1. Thog

    Thog New Member

    Aug 11, 2010
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    Best Action scenes in fiction

    Discussion in 'Book Discussion' started by Thog, Aug 11, 2010.

    As per title, and yes I know this is a very superficial thread, don’t bite my head off. Anyway here are mine.

    The airfield sequence from “Burning for Revenge” by John Marsden

    When it come to writing emotionally engaging action scenes no one, in my opinion, does it better than Marsden. Here he takes what could have been a gloriously over the top set piece and writes it in the most grounded, harrowing way possible.


    The Battle of Blackwater Bay from “A Clash of Kings” by George RR martin

    My favorite Battle sequence (a battle scene being defined as two or more oposing armies fighting it out) The overall strategy is well thought out and the intimate details of combat really get the pulse going. Great Stuff.


    Riding the Truck from “Truckers” by Terry Pratchett

    This one is just plain madcap fun, pure Pratchett magic.


    Iorek vs Iofur from “Northern Lights” (The Golden Compass) by Phillip Pullman

    My Favorite one on one fight scene. I'm not sure why I like this so much, these types of scenes tend to follow a certain pattern so the way the fight pans out isn't all that surprising. Maybe it's the imagery; the idea of two polar bears decked out in armor beating the crap out of each other is an undeniably awesome one.
  2. Aconite

    Aconite New Member

    Jun 29, 2010
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    Albany, NY, USA
    I do not have an excerpt on hand, but pretty much all of William Goldman's Marathon Man is my kneejerk submission to this thread. The writing, including the action scenes, both sings and stings when necessary, if that makes sense. The plotting is really tight, too. The movie (Dustin Hoffman, Roy Scheider, Laurence Olivier) is great and in my top 20 as well.

    Despite his bent for comedy, Carl Hiaasen writes some fine action scenes too, since his scenes are jam-packed with plot and with great, sparse description that does what it needs and gets out.

    Arturo Perez-Reverte (especially the Alatriste works) definitely qualifies as well.

    So do a lot of the pulp masters: Hammett, Chandler, anyone who ever wrote for Ellery Queen, Haggard, Howard, Burroughs, and so forth.

    The master of action for me, though, is Rafael Sabatini, who always knew how to turn a phrase and use it well--for me he's even stronger in the action department than a classic recommendation like Dumas (who also belongs on the list as well.)
  3. HeinleinFan

    HeinleinFan Banned

    Jan 6, 2007
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    Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling has a great deal of action -- swordfights, burning buildings, cavalry charges, a guy fighting off a bear. . . Very, very well done. Both quite visual, and somewhat poetic in his prose.

    Shogun had several clashes of opposing samurai warriors, as well as a ninja attack and similarly thrilling combat. Well done, in my opinion, and it highlighted some of the technology and cultural differences without distracting from the actions of the characters involved.

    The Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust is rather noir, but well-written. Vlad is a mobster when the series starts, and the action scenes in the books include assassination attempts, a single fighter against dozens, humans going up against gods, humans fighting Dragaeran sorcerers ... yeah. It's pretty awesome.

    I have to second George R.R. Martin's action scenes in Song of Ice and Fire. I mean, wow.

    Hmm. I have a dozen others, but those above came to mind first. Briefly, I'll just say that I thought the action in Name of the Wind, Sword of the Lady, Storm Front, Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, Starship Troopers, Lucifer's Hammer, the Southern Vampire series and the Harry Potter series was well done. All of them have fights and confrontations which are done quite well, ones that keep the reader's interest. At least, I was entertained.
  4. Annûniel

    Annûniel Contributor Contributor

    Oct 25, 2008
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    Ye Old Dominion, USA
    I think R.A. Salvatore's books have some of the most detailed action sequences I have read. His descriptions are fluid but give you the perfect picture of how the battle is progressing. It's thought that he's speaking from experience as he worked as a bouncer for a time.
  5. Elgaisma

    Elgaisma Contributor Contributor

    Jun 12, 2010
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    Probably not what you had in mind, but I love Robert Neil Mist Over Pendle, his action scenes are amazing. I love the swimming of the witch, the incident with the strong arm of the church etc. They are not full of action but the actions are amazing.
  6. Lavarian

    Lavarian Contributor Contributor

    Mar 23, 2009
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    Much as I love the guy and his books, I often find that his fight scenes are too detailed and can be a bit hard to follow.
  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

    Jul 5, 2010
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    California, US
    I think Salvatore does a pretty good job. The scenes are fluid and paced well.

    With respect to gaming fiction, Nathan Long (Blackhearts, recdent Gotrek and Felix novels; Warhammer) does a good job, and Dab Abnett (Warhammer 40K) is also good.

    I agree regarding G.R.R. Martin. Also, I like the action scenes of Glen Cook. David Gemmell also did a nice job with them.

    For science fiction, Jack Campbell handles action very well in his "Lost Fleet" series of books.
  8. Unit7

    Unit7 Contributor Contributor

    Jun 13, 2009
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    Ender's Game had some great action scenes. Reading about the battles in the Zero Gravity room was great. Along with everything else really.

    R.A. Salvatore. I definitely like his fight scenes. I can also easily remember dozens of fight scenes throughout the books. I loved the one fight in one of the Legacy of the Drow books where Drizzt fights off against Zak's old rival. Definitely great stuff. :)
  9. Evil Flamingo

    Evil Flamingo Contributor Contributor

    Nov 7, 2009
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    San Diego, CA
    I'm so glad Heinlien fan mentioned Starship Troopers in here. There are a few action scenes in there that are just golden sci-fi action moments, and will blow your mind.

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