Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
paulgoatallen
Posts: 7,327
Registered: ‎08-16-2007

The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

[ Edited ]

With the continued popularity of the "Best Epic Fantasy Novels and Series of All Tiime" thread, I thought it would be equally interesting to start a thread about awesome fantasy and SF novels that the mainstream – and most everyone else – has missed. As a book reviewer, I run across this all the time: jaw-droppingly exceptional novels that, for whatever reason – bad cover art, inadequate promotion, etc. – don't get noticed by the masses and eventually sink into oblivion.

 

And I'm not talking about books that were just "good" – these books could be (and should be) considered as masterworks, classics, whatever you want to call it.

 

I'll start off with Jon Armstrong's Grey, an unforgettable vision of a near-future world that, I believe, is now officially out of print and only available as a $3.98 bargain book. Here's my B&N Review:

 

 

The Barnes & Noble Review
Set in a near future that is garish, superficial, and obsessively self-absorbed, Jon Armstrong's stellar debut novel is as thematically compelling as dystopian classics like Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, and, most notably, Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange.

In a society controlled in large part by an elite group of corporations and characterized by its wild extremes -- economic, political, sexual, etc. -- young Michael Rivers is a demigod. The heir apparent to high-tech security juggernaut RiverGroup, the 19-year-old has it all: He's handsome, fashionable, and literally worshipped by millions of people who monitor his every movement through the media. And his future looks even brighter -- his girlfriend, Nora, the daughter of the head of a competing conglomerate, is his ideal partner. They share the same understated tastes in music, clothing, and philosophy, and even have a private language based on slogans from advertisements in their favorite fashion magazine. But days before the couple is set to announce their engagement -- and the historic merger of their families' corporations -- an assassin almost succeeds in killing Rivers. When he recovers from the attack, he finds his engagement off and RiverGroup almost bankrupt. Disregarding threats from his egomaniacal father, Rivers begins a perilous quest to reconnect with his true love -- only to come face-to-face with the horrible reality of his existence.

Equal parts ill-fated love story a la Romeo and Juliet, poignant coming-of-age tale, and disturbingly provocative glimpse into humanity's future, Armstrong's debut is simply unforgettable -- nothing short of a science fiction masterwork. A Clockwork Orange for the 21st century. Paul Goat Allen

 

 

 

Please add to this list. While I'm interested in your opinions about which novels are the best of all time, I am more interested in this list because this is where I'm going to find those little known literally gems that I may have missed....  

 

Paul

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
Reader
woulf
Posts: 4
Registered: ‎02-09-2010
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

It's tough to tell what no one has read, especially because I didn't buy according to bestselling lists, but rather reading the jackets in store up until recently.

 

I'll give you books that none of my friends and family that read SF have read that I liked:

 

Bryan doyle or something like it, not sure of the name of the author, I do know he died of pancreatic cancer

1. Requiem for a ruler of worlds - jinx on a terran inheritance and fall of the white ship avatar

2. Tapestry of magics

 

Riddle master of Hed, this might have been popular, just know that my friends didn't read it.

 

I had a few more in my head and they're gone. If they come back I'll post up again.

Contributor
VampireRanger
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎11-17-2009

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

A lot of my friends read Dragonlance,Forgotten Realms and Oberron. Not one of them have read what I consider to be the start of it all.

 

Gord the Rogue #01 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Gary Gygax. I forget how many are in the series, but I do have them all in storage. I've re-read these books more times than I can count.

 

By the way..Great topic! I plan on checking back often for anything that might interest me.

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

 


woulf wrote:

It's tough to tell what no one has read, especially because I didn't buy according to bestselling lists, but rather reading the jackets in store up until recently.

 

I'll give you books that none of my friends and family that read SF have read that I liked:

 

Bryan doyle or something like it, not sure of the name of the author, I do know he died of pancreatic cancer

1. Requiem for a ruler of worlds - jinx on a terran inheritance and fall of the white ship avatar

2. Tapestry of magics

 

Riddle master of Hed, this might have been popular, just know that my friends didn't read it.

 

I had a few more in my head and they're gone. If they come back I'll post up again.


 

I liked Riddle master of Hed. Heard of Tapestry of magics. The first one though nope new one to me.

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

 


VampireRanger wrote:

A lot of my friends read Dragonlance,Forgotten Realms and Oberron. Not one of them have read what I consider to be the start of it all.

 

Gord the Rogue #01 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Gary Gygax. I forget how many are in the series, but I do have them all in storage. I've re-read these books more times than I can count.

 

By the way..Great topic! I plan on checking back often for anything that might interest me.

 


 

Excellent series, the run out of print a lot though.  I know they go to 8 at least.

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
pagemaven
Posts: 246
Registered: ‎11-11-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

Not so much sci-fi, but definitely fantasy - Forever by Pete Hamill. I really thought it was a great story.

 

Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. Except for Paul I haven't run into anyone else who has read this apparently overlooked offering by one of the best.

 

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn. I loved this book. It had hard physics and a wonderful scifi aspect that stayed with me for, well, it's still with me.

 

I'm sure there are many more,  but that's the best I can do on a Sunday morning.

There are more of us than you think.
Moderator
paulgoatallen
Posts: 7,327
Registered: ‎08-16-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

 


pagemaven wrote:

Not so much sci-fi, but definitely fantasy - Forever by Pete Hamill. I really thought it was a great story.

 

Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson. Except for Paul I haven't run into anyone else who has read this apparently overlooked offering by one of the best.

 

Eifelheim by Michael Flynn. I loved this book. It had hard physics and a wonderful scifi aspect that stayed with me for, well, it's still with me.

 

I'm sure there are many more,  but that's the best I can do on a Sunday morning.


 

 

 

Yes, page! The Years of Rice and Salt! I loved that book!!! A spiritial classic.

 

 

Paul

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
Contributor
Clever_Pen_Name
Posts: 11
Registered: ‎03-03-2010

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

Great topic!  One book that I always try to get my friends to read is the Sci-Fi Horror novel, Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon

 

It's a story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic America, the first half of the book details the immediate aftermath of WWIII, and the second half of the book paints a picture of America a few years later. If you were a fan of Steven King's "The Stand", you'd probably enjoy this book... 

 

My writing chops aren't all that great today (maybe it's this sinus cold I've got), else I'd try to write a quick review.  However, I would highly recommend you search out B&N for a copy of the book or see if Mr. Allen has written something on it in the past...

 

Actually, another book worth checking out from the same author is Wolfs Hour... in a nutshell, it's a story about a British Spy during WWII, who's got a bad case of lycanthropy...  and he uses those enhanced senses to be super awesome.

 

You know what... just check out anything by Robert R. McCammon...  great writer.

 

 

Moderator
paulgoatallen
Posts: 7,327
Registered: ‎08-16-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read


Clever_Pen_Name wrote:

Great topic!  One book that I always try to get my friends to read is the Sci-Fi Horror novel, Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon


Great call – Swan Song  was amazing. I should probably read that one again – it's been decades since I last read it....
Paul
"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
Distinguished Wordsmith
pagemaven
Posts: 246
Registered: ‎11-11-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

Clever_Pen_Name wrote:

Great topic!  One book that I always try to get my friends to read is the Sci-Fi Horror novel, Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon

 

It's a story that takes place in a post-apocalyptic America, the first half of the book details the immediate aftermath of WWIII, and the second half of the book paints a picture of America a few years later. If you were a fan of Steven King's "The Stand", you'd probably enjoy this book... 

 

My writing chops aren't all that great today (maybe it's this sinus cold I've got), else I'd try to write a quick review.  However, I would highly recommend you search out B&N for a copy of the book or see if Mr. Allen has written something on it in the past...

 

Actually, another book worth checking out from the same author is Wolfs Hour... in a nutshell, it's a story about a British Spy during WWII, who's got a bad case of lycanthropy...  and he uses those enhanced senses to be super awesome.

 

You know what... just check out anything by Robert R. McCammon...  great writer.

 

 

I  read Swan Song a lo-o-o-ng time ago, and liked it. I generally like McCammon. I loved the part in Wolf's Hour when the "boys" would race the trains. Have you read "Sings the Nightbird?" Another good one, as are Boys Life, and Gone South, which may have the most gripping opening line ever. 

There are more of us than you think.
Contributor
Sparhawk921
Posts: 7
Registered: ‎03-11-2010
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

The Years of Rice and Salt was excellent, and I'm sure that with all these reponses, a lot of us have have it!!!

 

There are many exceptional novels that have come out over the years that are undersold, or overlooked yet are exceptional.  The Scavenger Trilogy by K.J. Parker is one set of books like that, also Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay, 

 

The Face of the Waters by Robert Silverberg was released at the wrong time, it came out around the same time as Waterworld was flopping in the theaters so the novel was overlooked even though they were almost nothing alike.

 

I am worried about the future of Science Fiction and Fantasy when I try to download current (and even 2-3 year old) books as ebooks for my new Nook and can only find paper copies.  In fact the Science Fiction Book Club doesn't carry ebooks at all and won't any time soon -- (or so they said when I asked via email).  I took their flyer and tried to order any of the books from this month from B&N and only found 2 online and available, out of over a hundred titles!!!  I can't find the titles from well known, OR obscure writers in ebook format.  It makes me sad that B&N and ebook sellers throughout the web are concentrating on best sellers and ignoring less well known authors.  I mean, it costs little to keep an e-file in storage for on-demand service,  Its disingenuous not to offer as much content as possible in ebook form and would probably net the authors of these smaller texts more cash than they currently receive, especially from out-of-print editions!!!  I have over 4000 paper books in my library and can't bear to part with any of them which is why I bought the Nook, so I could continue to buy books when there is no more room in my house.     :smileywink:

 

Distinguished Bibliophile
TiggerBear
Posts: 9,489
Registered: ‎02-12-2008
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

 

 

Truthsayer's Apprentice  I'm not sure if no one else has ever it. But definitely on my top 10 of under sung novels.

 

Moderator
paulgoatallen
Posts: 7,327
Registered: ‎08-16-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

 

TiggerBear wrote:

 

 

Truthsayer's Apprentice  I'm not sure if no one else has ever it. But definitely on my top 10 of under sung novels.

 

 

 

Wow. Never even heard of it, Tig – thanks!

 

Paul

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
Moderator
dhaupt
Posts: 11,865
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

[ Edited ]

I just thought of one that I loved that would fit this category although it's a bit more paranormal than fantasy:

 

 

 

The Gargoyle 

 

Very good

Distinguished Bibliophile
Ryan_G
Posts: 3,295
Registered: ‎10-24-2008

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

Aristoi  

 

 It's been years since I've read this one, but I loved it.

 

"I am half sick of shadows" The Lady of Shalott

http://wordsmithonia.blogspot.com
Moderator
paulgoatallen
Posts: 7,327
Registered: ‎08-16-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

 

Ryan_G wrote:

Aristoi  

 

 It's been years since I've read this one, but I loved it.

 

 

 

Thanks, Ryan – never even heard of this one. I googled it and found out it was released in '92 and was on the preliminary list for the Hugo Award. That's impressive.

 

Paul

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
New User
Tannar_Darr
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-02-2010
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

Spirits of Flux and Anchor-- Jack Chalker

similar but different to...

Chronicles of Amber...


They share a similar get from one world to another view. 

 

________________________________

 

Why be normal, when you can be abnormal. :smileytongue:

 

New User
ll160528
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎03-25-2010
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

Personally I really enjoyed Kevin J. Anderson's novel

The Edge of the World  which came out last year.

 

The cool part is there's a companion CD that goes along with the book which Anderson wrote the lyrics for.  It's called Terra Incognita: Beyond the Horizon by Roswell Six.  The way I understand it the second novel in the series comes out this summer and supposedly there's going to be another CD as well.

Moderator
paulgoatallen
Posts: 7,327
Registered: ‎08-16-2007
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

 

 

The Troika  by Stepan Chapman. Easily the strangest and most unclassifiable novel I've ever read. I couldn't find my review for this book – it was published back in '98 – but here's the synopsis:

 

Beneath the glare of three purple suns, three travelers - an old Mexican woman, an automated jeep, and a brontosaurus - have trudged across a desert for hundreds of years. They do not know if the desert has an end, and if it does, what they might find there. Sometimes they come across perfectly-preserved cities, but without a single inhabitant, and never a drop of rain. Worse still, they have no memory of their lives before the desert. Only at night, in dreams, do they recall fragments of their past identities.

But night also brings the madness of the sandstorms, which jolt them out of one body and into another in a game of metaphysical musical chairs. In their disorientation and dysfunction, they have killed each other dozens of times, but they cannot die. Where are they? How can they escape?

From this quest form, Stepan Chapman has fashioned a poignant and powerful story of redemption in which pathos is leavened by humor and pain is softened by comfort. It is the story of deranged angels, deadly music boxes, and cellular transformation. It is also the tale of Alex who wanted to be a machine, Naomi, who spent 20 years as a corpsicle, and Eva, who escaped the whale emperor of her native land. The novel alternates between the three characters' attempts to discover where they are with their search for identity through the dream stories which reveal their fragmented pasts. The Troika's satisfying conclusion brings closure to one of the most harrowing journeys ever into the heart of surrealism and the human soul.

The Troika has been praised as visionary and completely original by such writers as John Shirley, Kathe Koja, Brian Stableford, Alan Brennert, Lance Olsen, Kathleen AnnGoonan, Brian Evenson, Paul Riddell, and Don Webb. The author's work has frequently been compared to that of Philip K. Dick, Terry Southern, Kurt Vonnegut, Mervyn Peake, Angela Carter, and other fabulists of the first rank. The Troika confirms that status and is destined to become a cult classic of fabulist fiction.

The Troika is being backed by extensive promotion and advertising in applicable national magazine markets such as SF Age, with distribution in both the United States and in the United Kingdom.

 

 

"There never can be a man so lost as one who is lost in the vast and intricate corridors of his own lonely mind, where none may reach and none may save..." – Isaac Asimov, Pebble in the Sky
Frequent Contributor
holyboy
Posts: 107
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: The Best Fantasy & SF Novels That No One Has Read

[ Edited ]
paulgoatallen wrote:

 

 

The Troika  by Stepan Chapman. Easily the strangest and most unclassifiable novel I've ever read. I couldn't find my review for this book – it was published back in '98 – but here's the synopsis:

 

Beneath the glare of three purple suns, three travelers - an old Mexican woman, an automated jeep, and a brontosaurus - have trudged across a desert for hundreds of years. They do not know if the desert has an end, and if it does, what they might find there. Sometimes they come across perfectly-preserved cities, but without a single inhabitant, and never a drop of rain. Worse still, they have no memory of their lives before the desert. Only at night, in dreams, do they recall fragments of their past identities.

But night also brings the madness of the sandstorms, which jolt them out of one body and into another in a game of metaphysical musical chairs. In their disorientation and dysfunction, they have killed each other dozens of times, but they cannot die. Where are they? How can they escape?

From this quest form, Stepan Chapman has fashioned a poignant and powerful story of redemption in which pathos is leavened by humor and pain is softened by comfort. It is the story of deranged angels, deadly music boxes, and cellular transformation. It is also the tale of Alex who wanted to be a machine, Naomi, who spent 20 years as a corpsicle, and Eva, who escaped the whale emperor of her native land. The novel alternates between the three characters' attempts to discover where they are with their search for identity through the dream stories which reveal their fragmented pasts. The Troika's satisfying conclusion brings closure to one of the most harrowing journeys ever into the heart of surrealism and the human soul.

The Troika has been praised as visionary and completely original by such writers as John Shirley, Kathe Koja, Brian Stableford, Alan Brennert, Lance Olsen, Kathleen AnnGoonan, Brian Evenson, Paul Riddell, and Don Webb. The author's work has frequently been compared to that of Philip K. Dick, Terry Southern, Kurt Vonnegut, Mervyn Peake, Angela Carter, and other fabulists of the first rank. The Troika confirms that status and is destined to become a cult classic of fabulist fiction.

The Troika is being backed by extensive promotion and advertising in applicable national magazine markets such as SF Age, with distribution in both the United States and in the United Kingdom.

 

 

 

Great review. The Troika is on my reading list.