This article is from the Recommended Fantasy Authors FAQ, by Amy Sheldon firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
Peter S. Beagle (b. 1939)
A Fine and Private Place
"An early work. It's a love story with (and between)
ghosts. Jim says "it is well worth reading" and your
The Last Unicorn
"One of the top ten fantasies of all time. Read
this. Bittersweet story of the last unicorn's quest
to find out what happened to her fellow unicorns.
The Folk of the Air
"Published in the mid 80s, contemporary fantasy set
in a city resembling Berkeley, California and
featuring a group very like the Society for Creative
Anachronism. One of his weaker works. Still, even
weak Beagle is worth reading.
The Innkeeper's Song
"Beagle returns to fantasy after far too long an
absence. Story told through multiple viewpoints,
grittier and a bit darker than his early work.
The Unicorn Sonata
"25 years after "The Last Unicorn", Beagle returns
with a new fantasy that is initially set in
contemporary Los Angeles before moving on to a
faerie land of Shei'rah. This is really only a
novelette, but the pictures are pretty...
Ray Bradbury (b. 1920)
Something Wicked This Way Comes
"Everything Bradbury writes is Wonderful (do we
detect a teeny bit of bias on the part of our
FAQmaker here?) Most of his fantasy is in short
story form, but this novel features an unusual (and
nasty) carnival that comes to town.
*Marion Zimmer Bradley (b. 1930)
"Avalon books" - The Mists of Avalon; The Forest House; The
Lady of Avalon (co-author Diana Paxson)
"Each of these stands alone. "Mists" was one of the
first books to tell the Arthur story from the female
characters' points of view, and, boy, was it
successful. "Forest House" is a prequel to "Mists",
taking place during the Roman invasion of Britain,
and "Lady" takes place between the two.
"Cassandra of Troy gets her turn in the spotlight.
"Witchlight series" - Ghostlight; Witchlight; Gravelight;
Heartlight (forthcoming Sept. '98)
"New series featuring psychic heroine Truth
Jourdemayne. eluki bes shahar will be co-authoring
the forthcoming books.
"Darkover series" - Stormqueen; Hawkmistress; The Forbidden
Tower; The Heirs of Hammerfell; many many others
"THIS IS SF, NOT FANTASY. But, hey, McCaffrey's Pern
books made it onto the list, so why not MZB's
Darkover? Generally, the books that take place after
the lost colony of Darkover has been rediscovered by
Earth are more SF in tone, the ones that take place
during Darkover's long isolation have a more
'fantasy' feel. I've listed a few of the titles I'm
personally familiar with, and consider fantasy-ish
in tone. The books are generally supposed to be
standalones, but familiarity with Darkover is needed
to make lesser offerings more enjoyable.
**Terry Brooks (b. 1944)
"Shannara" - Sword of Shannara; Elfstones of Shannara;
Wishsong of Shannara
"The fantasy genre owes Brooks a lot - whether that
debt is good or bad depends upon how you feel about
the current state of the market. These books were
bestsellers when they came out in the early 80's,
and they finally proved that Tolkien's popularity
wasn't just an aberration, and that fantasy could be
much more than a niche market. This is an enjoyable
group of books, although the Tolkienesque borrowings
of the first book of the first trilogy are even more
blatant than most.
"Heritage of Shannara" - Scions of Shannara; Druid of
Shannara; Elf Queen of Shannara; Talismans of Shannara
"Onward ever onward with the world of Shannara. This
group of books is straightforward fantasy
"Yet Another Shannara Book" - First King of Shannara
"Prequel set 500 years before the events of "Sword
"Kingdom of Landover" - Magic Kingdom For Sale-Sold; The
Black Unicorn; Wizard At Large; The Tangle Box; Witches
"Open-ended adventure/humor series. Not connected to
the Shannara books.
"Trolltown series" - Running With the Demon; A Knight of
the Word (forthcoming Aug. '98)
"Brooks' first fantasies set in the contemporary
world. Good and evil vie for the soul of a young
Illinois girl. The first book does include an elf,
a demon and a Knight of the Word as characters, so
it shouldn't be too much of a shock to his fans.
*Steven Brust (b. 1955)
"Vlad Taltos series" - Jhereg; Yendi; Teckla; Taltos;
Phoenix; Athyra; Orca; Dragon (forthcoming Nov. '98)
"Featuring the assassin Vlad Taltos. Open-ended
action/adventure series taking place in a well-
defined, interesting world. Each book is a stand-
alone, and the published order (listed above) does
NOT follow the internal chronology (despite that,
you should try to read them in the published order.
Vlad's growth as a character is best traced by
reading the books in the order Brust has written
"Khaavren Romances" - The Phoenix Guards; Five Hundred
Years After; The Paths of the Dead (coming sometime in
1999 maybe); The Enchantress of Dzur Mountain
(forthcoming); The Lord of Castle Black (forthcoming)
"Set in the same world as the Vlad Taltos books,
just earlier in its history. These are written in
the style of Dumas (remember "The Three
Musketeers"?) and are quite enjoyable.
"A standalone that takes place in the eastern
(human) region of Vlad Taltos' world. It was
reprinted by Ace in August, 1996.
"Dark fantasy told from the title character's point
of view. Kate sez, 'Part of the fun is figuring out
who and what he is.'
The Sun, the Moon, and the Stars
"Part of the Ace 'Fairy Tale' series (now being
published by Tor), which invited various authors to
retell a fairy tale for a contemporary adult
audience. Very well-regarded, books from the series
by Wrede, de Lint & Dean are also on this list. It
came back into print in May '96 from Tor.
Freedom and Necessity (co-author Emma Bull)
"This is an epistolary fantasy (i.e., the story is
told in the form of letters) that is unrelated to
any series by either of the co-authors. It is set in
1849 and has garnered some very nice reviews.