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Reviews of Treasury of the Fantastic, the (2001)

Review by spiphany (2005-08-03)
The stories in this volume made me realize what originally drew me to fantasy. I don't do sword and sorcery, I tend to prefer my fantasy somewhat understated, and sometimes I find myself wondering why I read it at all when there's so much out there that's badly written, where an exotic fantasy setting is used to cover up a multitude of flaws.

These, on the other hand, are excellently written tales and poems with a solid basis in reality, in spite of the unreal and magical elements. I can't fault the selection at all. All of the stories in here are written by masters. Most are classics of early fantasy and horror (W.W. Jacobs' "The Monkey's Paw", Carroll's "Jaberwocky"), along with a few more obscure gems (such as Housman's "The Blind God) thrown in for good measure. There's a nice variety of types, balanced between humorous and serious, fairy tale and nonsense poem and high fantasy. It tends a bit much in the direction of dark fantasy/ghost stories for my taste, but that's more indicative of the literary trends than anything else.

In short, an excellent collection for anyone interested in fantasy, particularly early and gothic fantasy.

However, a warning:
At least one printing of this book has some serious issues with errors in the typeset. Several times a paragraph breaks off in the middle of a line, drops to the beginning of a new line, and picks up in the middle of a different sentence. (In Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", about a woman going insane, it made an odd kind of sense and I wondered at first if it was deliberate.) This happens at least a couple of dozen times in the whole book, and with several of the stories, can make them quite difficult to read.




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