This article is from the Recommended Fantasy Authors FAQ, by Amy Sheldon firstname.lastname@example.org with numerous contributions by others.
This listing was created in April 1994, following what seemed
like the 900th posting of "what other authors should I read?" in
the alt.fan.eddings newsgroup. Originally, the tone of the
editorial comments was intended to be neutral, since this is a
compilation of the recommendations of many people and not a list
of my personal favorites. This policy has gradually eroded, and
the perceptive reader can probably make some pretty good guesses
as to which books are particularly favored by the FAQMaster. Do
note, however, that there are quite a few books on this list
that I either haven't read, tried and didn't like, or wouldn't
recommend to an enemy, let alone a friend, so don't blame ME if
you spot an author that you absolutely loathe.
Recommenders are encouraged to keep their lists updated - in
fact, I try to write occasionally to confirm that the choices I
have on record are what was actually sent.
This list doesn't contain shared world novels and short story
collections, except in those cases where I feel like including
them (hey, it's called Editorial Privilege.) I also avoid
listing books with multiple authors, mainly because I'm never
quite sure where to put them.
The dividing line between fantasy, science fiction, and horror
is indistinct and highly subjective. Inclusion on this list for
those books that straddle the border depends on three factors:
How many people push for inclusion of the author, how the
publisher markets the book, and, most importantly, whether it
matches *my* definition of fantasy (remember that editorial
privilege I mentioned?)
I would like to note that most the long-running, open-ended
series contained herein do tend to have one major problem: They
get weaker as they progress (Piers Anthony is the prime example
of this tendency.) Try to start with the earlier books in the
series, so you can get thoroughly hooked and are compelled to
keep reading even after the author just starts hacking them out.