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carols

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“The more I read, the more I acquire, the more certain I am that I know nothing.”
― Voltaire

The Secret History of Fantasy - Peter S. Beagle, Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Yann Martel, Robert Holdstock, Kij Johnson, Maureen F. McHugh, Octavia E. Butler, Jeffrey Ford, David G. Hartwell, Steven Millhauser, Terry Bisson, Francesca Lia Block, Susanna Clarke, Michael Swanwick, Jonathan Lethem, T.C. Bo Amazing fantasy stories that break the stereotype of what "fantasy" is. Contains an interesting discussion of the topic by Ursula Le Guin, which provided me with insight on the development of the "fantasy" field and subsequent dividing of genre fiction. Enjoyed "Ancestor Money" by Maureen McHugh. Admired the cleverness of Gregory Maguire's "Scarecrow," yet another take on the "Wizard of Oz" with some existential philosophy. Patricia McKillip was vaguely haunting in "Lady of the Skulls." I admired "We are Norsemen" by T.C. Boyle and Neil Gaiman's "Snow, Glass, Apples," but it was an uncomfortable story. Steven Millhauser's "The Barnum Museum" was one of my favorites, with very lyrical prose. Steven King's "Mrs. Todd's Shortcut" was clever and wistful. Terry Bisson's "Bears Discover Fire" was an unusual take on modern urban fantasy. Aimee Bender's "Fruit and Words" had an imaginative basis, but was uncomfortable. Jeffrey Ford's "The Empire of Ice Cream" had an astounding concept of alternate reality with a twist ending. Sad more than horrorful. I enjoyed Micheal Swanwick's "The Edge of the World" a great deal, and will look for more from him, likewise Kij Johnson's "26 Monkeys, Also the Abyss." Peter Beagle's contribution was lyrical, beautiful, and wistful. I could live without Yann Martel's "The Vita Aeterna Mirror Company" just because it's format was so off-putting. Johnathan Lethem's "Super Goat Man" took far too much space for its concept, and left me with an uncomfortable taste in my mouth. But the majority of contributions were very original and beautifully written.