- Hardcover: 1100 pages
- Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1997 edition (May 13, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312158971
- ISBN-13: 978-0312158972
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 3.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 20 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,100,490 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Encyclopedia of Fantasy 1997th Edition
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This masterful follow-up to the 1993 Encyclopedia of Science Fiction is an essential purchase for anyone who's serious about fantasy. Those who are serious about horror will also find it an excellent reference. The works of prolific and confusing authors such as Michael Moorcock, as well as authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien who have many posthumously published fragments, are explained with admirable clarity. Especially fascinating are the numerous terms for motifs and themes, constituting what the editors call a map of the many "fuzzy sets" in the universe of fantasy fiction--terms such as "crosshatch," "polder," and "water margin." There are many entries on horror movies and the better-known horror writers (only writers who write no fantasy, such as Richard Laymon, are excluded). You'll also find carefully written definitions of horror, dark fantasy, supernatural fiction, gothic fiction, psychological thrillers, and weird fiction. Locus calls The Encyclopedia of Fantasy "massive and welcome," and writes, "This will be the standard reference for years to come."
From School Library Journal
Grade 10 Up. A comprehensive resource about fantasy literature and media. Similar in format to The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (St. Martin's, 1993), it presents a thorough catalog of authors, awards, movies, TV shows, fantastic themes, historical individuals, and articles on the literature of various nations. There are entries on Howard the Duck and Homer, Santa Claus and Silverberg, Garcia Marquez and Germany. Articles are concise, detailed, and clearly written, although the text is sometimes dry. The book's main value is its cross-referencing. An entry about an author highlights themes covered elsewhere in bold face, and vice versa. For example, the definition of Steam Punk as a fantasy sub-genre refers to Alternative Worlds and to the author Tim Powers. By leading browsers from their favorite writer's works to articles about specific thematic elements and then to other authors who write along similar themes, The Encyclopedia serves as an efficient reader's guide to the genre. Unfortunately, specific mythological elements are not as thoroughly covered. Although there are articles on unicorns and dragons in fantastic literature, there is no entry covering griffins. Still, this is a useful reference book.?Lawrence Kapture, New York Public Library
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
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What you WILL get though is the best reference work covering the major authors, books, films, countries with fantasy writing traditions, comics, magazines, and themes and concepts in the field. The authors have said that it will not be updated in print again -- it will be online only. That's a shame for paper-lovers like me; I cannot tell you how many hours I have spent in the company of this, paging back and forth between entries. Sure, clicking through a website is easier in some ways, but thus far that hasn't materialized. Virtually every writer and novel that I've ever heard of that could be considered part of the genre is in here; the authors seem to have missed nothing. People like Tolkien, Peake, Dunsany not surprisingly receive several page entries apiece, but it's rare to find any figure at all - at least any writing in English, I think the coverage outside of the language is a bit sparser - who doesn't get a fairly thorough bibliographic listing at the least.
You can probably get both this and its science fiction companion quite cheap now, and I would highly recommend them if you have any interest in the byways of the fields. One thing I really like is that neither book discriminates against the more "literary" figures (Angela Carter, Salman Rushdie, etc) who sometimes are given short shrift in genre-geeky references. The writing is generally serious, and I like the fact that "objectivity" isn't always the highest goal; no matter how popular a book or author may be, Clute et al are not afraid to cut them down to size, though never maliciously. And on the other hand they always seem to find something nice to say about even more marginal figures in the field (e.g., Dennis McKiernan). They are in short enthusiastic supporters of the genre as a whole, and I can't think of many writers who have done half as well at grasping the enormity of this gigantic and wonderful field of literature.
All of the contributors are concise, probing and informative. Even if you don't know the author or work being cited, it is as revealing as its arguments are persuasive, which can lead you to the library to learn more.
For anyone who gets lost in the sea of jargon used throughout, the book is a glossary in itself, so don't fret! It includes the definitions of common Fantasy terms such as "Swords and Sorcery", "Fairy", and esoteric terms, like "thinning".
Basically, if it's not in here, it's not worth reading -- or at least according to the authors. They said that they've only excluded authors who they consider relatively unimportant.
A long entry indicates the importance of the author, so of course Tolkien's entry takes up a few pages. Get books by those authors if you want to read the groundbreaking genre-defining stuff.
John Grant's movies reviews are very inciteful and comprehensive. Without giving ratings, he often hints at what made one either good or bad, which can help you decide whether to see it or not.
If you want to get more interested in Fantasy, but can't pick the good books and movies from the bad, this should enlighten you. I find it a great means of escape.
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