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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Best MODERN Fantasy (Nominations Needed)

What is the best fantasy book (or series) written between 1976 and 2000?  

Remember that we're rerunning 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.

The Rules

(This is now the fourth round we've done under the "new" rules, so you can see what I mean by some of this):

My hand to all that is holy in the universe, we are going to finish this poll by late September (in time to do horror for Halloween) or I will pull this entire poll over to the side of the road, so help me. So be prepared for quick turnarounds on the nominations and lightning fast semifinals if we need them.

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.

  1. 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 Snow Crash as a fantasy book, I'm not going to argue that it's probably better classed as Science Fiction but YOU have to convince others if you're going to get seconded and on the poll--nevermind win.
  2. All books nominated must have publication dates from 1976-2000.
  3. A series with books that have landed inside and outside of the "Modern" zone may not be nominated as a series, but individual books in the series may. 
  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 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 The Good Omens miniseries on Amazon Prime was fucking sick, but never managed to get past the hospital scene in the book, 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. 
  10. TWO!


  1. My nomination:

    The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams

  2. On A Pale Horse by Piers Anthony 1983 (first hardcover)

  3. Dammit, I really wanted to nominate the Dalemark Quartet by Diana Wynne Jones for the Undersung Heroes award, but the first one was released in 1975!
    So instead I will go for two other books of hers; The Homeward Bounders, and Dark Lord of Derkholm.

  4. The Sword Of Truth by Terry Goodkind 1996

  5. Tehanu, by Ursula le Guin. Because it's the only one of the Earthsea sequence that falls within the time limits.

  6. The Shadow of the Torturer 1980 by Gene Wolfe. Because it totally surprised me and was incredibly well-written. For purer fantasy, Soldier of the Mist 1986 ditto.

  7. Storm Front by Jim Butcher (2000 - squeeks through!). The only one of the Dresden Files series that makes the cut.

    And I sort of have to be the one that also lists Prachett and Gaiman Good Omens (1990).

    I'll probably have an undersung hero to add over the weekend.

  8. I nominate the Fionavar Tapestry trilogy by Guy Gabriel Kay, from the 1980s. While it is not technically one book, it is an excellent fantasy story.

    1. That should read Guy Gavriel Kay, dang autocorrect.

    2. I second the Fionarvar Tapestry Trilogy by Guy Gavriel Kay.

  9. Jim Butcher's Storm Front and I feel like I also have to nominate GRR Martin's A Game of Thrones here

  10. Robin Hobb's The Far Seer Trilogy

  11. Not exactly unsung, but His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman and Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea
    And I'm realizing that the majority of the great fantasy books I've read were published within the past decade (except LoTR, of course. I wrote my undergrad thesis on Tolkien.)

  12. I nominate the Deptford Mice Trilogy by Robin Jarvis. So dark, romantic, and beautifully written.

  13. I second The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams

  14. The entire run of Sandman comics by Neil Gaiman in the 80s and 90s.

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  16. I nominate Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg

  17. I also nominate The Black Swan by Mercedes Lackey

  18. Dragonsbane. By Barbara Hambly (1985)