Stories of the unreal, of trolls and werewolves, spells and sorcerers and magic lands, have been part of the human psyche for as long as there are records. In the present century, far from being outdated by the rise of technology and science fiction, fantasy has once more become a major literary genre expressive of the deepest feelings about humanity and its relation to the natural world.
In The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories, Tom Shippey brings together thirty-one short fantasy stories from the last years of the nineteenth century to the immediate present. The anthology shows both the development of the fantasy genre over time and the range of individual talents it has embraced, from Lord Dunsany and H.P. Lovecraft through Ray Bradbury, Mervyn Peake, Larry Niven, and Angela Carter, to the latest creations of Tanith Lee, Lucius Shepard, and Terry Pratchett. In addition to these marvelous tales, Shippey also provides a thoughtful introduction that discusses the nature of fantasy, and he includes an extensive bibliography listing single author collections and anthologies of fantasy writings as well as works of criticism.
For established readers of fantasy fiction, Tom Shippey’s selection will offer many forgotten gems, and for those less familiar with the genre, it forms an ideal introduction to perhaps the purest of literary pleasures.
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