Pre-Robert Jordan epic fantasy book list

I’ve had several topics I’ve been meaning to post on, but I’m afraid this week has been a little busy, filled with good things like editing in-process books, talking with designers, finishing reads on a couple manuscripts, and a couple of editorial letters, just to name a few things. As I tweeted earlier this week, watching me do such things—either through me discussing them here, or actually watching me in person—would rather be like watching paint dry. Not a whole lot of entertainment.

But now this weekend I’m starting to work on my talk for the Venture/Santa Barbara SCBWI at the end of October, the title of which is Beyond Orcs and Elves: Diversity in Fantasy and Science Fiction. My focus, of course, will be on fantasy for children and young adults, but as part of the discussion I’ll be talking about working on Dragonlance: The New Adventures during my time at Wizards of the Coast, and the huge body of work of epic fantasy that those books drew upon (not to mention hundreds of game manuals).

So, I figured it’s time for another book list. This is a very specific one: I’m looking for a list of PRE-Robert Jordan epic fantasy that appealed to teenagers, whether published for them or not. So that includes Dragonlance Chronicles, which was published for adults, but it also includes Robin McKinley’s The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown, published for young readers. (I’m not sure if the latter two were published for teens or children, but I believe it was teens. I could be wrong.)

What do you all think? Remember, I want pre-Robert Jordan. The Eye of the World came out in 1990, so we’re talking the 15 or so years before that, because Robert Jordan really changed a LOT of things in epic fantasy, inspiring a lot of epic fantasists working today both in adult and children’s. I’m looking for the “before” shot. (It’s not really a before-after—more like a before-after-after-after, but you get the idea.)

To get us started, I’ll just list a few authors (I will come back tomorrow when it’s not after midnight and flesh out the list with specific books):

Robin McKinley

Tamora Pierce

Terry Brooks

Piers Anthony

Lloyd Alexander

Susan Cooper

Anne McCaffrey

David Eddings

Then there are the obvious precursors to these fantasists, including Tolkien and Lewis. But any other suggestions to fill out the 70s-80s list? I’m as likely as not to know the books, so please feel free to suggest either an author’s whole body of work, or specific books.

5 thoughts on “Pre-Robert Jordan epic fantasy book list

  1. Stacy,

    You have a good list there, and as a teen in the 80’s I read many of them. I would also mention Stephen R. Donaldson (Thomas Covenant series), Fritz Leiber, Ursula K. LeGuin.

  2. How about Patricia McKillip’s Riddle Master of Hed series?

    and would the Darkover books count? i know I loved them as a teenager back in the eighties…

  3. Mercedes Lackey! I read so much of her stuff in my tender tweendom and always think “huh?” when people gush about Tamora Pierce b/c Miz Lackey took that high fantasy parking space in my heart.

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