critics and, or journalism, but something tells me his stuff just seeps with Douglas Adams. I think I'll easily like those.

@Yersinia
Yersinia wrote:
If you want to read an inscrutably complicated fantasy series with enough lore to drown in, I would suggest the Malazan Book of the Fallen!

The two big draws for me were the presence of monstrous humanoids that weren't just elves or orcs, and also the unique magic system. Magic is channeled sparingly through Warrens (which are part of a nexus of interdimensional wormholes, so to speak, presided over by the eldritch and the arcane).

Never had the time to finish the series, but the premise was interesting!

Unusual magic systems like those sell it for me, although I can already foresee certain tropes after your mention 'eldritch'. I can only hope it has some twists in it, so I'll deposit my hopes on you. :V

@Coscacho
CoronelCoscacho wrote:
I've mostly had my head stuck down into Transmetropolitan since May but i have a few recommendations that you might enjoy!

This first two have a REALLY soft magic system (actually, in one of them magic is indirectly implied but never really mentioned or acknowledged at all), but ever since I read them I've been preaching them like a gospel and since none of my friends will read them I've come to indoctrinate you:
Booth "Beautiful Darkness" and "Beauty" by Kerascoët. Although "Beautiful Darkness" is VERY dark and makes little focus on it's "fantasy aspect (asides from the fact that the cast are all lil' fairies living happily in the forest), the writing and artwork are both beautiful, and I find myself turning back to re-read it months after I first did.
As for "Beauty", of the two from Kerascoët I've mentioned, it is the one delving more in the fantasy genre, the setting being itself much alike a classical fairy tale.The artwork is just as stunning as in Beautiful Darkness, and a bit clearer due the medium used, playing a lot with color palettes and with this sort of european medieval undertone to the artwork itself. Although it doesn't delve as much in the nature of men (faerie?)as the first one, this one does depict instances of sexual assault, so if you are deeply disturbed by such I do not recommend it.

On the less nature-of-men-ish, ax-wielding, undead-rising side of the spectrum there is Brides of Helheim. This one is actually a follow up from a comic called Helheim by the same authors, but I haven't yet had the time to read it completely. With a fantasy setting based around the Nordic mythos, it depicts the story of a draugr warrior against an evil warlock. I don't know if the writing is great or not, but I'm gay for Joelle Jones art so I strongly recommend this one (and Helheim I guess).

If you are looking for inspo in Fantasy tho, there's always the good ol' and innumerable comics/writings/media about World of Warcraft and DnD. Or, if you feel in the mood for some dank sweet dark fantasy, Darkest dungeon has little wording but a LOT of visuals that are great inspo. I'm sorry that the recommendations are so little, but I've been mostly wired to the cyberpunk sphere lately. However, I'll return with some more stuff when I remember/find some if u dont mind!


Speaking of dark themes and the subject of sexual assault, I think I should mention that my avatar comes from Aliens: Labyrinth, which, like most of the Aliens series is very graphic, the Xenomorph itself being based around the idea of sexual assault so, nope, it's definitely not an issue for me.

Anyway, I did a quick Google of Beautiful Darkness and holy piss, the dreamy art is wonderful. It alone sold for me. Though, I don't think the 'fantasy' aspect being ever present is a must, if only it's a header for the story, the genre itself being a side note being just enough. Doesn't really matter that much for someone who likes to experiment with their writing, after all. We're talking about wanting to write a profile solely based on poems. And no wonder both stories got the mention of beauty in them because Beauty's style is also very, very pretty.

I'll just have to become more humble with anything related to nordic mythology, as decades consuming media that is over and over again is nothing more but regurgitated nordic mythology, only with personal twists to them, have left my mouth sour for the genre. Since you took me by the leash with Kerascoët, though, I'll trust that you have very good taste. :V

You see, I've been wanting to play Darkest Dungeon for a while now but never find myself the time or money to bother and buy it, or even 'get it' for that matter. Something about being a frustratingly hard dungeon crawler obviously inspired by Soulsborne gives me foreboding feeling that I'm 'gonna scream at this game more than to play it, hue. The art and lore is what's drawing me in. Any of these days I might go into it.

And, funny, I like DnD but I can't seem to get into it because I'm shy about the sort of character I want to play and what other players (and the DM) expect from players. Plus, all my character are hit or miss. I either make a weakling that would barely fit on a party or a olympian-esque half-god that would fit well above the 20th level mark. I might look into any "fan" stories, though. If you have any you can recommend, regardless of underlying themes, fire away!

Churchtuary wrote:
@Mipps
You see, the reason that Narnia series, despite I liking it at first, left a sour taste in my mouth (or my eyes aching, for that matter) Lewis didn't even so give the littlest attempt to hide the christian allegory from it. It's not even about the authors poking at religions, in fact, it's cool when they give their own interpretations about the belief systems, but its patronizing something that's already mainstream while stomping on another religion or anything pagan, regarding it as an evil force into the context of their story. But the way Lewis described Charn was haunting, how Narnia is born was beautiful. And I definitely miss how well he writes food porn.

I've only vaguely hear about Yahtzee since I don't really follow up with mainstream game critics and, or journalism, but something tells me his stuff just seeps with Douglas Adams. I think I'll easily like those.

I didn't get too behind Narnia to be honest. His Majesties Dark Materials didn't ever seem to ooze religions propaganda to me to be honest. But I can see how religious organization interpreted it that way.

And yes, Yahtzee has a lot of similarities with Douglas Adams. Adding on that, Yahtzee was very against cliches, and it shows in his work; he either makes fun of them or avoids them entirely. For instances, there is always a female character in every book but he avoids romances entirely - but pokes fun about "almost" romances by making you believe one will start and then ripping it away from you in a very real life sort of way. He dosnt like following the formula, and thats why i found him to be so refreshing.

carolyn-books-500x281.jpg

This series is absolutely amazing. Mercedes Lackey takes a normal human setting and adds a flare of wonder and magic to it that is both powerful and inspiring. I myself have to commend it because I am not someone who likes to read books that often, but Magic's Pawn was absolutely incredible. This series has some good ole sweet mxm romance. It's beautiful.

Another series I can recommend is Mistborn, but I cannot give it a personal recommendation because I haven't read it myself. I do know lots of people who have enjoyed it though.

The third I want to recommend is definitely going to be World of Warcraft lore. I rea the three main lore books that are out, not the actual series books, and it got me really hyped for some fantasy style stories. While there are elves, dwarves, and orcs involved in the setting they are not in any way shape or form Tolkein inspired. (Tolkein didn't invent any of these races anyway, sooooo---He was a literature professor and was able to create his own setting and races from things that he was obviously inspired by. >_> He did great stuff, and he obviously paved a huge path for many other creators and all that jazz, but he's not the inventor of this shit.)

I also recommend, if you're interested in getting into some gaming, the Elder Scrolls series. There are going to be varying opinions on which game to play first, which one matters or has the better story, and which one has the best "..." over "..." yadda yadda, but I'm telling you that none of that honestly matters. The entire series for Elder Scrolls itself is one of my biggest inspirations for getting a good strong grip back on my roleplay love. Skyrim was my introduction to the series, I've dabbled with Morrowind and Oblivion, but I can assure you that all three are fun to play in their own rights, but they do have varying game mechanics. The point of them is their stories and the lore they build. The series has been in the works since 1994, and it is personally one of my absolute favourites.

I highly recommend The Banned And The Banished series by James Clemens. I detract some points from it because it relies heavily on 'a girl's first menstruation is a mystical powerful fearsome something' trope, but if you can get past that, the story and characters are all intriguing and the books are written really well. It's one of those stories that sticks with you! :)

Also The Dark Tower, amazing Stephen King series. It takes post-apocalyptic sci-fi fantasy to a whole new level.

Quote:
In the story, Roland Deschain is the last living member of a knightly order known as gunslingers and the last of the line of "Arthur Eld", his world's analogue of King Arthur. Politically organized along the lines of a feudal society, it shares technological and social characteristics with the American Old West but is also magical. Many of the magical aspects have vanished from Mid-World, but traces remain as do relics from a technologically advanced society. Roland's quest is to find the Dark Tower, a fabled building said to be the nexus of all universes. Roland's world is said to have "moved on", and it appears to be coming apart at the seams. Mighty nations have been torn apart by war, entire cities and regions vanish without a trace and time does not flow in an orderly fashion. Sometimes, even the sun rises in the north and sets in the east. As the series opens, Roland's motives, goals and age are unclear, though later installments shed light on these mysteries.

The Golden Compass series does it for me. I easily read it once a year. They're very easy reads and despite being labeled as young adult novels, there are a lot of undertones that I didn't understand until I was an adult. I can usually finish the entire trilogy in four days or so.

Glen Cook's The Black Company is another good series about a free company.

It's all written as journal entries from the official company histories, but done really fantastically. The [character] 'author' changes a couple times throughout the series, each flavoring the text in their own way.

I wholeheartedly recommend Holly Black's modern faerie books -- starting with Tithe. There's a whole trilogy, plus she has some one-offs like The Darkest Part of the Forest. She blends the urban with traditional gaelic mythology, and it's awesome. They're primarily YA books, so they're quick reads.

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Forums > Smalltalk > Fantasy literature/comics recommendations?