I came up with the idea for the Reading Room series about a year ago now. For one reason or another I have always delayed starting the series. While it?s good not to restrict this column to computer games only, four columns worth of book recommendations means two months of column time with barely a mention of games. Previously, I incorporated books into column 15, which looked at a couple of books that might make a good computer game setting. Books deserved their own column, but I quickly realised it would never be just one column, and would be a series instead.
Judging from your feedback, you have enjoyed reading through the recommendations, and making your own additions. Don?t think of this column as the last Reading Room column either. This is something I may well return to in the future. Graphic Novels originally had their own column, but in the end I decided to cut that one, and limit the series to four. It will probably return as a one-off next year.
Feedback was heaviest for the initial column on Fantasy, as you might expect from a Diablo II website. The History section brought the least number of responses, but if I?ve given some of you a nudge in that direction, then I?m happy.
Your own recommendations were fun to read, plus I remembered a few that I left out of the list myself. I?ve included a list of them below, it?s not the full list, as I preferred to list those titles that came from multiple sources for the most part.
Reader recommendations: Fantasy
Stephen Erikson—Malazan Books of the Fallen. I don?t know anything about this series, but I expect I?ll find out shortly.
Michael Moorcock—Elric series. This is a fantasy classic, and something I can add my recommendation to without hesitation.
L.E. Modesitt. This is a writer I?ve stayed away from, mainly because his books look too much like a ?Wheel of Time? series and one of those is more than enough, thank-you. However, this series was mentioned by a few of you (which is more than can be said for Wheel of Time).
Steven Brust. Brust writes nice short books with tight storylines, and it?s no surprise that this author was also mentioned in many of your emails.
Ursala K. Leguin—Earthsea. For some, this has the same status as Lord of the Rings in the fantasy genre. I enjoyed it myself, and there?s a film coming out soon.
Stephen Donaldson—Thomas Covenant. The chronicles of the unbeliever are a set of books dear to the hearts of many.
Glen Cook ? The Black Company series. Start with ?The Black Company? and move forward through the rest.
Reader Recommendations: Science Fiction
Science fiction recommendations tend to be by author, rather than by series. While there are no shortage of book series in the genre, it is authors people remember. Iain M Banks, Greg Bear, Vernor Vinge, David Brin, Octavia Butler are the names you all gave me.
To those names I would have to add Stephen Baxter, and Dan Simmons. For some unknown reason I managed to miss recommending The Hitchhikers? Guide to the Galaxy in the science fiction column. Consider the record corrected.
Reader Recommendation: Speculative Fiction
Not a sausage. Maybe the term is not familiar to you all, but I had expected a few more than none. To be fair, a lot of the science fiction recommendations were what I would consider speculative fiction, such as Neal Stephenson?s The Diamond Age.
I can add to the list Marianne de Peirres? Nylon Angel and Code Noir, plus anything you are able to find by Zoran Zivkovic. Also, since I didn?t mention it in the column, the first volume of Orson Scott Card?s Alvin Maker series is called Seventh Son. I defy you to put that book down once you?ve read the first chapter.
Reader Recommendations: Historical
John Toland’s biography of Adolf Hitler, and Salt, A World History, by Mark Kurlansky form the recommendations here.
Next month, The Ninth Circle gets back to talking about computer games. Join me then!
The Ninth Circle was written from 2002-2006, by David Kay, and with 58 installments it was the longest running column in Diabloii.net’s history. The Ninth Circle covered computer gaming, RPGs, fantasy novels, the gamer’s life, and other related issues. Opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of Diii.net.