The Oxford Book of Fantasy Stories

T. A. Shippey, Editor, Tom Shippey, Selected by Oxford University Press, USA $30 (528p) ISBN 978-0-19-214216-0
Shippey has done an admirable job of collecting entertaining, exotic and readable tales that fairly represent the varied trends in fantasy over the last century, bringing back some long out-of-print stories. The book has a strong comic slant, beginning with Richard Garnett's ``The Demon Pope'' (ca. 1888), a truly amusing take on the time-honored theme of soul selling, and ending with Terry Pratchett's ``Troll Bridge,'' in which ``Cohen the Barbarian'' bemoans the fading away of magic (and his own advancing decrepitude) but refuses to give up the hero biz. Strange tales by Lord Dunsany and H. P. Lovecraft share space with sword and sorcery offerings from Robert Howard and Catherine L. Moore. Though the anthology contains Peter Beagle's wonderful ``Lila the Werewolf'' and Theodore Sturgeon's classic ``The Silken-Swift,'' there are several puzzling absences--notably J.R.R. Tolkien, Patricia McKillip and Ursula Le Guin. But taken in toto this collection offers insights into the breadth of the field, its historical development and its many beauties. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/1994
Release date: 03/01/1994
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-19-282398-4
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