The best 'book' I can think of, and I am definitely gonna try and find a copy but it is out of print is:
Atlas of Fantasy I Remember this book from Highschool, and it had some mighty fine maps, some from Works of Fiction, some representative of the Real World like a Texan's Map of the US, or things like that.
Again, a really cool atlas.
You have to love the old master Tolkien...both for his map and for the depth of his world.
I also like the maps of Feist. The world is very clichée but then this doesn't bother me that much. I have a clear picture in my mind of Midkemia.
The second best for world-development (after Tolkien) is without question Steven Erkison...so much depth and history for his world...unbelievable...and his cultures and races do make sense...no really (he's an anthropologist and archaeologist, so that explains it, really ^^ ). I like his maps....maybe not the one in Gardens of the moon but the 7 cities continent (from Deadhouse Gates) is quiet nice.
I think Martin is a very good writer ...but his maps and his worldbuilding are really not the things he excels in imho (that is dialogue and characterization).
A newer voice in Fantasy is Scott R. Bakker...don't know if you know his work (Prince of nothing trilogy). He has a nice map which is clearly inspired by Tolkien's map-style (see here: http://www.princeofnothing.com/index...aps&mode=earwa)
His worldbuilding is also quiet good.
Janny Wurts has some fine maps in her books. An interactive version of her map of Athera is online at http://www.paravia.com/JannyWurts/we...AtheraMap.html
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Wow, that practically *is* middle earth (after an Anduin flood, perhaps!).
I've picked up the Janny Wurts 'Mistwraith' book recommended by Valarian and have just started it. There appears to be a printing error at the begining of the book where the text (and the map) have been double printed - they're pretty blurry, the map is entirely illegible and the first chapter is visually hard to read. It's an Amazon buy, and I can't be bothered to go through the hassle of returning it. The story itself is OK so far, I can't say that I get on too well with Janny's writing, there's something dischordant about it which I cannot yet put my finger on and I'm not getting pulled into the story as fast as I would like but it's early days yet.
Writing good Fanstasy these days is a really tough task, there are only so many tropes and to write something refreshing (which Erickson and RR Martin have both done) is a herculean achievement.
Have also picked up today, 'The Sum of All Men' by David Farland. Never heard of him before but read the first few pages in the bookshop and it looks more like my sort of read, certainly in terms of style. The map is Campaign Cartographer standard, but at least rather than trying to pack all the information into a single map, there is a world map, a regional map and a city map.
I don't see it that harsh concerning the map of Bakker. The style is the same, true...but the landscape and the names not so much. I mean Tolkien's landform was very...generic...so a lot of maps can seem to be plagiarised...the question is...where did Tolkien steal it
Anyway...for the book itself...i really like his worldbuilding (he draws more from Middle East than europe) and his writing-style is very good imho. He also introduces philosophy (Bakker has a major in Philosophy). The book is pretty dark and gritty...not much light on the horizon in this book, so stay clear of it if you don't like that.
As for the story...i am really torn...as i said, i love the world and his writing-style...the story...tough one. It is always a love/hate relationship...my main problem is the main-character...he is just too...inhuman...and unbalanced (in-world. He's way too powerful). But this is a matter of personal taste i guess.
I still recommend the book...because even if the story didn't convince me 100%, it's still better than 95% of the Fantasy out there...
As for Wurts...I have started on that series again (2nd or 3rd time, can't remember)...and I still can't stand it...she tries too hard to write in an elaborate style...it does not flow well .... and the story-progress ist just slooooooow.
Last edited by Eilathen; 11-09-2007 at 08:24 AM.
I'm trapped in Darkness,
Still I reach out for the Stars
Uh oh....I'm on page 100 in the Mistwraith book and the story has hardly begun. I was kinda hoping that something would start happening in the next 100 pages! Eeeek!
I found this site (in German) online: fantasy atlas
It has maps of the worlds from a number of fantasy / SF books. Some of them are very well done indeed - I think (from the brief flip I had through them) that they have been drawn for the site.