The Big Book of Classic Fantasy

Ann VanderMeer and Jeff VanderMeer. Vintage, $25 trade paper (848p) ISBN 978-0-525-43556-3
The VanderMeers (The Big Book of Science Fiction) compile an impressive cross-section of early fantasy in this fascinating anthology of 90 stories. They limit their selections to pieces appearing from the early 1800s to WWII and define fantasy broadly to encompass stories where the unreal intrudes into the real without primarily causing fear. Familiar stories, including Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle” and Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” appear alongside more obscure ones, such as Der Nister’s “At the Border,” a Yiddish story with strong Jewish mystical elements. Readers may be surprised to see fantasy works from authors known for more realist fiction, including Louisa May Alcott, Willa Cather, E.M. Forster, and Rabindranath Tagore. W.B. Laughead’s original Paul Bunyan tales share space with Native American coyote folktales retold by Mourning Dove; Asia is represented by works such as Edogawa Ranpo’s disappearing-person mystery “The Man Traveling with the Brocade Portrait” and an excerpt from Lao She’s Cat Country; and there are numerous stories from the rest of the world. Though clearly meant more for academic use than for cover-to-cover pleasure-reading, this sweeping panorama of fantasy is a must-have for those interested in the roots of modern fantasy, and it gives a welcome introduction to many unexpected delights. Agent: Sally Harding, CookeMcDermid. (July)
Reviewed on : 05/13/2019
Release date: 07/02/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Ebook - 978-0-525-43557-0
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