Epic Fantasy is a subgenre of fantasy and very similar to high-fantasy where a seemingly average person undergoes many trials and ordeals which develop him or her into a hero capable of feats needed to thwart challenges of an epic scale. The work takes place in an imaginitive world and often the setting is medieval in nature, complete with swords, castles, strange creatures and a magical system.
I have here lots of essays, articles, and recommendations on epic fantasy books both past and present you will find the hot new titles and the old classics.
NEW ARTICLE: Epic Fantasy In Video Games - When it comes to this genre it is a smooth and wonderful transition from the novel to the video game. They call them RPG's but they are really epic fantasy adventures
Kings, Queens, Heroes & Fools
Demonic love, valiant battles, and foolhardy heroics await readers in this 175k word (600+ page) continuation of the epic 'Wardstone Trilogy' that was written in a Texas prison cell, by author, M. R. Mathias.
Read more here also Available on Amazon.com :Kings, Queens, Heroes, & Fools (The Wardstone Trilogy Book Two)
NEW: A look at my five all time favorite epic fantasy books. These are my absolute favorites of all time.
New: An Epic Fantasy Youtube adventure. Follow along with my adventure. It all starts with a mysterious gravestone and it carries me half way around the world to Egypt on a quest to find the mysterious sword of lightning. This is a series of youtube videos you can watch right here on this website.
Will's Guide to Summer Epic Fantasy Reading
Looking for something to bring to the beach this summer? Or looking for the next book in a series? The big authors are all putting out the next installment in their series. I also have lots of recommendations for new authors to read. Bring an elf or dragon to the beach with you! Summer Reading Guide
My second Annual Summer Reading Guide( 2010) is out. You can read it on my Fantasy Guide website here: The 2010 Summer Reading Guide
If you have been thinking about getting a kindle now might be the right time. It is at the lowest price it has ever been at. Kindle Wireless Reading Device ( (6" Display, Global Wireless, Latest Generation)
New Online Game: Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures Released - Finally a game for those of us over 18 who love online games but want something we can really sink our teeth into. This game has a new and revolutionary combat system, an extensive crafting system and well, lots more. And it is the first game to be rated M17 ! Whoa. Could this be the heir to the Warcraft throne? Learn more about the game, read the press release and see some videos here. Age of Conan
Looking for a guide to books, series and more in the world of fantasy?Want to find a book based on the type of hero or heroine? Check out my new website:
New Article: The Top Five Epic Fantasy series of All Time - My top picks and some information about the series.
A listing of my articles about Epic Fantasy. These articles include analysis of the genre and it's major themes and articles for writers of Epic Fantasy. There is also some stuff about how to enjoy epic fantasy.
NEW BOOK - The Crown Conspiracy This is a new book that is getting a lot of rave reviews. You might want to check the authors website for more information Author's Website He has a full listing of book signings, and more. Here is a great quote from the author about the book: “There's no prophesy, no innocent boy destined to save the world, no ultimate evil to be slain. Just two guys in the wrong place at the wrong time trying to survive." This sounds like it iis a refreshing change from the typical fantasy cookie cutter approach. (It is also available for Kindle)
. Highlander: The Source, the latest installment in the Highlander franchise comes to DVD on Feb 26 but I am giving away a free copy along with movie poster to one lucky web visitor. Contest will end and winner will be notified on Feb 29th. (The Contest has ended. Thankyou to all who entered. If you didn't win you can still learn more about the movie here)
Amazon.com has released it's Best of 2009 books. Among these books are "The Last Olympian" by Rick Riordan and a Dark Fantasy novel called "Beautiful Creatures" by Kami Garcia. Check out the best of here: Amazon.com's Best of 2009 But Wait! You might want to go directly to the Science Fiction & Fantasy best of 2009: 2009 Best of Science Fiction & Fantasy
Medieval Christmas Presents - It's getting close to christmas time and you still have time to find some unique medieval gifts. Amazon.com still guarantees shipping by Christmas and they have a lot of great discounts and specials running like free shipping. I have put together a store of unique medieval gifts offered at amazon. It has things like tankards, books, posters, medieval christmas music, jewelry and more. Check it out here: Medieval Christmas Gifts
Beowulf The Movie (2007)
Scheduled for release on Nov 16, 2007 this movie promises to be a notch above the previous versions that have been made for the silver screen. It is directed by Robert Zemeckis and has A list stars like Angelina Jolie and Anthony Hopkins More about Beowulf - I have also put together a very detailed page with lots of beowulf information including different books, free audio and free text versions of the story. Posters, movies, books and more. The Beowulf Resource Page - Looking for a Beowulf Book? Check out our Amazon Beowulf Bookstore
Add your vote to the best Fantasy books as determined by fantasyliterature.net - I have added a nice little tool that allows you to take a look through the list of fantasy favorites and with one click of a little arrow you can add your vote and bring a book up or down in the list. Add your vote to the poll! The Best Fantasy Poll It is also a great way to get a recommendation if you are looking for something new to read. No better place to get a book recommendation than from other like-minded readers.
New (June 21) A book review on The Bestiary by Nicholas Christopher - Did you ever wonder what became of the Creatures that didn't make it onto Noah's Ark? This book takes an interesting look at mythological creatures and the creatures that inhabit the Earth today.
The Guide to the 5 Most Influential Women Writers of Epic Fantasy - There are many women who have molded the genre of epic fantasy here are my picks for the top 5 and why
The Guide to finding an epic fantasy book on Amazon.com If you love amazon.com you probably know that it is pretty crazy how much stuff they have but did you know they have some great tools to help you find what you are looking for. Read the Guide to Amazon; it will help you target and find whatever you are looking for in the fantasy book realm.
New: Creativity and a Fantasy Book - This spotlights a fantasy book that first began as a game, developed into a magazine and finally into a series of books; The first volume of which has been published. It is called: Ivory Sword: The Lore of DAYONE - Read More
Do you write epic fantasy? Or have you ever dreamed of writing epic fantasy? Here are some of my articles that will get you to write, and get you to write better. Articles on writing epic fantasy
Ever Wonder what it's like to make a movie set in Medieval Times? The History Channel has a new film coming out entitled: The Dark Ages, and I have had the opportunity to ask the director some questions. Read the interview and learn more about the project here:"The Making of a Medieval Film: The Dark Ages or "What do they do with all those swords?"
A ring is just a tiny piece of metal yet it is one of the most powerful, and successful, symbols used in fantasy writing. Why is a ring so often used as a symbol and what does it really stand for? Read the Essay on the Ring in epic fantasy
Heroic Dreams - All Things Medieval The Blog Devoted to Epic Fantasy in Books, Movies, video games and creativity —Never Give a Sword to a Man who can't Dance - Old Celtic Saying
The Lighter side of Epic Fantasy by Dungeons & Dorks!
The whole genre of epic fantasy is, of course a wonderful thing, but, it can get bogged down in the massive mult-book series that grow big enough to use as bricks in castle building. And even though I love the series in EF it can sometimes be a real drag - especially when you wait a year or two for the next volume and when you finally read it you realize nothing in the story line was actually resolved.
Dungeons & Dorks is creating a series of comics for my websites that take a look at epic fantasy and medieval things. Their first comic pokes some good fun at the whole doorstopper syndrome in epic fantasy. Here it is.
If you like gaming be sure to check out their website: dndorks.com
I have created a section of this website that will showcase all the dndorks comics for this site: dndorks
The Heroic Dreams Blog - I keep a daily blog all about Epic Fantasy and all kinds of Medieval things from Knights to armor, video games and more. If you like a daily fix of all things medieval then check out my blog. . The Heroic Dreams Blog
The Big list of Epic Fantasy Series - Want to start a series and don't know which book is first? Reading a series and want to know which book is next? Here is the big list with over 50 different fantasy series listed in chronological order and almost 300 Books. The Big Epic Fantasy series list.
The Fabulous Women of Boris Vallejo and Julie Bell - New Book. This is a great collection of gorgeous fantasy women from the minds of Julie Bell and Boris Vallejo but it is more than just a collection of paintings ... read the review
Epic Fantasy is a search for meaning
- We live in a mysterious world full of questions and wonder. And since the beginning of time humans have marveled at this mystery and have proposed ideas about it. This is what epic fantasy does. It looks at the mystery of our world and the struggle that we as humans undergo and it proposes answers. Read more about the genre of Epic Fantasy
What Exactly is Epic Fantasy - Read the definition
Epic Fantasy Is About Heroism - Do you have what it takes to become a hero?
The Beginners Guide to Epic Fantasy -Your first reaction when adventuring out into the world of epic fantasy might be to run out and buy the Lord of the Rings (Product Page at Amazon)and this is ok but not my best recommendation. This series of three books is actually quite daunting a task and you may get discouraged. This is kind of like jumping into the deep end of the pool without learning to swim. The language in the books is a little stilted and the scope is just enormous. You will need to stretch your reading muscles a bit before you tackle these books. Check out the Beginners Guide To Epic Fantasy
268 Books - Help Understanding the Massive series of Books in Epic Fantasy - There are many, many good series in the realm of epic fantasy. How do you know where to start? Or if you have read a series what book is next? Here is the Epic Fantasy Guide to the Great Series of the genre.
The Top Ten Epic Fantasy Movies of All Time - My personal picks for the best movies in the genre of all time.
If you are interested in learning more about Epic Fantasy you may want to check out:
- The Heroes Journey and Joseph Campbell - The History of Epic Fantasy - The Beginners Guide to Epic Fantasy- 268 Epic Fantasy books - The 50 Most Influential Science Fiction and Fantasy Books New Essay: Fact vs. Fantasy or Myth in Medieval Times
Looking for one of those little self-published books that might just turn into a very big book? Curse of the Lyrestone (A Kingdom of Zhavahn Novel) Just may be that book. Read more about it
for some epic fantasy to read?
Here are some recommendations from the big names in Epic Fantasy series
This is the fifth and final installment of this awesome series of fantasy books. It has a great major theme about how a man can absorb the powers and strengths from other people, and there is practically no limit to this, but there are prices to be paid. It makes for some interesting dilemmas. For instance, a man can give all his strength to his lord but this will leave him very very weak and it leaves the lord pledged to help him. The first book in the series is being made into a major motion picture. If you have been waiting for this book it is now available on amazon or if you have been looking for a new series to read then this is the one. You won't be disappointed.
A Feast for Crows (A Song of Ice and Fire) The long awaited 4th installment of this series is finally out in paperback so you can grab a copy on the cheap at amazon.com This book and the whole series does not disappoint. It is classic epic fantasy.
The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever The first book in this series is Lord Foul's Bane If you want to read epic fantasy that is just more than a fantasy you have to read this book and this series. You will not be disappointed. Donaldson is a master and these books are astonishing in their breadth and depth. Do not listen to the comparisons with Lord of the Rings. These are masterworks that stand on their own. Lord Fouls Bane See the Stephen R. Donaldson list of books and series
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien I can't add anything to the millions of words that have been written about this book. If you haven't read it then stop everything and get it. Few things in life are able to so easily transport you into another time and place like this book. The Hobbit See the list of Tolkien Books The Tolkien Newsfeed
The EarthSea Cycle by Ursula K. LeGuin - Sheer brilliance and sheer beauty. This was Harry Potter before Harry Potter.This is the original story of a young wizard who goes off to wizard school. The Earthcycle Quartet
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley If you like Arthurian epic fantasy this is a must have. It is a retelling of the legend through the eyes of the women around Arthur. The Mists of Avalon
Looking for one of those rare gems that nobody really talks about? The books listed above are all giants in the realm of Epic Fantasy. But there are masterpieces that seem to slip under the radar. Here are two must reads.
The Deepest Sea by Charles Barnitz I accidentally stumbled across this book at a yard sale and picked it up to give it a try. Shockingly good book and there is a quite a following for it. It may be difficult to get but if you want good epic fantasy that is also a well kept secret then track this book down. The Deepest Sea
Dragon and the Unicorn by A.A. Attanasio This is not a mainstream
work. It is more cerebral and thought provoking. It is not cut from
the typical cloth of Epic Fantasy and Arthurian Legend yet it is
deeply rooted in mythology. If you are looking for something different
then this is the one for you. The
Dragon and the Unicorn
Makes good epic fantasy?
first thing to consider is the writing
You're not an expert in Composition and Rhetoric so how do you know if the writing is good? This is easy. If you have to stop and think about the sentence structure or you have to re-read a passage because you didn't understand something, or things don't seem to flow right it is probably because the writing quality isn't up to your personal standard. If you have to think about the writing then it has failed. Writing should be invisible. All of your thoughts should go into what's happening inside the world and not the sentences that explain it.
Remember, if you have to stop and think about the writing then it probably isn't a good choice for you.
Okay we have gotten past the writing part and now we want to figure out what makes good Epic Fantasy based on the story.
First of all, it is Epic Fantasy that you are looking for so there are some elements that just have to be there. It has to be Epic in scope. No stories about the challenge of a single person overcoming the greedy land baron and reclaiming the Town Well. You want something where the whole world is at stake. That world has to be big, and it has to be imaginitive and different -otherwise it isn't fantasy. Gone With The Wind is Epic but it sure as heck isn't Epic Fantasy.
So all of that stuff was pretty easy to understand. The writing has to be good, in a style that you like and it has to be imaginitive and epic. But what makes GOOD epic fantasy?
There are three things that are critical to good epic fantasy:
Growth of the main character is critical in good epic fantasy. It parallels what we are experiencing in our ordinary lives. And epic fantasy touches on a chord somewhere deep inside us as human beings. There is a harkening back to our tribal selves. Why else has the epic of Gilgamesh survived for such a long time? This growth of a character comes in stages and Joseph Campbell has described these steps in his book The Hero's Journey. Here are a few of the steps he describes:
The Call to Adventure
-Something bad is developing and our hero has to move toward action
The world has to be powerful and imaginitive. Again this harkens back to the tribal self within us. Who doesn't long to explore a strange new world? We are creatures of curiosity. We have an endless desire to learn new things. Yet when we explore an Epic Fantasy world there is complete safety. Does it get much better than this?
Finally and most importantly, the story has to be thought provoking on an epic level. It has to bring up the big questions. I mean the really big questions about life. Questions about philosophy, religion, truth, beauty, society, good, evil, and power. And it has to bring them up in a big way. To be good epic fantasy a novel or series has to swing at these questions of our existence with a big sword or a two fisted axe; or even rain down upon them the fury of a lightning storm. It has to hack at them with a relentless fury then sort through the rubble and show us what it has discovered. This is the best indicator of good epic fantasy. It sets you out on a big journey to tackle big questions and overcome big obstacles. Along the way it forces you to see the big questions in new way. And hopefully, much like real life you have a jolly good time doing it!
information about the genre
Links to other sites in the Epic Fantasy Genre
Epic Fantasy Book Reviews: Here is a nice, clean website focused on epic fantasy books with insightful personally written reviews:
If you love Epic Fantasy you may be interested in these groups.
The Fantasy Guide: For loves of Fantasy of all kinds from Epic Fantasy to Vampires, Swords and Sorcery and more. Lots of guides and book lists. Wondering what books there are in a fantasy series? Or need to find out what the first book in a series is? It's all on the fantasy guide
Dungeons & Dorks (www.dndorks.com) This is a great online gaming resource with articles, a forum, blog and lots of stuff about gaming. They create some terrific comics which you should really check out.
Banner at the top of this page designed by Luis Peres of Ziph Comics - Visit his website and dowload the free graphic novel