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The Classics?

The Sword of Shannara book cover imageI've often been asked what the "classics" fantasy books are by persons who are new to the genre. Inside my brain I start thinking, well, what defines a classic? What are the core books and authors of fantasy?

The truth is, there are so many incredible storytellers in the fiction genre, that a classic book to one person may not have the same importance to another. There are also many different flavours of fantasy. True fantasy with elves and wizards, urban fantasy with darker characters and themes, and books that span both the fantasy and science fiction genres - unicorns in space anyone?

And so, the way I tend to answer these questions is to provide a list of fantasy authors that have had a great influence on my reading life. The first one I always mention is Tolkien. Quite frankly, you can't talk about the fantasy genre without mentioning his influence on the modern era of fantasy. Truth be told however, I didn't read Tolkien until I was a late teenager. My first foray into fantasy was Terry Brooks with his Shannara and Landover series (both of which still continue to be published) when I was about 10 years old. Shortly thereafter, I was reading Anne McCaffrey, David Eddings, Piers Anthony, and a few others. As my reading tastes have changed over the years, I now read authors such as Terry Goodkind, Anne Bishop, Robert Jordan, Brandon Sanderson, and many, many more. I simply cannot keep up with all of the fantasy authors out there!

While Fantasy is not the only genre I read, I like a good mystery on occasion, it is my go-to authors in this genre that keep me up late on long winter nights.

If you are a fantasy reader, there are probably other authors that have influenced you. If you are new to the genre, go out and try a few different authors - you never know what hidden world will whisk you away.