The Penguin Book of Modern Fantasy by Women

Overview

Fantasy has come to mean different things to different people - for some it is a descent into the unconscious, an expression of repressed fears or desires; for others it is an exploration of new territories, frightening and fertile landscapes inhabited by playful and provocative beings who draw the reader into a fascinating web of morality and myth. In her challenging Introduction, Joanna Russ describes Fantasy as 'the most realistic of all the arts, expressing as it does the contents of human souls directly'. ...
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Overview

Fantasy has come to mean different things to different people - for some it is a descent into the unconscious, an expression of repressed fears or desires; for others it is an exploration of new territories, frightening and fertile landscapes inhabited by playful and provocative beings who draw the reader into a fascinating web of morality and myth. In her challenging Introduction, Joanna Russ describes Fantasy as 'the most realistic of all the arts, expressing as it does the contents of human souls directly'. This anthology aims to show that Fantasy has also been an important vehicle for women, who have used it to express their creative diversity, without having to be boxed in and categorized by a male-dominated literary establishment.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Fantasy, as novelist Russ contends in her introduction to this impressive collection, gives women ``the method to handle the specifically female elements of their experience in a way that our literary tradition of realism was not designed to do.'' Editors Williams and Jones take a very broad view of what constitutes fantasy: the collection, comprised of 38 stories written between 1941 and 1994, opens conventionally enough, with Elizabeth Bowen's classic horror story ``The Demon Lover'' but also includes more masculine-seeming SF by the pseudonymous James Tiptree Jr. (Alice Sheldon), whose disturbing ``The Milk of Paradise'' reminds us that love, especially of the alien other, can be the strongest force of all. There are several specifically feminist entries, such as Lisa Tuttle's moving ``Wives,'' about creatures on a strange planet who are forced to bind and emotionally starve themselves to conform to a male ideal of femininity, and the cheerfully amoral, appallingly satisfying ``Boobs,'' by Suzy McKee Charnas. There is room here for the darkly fantastic (Tanith Lee's ``Red As Blood''); for the delicately sentimental (Zenna Henderson's ``The Anything Box''); and even for one of the most deliciously droll of flying saucer stories (Muriel Spark's ``Miss Pinkerton's Apocalypse''). If, as Russ says, ``fantasy is reality,'' then this is the reality of some higher, more eloquently truthful, plane. (Oct.)
Roland Green
A new Penguin anthology offers 38 works of short fantasy fiction written since 1941 by as many hands. The contributors include such stellar science fiction names as Ursula K. LeGuin, Leigh Brackett, Kate Wilhelm, Shirley Jackson, James Tiptree, and Joanna Russ (who also wrote the foreword to the collection), all of them represented by superior pieces; some comparatively new or less well known authors (e.g., Lynda Raian, Lucy Sussex); and several writers not readily associated with the fantasy genre (e.g., Janet Frame, P. D. James, Muriel Spark). Although the volume does not really support the notion of a distinctively feminine vision in the brand of literary fantasy it showcases (action-adventure fantasy would be another kettle of broadswords entirely), it adds greatly to any collection's resources of highly readable fantasy stories.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670859078
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/28/1995
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 6.41 (w) x 9.54 (h) x 1.79 (d)

Table of Contents

Sources and Acknowledgements
Introduction
Editors' Note
The Demon Lover 1
The Tooth 8
The Lake of the Gone Forever 26
The Old Man 62
My Flannel Knickers 73
The Anything Box 76
Miss Pinkerton's Apocalypse 90
A Bright Green Field 97
The Ship who Sang 104
Marmalade Wine 124
The Fall of Frenchy Steiner 132
Cynosure 165
The Wall 175
The Foot 182
Baby, You were Great 198
The Second Inquisition 213
Murder, 1986 245
The Milk of Paradise 267
When it Happens 279
Angel, All Innocence 290
Night-Side 306
Fireflood 332
Wives 355
Red as Blood 365
Sur 376
Peter and the Wolf 393
The Pits beneath the World 403
Two Sheep 413
Relics 417
The Evening and the Morning and the Night 432
(Learning about) Machine Sex 458
Prodigal Pudding 477
Boobs 479
If the Word was to the Wise 499
Trial by Teaspoon 509
In the Green Shade of a Bee-Loud Glade 514
Death in the Egg 525
Kay and Phil 533
Notes on the Authors 554
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