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Old 05-25-2012, 11:22 AM   #1
stonetools
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Fantasy Novels in non-medevial settings?

It seems like whatever what the release date of a fantasy novel, its always 1200 AD Western Europe in the fantasy world. There are kings and queens, lords and ladies, knights and squires, wise old magicians, and peasant lads with special udiscovered powers.
I'm looking for good fantasy novels with settings beyond that template. Jemisons "Hundred Thousand Kingdoms' series is one such. Any others?
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Old 05-25-2012, 11:34 AM   #2
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You need to look around more. Medieval fantasy is not at the top of publishers wish-lists right now. New medieval fantasy is getting pretty rare, actually.

I'd recommend something like:
Felix Gilman's The Half-made World
Anthony Huso's The Last Page
China Mieville's Perdido Street Station
Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven
Tim Powers' The Stress of Her Regard
Daniel Abraham's "The Long Price Quartet"
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Old 05-25-2012, 11:49 AM   #3
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Well, there's lots of urban fantasy --- Charles de Lint comes to mind for that, I esp. like his _Jack the Giant Killer_. Megan Lindholm's _Cloven Hooves_ is amazing.

For post-apocalyptic there's _Ariel_ and the various ``Border<foo>'' books as well as Charles de Lint's _Svaha_.

Roger Zelazny's ``Amber'' books are quite good and move in and out of a traditional fantasy setting.
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:07 PM   #4
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Neil Gaiman's American Gods
Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere
China Mieville's Un Lun Dun
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Old 05-25-2012, 12:13 PM   #5
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Thanks for these recommendations. I knew I needed to get out more.

Keep 'em coming, though.
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Old 05-25-2012, 02:53 PM   #6
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Depending on your tastes, Kelly Armstrong's 'Women of the Otherworld' or Jim Butcher's 'Dresden Files' series. Also Kim Harrison or Charlaine Harris.
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Old 05-25-2012, 03:38 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Penforhire View Post
Depending on your tastes, Kelly Armstrong's 'Women of the Otherworld' or Jim Butcher's 'Dresden Files' series. Also Kim Harrison or Charlaine Harris.
Not a fan of anything involving modern day vampires, really. I class those as romance/erotica rather than fantasy
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:11 PM   #8
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Not a fan of anything involving modern day vampires, really. I class those as romance/erotica rather than fantasy
I think Guillermo del Toro and Justin Cronin would disagree.
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Old 05-25-2012, 04:19 PM   #9
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How about Julian May's Pliocene Exile series? That may technically be more sci-fi than fantasy, though.
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Old 05-25-2012, 06:01 PM   #10
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Okay, no vampires (sounds like you're against the category of "urban fantasy").

Then perhaps some of Tim Powers' books such as The Anubis Gates or Last Call. Or Dean Koontz (e.g. Odd Thomas series) though he plays at the edges of the horror genre.

There is a deep selection of zombie books, almost all are technically fantasy. Perhaps too many are pure horror but I liked Jonathan Maberry's Rot and Ruin.
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Old 05-25-2012, 08:35 PM   #11
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Anything by Charles de Lint, Guy Gavriel Kay, and/or Morgan Llywellyn.

R.A. Salvatore's Dark Elf trilogy is most certainly not reminiscent of medieval Western Europe, though the later books can be.
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:14 PM   #12
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I highly recommend any of the following:
Little, Big by John Crowley - the World Fantasy Award winning chronicle of a family living in an (upstate New York?) Victorian folly house on the edge of Faerie.
The City of Saints and Madmen, Shriek, and Finch by Jeff Vandermeer - A series of eerie steampunkish tales and novels set in the city of Ambergris, where colonists and native mushroom people live on the brink of war.
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock - World Fantasy Award winner set in post World War I Britain, where a son goes in search of his anthropologist father who disappeared in a haunted wood.
The Songs of Earth and Power by Greg Bear - modern fantasy by Greg Bear (better known for his sci-fi) about a young man who is transported to the world of faerie by the music of a modern composer.
The City of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers - I just finished reading this and loved it - the story of a dinosaur who travels to Bookholm, the city of books, in search of the author of the single greatest piece of prose ever written.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury - Bradbury's nostalgia laden tale of an evil circus come to a small town.
Momo by Michael Ende - A brilliant fable for the modern era about a young girl who refuses to sell her spare time to sinister Time Bankers.
The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overlord, Cugel's Saga and Rhialto the Marvelous by Jack Vance - this one's a close call, perhaps, but Jack Vance's fantastic weird tales about far future Earth where the sun is soon to collapse is pretty much the source for much of the magic found in Dungeons and Dragons.
The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox (Bridge of Birds, The Story of the Stone, and Eight Skilled Gentlemen) - Also a close call, because the setting is medieval China, rather than your standard European fair. Touching and hilarious.
Boy's Life by Robert McCammon - A magic realism story of childhood in small town Alabama.
Stephen King's Dark Tower series - Fantasy post-apocalyptic western epic.
The Talisman by Stephen King and Peter Straub - A boy must travel from the East to the West Coast, flipping between modern and alternate reality America to save his mother.
The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper - Arthurian fantasy set in modern Britain.
The Chronicles of Alvin Maker by Orson Scott Card - Card's 19th-century alternate American fantasy, loosely based on the life of Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism.

And, of course, there's Harry Potter, and its dark, twisted cousin, The Magicians by Lev Grossman.

Last edited by conanfan; 05-26-2012 at 11:34 PM.
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Old 05-25-2012, 10:49 PM   #13
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Old 05-26-2012, 02:40 AM   #14
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Adding my vote for a couple of others already mentioned...

DiapDealer suggested -

China Mieville's Perdido Street Station
Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven

Both are really excellent writers and the stories are not bad either. Adding the two novels of the Sarantine Mosiac by GGK to the above as well, more post-Roman Empire era. Actually AndrewH said it best, pretty much anything by GGK is good.

Dark Tower
The Talisman

As mentioned by Conanfan. Though the Dark Tower is a serious commitment.
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Old 05-26-2012, 12:56 PM   #15
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How about Julian May's Pliocene Exile series? That may technically be more sci-fi than fantasy, though.
For me that's sci-fi. I enjoyed the series, though.
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