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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Best Classic Fantasy (NOMINATIONS NEEDED)

What is the best fantasy book (or series) written before 1975?  

We're going back to some of our most popular polls of the past few years, but this time we're doing it with lots more voters (and we'll be keeping the results on display.) It's all part of our new Sticky Polls--the 2019 roll out for polls here at Writing About Writing.

But we're changing gears from the modern science fiction poll we ran last. And rather than just do the same time period with fantasy or the next time period with sci-fi, I decided to change both those things up since we're going to get to all of them eventually.

The Rules
(I know this is only the second round of polls we've done under the new rules, but now that we've done one with them, you can see what I mean by some of this):

  1. There is a new category of nomination. It is NOT a nomination for the poll. It is an UNDERSUNG HERO nomination. Basically it is for books you think are great, tragically overlooked, but maybe not necessarily the besty bestest best. I will be listing these books along with the poll results. However, if you nominate a book for our poll it will not be considered for the undersung hero list and if you shout out something for an undersung hero, it will not be counted as a nomination for the poll. (Someone else can nominate it.) Think about if you want to give a book few seem to know about a shout out or if you're tossing your fave into The Hunger Games.
  2. As always, I leave the niggling over the definition of genres to your best judgement because I'd rather be inclusive. If you want to nominate Flowers for Algernon, I'm not going to argue that it's probably better classed as sci-fi, but YOU have to convince others if you're going to get on the poll--nevermind win.
  3. Your book must be copyrighted 1975 or earlier. If it is a series, the ENTIRE SERIES must have been written before 1975.  Of course you can nominate the earliest novel in a series if you are trying to work around the rules, but not the series itself unless it's entirely published before '75. No small number of shout outs to Discworld have included only the books from the appropriate time frame. Why should we stop now? There will be other polls for newer books.
  4. You get to mention two (2) books (or series). That's it. Two. You can do ONE nomination for the poll and ONE UNDERSUNG HERO.  Or you can do TWO nominations. Or you can do TWO undersung heroes. But two is the total. If you nominate three or more I will NOT take any nominations beyond the second that you suggest. I'm sorry that I'm a stickler on this, but I compile these polls myself and it's a pain when people drop a megalodon list every decent book they can remember of in the genre. It is up to you how to divy your TWO choices. TWO.
  5. Did I mention two?
  6. You may (and absolutely should) second AS MANY nominations of others as you wish. THEY WILL NOT GET ONTO THE POLL WITHOUT SECONDS. You can agree with or cheer on the undersung heroes, but they won't "transform" into nominations unless someone else nominates that same book as "best" (and then they get a second). Also stop back in and see if anyone has put up something you want to see go onto the poll. 
  7. Put your nominations HERE. I will take nominations only as comments and only on this post. (No comments on FB posts or G+ will be considered nominations.) If you can't comment for some reason because of Blogger, send me an email (chris.brecheen@gmail.com) stating exactly that and what your nomination is, and I will personally put your comment up. I am not likely to see a comment on social media even if it says you were unable to leave a comment here. 
  8. You are nominating WRITTEN genre fiction, not their movie portrayals. If you thought the Lord of the Rings movies were the shiznit, but thought the books were a little dry and slow, nominate something else.
  9. This is probably well known by vets of this blog by now, but there will be no more endless elimination rounds. I will take somewhere between 8-20 best performing titles and at MOST run a single semifinal round. By "performing" I mean the seconds. So second the titles you want even if they already have one. (Yes, I guess that would make them "thirds," "fourths," etc...) The competition on this poll might be fierce. You may have to get your friends involved. Buy them a pizza. Make it real. 


  1. I'm going to nominate The Chronicles of Prydain (1964-68) and the first three books of the Earthsea Cycle (1968-72).

  2. I’ll nominate Dracula (1897) and Where the Wild things Are (1963)

    And both Prydain and Earthsea are well deserving of seconds

  3. I nominate "the garden of forking paths" by Jorge Louis Borges.
    I also nominate "dragonflight" by Anne mccaffery.

    I second "where the wells thing are "

  4. The Earthsea books.
    They are. TRAGICALLY undersung.

    1. The other one which is not undersung would be LOTR. Because obviously.

  5. No Different Flesh by Zenna Henderson. I will second the Earthsea books above.

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. Comment from someone who can't comment:

    Roger Zelazny's "Nine Princes in Amber" (later books don't qualify for
    inclusion) and

    Michael Moorcock's Elric saga - all 6 core books qualify, and the
    influence of his ideas has been huge.

    I'll second LOTR, just to get it out of the way...

  8. Nomination from someone who can't comment (which I as CHRIS will second)

    Watership Down

  9. Nominate:
    The Gormenghast trilogy (not sure if it will get any seconds which is tragic people COME ON! ��)

    Conan the Barbarian, Robert E Howard.

    I preemptively second LOTR. I also second Earthsea as mentioned, and Dragonflight

  10. Nomination 1: Moorcock's "Eternal Champion" series (different from the Elric novels).
    Nomination 2: Aldous Huxley "Brave New World"
    Gormenghast trilogy
    Watership Down
    Moorcock's Elric series (separate from the "Eternal Champion", I believe)

  11. I nominate The Once and Future King.

    And I second the Gormenghast trilogy.