The Top 20 Greatest Fantasy Writers of All-Time Comments -


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tjanson 4/10/2009 10:59:16 AM

Hobbs...let me say right off the bat that I figured Salvatore would be the most controversial and least popular name on the list.  But again, I think he's had a tremendous impact over the past 15 - 20 years, particularly with the popular D&D inspired fiction.  The original Dark Elf Trilogy detailing Drizzts excape from the Underdark was very good.

Someone mentioned Harlan Ellison.  Ellison made my list of top Sci-Fi writers.  As mentioned, I wanted the bulk of a writer's work to be in the fantasy genre.  Tad Williams should have made the honorable mentions...oversight on my part.

As far as Donaldson, boy that's a sore subject with me and we discussed Donaldson before on the boards...I found the Thomas Covenant stuff to be brutally boring and a lot of people agreed.  Same holds for Terry Goodkind which is why he is no where to be found.

Really, the writers I'd love for people to discover if they haven't already are Tanith Lee, Fritz Leiber, and Dunsany.

LittleNell1824 4/10/2009 11:49:43 AM

That's the great thing about your lists, Tim - discovering new authors (or discovering old authors).

Hobbs, saying that Tolkien deserves to be number 1 because he inspired so many people is like elevating a great artist's teacher over the student. I agree that he deserves credit, a special place, a college named after him and all that, but I'm not sure that he's the best fantasy author of all time. I'm really not trying to say that he's not deserving of being high on the list or that he isn't great (because he is). I just don't think he automatically deserves the number 1 spot. It almost feels more like a sacred cow issue.

Karsa 4/10/2009 12:32:12 PM

Not sure how you can skip Steven Erikson's Malazan Empire of the fallen series, by far the best fantasy I have read. At the very least he deserves mentioning among these authors.

Cacaoatl 4/10/2009 1:01:40 PM

Where's Ray Bradbury? Most of his writing would be considered fantasy and he is certainly a better writer than Salvatore or Rowling. Where's TH White? The Once and Future King is a fantasy classic and one of the best retellings of the Arthurian Legend ever written. How about a special section for the anonymous poets who wrote Gilgamesh and Beowulf and other epic poetry?

Cacaoatl 4/10/2009 1:05:40 PM

LittleNell, without Tolkien, the modern fantasy novel as we know it would not exist. The popularity of his books showed that multi-volume works of fantasy would be profitable, I think the list was based on impact on culture, not on strength of prose.

crimsonkingtph 4/10/2009 3:38:03 PM

Stephen KIng's The Dark Tower novels is my all tme fav fantasy novel. I know the 7 books do not make King a fantasy writer but the books should be mentioned at least. The books are a great mix of fantasy, horror and sci-fi and should be checked out yo!

tjanson 4/10/2009 3:38:03 PM

Cacaoatl...Bradbury made my list of Top 15 all-time Sci-Fi writers.  It's my little rule of thumb that you can make only one list so I've made decisions as to what genre a writer did the bulk of his work.  Lovecraft might also be mentioned in fantasy but he was #1 on the Horror list.

Also...let's not get caught up in who is a better writer than whom...the list isn't, as I pointed out, just about who is the better writer but whose work was most influential, popular, enduring.  That's why I always note the criteria up front.  whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not...and I am really not, one cannot deny the worldwide influence that Rowling's books have had.  Perhaps other than Tolkien, she's done more to introduce people to fantasy than any other writer.

DaForce1 4/10/2009 3:39:29 PM

Tolkien is literature for the illiterate. Honestly, he should have never even made the list.

Harlan Ellison would have been an inspired choice for this list, but it looks like the list was created more on what is in the Sci Fi/Fantasy aisle of the local Borders store than actual talent.

Stil shaking my head at Tolkien. You may as well have put Stephen King on the list for his Gunslinger compost if you put Tolkien on for the hobbit excrement he wrote.

dynames 4/10/2009 4:58:04 PM

Jack Vance and Clark Ashton Smith should be in the top 5.

almostunbiased 4/10/2009 6:03:43 PM

daforce, why all the hate.  The dude invented languages, entire languages and writing and created a world so unbelievably real that it's like reading history.  I can imagine that it really happened.  You may not like it, but don't say it's for the illiterate.

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