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Fantasy: The 100 Best Books [Paperback]

Michael Moorcock , Jim Cawthorn
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Oct 1988
Fantasy books by authors from classic literature includes works of Johnathan Swift, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, and Franz Kafka.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Xanadu Publications Ltd (Oct 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0947761241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0947761240
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.4 x 2.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 5,246,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Spaces 20 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I would unreservedly recommend this book to anyone who has any interest in where Fantasy fiction has been in the last 400 years.The editors hardly leave a classic flight of fancy untracked as they go from Jonathan Swift to Tom Holt bringing much treasured memories of books read by an old fantasy hound like.I'm glad I bought it and anyone else who buys should not regret the decision.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  7 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent overview of Fantasy novels from 1726 to 1987 19 Feb 2001
By Alan Wortman - Published on
Fantasy is much older than Science Fiction and is also much closer to classic literature. The 100 books reviewed here make this quite clear.
Fantasy books by authors from classic literature includes works of Johnathan Swift, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Robert Louis Stevenson, Oscar Wilde, and Franz Kafka.
Fantasy books from familiar Fantasy authors include works of Tolkien, Mary Shelley, Lord Dunsany, William Morris, E.R. Burroughs, Fritz Lieber, Ursula K. LeGuin, and many others.
Each review tells about the author, the book, and its significance in Fantasy literature. This book is really an indispensible guide for Fantasy fans looking to find significant Fantasy literature from the earliest works to the contemporary.
The only major flaw in the book is the under-emphasis of Michael Morcook's works. Because Michael Moorcock is a co-author, the authors felt that his works should be de-emphasized as a matter of journalistic integrity. Too bad.
I think you will find this book much more helpful than Pringle's "Modern Fantasy" guide as Pringle's review only covers works since 1946--after so much of the world's innocence and romanticism had been lost.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid rundown of 280 years of fantasy literature 24 Sep 2009
By Muzzlehatch - Published on
The 1980s saw a profusion of works both scholarly and populist on the history and literature of fantasy and science fition; this work came out at about the same time as David Pringle's similar Modern Fantasy: The Hundred Best Novels : An English Language Selection, 1946-1987 which I've also reviewed. The Pringle book restricts itself to the post-World War II era and as such is more concentrated and the author seems to feel less need to try to come across as "definitive"; it's also, I think, better-written with some valuable introductory material that gives the project more weight and a more "intellectual" feel. This volume begins with Swift's "Gulliver's Travels" (1726) and finishes with Tom Holt's "Expecting Someone Taller" (1987); both books are restricted to English-language works.

That's not to say that this volume, co-edited as it is by one of the leading figures in the field, Michael Moorcock (who admits in his modest intro to leaving most of the writing up to James Cawthorn), doesn't have value. It's a reasonably interesting guide to another 100 works in the field, offering little overlap with the Pringle book even over the 40 years of publishing history that the two books share. I like that the authors highlight quite a few fairly obscure books (Richard Garnett's "Twilight of the Gods", William Sloane's "To Walk the Night", two book by Henry Treece, etc) and focus quite a bit on the more "literary" sort of fantasy, though pulp and genre stuff is more in evidence here than in the Pringle book. I do think less space in the short (1-2 page) descriptions needed to be devoted to the plots of the works, and more on the literary qualities; but you can't have it all in such a short representative survey.

Still worth hunting down if you can get it cheap and used; between the Pringle book and this one you'd be missing precious little of importance in the English-language fantasy world dating before the mid-1980s.
10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful but poorly-titled book 17 Aug 2003
By Brandon B. Alspaugh - Published on
Mr. Cawthorn and Mr. Moorcock do an excellent job of providing something of a running narrative of fantasy, highlighting books which jump-started notable genres such as Gothic, High Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, and Urban Fantasy.
That said, I think this book might have done better to not imitate its Newman/Jones horror counterpart, and be titled 'A History of Fantasy' or some such. There are a number of books which the two admit are absolutely dreadful reading (like the infamous Castle of Otranto) but have been included because of their importance to the genre.
Enjoy the reading, but don't take an inclusion as necessarily a sign of a book's quality.
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Useful and Informative 9 Aug 2007
By Nelson E. Dahl - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book gives an excellent and well written overview of Fantasy, spanning stories from the inception of Fantsy thru recent entries. The
notes and reviews of individual books and authors are concise, interesting and informative. Anyone with an interest in Fantasy and/or classic period science fiction would almost certainly find this to be a highly enjoyable volume---like a good roadmap guide on a long trip, it helps show the way and gives valuable insight into the various attractions one might wish to visit!
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader 3 Sep 2007
By Blue Tyson - Published on
Moorcock and Cawthorn take a look at a list of books. The book itself is around 200 pages, which is basically a couple of pages of trivia, info, book summary and information for each of the 100 titles listed.

He starts with Jonathan Swift, and ends in De Camp Land, and others, by way of Merritt, Lovecraft, Howard, Poe, etc.

A reasonably flexible definition of fantasy, from Flatland to Black Magic.
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