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Epic Stories

  • Feb 28, 2010
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I've always been a fan of big stories. No, that's not quite it, of HUGE, GIGANTIC, EPIC stories!!!!!!! What counts as an epic? Well, for the purposes of this list... anything I say is an epic. There, haha, try to take down that rock solid logic. Anyway, this is a list of my favorite epic stories in no particular order, except for #1 which goes without saying is the best story ever written or put on film. Period.
The Lord of the Rings (novel)
This story literally changed my life. The movie was so good I decided to read the book (quite a feat considering the thickest thing I'd read up to that point was Hardy Boy books), which opened my eyes to the world of the written word. Now look at me, writing two novels, and numerous short stores, plus an avid reader. And I have Lord of the Rings to thank for that. With dozens upon dozens of books, three major motion pictures, and a slew of animated movies and knock offs, its no wonder Lord of the Rings is THE most epic story ever told.

BSG main cast promotional photo from scifi.com.
Four show's including the new series Caprica, and two knock off films of the re-imagined version. Sure, two of those shows never made it past one season, but it just speaks to the depth of the story and potental of the characters that a show that's been canceled after one year not once, but TWICE, was able to find a new home in the Sci Fi channel (not exactly a place that makes the best fiction) and got the best treatment of any canceled way before its time TV show. Its simply unbelievable.
See the full review, "Eat your heart out Star Trek! (my review for the first season)".
The Dark Tower Series
Seven books, not including a new book said to be in the works, plus a graphic novel series. Stephen Kings magnum opus is no a perfect series. Its ending leaves a lot to be desired, and there are far too many loose ends, but whatever you think about the ending (for those of you who are familiar with the story) there's hardly any doubt that the story itself is nothing short of amazing.
Star Wars
Six official films, plus a TON of knock offs, animated movies, TV shows, a slew of books, and video games to boot. Star Wars is the Sci Fi king, deservedly or not. Its done more to shape our culture then any other Sci Fi ever, (sorry Trek fans) and to this day remains as popular as it ever was. Put the prequel movies aside for a minute and bask in the glory that is Star Wars.
Star Trek Poster
Five TV series, a slew of movies, hundreds of books, video games, just about everything. Apart from Star Wars, Trek is the king of the nerds. There is simply no denying the effect this show and its movies have had on our culture. All hail the mighty Enterprise.
Cover Art
Five games, an anime, and a ton of books. The only video game to make the list. Why? Because its the only video game I can think of that has a story truly worthy of being called a great Sci Fi epic. Not just a really good game with a sci fi feel like Dead Space or Resident Evil, no, a TRUE science fiction epic. These games have already changed the way games are played for thousands of fans. Now if only Peter Jackson can get this movie made.
A manga series and a motion picture. You want an epic anime story? Nausicaa is where you need to look. A thousand years after a devastating war leaves the world a desolate wasteland, the world plunges into another devastating world war. Only Nausicaa, a peace loving princes from The Valley of the Wind, can hope to stop it. Sure, compared to a lot of the other names on this list this little series is nowhere near as popular or well known, but it is really just as impressive as any of them.
first edition
A book, a mini series, and a graphic novel series. How did Stephen King get TWO of his works on this list? I don't even like King that much. But I have to give him credit, The Stand is one great piece of horror fiction.
1984 (British first edition)
One book and two movie adaptions. Sure, 1984 isn't exactly a large book, and neither of the movies are especially well known, and unlike the others on the list there aren't any battles and not much bloodshed. But the depth put into this world and the shear overpowering sense of dread and hopelessness creates a very real, very large and complicated world. That makes this an epic in my book.
Night of the Living Dead
The Living Dead series, five official movies, plus pretty much the entire zombies genera. I may be going out on a limb for this one, but Gorge Romero's zombies series pretty much created the zombie story and almost every zombies movie after it simply retells Romero's story. The zombie world has taken on an epic feel with the simple size and depth its taken on. Plus Romero's great at adding a little political/social commentary spin to his flicks. Put all these together and you have a zombie epic.
Book one of the Walking Dead
One graphic novel series and an up coming TV show. If Romero's movies started the zombie craze, Walking Dead took it to new heights. It truly what Romero's movies could never be due to their length; the great unending zombie epic story. You really have to read the story to appreciate just how great it is.
Evangelion: 1.01 You Are (Not) Alone
One TV series, two movies, plus a series of films redoing the original series being made right now. EVA is another anime that truly deserves its title of Japanese epic. The story is just so deep, meaningful, and large that it would be a sin for me to leave it off the list.
Now and Then, Here and There
One TV series. My dark horse candidate, the little known under appreciated anime that has a semi large but very passionate fan base of which I am obviously a part. My personal favorite anime, it tells the story of a group of children forced into slavery by an evil kind named Hamdo in an alternate world known as Hellywood. Though the story itself is nowhere near as large as others on the list its got plenty of depth and heart to make up for all of that.
Title Screen
One TV series. Who says all epics need to be based on fictional worlds? Real life is can be just as epic as anything we can make up, and Band of Brothers is a perfect example of that. Telling the story of the 101st Airborne in WWII, BoB is probably, along with the movie Saving Private Ryan, the best story about WWII.
Box Set Cover Art
Seven books, a BBC TV production of, and two major motion pictures. Fantasy stories seem to be getting the short end of the stick here compared to their science fiction counterparts. Believe it or not though, I've always enjoyed a good fantasy to a sci fi, their just harder and take more effort to come by. Luis's stories often get unjustly compared to Tolkiens work. It was written for a younger audience and for a completely different reason, and although I'd say it isn't as good, its still worthy to stand with the giants.
World War; In the Balence
Two book series and a stand alone novel. Harry Turtledove is not the greatest author in the world. However, these books were truly original and a very fun read. It may not be as large a world as the other epics mentioned in the list, but World War, a story about an alien race of lizards invading earth in the middle of WWII, deserves a mention at least.
One graphic novel and a major motion picture. The simple size and depth of this story alone makes it worthy of being here. Its one of the only graphic novels I've read, so I'm glad to say I have quite a track record in the genra.
The Circle trilogy
Another little known yet amazing story. Dekkers story is very much like a mixture between The Stand and Narnia. A truly amazing read that could have easily been the epic fantasy of our time had it gained a little more popularity.

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March 01, 2010
Great list, my man! Great list!
About the list creator
Jonathan J.D. Lane ()
Ranked #118
I am a member of the US Air Force and presently serve overseas at RAF Mildenhall about three hours north of London. I grew up in Pappilion Nebraska and Crestview Florida, but since joining the Air Force … more
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