SF/F who to read?

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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    In Response to SF/F who to read?:
    Hello, Some of the folks i read are Dave Freer, Lois Bujold, James Enge, Jim Butcher, Sarah Hoyt, David Weber, C.E. Murphy, & a few others. Anyone got someone else to recommend or wanna know more about those writers?
    Posted by bandgbleeder


    Try Eoin Colfer with the serie of Artemis Fowl, is oriented to teens and young adults but they are a very good read, nice style & different perspective.

    England author not well recognized in the states, but worth trying.
     
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    I would recommend the Inheritance (Eragon, Eldest, Brisingr) series by Christopher Paolini. Eragon the novel is far better than the movie. I haven't read the third in the series yet, and I know the author is also working on the fourth book. The series is amazing, fabulously detailed, well-written, great sci-fi/fantasy.

    Another series to think of is The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen Donaldson. These are serious sci-fi adult novels and they're pretty mired down at parts. I was not a huge fan of the first book, by I know people who love them.

    Enjoy!
     
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    You can't go far wrong with Harlan Ellison.
     
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    I'm very fond of Niel Gaimon, Dan Simmons, and Ian Banks, you can't go wrong with any of these guys.

     
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    I second Neil Gaiman and the Eragon series and would add Ray Bradbury, HG Lovecraft (a little more horror), and Clive Barker (I particularly liked the Arabat series, except that he owes the world the conclusion which I fear we'll never get!!). As you can tell, I'm a little more "F" and a little less "SF".
     
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    The Artemis Fowl series is very good.  It took me awhile to get into it, but that's in part because the person who recommended them said they were like Harry Potter....  um... not so much.

    I am also a huge fan of the Tamora Pierce books.  Yes, they're written for teenagers.  Yes, they're all about girl power.  Yes, they're awesome.  There are three consecutive trilogies, so it's best to start with the Alanna: the Lioness series (unless you don't mind knowing what's going to happen when you get to them). 
     
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    Last year I read A Canticle for Leibowitz, and loved it. A cyclical (every 600 years or so) look at what could happen to a planet, but focused on a small religious community.
     
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    I just finished reviewing The Passage by Justin Cronin (release date June 8). It's a post-apocolyptic science-fiction chunkster (766 pages). The hype is HUGE for this book, there's already a movie in the works! Click here for my review.
     
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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    There are quite a few authors I can suggest.

    Issac Asimov was the dean of 20th-century science fiction and created most of its best known tropes and themes. Most of his books revolve around a set of ideas and the sequels are mutations or permutations of those ideas.
       His "Foundation" series set the standards for Space Opera and inspired Star Wars and the Traveller roleplaying game. It is about a sceintific think tank led by a scientist named Hari Seldon, who creates the field of Psycho-History (a sort of unified field theory that specializes in predicting the higher-level actions and outcomes of populations and cultures). Seldon predicts that the feudal space empire that controls the known universe will collapse soon and creates the Foundation to preserve knowledge and science and influence events so society can be eventually rebuilt (the so-called Seldon Plan). The sequels discuss the flaws in Seldon's calculations and the limits of Psycho-History. They also deal with factionalization within the Foundation itself about how best to proceed with Seldon's plan and the efforts of outsiders to stop or hinder the Foundation (which are sometimes not factored into the Plan).  
       His "Robot" series revolve around his well-known Laws of Robotics, a list of logical statements programmed into robots designed to prevent them from harming humans. The novels revolve around the Laws and the paradoxes they can create.    

    Robert H. Heinlein is very good and wrote tons of excellent short stories and many influential novels.
        Readers should check out his novel "Starship Troopers", which is nothing like the eponymous movie or its sequels. The war against the hive-mind insectoid "Bugs" was based on his service in the Korean War. It revolutionized military science fiction and set a series of groundbreaking tropes (power armor, world government, non-American main characters, etc.)
        "Stranger in a Strange Land", about a human orphan raised by ascetic Martian aliens who returns to live on Earth, is a great "fish out of water" story.

    Harry Harrison's stories are imaginative and usually have a wicked sense of humor. 
       His "Stainless Steel Rat" series, about a genius confidence trickster turned intergalactic secret agent, is some of his best work.
       His "Bil the Galactic Hero" series mocks entire genres of golden-age and silver age science fiction as well as the military science fiction genre itself and skewers their tropes. Bil, a naive square-jawed Atlas, is tricked into joining the military by an unscrupulous recruiting sergeant. After a ruthless boot camp, he is sent to join in the fight agsainst the insidious Chings, a race of devious intelligent reptiles. He loses his left arm in a huge space battle, but gets another man's right arm accidentally grafted in its place. Since he is the only soldier that can double-salute, he is not released and is sent to a mud planet with no known resources of any kind. While there, he learns that the fighting isn't about liberating the galaxy from the occupying Chings but actually to take the Chings' homeworld (the useless mud planet) away from them. The book and its sequels were based on Harrison's Korean War experiences.       
       His dystopian novel "Make Room, Make Room" was turned into the film "Soylent Green".

    David Drake is one of the best military science fiction writers around. A Vietnam veteran, his gritty "Hammer's Slammers" series was based on his experiences serving with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. It concerns a mercenary armored cavalry regiment usually hired as proxies to fight other people's wars for them, but focuses mostly on the stories of individual men and women at war.   
    His recent collection "Grimmer Than Hell" contains his best short stories and novellas. 
    It includes the "Lacy and His Friends" series, about Lacy, an unwilling agent for an authoritarian police state that uses technology to observe and control its citizens. Convicted of brutally murdering his manipulative wife, he is punished by psychologically conditioning him to avoid women (similar to the Ludovico Technique from "A Clockwork Orange"). He is then conscripted into working as a detective (since he knows how killers think) and "direct action agent" (i.e., saboteur and assassin) for the State (since he is capable of methodical killing). He is given a series of dirty jobs with the knowledge that the State will kill him when he ceases to be useful.   
    It also collects all of his "Headhunters" stories from "The Fleet" braided anthology series. They are about members of a commando unit assigned to special operations missions against a musteloid alien race (nicknamed the "Weasels") who see humans as a food animal to be consumed raw.
     
    Larry Niven is another major writer and his works inspired the writers of Star Trek.
    His "Known Space" series was one of the first to deal with alien psychology and his non-humanoid aliens are fascinating. The tripedal Pierson's Puppeteers (so-called from their pair of seeing/gripping/speaking limbs, which look like sock puppets) are cowardly herbivores who evolved a pragmatic and passively-manipulative pacifism. The felinoid Kzin are an aggressive alien race of warriors who must win glory in combat to earn the right to breed and subjugate other races to perform all other duties.
    His "Ringworld" series is about a strange alien artifact: an artificial ring-shaped orbital habitat made of a super-alloy that encircles a star. The inner surface is habitable and covered in soil and is home to a variety of weird flora and fauna. The stories concern the humans who explore it and the wonders they find - including information about the elusive alien Founders that built it. 
    Ringworld served as the basis for the planet Halo in the Halo: Combat Evolved video game series by Bungie.  

    "How do you challenge a Kzin to ritual combat?"
    "Easy. Just leap and scream."
    -A human discusses etiquette with Speaker-To-Animals (a Kzin "diplomat")

    Gene Wolfe is famous for his surreal settings.
    His "Book of the New Sun" series is set in a dying Earth awaiting the coming of the "New Sun", a messiah who will rekindle the sun and usher in an age of justice and peace. The main character and narrator Severian is a Torturer, a civil servant raised by a holy order.  They are trained from childhood to impartially punish those convicted of crimes with the exact punishment decreed by law. It is overseen by the authoritarian Autocracy, which rules an empire across the continent of South America. Severian later joins the rebellion against the Autocracy and wanders across the fantastic alien world, where he meets an assortment of bizarre and fascinating beings (several who are facets of the Autocrat itself or who are pawns of the malign beings who would undo its work) and is eventually caught up in the coming of the New Sun. Like "The Persian Letters" and "Candide", Wolfe's work is in part a satire about the modern world, but n the main is pure original and exotic fantasy.
    His "Book of the Long Sun" series is set in the same universe and is about the travels of a generation-ship sent to explore the universe.
    His "'The Death of Doctor Island' and Other Stories' and Other Stories" is an excellent anthology that contains a wide variety of his shorter works. Some ("The Boy Who Hooked the Sun") are set in the "New Sun" universe.  
     
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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    Some of my favorite female authors are...

    C.L. Moore created "Red Sonja" (not Robert E. Howard as some believe) and a number of other female characters. Her works have  a sensuality lacking in the works by her fellow pulp writers and she was one of the first major female fantasy writers.  
      
    Marion Zimmer Bradley is one of the grand dames of Science Fiction and Fantasy. She has a body of works that are too numerous to list and has participated in major braided anthology series like "Thieves' World", "...In Hell", "The Fleet" and others.

    Tanith Lee, a British writer, writes exquisite Fantasy and Horror stories in a very exotic, gothic manner. I prefer her earlier works because she seems to have lost her edge following her nervous breakdown in the late 1980s. She did scripts for BBC, inventing the villainous Servilan for the science fiction space opera show Blake's Seven.   
     
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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    Terry Pratchett.  Or Sword Striker by Elizabeth D'Onfrio (available for kindle).  If you don't have a kindle, you can get a paper edition at
     
    www.stanincelarts.com
     
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    Classic fantasy authors that I can suggest include

    E. R. Eddison's "The Worm Ouroborous" is an Edwardian-era fantasy novel about a war between two races (the Witches and the Demons). He weaves real poetry and song into the fictional tale to draw the reader into its world. His work inspired J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis.  

    Mervyn Peake's "The Gormenghast Trilogy" (Titus Groan, Gormenghast, Titus Alone) is about Titus Groan, member of an inbred and mad family of nobles who live in the colossal and crumbling Gormenghast Castle. The residents' lives are full of empty and meaningless ceremonies and pointless and bitter intregues. Titus eventually leaves the Castle to explore the strange world beyond.
    It is obviosly a commentary on post World War 2 Great Britain and its crumbling social order, with a particular focus on the purposelessness of the nobility and the Royal Family in the modern era.
    The BBC did a lavish mini-series based on the first two books in 2000 that was faithful to the source material and was beautifully filmed.

    Lord Dunsany wrote a series of darkly ironic fantasy tales in which the heroes are sometimes not so heroic and the good guys don't usually win. His work inspired H.P. Lovecraft's later dark fantasy "Dreamlands" stories.

    T.H. White's "The Once and Future King" is a retelling of the Arthurian cycle that is delightfully eccentric. It was the basis for Disney's The Sword in the Stone and inspired parts of Rospo Pallenburg's screenplay for John Boorman's Excalibur

    Robert E. Howard is a brand name of picaresque High Adventure peppered with horror and the supernatural. He invented the 'brawny barbarian' genre with his famous and much-imitated "Conan" series. His less well-known characters include the philosophical warrior-turned-king "Kull the Conquerer" and dour Puritan adventurer "Solomon Kane". His stories are also linked to that of his fellow Weird Tales contributors like Clarke Aston Smith and H.P. Lovecraft.
     
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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    Important Cyberpunk writers that are a must-read...

    William Gibson's "Sprawl" series created the major tropes and themes of Cyberpunk fiction. Although hardly the first of its kind, it codified the disparate dystopian futurist themes of earlier works like Thomas Pyncheon's "V", John Brunner's "Stand on Zanzibar" and Anthony Burgess' "A Clockwork Orange". 
    His major works include "Neuromancer", "Count Zero", and "Mona Lisa Overdrive" and his collected anthology "Burning Chrome". They inspired Walter Jon Williams' "Hardwired", Bruce Sterling's anthology "Crystal Express", Stephen Donaldson's "Snow Crash" and the essential Cyberpunk anthology "Mirrorshades".
    His later works "Virtual Light", "Idoru", "Pattern Recognition" and "Spook Country" seem to be set in a different shared-world than his earlier works. This may be his attempt to seem less dated by using more current themes becuase of the changing trends in speculative technology and Cyberpunk fiction.
    His "Difference Engine" (written in collaboration with Bruce Sterling), although lacking the focus and punch of his earlier works, had similar influence on the Steampunk genre and inspired works like Stephen Donaldson's "The Diamond Age". 
    His story "Johnny Mnemonic" (which introduces the character of mirrorshade-eyed and razor-fingered cyborg mercenary Molly Millions) was used as the title of the eponymous film starring Keanu Reeves, but little of the story was used. 

    George Alec Effinger's "Buddyeen" series takes place in a dystopian future where the ascendant Muslim nations are united under a dynamic caliph and the rest of the world is sliding into anarchic oblivion as resources give out.
    It is set in the Buddyeen, the Red Light district of a sprawling, unnamed Muslim city somewhere in the Fertile Crescent that Effinger based on a mix of New Orleans and San Francisco.
    The protagonist, a half-French / half-Moroccan self-styled private detective named Marid Audran, is an indifferent Muslim who habitually abuses designer drugs and dates a regendered Syrian stripper. His cases always end up having something to do with the power struggles between rival global influence brokers Friedlander Bey (Audran's patron) and the cruel Abu Adil, Friedlander Bey's "opposite number".
    The world is a mix of low-tech traditional life and high-tech vices. Cosmetic enhancement and complete gender reassignment surgery is commonplace. Removable programmed chips called "moddies" are available that modify the user's personality or override it with a different one (a major addiction problem in technologically-advanced countries). Moddy users jack in and become suave super-spy "James Bond 007" or sultry Catalonian sexpot "Honey Pilar"; there are even shops that sell props and costumes for deep users that want to complete their characterization.      
    The series consists of "When Gravity Fails", "A Fire in the Sun" and "The Exile's Kiss", plus the anthology "Buddyeen Nights". Effinger unfortunately died before finishing it.

    Thomas Pyncheon's "V" and "The Crying of Lot 49" are masterpieces of surreal cryptofascist paranoia and postmodern ennui.

    Philip K. Dick created surreal, paranoid fiction based on his own tenuous grasp of reality and deep paranoia due to his lifetime struggle with schizophrenia.
    Major works include "Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said", "Doctor Bloodmoney", "Dies Irae", "The Man in the High Castle",  and "Radio Free Albemuth". 
    His books "Total Recall", "Paycheck", "Minority Report", and "A Scanner Darkly" were made into movies. His book "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" was the basis for the movie "Bladerunner".            
     
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    Michael Moorcock is another groundbreaking writer. He is famous for his linked "Eternal Champion" series, each character a facet of an archetypal Hero who is involved in the struggles between the cosmic forces of Law (ultimate stasis) and Chaos (ultimate fluctuation).
       His popular "Elric" series is about the first Champion, Elric of Melnibone, a groundbreaking character that changed the Fantasy genre. Elric is a brooding philosophical sorceror who is a member of a hedonistic and cruel humanoid race called the Melniboneans who complacently dwell in a crumbling palace complex built in the glory days of their culture. Unlike previous brawny barbarian characters like Conan, Elric is an effete sickly albino who needs to use magic potions or his demon-infused soul-drinking sword Stormbringer to sustain his life and give him strength. He forsakes ruling his decadent people to adventure across his world to seek out a meaning and purpose for his life, eventually becoming a crucial pawn in the Balance War between the Gods of Law and Chaos.
       His "Hawkmoon" series is about a future fantasy Earth in which high magic and super-science are melded together. The nations of this world, fractured into a multitude of feudal territories, are threatened by the Granbretan Empire, an island nation off the coast of Europa that is home to cruel and twisted madmen bent on world domination and genocide. It is ruled by the undying patchwork-fleshed King-Emperor Huon from his rainbow-hued palace in Londra. Only Duke Dorian Hawkmoon, formerly a prisoner of Granbretan, and allies like Count Brass of Kamarg stand against the beast-masked fascist military Orders of Granbretan.   
       His "Cornelius" series is about omnisexual vibro-gun-toting "man of action" Jerry Cornelius and his interdimensional adventures across Swinging London of the '60s, '70s, and '80s. The campy Hammer film "The Final Programme" was loosely based on Moorcock's novel "The Condition of Muzak".    

    Fritz Leiber's "Fafhrd and Grey Mouser" series is about a hulking Barbarian warrior named Fafhrd (who is far more intelligent than he seems) and a nimble thief named Grey Mouser (who isn't as clever as he thinks), who have fantastic adventures across the fantasy world of Nehwon. The stories are full of meddling gods, women who are as dangerous as they are beautiful, formidible foes, and stacks of treasure. The pair always find themselves back home in the labyrinthine streets of Lankhmar - the largest and most dangerous, decadent, and corrupt city in the known world - which Lieber based on his native New York City. The pair always have a half-baked plan to make it rich, then either get foiled by capricious fate; blow the staggering proceeds on wine, women, and song; or get tricked out of their gains by a pretty woman.
    The hysterical "Lean Times in Lankhmar" finds the two friends parting after a quarrel and ending up on opposite sides of the city's lucrative religious protection racket. (Fafhrd as an acolyte to an honest and naive holy man and Mouser as a lieutenant to the biggest gangster in Lankhmar).      

    Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" series, a fantasy world millions of eons into the future in which magic holds sway as Earth's sun grows dim, is beautifully written. His characters are selfish, self-centered, foolish and cruel when they are not at the mercy of others who are worse than they, kind of like a nilhilist's Decameron. The series includes "The Eyes of the Overworld", "Cudgel's Saga", "Rhialto the Marvellous" and the anthology "Tales from the Dying Earth".  
    His works had a great deal of influence on Gary Gygax's Dungeons and Dragons game.    

    Roger Zelazny was a writer who has lost popularity following his untimely death.
         His "Princes in Amber" series is about Corwin, a member of a family of godlike beings who come from the "true" reality of Amber - all other worlds (including ours) were conjured by their will and imagination. Their father Oberon left Amber after creating it and Corwin and his siblings are vying for rule of Amber by forming various coalitions. Corwin was exiled on our Earth after a failed coup against his brother Eric but has been rescued by a faction of his sublings who want to overthrow Eric.    
         His book "Lord of Light" is about a colony on an alien planet whose culture is based on super-science posing as miracles and cloning explained as reincarnation. The original founders pose as the gods of the Hndu pantheon. The main character is a syncretized Buddha who opposes the false gods and wants the system to benefit everyone, not just  a chosen elite. He is allied with the Rakshasa, intelligent shape-changing pure energy beings who are the planet's native lifeform. 
         His "Dilvish the Damned" stories are about an Elven warlord who was sent to hell by his rival Lylish. Dilvish later breaks out of hell to get his revenge with the help of a familiar spirit in the form of  an enchanted iron horse to whom he has pledged his soul. One of his better fantasy works, it was unfinished at the time of his death. 

    Stephen Brust's "Jhereg" series is about a fantasy world where humans are subordinate to a humanoid race that used magic to conquer them. The society is based on castes represented by totem animals. The Jhereg (representing the "untouchables" and criminals) is a filth-dwelling omnivorous scavenger that steals food from stronger animals, takes food from weaker ones, and eats dead animals. The main character is a human assassin who is rising in the Jhereg caste because of his ability to be useful. Each book concerns one of the castes and its relationship to the Jheregs.  

    Alan Dean Foster used to have a promising career before he turned to writing novelizations of science fiction movies (Alien, Star Wars). Anthologies like "With Friends Like These" show his talent for clever short stories.
     
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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    Enjoying Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" right now, and his collaboration with Terry Pratchett, "Good Omens" is very funny.  Both are very inventive writers.
     
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    In Response to Re: SF/F who to read?:
    [QUOTE]Enjoying Neil Gaiman's "American Gods" right now, and his collaboration with Terry Pratchett, "Good Omens" is very funny.  Both are very inventive writers.
    Posted by Mattyhorn[/QUOTE]

    Matty - my first comment here and only beause I saw you comment. Have you ever read any of the "Burke" series by Andrew Vachss. I have a feeling that you may enjoy.
     
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    In Response to SF/F who to read?:
    [QUOTE]Hello, Some of the folks i read are Dave Freer, Lois Bujold, James Enge, Jim Butcher, Sarah Hoyt, David Weber, C.E. Murphy, & a few others. Anyone got someone else to recommend or wanna know more about those writers?
    Posted by bandgbleeder[/QUOTE]

    try reading the globe
     
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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    Larry Niven (Ringworld series is excellent)
    Arthur C. Clarke
    Philip Jose Farmer
    Robert Heinlein
    Frank Herbert
    Fred Saberhagen
    Jerry Pournelle
    Isaac Asimov
    Ray Bradbury
    L.Ron Hubbard
     
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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    My fav would be Terry Brooks the Shannara series & the word & the void series. Others I enjoy C. Funke Inkheart sr, Cinda Williams Chime Heir sr., just started the Hunger Game sr, pretty good so far.
     
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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    Patrick Rothfuss.

    I'm still waiting for the new book to get here and I am dying in anticipation.  I just HAD to be in stupid Afghanistan for when it came out so now I am waiting for my father to mail it to me.
     
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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    Well I am in the midst of reading Robert Jordans Wheel of Time series which is an incredible read; I have read Terry Goodkind (Sword of Truth Series), George R.R. Martin (Song of Fire and Ice), and Steven Erikson.  These series are epic fantasy at their best-check them out if you ever get the chance.  Fun great reads!
     
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    Re: SF/F who to read?

    I can second most of the previous recommendations. Many of the books and authors mentioned I read years ago, but here you go. Dam Simmons is one of my absolute favorite authors though I think he has gotten rather longwinded of late(like me), but read the Hyperion series, arguably one of the best sci-fi series ever! You can't really go wrong with the Jerry pournelle and Larry Niven collaborations like A Mote In God's Eye.  The Ringworld, The Dragon Riders of Pern, A Song of Ice and Fire (JRR Martin), and Farmer's Riverworld series are classics not to be missed as is David Brin's original Uplift War series. Asimov's Foundation and Robots series are equally wonderful, just don't read the last book which tries to unify the 2, it's awful. For military sci-fi you can't beat Scalzi or Dietz. I could go on but here is a short list of books (besides the series above) you should not miss; A Canticle for Leibowitz, The Martian Chronicles, The Handmaid's Tale, Endor's Game, Dune, The Abyss (the movie book by Orson Scott Card is better than the movie, which is also good), Alien (by Alan Dean Foster) and the Postman (by David Brin) are all so much better than the movies they spawned, sometimes there is barely a resemblance, Beowolfe's Children (Niven and Pournelle), and The Forever War. I read a lot of the Amber series by Zelazny, and Moorcock in my youth but I wonder how well they have stood up over time.  I would also highly recommend the fantasy series Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn that starts with Across the Nightingale Floor. They take place in feudal Japan and are just beautifully written, evoking a time and place and taking you there, lovely. Jack Vance is also very good, though somewhat dated and chauvinistic. And for just getting creeped out don't miss Lovecraft.  Enough for now.
     

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