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Weezer
2011-10-28, 12:10 AM
I've found that the vast majority of the books I read are incredibly depressing and I'm up for a change. Preferably something sci-fi/fantasy, but other genres aren't out of the question. I'd like to disallow anything particularly saccarine and really want something that is serious on some level. I've failed at serious but not depressing.

Some examples of stuff I've read and enjoyed: all of Douglas Adams, Prattchett, Heinlein, Tolkein, Asimov, Gaiman, Herbert, Mieville, Gibson and Donaldson. Most/much of George R.R. Martin, P.K. ****, Banks, Steven Erikson, Glen Cook, Moorcock, Sergey Lukyanenko, Clark, as well as many others.

So, I come to the Playground in the hopes that your collective knowledge will help me find what I desire.

Lord Raziere
2011-10-28, 01:41 AM
I recommend Warbreaker. its by Brandon Sanderson….

Feytalist
2011-10-28, 01:50 AM
Again, I can recommend Eddings. All his work is relatively lighthearted, considering its content. It strikes a nice balance between serious and fun, I think.

It's wildly subjective, of course. What I consider simply to be intense storytelling you might think of as depressing. But it doesn't hurt to try it out.

The majority of Anne McCaffrey's works are also generally light reading.

Seonor
2011-10-28, 02:56 AM
Try Stephen Brusts "Phoenix Guards" funny, serious swashbuckling.

Selrahc
2011-10-28, 03:51 AM
John Wyndham could be a good one. It's interesting sci-fi that can deal with some bleak situations; apocalypse, alien invasion etc; but generally in quite an upbeat and optimistic way.

Serpentine
2011-10-28, 03:59 AM
Not often Wyndham gets a plug. Jolly good.
Even more rarely: Robert C. O'Brien. Only wrote about 4 or 5 books, but they're all very different and very good.
Second Anne McCaffery.
Tamora Pierce is very light reading, but still good and often dealing with fairly dark themes.
I think Plague Dogs is very good, too. Oddly enough, the movie version had a depressing ending apparently, but the book doesn't.
Tad Williams, particularly Memory Sorrow and Thorn, and Tailchaser's Song.
Terry Pratchet, obviously.
Uuuuum... I had another but I forgotted it :/

Manga Shoggoth
2011-10-28, 04:08 AM
Again, I can recommend Eddings. All his work is relatively lighthearted, considering its content. It strikes a nice balance between serious and fun, I think.

Of Eddings work, I would certianly recommend the Belgariad (story of a farm boy with a destiny). In my opinion it is his best work. He basically takes most of the fantasy tropes and plays them for all they are worth. Amazingly, this turns out an enjoyable story.

At this point you may want to stop. Eddings writes a lot of his fantasy the same way, and if you are sensitive to that sort of thing the later stories can be annoying. If not...

Then there is the Elenium (story of a knight with a destiny). It is well told, enjoyable, and has engaging characters. It is somewhat more grom and gritty than the Belgariad, but still fairly light. Its only real problem is that if you have read the Belgariad you can see all the tropes he is re-using.

If you like the Belgariad, then you might try the Mallorian (sequel series, with the problems that implies), Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress (two seperate books detailing the events before the Belgariad through the eyes of the title characters).

If you like the Elenium, you might like the Tamuli (another sequel series, same problems)

Failing that there is The Redemption of Athulus (world's greatest thief gets entangled in events beyond his control). Reasonably enjoyable, but the writing us very uneven.

I tried reading the Elder Gods series and gave up part way through the first book. When you can see daylight through the building blocks it's time to stop.

And finally, I suspect that if depressing is not your metier, you should avoid High Hunt.

Serpentine
2011-10-28, 04:11 AM
I really liked The Redemption of Althalus. Elder Gods is... eh. It's rather hard to relate to a character who is quite literally a god.

Weimann
2011-10-28, 05:34 AM
I must recommend The Name of the Wind, and the sequel The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss. The writing in incredible. You can really see that the author loves stringing words together. It's sometimes painfully beautiful.

Weezer
2011-10-28, 07:17 AM
John Wyndham could be a good one. It's interesting sci-fi that can deal with some bleak situations; apocalypse, alien invasion etc; but generally in quite an upbeat and optimistic way.
Looks very old-school, which of his books would be good to start with? He seems to have quite a few.


Again, I can recommend Eddings. All his work is relatively lighthearted, considering its content. It strikes a nice balance between serious and fun, I think.

It's wildly subjective, of course. What I consider simply to be intense storytelling you might think of as depressing. But it doesn't hurt to try it out.

The majority of Anne McCaffrey's works are also generally light reading.

I've read most of Eddings, I think he was the second big fantasy author I ever read when I was a kid, after Tolkein of course. He's very good but I'm looking for something new.


I recommend Warbreaker. its by Brandon Sanderson….

I'll have to give that a look, I've read Elantris by him and really enjoyed it.


Try Stephen Brusts "Phoenix Guards" funny, serious swashbuckling.

Swashbuckling always gets a few points in my book.


Not often Wyndham gets a plug. Jolly good.
Even more rarely: Robert C. O'Brien. Only wrote about 4 or 5 books, but they're all very different and very good.
Second Anne McCaffery.
Tamora Pierce is very light reading, but still good and often dealing with fairly dark themes.
I think Plague Dogs is very good, too. Oddly enough, the movie version had a depressing ending apparently, but the book doesn't.
Tad Williams, particularly Memory Sorrow and Thorn, and Tailchaser's Song.
Terry Pratchet, obviously.
Uuuuum... I had another but I forgotted it :/
A seconding of Wyndham, definitely going to have to read some of that.
Already read a lot of Pierce, I enjoy her, nicely fluffy.
Never really a fan of McCaffery, only liked the first (chronoligically, not in order she wrote them) Pern novel, the rest didn't do it for me.
Williams I have mixed feelings about, I really liked Otherland (though that wasn't exactly uplifting) and disliked Memory, Sorrow, Thorn after reading the first two books.


I must recommend The Name of the Wind, and the sequel The Wise Man's Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss. The writing in incredible. You can really see that the author loves stringing words together. It's sometimes painfully beautiful.

I love Name of the Wind, can't believe I forgot to mention it. His use of prose is simply unparalleled within the fantasy genre.

endoperez
2011-10-28, 07:29 AM
Lord Demon is an interesting book. A co-project between Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold, it's about a being best described as demigod slowly unraveling the plots weaved across hundreds of years. The magic system and creatures are influenced by Chinese myths, chi, lion-dogs guarding holy places, Asian-style dragons, feng shui etc.
The substory is the main character learning more about humans, and becoming more human, in various ways.


If you can find Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart, it's another really interesting book influenced by Chinese myths and culture. It's not all wine and roses, but is pretty light-hearted, and contains several running jokes which I found hilarious.

Selrahc
2011-10-28, 07:36 AM
Looks very old-school, which of his books would be good to start with? He seems to have quite a few.

Definitely very old school. Day of the Triffids is probably his best book, so start with that.

Incidentally, have you read Kurt Vonnegut? Most of his stuff doesn't really fit in with "Not depressing" but it seems like you've hit most of the other big names in Sci-Fi.

Serpentine
2011-10-28, 07:39 AM
Looks very old-school, which of his books would be good to start with? He seems to have quite a few.The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos (made into Village of the Damned) are his most famous works. I can vouch for the former, but not the latter. I've also read Chrysalids, which was in my opinion a good book.

Never really a fan of McCaffery, only liked the first (chronoligically, not in order she wrote them) Pern novel, the rest didn't do it for me.Have you read The Ship Who Sang? It's my absolute favourite of her work, I think, and is pretty different to the Pern books.

Williams I have mixed feelings about, I really liked Otherland (though that wasn't exactly uplifting) and disliked Memory, Sorrow, Thorn after reading the first two books.Tailchaser's Song is a very different and very odd sort of book. It's a fantasy quest book... about cats. And it's weirdly dark.

Radar
2011-10-28, 07:45 AM
For some reason Andre Norton doesn't get any attention theese days. She wrote and co-wrote quite a lot of books and usualy they are on the positive side of the high-spirited/depressenig scale. There is a similar problem with her as with Eddings - she often reuses tropes and plot elements. Her books are a good read nevertheless.

Some of the works by Lem would be great: Mortal Engines, Cyberiad and probably The Star Diaries (to a lesser extent). I found A Perfect Vacuum quite entertaining as well. Most of his other works are great, but rather pesimistic and/or heavily philosphical, so not the thing you're looking for.

Manga Shoggoth
2011-10-28, 07:54 AM
If you can find Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart, it's another really interesting book influenced by Chinese myths and culture. It's not all wine and roses, but is pretty light-hearted, and contains several running jokes which I found hilarious.

Again, a good book. The sequel (The Story of the Stone) is also good, although I was less impressed by the third book (Eight Skilled Gentleman). About the only depressing part is the number of ways Number Ten Ox completely fails to get the girl in the end.


If you can't find the published version, the original draft of Bridge of Birds was published online. It is very different from the published version (Number Ten Ox is missing, for a start...), but worth a look.

H Birchgrove
2011-10-28, 08:05 AM
Doc E.E. Smith's Skylark and Lensman (though I only know it from Wikipedia etc and the comics adaptation of the anime).

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan and John Carter of Mars novels.

Jules Verne. :smallsmile:

Karel Capek, especially War with the Newts and The Absolute at Large. Horrible stuff do happen in the books (war, racial prejudice etc) but it's dealt with in a satirical manner.

Not SF, but I love Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk. Partially about the Eastern Front during The Great War, military bureaucracy and shenanigans. Similar to Blackadder's last season (without vitriol) and M.A.S.H. up to eleven and beyond the impossible. You'll also learn about the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Weezer
2011-10-28, 08:13 AM
Definitely very old school. Day of the Triffids is probably his best book, so start with that.

Incidentally, have you read Kurt Vonnegut? Most of his stuff doesn't really fit in with "Not depressing" but it seems like you've hit most of the other big names in Sci-Fi.

Old school is good, I have a soft spot for pulp sci-fi, it's always interesting looking at how the genre has changed in the past 50-60 years.

Yeah I've read Vonnegut, my favorite of his was Sirens of Titan, but as you say he isn't exactly uplifting. That's another of my problems, much of my reading has come from top X lists, so I've run through most of the big names, making it harder to find good stuff.


The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos (made into Village of the Damned) are his most famous works. I can vouch for the former, but not the latter. I've also read Chrysalids, which was in my opinion a good book.
Have you read The Ship Who Sang? It's my absolute favourite of her work, I think, and is pretty different to the Pern books.
Tailchaser's Song is a very different and very odd sort of book. It's a fantasy quest book... about cats. And it's weirdly dark.

So Day of the Triffids it is.
I've only read her Pern novels, I'll have to try that one to see if I like it more.

Dark fantasy about cats? How is there anyway I could pass that up?


Lord Demon is an interesting book. A co-project between Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold, it's about a being best described as demigod slowly unraveling the plots weaved across hundreds of years. The magic system and creatures are influenced by Chinese myths, chi, lion-dogs guarding holy places, Asian-style dragons, feng shui etc.
The substory is the main character learning more about humans, and becoming more human, in various ways.


If you can find Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart, it's another really interesting book influenced by Chinese myths and culture. It's not all wine and roses, but is pretty light-hearted, and contains several running jokes which I found hilarious.

Never read anything based heavily on Chinese myths before, sounds really interesting. Have read some of Zelazany before and liked it, so this is definitely something to look into.


Doc E.E. Smith's Skylark and Lensman (though I only know it from Wikipedia etc and the comics adaptation of the anime).

Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan and John Carter of Mars novels.

Jules Verne. :smallsmile:

Karel Capek, especially War with the Newts and The Absolute at Large. Horrible stuff do happen in the books (war, racial prejudice etc) but it's dealt with in a satirical manner.

Not SF, but I love Jaroslav Hašek's The Good Soldier Švejk. Partially about the Eastern Front during The Great War, military bureaucracy and shenanigans. Similar to Blackadder's last season (without vitriol) and M.A.S.H. up to eleven and beyond the impossible. You'll also learn about the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Read Smith, Burroughs and Verne, loved them all. Really enjoyed the Lensman series, how could I not love a series where they pulled antimatter planets from other universes and crashed them into their enemies?

A Blackadder and M.A.S.H.-esque novel about WWI? Sounds pretty awesome.

Friv
2011-10-28, 08:52 AM
I recommend Tanya Huff. She writes stuff that's pretty funny, but also decently serious, and tends to straddle the line between pulp and interesting drama, and she's written all varieties of urban fantasy, high fantasy, and science fiction.

If you haven't been burned out on the "vampire detective" genre, the Blood Price series is very good (plus, the vampire is the bastard son of Henry VIII, which is kind of funny), and its sequel series, which I just call "Smoke and X", is even better.

Serpentine
2011-10-28, 08:57 AM
Tanya Huff sounds kinda like Jasper Fforde.
I'd describe him as being to literature and nursery rhymes what Pratchett is to fantasy and pulp fiction and Douglass Adams is to science fiction. I've only read two of his books - a Thursday Next and the one about Humpty Dumpty - but they're a lot of fun.

Traab
2011-10-28, 09:43 AM
Oath of Swords by David Weber. That and the two books in the series after it, are the only three fantasy books he wrote, the rest are sci fi. It is hilarious. Lots of witty repartee between the two main characters, nose tweaking, silly songs, and in between humor you have 7 and a half foot tall warriors cleaving brigands in half from crown to crotch. Whats not to love? Best part is, the main characters are of a race ive never read about before, hradani. They hate magic, dont like the gods, (for very good reason) and yet the two main characters are up to their necks in magic and gods and cant get away from it. (and they DO try) As for the rest you have dwarves, elves, halflings, and of course, humans. Its got demons and vampires, champions of the gods, wand wizards, wild magic users, mages, (all very different) intelligent horses, amazonish women, heroic tales of daring do, wanna be bards making up silly ditties, its got it all.

Liffguard
2011-10-28, 12:33 PM
I'd recommend some David Gemmell. He writes unapologetically old-school heroic fantasy. His books aren't exactly happy but embrace what I like to call idealistic cynicism. Evil exists, good people die, cowards prosper. And that makes it all the more meaningful that there will always be people willing to do good anyway. He firmly believed in redemption and that nobody was so fallen that they couldn't do good again, not for hope of reward but purely for its own sake. Another common theme is courage and how anyone is capable of it, even the least likely. I always return to Gemmell for a little comfort reading, or when I need cheering up.

Tavar
2011-10-28, 01:42 PM
Oath of Swords is definitely a good choice.

Roger Zelazny Lord of Light and his Amber series are exceedingly well written.

The General Series By SM Stirling And David Drake is some good military sci-fi, while the Belisarius series by David Drake and Eric Flint is a good example of military historical fiction/alternate reality.

Traab
2011-10-28, 01:45 PM
I'd recommend some David Gemmell. He writes unapologetically old-school heroic fantasy. His books aren't exactly happy but embrace what I like to call idealistic cynicism. Evil exists, good people die, cowards prosper. And that makes it all the more meaningful that there will always be people willing to do good anyway. He firmly believed in redemption and that nobody was so fallen that they couldn't do good again, not for hope of reward but purely for its own sake. Another common theme is courage and how anyone is capable of it, even the least likely. I always return to Gemmell for a little comfort reading, or when I need cheering up.

I dunno, while nice in the aspect of good triumphing and people can change and be awesome, its still a pretty depressing set of books considering how so many of them end. There are some good lines here and there for a laugh, Druss was especially good at them, but for the most part its heroes acting heroic in hopeless battles. Not the stuff giggles are made of.

Liffguard
2011-10-28, 02:39 PM
I dunno, while nice in the aspect of good triumphing and people can change and be awesome, its still a pretty depressing set of books considering how so many of them end. There are some good lines here and there for a laugh, Druss was especially good at them, but for the most part its heroes acting heroic in hopeless battles. Not the stuff giggles are made of.

True, his books are neither light-hearted nor funny. In fact, they're generally quite bittersweet. But they are also triumphant and uplifting. Heroic sacrifice with the emphasis on heroic.

Telonius
2011-10-28, 02:49 PM
"The Eyes of the Dragon" by Stephen King. Straight-up fantasy; imo King could be a pretty good fantasy author if he ever decided to give up horror. (Dark Tower and a lot of his other stuff has fantasy elements already).

"Sir Apropos of Nothing" by Peter David. Lots of dark comedy, but not totally depressing.

The Myth Adventures series by Robert Asprin. (First book available in webcomic form thanks to the Foglios (http://www.airshipentertainment.com/mythcomic.php?date=20100109)).

Weezer
2011-10-28, 02:50 PM
True, his books are neither light-hearted nor funny. In fact, they're generally quite bittersweet. But they are also triumphant and uplifting. Heroic sacrifice with the emphasis on heroic.

It certainly sounds interesting but I don't think bittersweet is what I'm looking for at the moment. Usually it is right up my alley, but I'm trying to avoid that kind of thing right now.


"The Eyes of the Dragon" by Stephen King. Straight-up fantasy; imo King could be a pretty good fantasy author if he ever decided to give up horror. (Dark Tower and a lot of his other stuff has fantasy elements already).

"Sir Apropos of Nothing" by Peter David. Lots of dark comedy, but not totally depressing.

The Myth Adventures series by Robert Asprin. (First book available in webcomic form thanks to the Foglios (http://www.airshipentertainment.com/mythcomic.php?date=20100109)).

King has never really impressed me, I've read the Stand and the first few books of Dark Tower but they didn't do it for me.

I'll haveto look into those other two though.

EDIT: Just downloaded Oath of Swords, it's part of the Baen Free Library (which is awesome by the way) so I'll give it a whirl and see how it is. Did the same with Warbreaker, Sanderson apparently released it on his website for free. Yay for authors being awesome!

Eldan
2011-10-28, 04:43 PM
Warbreaker is very good, but if you don't want dark and depressing, stay away from both the Stormlight Archives and Mistborn.

H Birchgrove
2011-10-28, 06:14 PM
Old school is good, I have a soft spot for pulp sci-fi, it's always interesting looking at how the genre has changed in the past 50-60 years.

_ _ _ _ _

Read Smith, Burroughs and Verne, loved them all. Really enjoyed the Lensman series, how could I not love a series where they pulled antimatter planets from other universes and crashed them into their enemies?

A Blackadder and M.A.S.H.-esque novel about WWI? Sounds pretty awesome.

Since you like old school pulp SF I heartily recommend Alfred Elton van Vogt's novels (http://us.macmillan.com/author/aevanvogt) and short stories (http://www.nesfa.org/press/Books/VanVogt.html). Along with Fredric Brown he inspired Philip K. [YouknowIcan'ttypehisnamedammit], and along with Brown, Robert A. Heinlein and others he inspired Star Trek. His prose may be a bit quirky, but if a turnip like me could enjoy it, I then hope you will then too. His short stories (often similar to John W. Campbell Jr theme-wise, at least the early ones) and his first novel Slan (about a future superman fighting an oppressive government with super-science) are the easiest to begin with. If you are prepared for some royal mind-screws, continue with his Clane of Linn (http://www.webscription.net/chapters/1416520899/1416520899.htm?blurb) stories, World of Null-A (the screwiest of them all - Matrix was easy peasy in comparison!) and his two Empire of Isher (http://us.macmillan.com/theempireofisher/AvanVogt) novels (if you can find them).

Remember that both Capek and Hasek were Czechs and Czech humour may be very different from what you're used to. Lots of swearing and potty humour, amongst the absurdities and satire. But I love it and their novels.

Aotrs Commander
2011-10-28, 08:08 PM
As a complete shot in the dark and a departure from most of the previous suggestions, I tentatively suggest that Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet books are well worth a read if military sci-fi and/or starships are of interest to you. It really is notably an admiral's series (one only one book out of the first six do you see any scenes outside of the starship). It's not really funny or anything, but you did specify not-depressing.

Though you may want to bang your head against the wall at the sheer Stupid of some of the captains the protagonist has to deal with. The fasinating part is that these idiots are all too real, based as they are from some of the very worst commanders in military history. Indeed, if like myself (and the author), you have read Geoffry Regan's military Blunders series, you'll be picking them out.

(Actually, the Blunders series are well worth a read in and of themselves in the nonfiction department.)

It is certainly a series with a unique slant, at any rate. (Being a starship freak, I really enjoyed it, personally.)

BiblioRook
2011-10-28, 08:50 PM
Tanya Huff sounds kinda like Jasper Fforde.
I'd describe him as being to literature and nursery rhymes what Pratchett is to fantasy and pulp fiction and Douglass Adams is to science fiction. I've only read two of his books - a Thursday Next and the one about Humpty Dumpty - but they're a lot of fun.

Seconding Fforde, he's pretty great. The Thursday Next series is truly a series for booklovers. The Nursery Crimes is technically a very loose spinoff, but you would only know if you read the Next books first. It's just what it sounds like, Noir mysteries involving Nursery Tale characters. He has a third series about a dystopian future where you're place in life is mandated by what colors you can see (most only see one, ranked in opposite order of ROYGBIV), this series is only one book long at the moment though.


Alan Dean Foster's Spellsinger is supposed to be really good, I haven't read it yet but it's high on my list. Heck, just Alan Dean Foster in general, as he also writes alot of Sci-Fi.
Also Piers Anthony for same reasons, really punny.

olelia
2011-10-28, 08:55 PM
I'd recommend the Magic Kindom For Sale Sold (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Kingdom_for_Sale_%E2%80%94_SOLD!) Series by Terry Brook. Its got a silly plot line and plenty of funniness while still having a very solid plot.

Radar
2011-10-29, 02:06 AM
Some books I just remembered:
1. Wizards of Odd (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wizards_of_Odd) - an antology of humorous fantasy and SF. Just look at the authors list.
2. The High Crusade (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_High_Crusade)- a very funny SF about a buch of medieval crusaders trolling their way to galactical domination.

Serpentine
2011-10-29, 02:42 AM
He has a third series about a dystopian future where you're place in life is mandated by what colors you can see (most only see one, ranked in opposite order of ROYGBIV), this series is only one book long at the moment though.Wait a minute... This doesn't involve a story about a boy who gets picked out as some sort of seer type thing when it's realised he can see the colour red when he picks up an apple, does it?

Weezer
2011-10-29, 08:14 AM
Wait a minute... This doesn't involve a story about a boy who gets picked out as some sort of seer type thing when it's realised he can see the colour red when he picks up an apple, does it?

I think you're thinking of the Giver by Louis Lowry, or at least the events you describe are exactly how the main character was picked out as special.

Friv
2011-10-29, 09:59 AM
I think you're thinking of the Giver by Louis Lowry, or at least the events you describe are exactly how the main character was picked out as special.

Yeah, people who can see red are pretty common in Shades of Grey (that being the name of the first book in that new series). Most people can only see red, blue, or yellow, but some people can see two of those (and thus the color made from mixing those two.)

BiblioRook
2011-10-29, 12:57 PM
Shades of Grey did kinda give me a Giver vibe, the majority of the book is more about the system of arbitrary rules most people blindly fallow and the main character's almost accidental involvement in the movement for change (such as the fact that spoons are considered more valuable then nearly anything due to a shortage. The rules disallow the continued production of them).

Of course, as you probably could tell from the above example, the arbitrary system of rules is amped up to ridiculousness.

Gnoman
2011-10-29, 02:37 PM
Try the cheela books by Forward. Dragon's Egg and Starquake. They're about the interactions between a human ship and a race of little creatures on a neutron star.

Tiki Snakes
2011-10-29, 02:57 PM
I'm going to chime in a suggestion for the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, personally. Written by archaeologist and anthropologist Steven Erikson, it's genuinely one of the better fantasy series I've ever encountered. Things don't always end well for the characters, per say, but I'd say that over-all it's relatively non-bittersweet and is epic enough to more than make up for the breif moments where it dabbles with it.

Traab
2011-10-29, 02:58 PM
Pure humor and silliness, In The Company of Ogres, by A. Lee Martinez. Just to give you a small overview.

The main character is called Never Dead Ned. But thats a bit of a misnomer. He has died something like 40+ times. The thing is, he doesnt STAY dead. He works for some huge merc company since they figure a guy who cant stay dead must be useful! Too bad he is a bit of a coward. He ends up being put in charge of Ogre Company. Basically the dregs of the army. You have goblin hordes who are lucky to live longer than three years due to being suicidally brave, a man hating amazon who keeps demanding men admit she is gorgeous then beats the crap out of them for it. Ogres who think of pretty human girls as pets you can fornicate with, frail and mostly useless elves, only good for distracting demonic enemies since they taste so good. A shape shifting goblin who may be part leprechaun. A blind seer who can only hear the future, mainly only used to intterupt people trying to speak by answering their questions before they can finish, the list goes on.

Shadow Lord
2011-10-29, 03:07 PM
I recommend The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher.

Weezer
2011-10-29, 03:27 PM
I'm going to chime in a suggestion for the Malazan Book of the Fallen series, personally. Written by archaeologist and anthropologist Steven Erikson, it's genuinely one of the better fantasy series I've ever encountered. Things don't always end well for the characters, per say, but I'd say that over-all it's relatively non-bittersweet and is epic enough to more than make up for the breif moments where it dabbles with it.

I've actually read most of the series, however I wouldn't call it relatively non-bittersweet. The series as a whole is rife with evil, betrayal, and horrors of war. The Chain of Dogs? The Pannion Dominion? The list goes on and on.

Tiki Snakes
2011-10-29, 04:11 PM
I've actually read most of the series, however I wouldn't call it relatively non-bittersweet. The series as a whole is rife with evil, betrayal, and horrors of war. The Chain of Dogs? The Pannion Dominion? The list goes on and on.

Well, I'll give you the Chain of Dogs, no question. I haven't got the whole way through it yet, either, so there is that.
Not sure I can explain it, but I generally got a positive and hopeful feel from the series, though, even with bits like that. Probably just me thinking weirdly, though.

Weezer
2011-10-29, 04:20 PM
Well, I'll give you the Chain of Dogs, no question. I haven't got the whole way through it yet, either, so there is that.
Not sure I can explain it, but I generally got a positive and hopeful feel from the series, though, even with bits like that. Probably just me thinking weirdly, though.

I get the exact opposite feeling, even when the main characters do win it's always a bittersweet victory, always Pyrrhic and incomplete. The main characters feel so small and insignificant before the actions and manipulations of the truly powerful players.
But as you say, it could be chalked up to me overemphasizing the depressing bits and underemphasizing the positive bits in my mind.

Mindfreak
2011-10-29, 04:27 PM
Even though they aren't sci-fi or fantasy, I have to recommend The Body of Christopher Creed and Following Christopher Creed when it comes out. They are fantastic novels about a boy who watches another boy being picked on who suddenly disappears after leaving a simple note.
While it wouldn't be so big, the town quickly starts accusing each other and many many things happen and Christopher Creed cannot be found and no trace of him is found.
I really suggest you read them as they are very thrilling novels in my opinion. I read Following Christpher Creed by getting the Advanced Reader's Copy from my library.

Aotrs Commander
2011-10-29, 05:11 PM
Another one I just thought of popped up: Skulduggery Pleasant. It certainly isn't depressing (in fact, I found with the banter between the characters and the pace of the action, it felt very like reading an action movie).

It is also about a magic-using skeleton (i.e. technically a Lich in all but name) detective with a gun going round and kicking Evil arse. How can you not want to read that! It's awesome!

BiblioRook
2011-10-29, 05:19 PM
Another really funny author that is arguably fantasy would be Christopher Moore.
I never really though of his books as very fantasy before, but just now thinking about it I realized that just about everyone of his books involve something somewhat supernatural, be it angels, demons, vampires, or Native American spirits and grim reapers.

dehro
2011-10-29, 06:34 PM
I really liked The Redemption of Althalus..

very much this.... it's kinda what Eddings is all about, wrapped in one single volume, rather than having it spread over 4-15 books.. the fun, the fantasy, the "adventure" and the good pacing are all there.

for light reading you could also go back to childhood classics such as the books by Michael Ende, Rudyard Kipling, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas pčre, amongst others.

scout penguin
2011-10-29, 06:40 PM
Six Silent Men. Three books about LRRP/ Rangers in Vietnam.

I didn't think they were depressing, but if you find war stories depressing, you may whant to avoid them. I find them uplifting because not only do you see humanity at its worst, but at its best.

Weezer
2011-10-29, 07:03 PM
very much this.... it's kinda what Eddings is all about, wrapped in one single volume, rather than having it spread over 4-15 books.. the fun, the fantasy, the "adventure" and the good pacing are all there.

for light reading you could also go back to childhood classics such as the books by Michael Ende, Rudyard Kipling, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas pčre, amongst others.

I agree about Redemption of Althalus, it was Eddings at his finest.

I wouldn't call Dumas particularly light writing. Any author who writes a book where the relations between the characters can be mapped like this, isn't doing light writing. Still love his novels though.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7c/CountOfMonteCristoRelations.svg

H Birchgrove
2011-10-29, 07:20 PM
Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure stories, especially Treasure Island, maybe Kidnapped.

John Buchan's spy and adventure novels, including The Thirty-Nine Steps.

Ian Fleming's, Kingsley Amis', John Gardner's and possibly Raymond Benson's and Sebastian Faulks' James Bond novels and short stories are usually fun and exciting. The only books that borders on depression are Casino Royale and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, but I won't recommend against them if you start to love the stories.

Warning: Neither Buchan or Fleming are "politically correct", but they have their "fair for its day" moments.

Evrine
2011-10-29, 07:37 PM
Seconding the recommendations of Lord Demon and the Lost Fleet series. I seriously enjoyed those books.

I would also recommend Donnerjack by Roger Zelazny and Jane Lindskold. Really nice blend of sci-fi and fantasy. I wouldn't really call it depressing, but the ending can be if you read it that way.

Jane Lindskold's Firekeeper Saga (starting with Through Wolf's Eyes) is really good fantasy. It starts out really low magic, but becomes progressively higher magic as the series goes on.

Isaac Asimov has a lot of good books. In particular his robot mysteries (Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, The Robots of Dawn) and his robot anthologies (I, Robot, Robot Visions, Robot Dreams) were all very good. A lot of people recommend his Foundation series, but I found it kind of boring in comparison.

Christopher Anvil has two Interstellar Patrol anthologies that were pretty good. The first was better than the second, though.

Axolotl
2011-10-29, 07:50 PM
Some examples of stuff I've read and enjoyed: all of Douglas Adams, Prattchett, Heinlein, Tolkein, Asimov, Gaiman, Herbert, Mieville, Gibson and Donaldson. Most/much of George R.R. Martin, P.K. ****, Banks, Steven Erikson, Glen Cook, Moorcock, Sergey Lukyanenko, Clark, as well as many others.Have you ever read anything by JG Ballard? He fits in pretty much perfectly with most of those authors and his stuff is serious but not depressing. The Drowned World is a good place to start with him.

RedBeardJim
2011-10-29, 09:53 PM
I'll toss in a rec for Lois McMaster Bujold, especially The Curse of Chalion and its sequel Paladin of Souls. There's also a third book in the series, but I haven't read it.

Weezer
2011-10-29, 10:42 PM
I'll toss in a rec for Lois McMaster Bujold, especially The Curse of Chalion and its sequel Paladin of Souls. There's also a third book in the series, but I haven't read it.

I've read a decent chunk of her Vorkosigan Saga, I really liked them. Nicely fluffy sci-fi.

zyphyr
2011-10-30, 07:34 PM
Pure humor and silliness, In The Company of Ogres, by A. Lee Martinez. Just to give you a small overview.

Any of his books are excellent choices.

Traab
2011-10-30, 08:01 PM
Any of his books are excellent choices.

True, but I honestly think thats the best one for silliness. Gils All Fright Diner and The Nameless Witch are also good ones by him.

HeirophantX
2011-11-17, 08:33 PM
A great novel I read many years ago was The Disposessed by Ursula LeGuin. It's straight science fiction.

Now, it's not sci-fi but have you read anything by Bernard Cornwell? More historical adventure fiction, but he's written zillions of books. Sword fights feature prominently.
Saxon Chronicle - 5 books about England back when Vikings burned stuff. Awesome.
Sharpe - something like 25 books about a dude who starts out a private redcoat of gutter-snipe origin who rises through the ranks to be a general at Waterloo. Several books were made into a BBC series "Sharpe's Rifles" etc, Sharpe played by Sean Bean.
Archer's Tale - 3 books about a longbowman on a quest for the Holy Grail in the midst of the Hundred Year's War.
Many others. He takes up major real estate in any decent library.

Give Stephen King another chance and read The Dead Zone (and then watch the movie with Christopher Walken).

Weezer
2011-11-17, 09:14 PM
I've read a few novels by Cornwell, maybe it was the ones I chose but they all seemed depressing, focusing on the darker sides of war complete with rape, betrayal and other unpleasant things. So while not a bad author, not something I'm looking for at the moment.

Manga Shoggoth
2011-11-18, 05:13 AM
Non-fantasy suggestions: The Falco books by Lindsay Davis. A bunch of mysteries set in Vespasian Rome. The first one is a little grim, but by the third book the dry humour is really in full flood.

And I can always recommend the Lord Peter Wimsey stories by Dorothy L Sayers.

lord_khaine
2011-11-18, 08:07 AM
Ill second the nomination of the Dresden files being worth giving a try.

They are written by Jim Butcher, and there are around 13-14 books out allready.

Still, you might want to start with book 3 or 4, since thats where the serie really starts to get good.

Feytalist
2011-11-18, 08:16 AM
Conn Iggulden writes a whole lot of historical fiction. They're pretty much all good, but the Conqueror series (about Genghis Khan) is probably the best.

Worth a look.

H Birchgrove
2011-11-18, 08:18 AM
A great novel I read many years ago was The Disposessed by Ursula LeGuin. It's straight science fiction.

I wouldn't call it "straight", if you know what I mean... :smalltongue:

Edit: Pun aside, "straight" may make people confuse with "hard" science fiction, which it's not. Ursula K. Le Guin writes very "soft" science fiction, or social science fiction if you prefer that term.

BiblioRook
2011-11-20, 10:53 PM
Ill second the nomination of the Dresden files being worth giving a try.

They are written by Jim Butcher, and there are around 13-14 books out allready.

Still, you might want to start with book 3 or 4, since thats where the serie really starts to get good.

Considering the name of the thread I kinda feel it's worth mentioning that while the series does still attempt to be humorous throughout as the series progresses it gets more and more heavy as matters faced in the series get bigger and more serious. In fact I would go to say that if you read between all the pop-culture jokes it can be downright grim sometimes.

Diskhotep
2011-11-23, 08:16 PM
While some consider it young adult fiction I highly recommend Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book". It's even better if you can listen to the audio version, as Neil Gaiman narrates it himself with distinct voices for each character. I think I must listen to the entire thing at least four times a year just because I can't put it down.

Weezer
2011-11-23, 09:30 PM
While some consider it young adult fiction I highly recommend Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book". It's even better if you can listen to the audio version, as Neil Gaiman narrates it himself with distinct voices for each character. I think I must listen to the entire thing at least four times a year just because I can't put it down.

Actually in the midst of rereading American Gods right now, I'm pretty sure I've read everything he's written barring the Graveyard Book and Anansi Boys. He's one of my favorites.

Mr.Silver
2011-11-24, 06:05 AM
I'd recommend checking out Chris Wooding. His Tales of the Ketty Jay are straight-up swashbuckling adventure stories about a crew of airship pirates. His other works are good too, obviously.

Eldan
2011-11-24, 06:07 AM
While some consider it young adult fiction I highly recommend Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book". It's even better if you can listen to the audio version, as Neil Gaiman narrates it himself with distinct voices for each character. I think I must listen to the entire thing at least four times a year just because I can't put it down.

Actually, there was a live reading of the Graveyard Book (by Gaiman) online somewhere, for free. That was where I found out about it.

Edit: This seems to be it. (http://www.mousecircus.com/videotour.aspx)

The Succubus
2011-11-24, 06:24 AM
One of my favourite authors is a chap called Carl Hiaasen. He's an American writer who likes to tackle environmental themes, through the lens of a crime thriller/screwball comedy. Very enjoyable, hilarious and a good cure for when you're feeling down.

Some of his best ones:

Native Tounge: Two endangered voles are kidnapped from a theme park owned by a greedy and hopelessly corrupt developer....

Skin Tight: A "retired" cop becomes embroiled in the murky world of cosmetic surgery and pursued by one of the world's most messed up hitmen...

Basket Case: A rock star's death is investigated by a journalist with serious mortality issues.

Megaduck
2011-11-24, 06:44 AM
Ok, here is another suggestion for Oath of Swords (http://www.webscription.net/p-297-oath-of-swords.aspx) from David Weber if you want fantasy or On Basalisk Station (http://www.webscription.net/p-304-on-basilisk-station.aspx) if you like Sci Fi.

Lois Mcmaster Bujold is always good. There is here Sci Fi series which is Called the Vorkosigan Saga. You can start with either The Warriors Apprentice (http://www.webscription.net/p-1290-warriors-apprentice.aspx) or if you want a short story The Mountains of Mourning (http://www.webscription.net/p-622-the-mountains-of-mourning.aspx).

Click on the links above to read them for free as they are in the Baen Library.

She also has her Fantasy Chalion series which starts with The Curse of Chalion. (http://www.amazon.com/Curse-Chalion-Lois-McMaster-Bujold/dp/B001O9CF1I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1322134558&sr=8-1) I happen to like this series because it is older and more mature. The Obiwan character is the main POV character.

Raymond Fiest and Janny Wurts have the Empire series, Daughter of the Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Daughter-Empire-Raymond-Feist/dp/055327211X/ref=sr_1_sc_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322134850&sr=1-1-spell), Servant of the Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Servant-Empire-Raymond-Feist/dp/0553292455/ref=sr_1_sc_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322134850&sr=1-2-spell), and Mistress of the Empire (http://www.amazon.com/Mistress-Empire-Trilogy-Bk/dp/0553561189/ref=sr_1_sc_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322134850&sr=1-3-spell). These books are interesting in that they're all about high power politics, plotting, and scheming. They're also set in a very non traditional fantasy word.

HeirophantX
2011-11-28, 05:11 PM
You were thinking of "Left Hand of Darkness." Definitely not "straight" that. "Disposessed" though is social sci-fi, sure. I guess I was using the word "straight" to mean bare-bones. No super-tech or fantastic elements really.

Jade Dragon
2011-11-28, 11:01 PM
Percy Jackson and the Olympians. And the sequel series Heroes of Olympus.

The only bad thing is in book 5 where Annabeth gets irritated whenever Rachel comes around (although Annabeth does save her life) because there's a chance Percy might end up with Rachel instead, then becomes best friends with Rachel after Rachel takes a job that requires her to be a maiden for life. :smallannoyed:

And in Heroes of Olympus, Jason and Piper can make decisions for themselves, but otherwise don't really have any traits or quirks. Leo's pretty good though, as are Frank and Hazel.

Other than that, it's great.
If you know the Scion RPG, (which I don't actually know anything about other than it's about Greek demigods in modern times) it's probably exactly like that, except Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades made an oath not to have children (that didn't turn out well), and their children are way more powerful than other demigods.
If you know the Exalted RPG, think of the best heroic mortal (with a sprinkling of dragonblooded) game ever.
If you know Avatar: The Last Airbender (the good cartoon, although the movie works adequately for this), think a teeny weeny amount of the elemental benders from Avatar: TLA (like seriously, there's five, total, and three of them are only introduced in the sequel series. Although I guess that depends on whether you count Hazel or not. I do, so if you don't, there's only four) in a small society full of people with the skills of the non-bender but still skilled warriors (Sokka, Suki, Piandao, Mai, Ty Lee minus chi blocking, etc.).

Das Platyvark
2011-11-28, 11:06 PM
Cloud Atlas, By David Mitchell
Recursive, mind-blowing, and beautiful.
Has it's dark points, but completely uplifting.

Ravens_cry
2011-11-28, 11:09 PM
Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett.
Because of that book, very comforting in a way, excellent for a sense of perspective, some of us hope our psychopomps TALK LIKE THIS, and like cats.