Essential List of Epic Fantasies? Well, More or Less, Essentially

Nerds love making lists. Top 5, top 10, top 50. Who can come up with the obscure entry, the deep cut? Sometimes the list-making becomes a competition: who can impress the other nerds? But if you take a step back and relax a little, these sorts of lists can raise some interesting ideas. Where is the consensus? Why is there disagreement? Where are the weak points in my knowledge?

So in that spirit, I present to you a few takes on the “Top 50 Epic Fantasies.” If nothing else, it should help grow your “To read” pile by a few more feet. Because despite all we disagree on, nerds can all agree on one thing: there is always more to be read.

Of course, to help frame the debate, rules were laid down.

  • No more than one book or series from each author. For example, J.R.R. Tolkien could go in for The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings series, but not both.
  • No anthologies.
  • You can only list books that you have read.
  • Definitions of “essential”, “epic” and “fantasy” are left to personal interpretation.

Here are Part 1 and Part 2 of Justin Landon’s (of Staffer’s Book Review) lists. Here is Jared Shurin’s (of Pornorkitsch) Part 1. Here is Liz Bourke’s Part 1. Finally, here is Tansy Rayner Robert’s Part 1.

Lots of standards there, but, thankfully, there are also lots of surprises. It’s those entries that make me raise my eyebrows that I like the most. What do you think of these lists?