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Wonder Tales: The Book of Wonder and Tales of Wonder Paperback – October 16, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Dunsany's] rich language, his cosmic point view, his remote dream-worlds, and his exquisite sense of the fantastic, all appeal to me more than anything else in modern literature."
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (October 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486432017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486432014
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,654 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
Lord Dunsany was one of the handful of fantasy writers before "Lord of the Rings" took the world by storm. Now "Wonder Tales" compiles two of his best short story collections, with their exotic fairy tales ranging from the comic to macabre.
"The Book of Wonder" is a mix of all kinds of fantasy tales: a pair of dueling idols; a man whose interest in his imaginary land eclipses the real world; a magical window that shows amazing things; suitors try to make a cold queen cry; the story of the Gibbelins, who eat "nothing less good than man"; and of Miss Cubbins and the Dragon of Romance.
"Time and the Gods" is a radically different kind of story. Ever read the Silmarillion? Dunsany jumps into similar turf with his invented legends of gods and heroes, such as the story of Time and how it overthrew even what the gods favored, how Inzana lost her golden ball (an enchanting little sun legend), the meeting between Night and Morning, and the tale of Slid, an upstart young god.
Dunsany's fantasies aren't as vibrantly realistic as J.R.R. Tolkien's, or as pensive as C.S. Lewis's. Instead they're like fantastical, melancholy little paintings. Some are whimsical ("Miss Cubbins," "Chu-Bu and Sheemish"), while others are majestic and mythic, like the entire "Time and the Gods" book.
Dunsany's writing is lush and descriptive, but in the slightly distant style of the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. He handled comedy, tragedy, horror, and made-up legends with skill and imagination. Not to mention that his mythmaking -- one of the earliest examples of a fictional mythology -- is astoundingly realistic and beautifully made.
"Wonder Tales" is an excellent collection of some of Dunsany's best short stories. Vivid and beautifully written, this early fantasy writer is a must-have.
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Format: Paperback
As David Eddings has said, this author teaches any writer humility for what he can do in four pages fantasy writers cannot do in 400. I have a much older version of this book, taking it on advice that i should read it, i had to own it at all costs and i regret it not. This writer is fantastic and not cheesy in the way Robert Jordan is. An underated writer, and he came out before Tolkien. Well worth buying. Some of the most enjoyable stories i have read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Somehow I expected this collection to be rather thicker- and yet, upon reading, I am not disappointed. Lord Dunsany used exactly the appropriate number of words in every case to paint his word pictures. Most of these tales are only four pages or so long, yet they are all perfect, or nearly so. Each story is a gem- an exquisite miniature.

As for content, these are all accounts of the Edge of the World. Perhaps you know it as Faery, the Mittelmarch, or even the Twilight Zone. It is the interface between our world and the next higher. You discover it by chance, here and there, when the improbable seems to mix more and more with the mundane. Sometimes you catch a glimpse of it in the twilight, the gloaming, for that is the only light by which it may be illuminated to our eyes. It penetrates our world like silver veins through granite- and communicates with an infinitely greater, deeper, body of bright ore...

And yet the author had humor- and a distaste for the sordid in the world. He lets drop hints of no politician being honest- and of ordinary work being a meaningless affair. Plus, the second half of the book (written in 1916) speaks of being weary of a world of mud, and blood, and khaki. Yet, I sense that Lord Dunsany was no idle escapist- he was an explorer.

Save this book to read before sleep, for I sense that is where many of these stories came from- their inspiration is there still, if you are lucky enough to connect with it.
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Format: Paperback
Written in 1917 The Book of Wonder by Irish fantasy writer Baron Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett Dunsany. The Modern Library copy from 1918 that I have contains the following:
PREFACE
THE BRIDE OF THE MAN-HORSE
DISTRESSING TALE OF THANGOBRIND THE JEWELLER
THE HOUSE OF THE SPHINX
PROBABLE ADVENTURE OF THE THREE LITERARY MEN
THE INJUDICIOUS PRAYERS OF POMBO THE IDOLATER
THE LOOT OF BOMBASHARNA
MISS CUBBIDGE AND THE DRAGON OF ROMANCE
THE QUEST OF THE QUEEN'S TEARS
THE HOARD OF THE GIBBELINS
HOW NUTH WOULD HAVE PRACTISED HIS ART UPON THE GNOLES
HOW ONE CAME, AS WAS FORETOLD, TO THE CITY OF NEVER
THE CORONATION OF MR. THOMAS SHAP
CHU-BU AND SHEEMISH
THE WONDERFUL WINDOW
EPILOGUE

it also has the TIME AND THE GODS

Preface
Part I:
Time and the Gods
The Coming of the Sea
A Legend of the Dawn
The Vengeance of Men
When the Gods Slept
The King That Was Not
The Cave of Kai
The Sorrow of Search
The Men of Yarnith
For the Honour of the Gods
Night and Morning
Usury
Mlideen
The Secret of the Gods
The South Wind
In the Land of Time
The Relenting of Sarnidac
The Jest of the Gods
The Dreams of the Prophet
Part II:
The Journey of the King
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By Stephen Ferg on December 14, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In light of Lord Dunsany's popularity, I must emphasize that this is MY PERSONAL REACTION. Speaking only for myself, I found the first story that I read to be fun and whimsical. The same for the second. And the third. Gradually it became clear that the stories are all very formulaic, relying on funny descriptions and funny names, in the same way, over and over. It is like eating ice cream for every meal. The first time is a treat, but by the seventh or eighth time you're sick of it and crave something more substantial.
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