Maybe it's part of a trilogy, but the other books are absolutely lackluster. Maybe there are companion novels written in the same world and with overlapping characters, but just were not up to the One Book™. Maybe the author wrote a sequel or a prequel years later but it is their foundational work that really gets attention. Maybe you've never even HEARD of the other books, but found out they exist when I didn't put your recommendation on our last list. But in any case, they are books that ARE part of a series, but could (and maybe SHOULD) absolutely, totally stand alone.
We had the same problem with our last poll as we did the one two before it. That is, I asked for stand-alone titles and got a BUNCH that were technically part of a series. So it seems clear that we need to run a book recommendation thread JUST for those books. Now is your chance to drop fantasy on here that is part of a series (or world saga) but could also completely stand alone.
I normally don't run a post on Thursday, and I have been having A WEEK, but I owe you from yesterday.
Remember, instead of trying to figure out what more people think is the BEST (which usually turns into which book has the coolest movie adaptation anyway), we're just going to have a nice chat about good books and all come away with some suggestions for our To Be Read Pile™. We'll still have the system of seconds (and "thirds" and "fourths" and…well, you get the idea), but all that will really determine is which goes to the top of the list when I post the results. You can go HERE to see what the results will look like when all is said and done. And I'll link out the original nomination post for folks who want to go see what people are actually saying about the book. Eventually these posts listing the results will be compiled in a massive "book recommendation" post.
Today we're doing "stand alone" fantasy that isn't ACTUALLY stand alone. But to be clear, we're talking about books that absolutely could stand completely alone (and were maybe even intended to had the author not gone back to them), not just "the exceptionally good first book in a trilogy" or something. (Think The Shining or The Witches of Eastwick and not so much The Hunger Games.) These are books that could (and maybe SHOULD) have never had sequels. Planned trilogies (or whatever) that happened to have exceptionally contained narratives technically shouldn't go here.
Because folks voted for some of these books on the "Stand alone" poll, we have a small list already ready to go! But do notice there's no copyright year limitation, so the book can have been published before 1980, unlike our last poll.
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, R. C. O'Brien
Bunnicula, D. Howe and J. Howe
Bridge of Birds, B. Hughart
The Dark is Rising, S. Cooper
Inferno, L. Niven and J. Pournelle
Over Sea Under Stone, S. Cooper
- Make two recommendations. Obviously, I can't stop anyone from making fifteen, but nothing beyond the first two will make it onto the master list. I'm a despot that way.
- TELL US ALL A LITTLE ABOUT WHY YOU LIKE THE BOOK although obviously do so without spoilers! If you just drop a title name and it gets all the seconds, I'm still going to list it, of course, but the whole point of this is to have a "conversation" and gush a little about the books you think are great, exciting, well written, or unforgettable and a little (spoiler-free) squee about why.
- For each recommendation, let us know if you're nominating it more as a BEST book in the genre or an UNDERSUNG HERO in the genre. Basically "undersung hero" is for books you think are great, tragically overlooked, NEED to be read by everyone (like…yesterday), but are maybe not necessarily the besty bestest best. They'll all end up in the list I compile, but I'll put them in different places.
- 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 fantasy (even though it's probably better placed as science fiction), you should show your work if you desire those sweet, sweet seconds (or thirds....or fourths) and there might be a discussion thread after your comment with a lot of people writing out the "If I may…"
- Your book must be part of a series or more than tangentially related to a fully formed fictional universe. It must have a sequel, prequel, be part of a series, or be part of a massive world (like Discworld). If it makes little more a reference to another book like once or twice is clearly taking place in the world of another book without being a sequel, prequel, or a grand unified series, it wouldn't count for this poll. (Sometimes Stephen King books have a small allusion to one of his earlier works. This wouldn't count, as there are only a few S.K. books that are truly sequels.)
- You get to mention two (2) books. That's it. Two. You can do one BEST and one UNDERSUNG HERO. Or you can do two BESTS. Or you can do two UNDERSUNG HEROES. But two is the total. If you nominate three or more, I will, with unimaginable cruelty, simply ignore the third and any subsequent books. I'm sorry that I'm a stickler on this, but it's just lil ol' me compiling this list by myself and it's a pain when people drop a spinosaurus list of every single book they can remember in the entire genre. However, you list more than two books and your third or later choice gets a second, I'll consider everything. (Even though that matters a lot less than it did when I was counting seconds to see which titles made the poll––see below.)
- Did I mention two?
- You may (and absolutely should) give a second shout out to AS MANY nominations of others as you wish. There is no more poll, so this will not be a cutthroat competition to see who makes it to the semifinals. It will simply dictate which titles I list first, and it may influence which books someone considers a good recommendation. ("This one got six seconds, and that one only got two, so I think I'll start with this one.")
- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org) 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.
- You are nominating WRITTEN fiction, not their A/V portrayals. If you thought The Shining was the greatest Stanley Kubrick movie ever, but found the book a little disjointed and TOO character driven to have a satisfying climax, please nominate something else. (I love film, but it's a different medium.)
- Have a conversation, but check the typical internet assholery at the door. If someone likes something you think is terrible, it's okay to let them enjoy it. And if someone has one tight and polite bit of criticism about your recommendation ("I was not a fan of the X plot arc or the way that author writes women."), it's okay that they didn't care for it and there's no need to defend it like they have impugned you honor for seven generations. I **WILL** delete shitty comments, and I absolutely know that's highly subjective, so better to err on the side of nice.