Book reviews, art, gaming, Objectivism and thoughts on other topics as they occur.

Dec 10, 2005

The Mammoth Book of New Comic Fantasy

(Note: I am going to try and include links to the books I review from now on.)

I only have one quibble with this anthology, and that's the fact that the title is misleading. None of the stories in it are "new"; all are reprints from another source. Some are more than a hundred years old!

It's one of the few short-story anthologies that I've managed to read all the way through. The stories themselves cover numerous sub-genres in numerous styles, from Neil Gaiman's "Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Nameless House of the Night of Dread Desire", which pokes fun at Gothic literature (like that's difficult . . . the title was, in my opinion, funnier than the story), to Everard Jack Appleton's "The Sea Serpent Syndicate". When I read this story, first published in 1905, I kept flipping back to check the author's name and exclaiming something along the lines of "are you sure Mark Twain didn't write this?"

If I were an actual reviewer, at this point I'd announce something like "it's a tour de force of the comic fantasy genre". Well, that's essentially what I am saying, albeit without the "de force" part, which I think is WAY overused. I will present my critique of literary criticism and book blurbs at some other time, though.


Myrhaf said...

Satirizing gothic literature reminds me of Mel Brooks's "Robin Hood: Men In Tights." He spoofed a genre no one had cared about for 30 or 40 years.

Jennifer Snow said...

I thought Mel Brooks' spoof was specifically based on the new Robin Hood movie starring Kevin Costner, and he incorporated elements from the old Errol-Flynn-style movies.

Gothic literature is actually enjoying a bit of a comeback, at least in the fantasy/science fiction area of my local bookstores, with books like Titus Groan and Gormenghast being reprinted, and the popularity of games such as Vampire and Werewolf. Neil Gaiman's work, in general, partakes a lot of the dark horror atmosphere of gothic literature.