The Mammoth Book of Great Fantasy offers a wonderful collection - both classic and new - of this ever-popular genre. Mike Ashley brings together the great masters and originators of the form, such as George Macdonald and Lord Dunsany, through the great days of Conan the Barbarian, Elric and Melnibone and, of course, the creations of J.R.R.Tolkien, to today's craftsmen of fantasy such as Terry Pratchett, David Gemmell and Tanith Lee. Stories include: Yesterday was Monday, in which Theodore Sturgeon writes about a ...
The Mammoth Book of Great Fantasy offers a wonderful collection - both classic and new - of this ever-popular genre. Mike Ashley brings together the great masters and originators of the form, such as George Macdonald and Lord Dunsany, through the great days of Conan the Barbarian, Elric and Melnibone and, of course, the creations of J.R.R.Tolkien, to today's craftsmen of fantasy such as Terry Pratchett, David Gemmell and Tanith Lee. Stories include: Yesterday was Monday, in which Theodore Sturgeon writes about a man who goes to sleep on Monday and awakes to find the next day is Wednesday - he has slipped out of time. The Wall Around the World, by Theodore Cogswell, tells of a young boy who masters flight in order to escape from a world in which he has become trapped. A Witch Shall be Born, one of Robert E.Howards greatest Conan the Barbarian stories. Aelfwine of England, a rare tale by J R R Tolkien, linking Dark Age Britain to Middle Earth.
Indomitable British editor Ashley has collected 22 classic fantasy tales (plus one original story) by authors ranging from Victorian George Macdonald to such modern giants as Ursula K. Le Guin and Harlan Ellison in an apparent effort to lure Harry Potter fans to the wider genre. The anthology opens with Theodore R. Cogswell's "The Wall Around the World" (1953), which charms apart from its affinities with the Potter books. Lord Dunsany and his school are represented by the Irish fantasist's own "The Hoard of the Gibbelins"; Lucius Shepard's witty rejoinder to the Dunsany tale, "The Man Who Painted the Dragon Griaule"; Darrell Schweitzer's ironic "King Yvorian's Wager"; and Jack Vance's wry "The Sorcerer Pharesm." The entries by pulp masters Robert E. Howard ("The Valley of the Worm") and Clark Ashton Smith ("The Last Heiroglyph") are well chosen, but A. Merritt would have been better represented by his "The Woman of the Woods" than by his barely breathing 1918 novelette, "The Moon Pool." The clever and disconcerting concept of Theodore Sturgeon's "Yesterday Was Monday" (1941) more than compensates for the tale's dated style. A new, very human story by Louise Cooper, "The Sunlight on the Water," features a ghost tiring of her still living but aging husband. Other contributors include Roger Zelazny, James P. Blaylock and Tanith Lee, though it would have been nice to see such less familiar if equally worthy names as Frank Owen, John Collier and Walter de la Mare. Still, like other titles in the Mammoth series, this offers high quality at a most affordable price. (Nov.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The tireless and Argus-eyed Ashley, editor of Mammoths by the dozen (The Mammoth Book of Fairy Tales, 1997), focuses here on fantasy, 23 drafts of the pure stuff. In Theodore R. Cogswell's "The Wall Around the World" (1953), 14-year-old Porgie goes to school on a broomstick, studies elementals, Practical Astrology, and magic, and wants to build a machine to lift him over the 1,000-foot-high glass wall that runs around the world. Oddly familiar? Ursula K. LeGuin offers "Darkrose and Diamond," a new and still uncollected addition to her "completed" Earthsea landscape. Robert E. Howard's "The Valley of the Worm" (1934) finds Howard in brilliant form, coalescing many famed heroes into a single figure (not Conan), while George MacDonald's "The Golden Key" (1867) is a kind of adult fairy story. Also here: Lord Dunsany's "The Hoard of the Gibbelins" (1911) and Harlan Ellison's "Paladin of the Lost Hour" (1985). A.A. Merritt's classic "The Moon Pool" (1918) is seen in its hardly ever reprinted short-story form, wherein its lost-world effects emerge far more strongly than in Merritt's pallid later novelization. Shining amid these jewels is "The Last Hieroglyph" (1935), in the diamond-crunching style of lost poet Clark Ashton Smith. "I am breaking a long silence to write this review of the lost papers of mysteriously weird Mammoth editor Michael Ashley, who disappeared into Hyperborea in 2002. How did I come across these papers? Well may you ask . . ."
Mike Ashley is a prolific and knowledgeable editor. His most recent successes include The Mammoth Book of Locked Room Mysteries, The Mammoth Book of Sword and Honour, The Mammoth Book of British Kings and Queens, the Whodunits series including Historical Whodunits, Shakespearean Whodunits, Classical Whodunits, Royal Whodunits and also Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy and The Mammoth Book of Arthurian Legend. His books for Robinson have been widely translated and have sold over a million copies worldwide.