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5.0 out of 5 stars Good selection with informative introduction, 20 Dec. 2005
A Reader (Cork, Ireland) - See all my reviews
Shippey brings the insight he showed with his Tolkien studies to the fantasy genre as a whole. The intro shows how fantasy developed from medieval legends, to Victorian "strange tales",

to modern bestsellers. Shippey defines fantasy as "literature which makes deliberate use of something known to be impossible"(p.x). He also interestingly states that modern fantasy shows not only an interest in the impossible, but a demand that the impossible element "be brought into some accomodation with the rational and the scientific"(p.xv). Hence fantasy writers set up various rules to govern their stories

(i.e. setting them in locations-a distant magical past,a "secondary world", or a version of the real world where magic has replaced science-where impossible events can thus take place).

He then gives us a selection of thirty-one tales.The first and last(Garnett's "Demon Pope" & Pratchett's "Troll Bridge") are clever and witty.Lord Dunsany,Robert E. Howard, C. L. Moore and Fritz Leiber give us rousing tales of heroes pitting their swords against evil sorcery. Ray Bradbury & Keith Roberts give us poignant narratives of supernatural beings secretly living in the mundane world.

There are many other good stories, together with an excellent bibliography. Recommended for fantasy enthusiasts.
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The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories
The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories by T.A. Shippey (Paperback - 9 Mar. 1995)
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