Thursday 24 December 2015

A History of Epic Fantasy - Contents & Link Guide

Here's a handy link list to all of the parts of the History of Epic Fantasy series.

Part 1: Pre-Modern Fantasy
Jonathan Swift, George Macdonald, William Morris, Frank L. Baum, E.R. Eddison & Robert E. Howard

Part 2: In a hole in a ground there live a hobbit...
J.R.R. Tolkien

Part 3: Dying Earths and Magic Wardrobes
C.S. Lewis, Fritz Leiber, Mervyn Peake, Jack Vance

Part 4: The Lord of the Rings
J.R.R. Tolkien

Part 5: The Influence of Middle-earth
Book lengths, worldbuilding, maps, language, peoples and themes.

Part 6: Fantasy in the 1960s and 1970s
Michael Moorcock, Ursula K. LeGuin, Anne McCaffrey, Andre Norton, Poul Anderson, Patricia McKillip, Roger Zelazny

Part 7: Let the dice decide
Gary Gygax, Dungeons and Dragons, roleplaying games

Part 8: The Birth of the Modern Genre
Lester and Judy-Lynn Del Rey, Terry Brooks, Stephen Donaldson

Part 9: The Second Wave
Gene Wolfe, David Eddings, Raymond E. Feist

Part 10: Funny Fantasy
Piers Anthony, Diana Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett and Discworld

Part 11: Heroism and Cynicism
David Gemmell and Glen Cook

Part 12: Fantasy of Many Colours
Ursula K. LeGuin, Katherine Kurtz, Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Janny Wurts, Mercedes Lackey, Melanie Rawn, Megan Lindholm

Part 13: Dragons and Drow
Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman, R.A. Salvatore

Part 14: The Arrival of the Mega-Epic
Tad Williams and Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

Part 15: Slipstream Fantasy
Stephen King, Patrick Tilley, Hugh Cook, David Gemmell, Shadowrun

Part 16: Fantasy, History and Mythology
Jack Vance, Guy Gavriel Kay, Garry Kilworth, Mary Gentle, Jacqueline Carey, Naomi Novik, Pierre Pevel,

Part 17: Spinning the Wheel
Robert Jordan and The Wheel of Time

Part 18: The Influence of the Dragon Reborn
Length, magic systems, gender roles, narrative expansion,

Part 19: Fantasy of the Nineties
Andrzej Sapkowski, Kate Elliott, Terry Goodkind, J.V. Jones, Paul Kearney

Part 20: The Game Begins
George R.R. Martin and A Song of Ice and Fire

Part 21: Ice and Fire
The influence of A Song of Ice and Fire

Part 22: Cash or kudos
Fantasy on film

Part 23: Small screen fantasy
Fantasy on television

Part 24: You have been eaten by a grue
Fantasy in video games

Part 25: Hogwarts Rising
J.K. Rowling

Part 26: The Triumph and Tragedy of the Fallen
Steven Erikson, Ian Cameron Esslemont and the Malazan Empire

Part 27: Assassins & Living Ships
Robin Hobb and The Realm of the Elderlings

Part 28: The New Weird
China Mieville, Steph Swainston, Jeff VanderMeer, Mark Charan Newton

Part 29: Dark Fantasy
Matt Stover, R. Scott Bakker, Jacqueline Carey

Part 30: Millennial Fantasy
Trudi Canavan, Chris Wooding, Joe Abercrombie, Scott Lynch, Patrick Rothfuss, Richard Morgan.

Part 31: The Universe as a Playground
Brandon Sanderson and the Cosmere

Part 32: The Mystery Man of Fantasy
K.J. Parker

Part 33: The Colour of Money
Economics in fantasy: Raymond E. Feist, George R.R. Martin, Steven Erikson, Terry Pratchett, Daniel Abraham.

Part 34: Modern Fantasy
Kameron Hurley, N.J. Jemisin, Mark Lawrence, Elizabeth Bear, Anthony Ryan.


Unknown said...

Can i just say how amazing this series has been. Thank you for showing me so many books i need to get my hands on.

Neiman said...

I read it all in one go this week. Indeed an amazing series, that revived my hunger for epic fantasy. Steven Erikson, here I come!

Vienneau said...

I really enjoyed all 34 parts. A trip down memory lane at first, and then a bunch of leads on interesting series (I hope) later on!

Anonymous said...

Yeah you should publish this. You deserve a million dollars for this amount of quality effort Wert!

Stonewielder said...

Ditto the above comment, what a great series of articles you've written! I really appreciate the time and effort you put into this blog. The quality of your writing, and this blog as a whole is amazing! It has really helped me expand my horizons not only in literature but also films, shows, and games. I've had some great fun reading, watching, and playing that I may never have experienced without your help.

Thanks, Wert!

wps said...

What an awesome series. Thanks for doing this!

Azimuth said...

I love your content, but this series, epic in scope, is why I check back every day. Thanks!

Gabriele Campbell said...

Thank you for a great series of essays. Any chance you could do the same for SF from Jules Verne to The Force Awakens at some point? No, I'm not greedy at all. ;-)

I wish you and your family a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

Unknown said...

You forgot Weeks, Butcher, Brett and Ruckley?

Geoffrey said...

I have been reading your blog now for awhile Adam and I just wanted to tell you how impressed I am with your dedication and enthusiasm for the genre. Thank you for always putting this out with quality content on a regular basis. You truly are the King of the Nerds. PS I read some of the negative remarks from that GOT wiki guy and I just wanted to say I think you handled it well. That was BS. That dude needs to get a life. Anyway cheers Adam and I look forward to spending my free time in the Wertzone.

Adam Whitehead said...

Thanks, everyone. Obviously there are now thousands and probably tens of thousands of epic fantasy or epic fantasy-esque series, novels and novellas out there. This series of articles and even the book version can only scratch the surface. I tried to go for a mixture of covering the famous names you'd expect and shining a light on less-known authors, but it's still a scattershot approach.

Weeks and Brett will get a mention in the book-length version. They got trimmed from the blog version for space and time. Butcher might warrant a mention in a section on authors primarily famous for one genre who dabble in epic fantasy and how that works for them (David Anthony Durham would also be covered in that bit, and people like David Zindell). Obviously there's sstill a few major authors that also didn't get much attention who probably should have, like L.E. Modesitt Jnr. Again, that's what the longer book version is for.

The GoT Wiki drama was tiresome. A shame it turned out that way, but when one division of the company (but not the main one I dealt with, which was made up of awesome people) refuses to enforce their own disciplinary measures against abuse after they've straight-up admitted the other person was in the wrong, there's not much that can be done. C'est la vie.

Mark said...

Does this mark the end of the series? My OCD won't allow me to begin until it is finished. I look forward to reading this as I do all of your content, Adam.

Adam Whitehead said...

There maybe one or two appendix-like bits, but yes, that's the end of the main series.

Unknown said...

Thanks Adam - I was only wishing for this last week!

Fantasy-Faction said...

This series is something you should be incredibly proud of, Adam. It takes 'blogging' to a whole new level, gives us partaking in it something to strive towards and has done the whole community a huge service. The finest aspect is not just that it provides an incredible reading list for those interested, but that it gives credit - rightfully - to the genre and its authors who have shaped fantasy and made it what it is today. Essentially, you've managed to depict the fantasy as the incredible, always adapting, always growing entity it is and that we fans don't aways appreciate. Thank you :)

Domain of Tanaros said...

I really enjoyed these articles and looking forward to the (e)book version. I just wanted to drop a few names that I think should be mentioned in the expanded version of this effort: Sean Russel and John Marco. I have read some books by those two ( The Initiate Brother and Gatherer of Clouds by Russel and the Tyrants and Kings trilogy by Marco) ,and in my opinion they are among the better authors of the genre.
I know that there are plenty of names that you did not mention and it is perfectly understandable. You did a great job, and it was quite an undertaking, when one takes into account the expanse of fantasy literature from its origins until today. Big salute and I wish you many more similar achievements.

Cesar said...

I read the whole thing today!!!
Awesome work. I was going to copy them all to a word doc and print it out for posterity but just read you have plans of expanding into a book! That's great!!! I'll be anxiously waiting.

While getting some classic covers and art would be logical and cool; if that doesn't happen an option would be some new generic art. Lots of great artist out there.

I'd also like to see a list of the essential reads. Maybe a star or check-mark highlighting the best books from a series/ author. for those of us that would like to read some of the books but maybe just a sample of the most highly regarded novels.

talbot said...

I don't believe we can realize how much work all this series holds, it is tiring to read all the parts let alone write them!!!

Belen said...

I fall in love with you! Thank you for this amazing information about epic fantasy. I been reading this gender since I was 12. Long ago. And I have read lots of books, but after reading what you write (I haven't finished yet) I realised that I know nothing about the gender.

Unknown said...

This is really great work. Great Job.

Cristina said...

Very handy for my dissertation! Wish this was a book sooner!

nerimane said...

I see one big tematic ausence and two small ausences in this list.
The 2 smalls are german and spanish fantasy. I guess they weren't translated, but Michael Ende of Germany is known enough for be mentioned in my opinion, his Neverending Story became a classic both the book and more the movie.

And there is no mention to the afroamerican authors of fantasy. It's true that the black writers are being discriminated.

Adam Whitehead said...

NK Jemisin has a section (which should be expanded to a full chapter in the book version). There's also some newer African-American authors who've started publishing excellent work in just the last couple of years as well, and the likes of David Anthony Durham who's been around a lot longer. This is indeed an area that needs expansion.

Darmok said...

Is this an ongoing or completed project? Is there somewhere I can buy the book?

FabianR said...

Happy New Year!

Any updates on the book? Or a refresher of the blog articles?

Keep up the excellent work