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Old 05-17-2012, 05:18 AM   #1
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Best stand-alone Fantasy novel?

My pick - The Hobbit, Tolkien

If somebody says its not really stand-alone (which I would totally disagree with) then:

Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay

Any opinions on this?
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:38 AM   #2
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I'm totally with you, except that I would substitute Lord of the Rings for The Hobbit. For me, LotR will always remain the greatest fantasy book ever, even though I've read several which objectively are equally good. To my mind G. G. Kay is one of those whose books are just as good and Tigana is perhaps his best (although the competition is sharp).
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Old 05-17-2012, 06:46 AM   #3
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Going to toss in a vote for American Gods by Neil Gaiman!
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:13 AM   #4
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Moved to "Reading Recommendations".

Personally, I'd go for LOTR, too.
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:35 AM   #5
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Tigana ranks pretty high on my list, too (almost anything by GGK does).
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DiapDealer View Post
Tigana ranks pretty high on my list, too (almost anything by GGK does).
I'm ashamed to admit that, even though I am a big fantasy fan, I've never heard of this book or this author. I'll have to investigate it!
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:56 AM   #7
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I'm ashamed to admit that, even though I am a big fantasy fan, I've never heard of this book or this author. I'll have to investigate it!
You should definitely give him a shot, Harry. I consider Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan his best works (although Lions could arguably be considered Historical Fiction).

As I mentioned in another thread... Christopher Tolkien enlisted Guy Gavriel Kay's help in finishing The Silmarillion.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:28 AM   #8
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You certainly should. I'd put The Fionavar Tapestry up there too and the remainder just slightly below. Haven't read Ysabel though and I've been told (here) that it's not really up to scratch. If I had to choose between Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan I'd find it really hard to pick one over the other.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:31 AM   #9
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Thanks - I'll definitely check him out.
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Old 05-17-2012, 08:59 AM   #10
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Very hard to pick just one, but I have to put in a vote for Jasper Fforde's "The Eyre Affair" and the rest of the Thursday Next books.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:19 AM   #11
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Based on just Lions of Al-Rassan, I'm really not much of a GGK fan. He had a few stylistic quirks which really bugged me. In my head he's a bit like Spielberg, in that the emotional string-pulling can be way too heavy-handed.

Don't The Hobbit and LotR kind of rule each other out? (How stand-alone is stand-alone?)

Same applies to The Eyre Affair. It's a series if not a serial.

I'm going to provisionally go for Peace by Gene Wolfe, just so this post isn't entirely negative.

It is a great book, even though it took me two attempts to get started, but it's fantasy in the broad sense (like most Wolfe) not the narrow sense (epic/high fantasy). It's hard to think of standout stand-alone works that are actually epic fantasy. I guess it's not that epic if it ends that quickly.
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Old 05-17-2012, 09:32 AM   #12
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrNefario View Post
Don't The Hobbit and LotR kind of rule each other out? (How stand-alone is stand-alone?)

Same applies to The Eyre Affair. It's a series if not a serial.
I'm of the same opinion. A true stand-alone novel—to me—is one that has no prequels/sequels, not part of any series and not part of any shared universe/setting. The fact that a book CAN stand on it's own two feet (without NEEDING to read the rest of the books in the same series/shared environment) isn't quite enough. *shrugs*

But I've taken part in enough of these threads to know there's just no way to come up with a consensus on "the rules." Everybody comes up with their own twist (including myself at times) to get a book they love included. So I've given up acknowledging/suggesting/expecting any concrete "stand alone" rules—and life is easier because of it.

But for my own part (and I'm not expecting anybody else to comply with my personal rules, by any means)... I base my general opinion on the author's intention: "was that book written as part of a 'larger picture'?" If so, I don't consider it a stand-alone novel.

Case in point: Tim Powers' The Stress of Her Regard was always high on my list of stand-alone favorites for years. But the recently released Hide Me Among the Graves is acknowledged by the author as a "loose" sequel to Stress; so both have to be excluded from my list of Favorite Stand-alone Fantasy Novels now. Yeah... I'm weird like that.
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Old 05-17-2012, 10:57 AM   #14
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My apologies Harry T. I should have known better where to post this. & You should absolutely read GGK if you get a chance. Add The Last Light of the Sun to the other recommendations. But for me, nothing tops Tigana.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrNefario View Post

Don't The Hobbit and LotR kind of rule each other out? (How stand-alone is stand-alone?)
Heh, here we go. Let's define stand-alone as "you can enjoy it without reading anything else". It has a beginning and an ending with the main storyline complete. But whatever works for you. Its also why I included Tigana because that is hands-down, written in stone, stand-alone.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DrNefario View Post
I'm going to provisionally go for Peace by Gene Wolfe, just so this post isn't entirely negative.

It is a great book, even though it took me two attempts to get started, but it's fantasy in the broad sense (like most Wolfe) not the narrow sense (epic/high fantasy). It's hard to think of standout stand-alone works that are actually epic fantasy. I guess it's not that epic if it ends that quickly.
Gene Wolfe is indeed excellent and Peace is now on my TR list.
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Old 05-17-2012, 11:12 AM   #15
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I'd say The Hobbit stands alone. I definitely need to check out GGK at some point.

From the past little while I really enjoyed:

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Are they best ever? No for Neverwhere, but Good Omens is up there for fantomedy (remember back in the late 80s when they started cross-labeling movies as thrillomedy.)
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