Masterworks of Fantasy Series 01-50
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Overview: Fantasy Masterworks is a series of fantastic fiction classics from Orion Publishing Group through it's imprints Millenium and Gollancz. The series is a companion series for their SF Masterworks line. The books are numbered in series publication order, not original publication date, and are highly prized and collected. Some of the Volumes contain up to 5 books in a specific series, so there are more than 70 books.
1. Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe - Recently voted the greatest fantasy of all time, after The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun is an extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, on an Earth transformed in mysterious and wondrous ways, in a time when our present culture is no longer even a memory. Severian, the central character, is a torturer, exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his victims, and journeying to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner's sword, Terminus Est.
This edition contains the first two volumes of this four volume novel, The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator.
2. Time and the Gods by Lord Dunsany - There was also another prophet and his name was Shaun, who had such reverence for the gods of Old that he became able to discern their forms by starlight as they strode, unseen by others, among men. Each night did Shaun discern the forms of the gods and every day he taught concerning them, till men in Averon knew how the gods appeared all grey against the mountains, and how Rhoog was higher than Mount Scagadon, and how Skun was smaller, and how Asgool leaned forward as he strode, and how Trodath peered about him with small eyes. Time and the Gods is another of Dunsany's classic collections, written at his peak of his talent. The stories here are a lush tapestry of language, conjuring images of people, places, and things which cannot possibly exist, yet somehow ring true. Together with Dunsany's other major collections, such as The Book of Wonder, A Dreamer's Tales and Tales of Three Hemispheres, they are a necessary part of any fantasy collection.
3. The Worm Ouroboros by E. R. Eddison - The Worm Ourorobos is second only to the Lord of the Rings in the pantheon of 20th century English fantasy. E.R. Eddison, who moved in the same literary circles as Tolkien, was praised by Tolkien as "The greatest and most convincing writer of 'invented worlds' that I have read." A fantastic and stylized story of a protracted war between domineering King Gorice of Witchland and the Lords of Demonland in an medieval world reminiscent of Norse sagas.
The book is set on Mercury; however, keep in mind this is not science fiction, so this is not literally the planet Mercury. Eddison on several occasions in the body of the book calls the world 'Middle Earth', and the setting is recognizably the Midgard of the Norse myths and sagas, although for some unexplained reason the denizens worship the Greek pantheon. The cast of characters, like Tolkien, are principally masculine, albeit with a couple of standout female leads. And lastly the various nationalities (Demons, Witches, Pixies, Imps, etc.) are not really separate species as in Tolkien; they are all essentially humans.
4. Tales of the Dying Earth by Jack Vance - One of Jack Vances enduring classics is his 1964 novel, The Dying Earth, and its sequels. A fascinating tale set on a far-future Earth, under a giant red sun that is soon to go out forever.
This volume comprises all four books in the series, The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugels Saga and Rialto the Magnificent.
5. Little, Big by John Crowley - John Crowley's masterful Little, Big is the epic story of Smoky Barnable, an anonymous young man who travels by foot from the City to a place called Edgewood—not found on any map—to marry Daily Alice Drinkawater, as was prophesied. It is the story of four generations of a singular family, living in a house that is many houses on the magical border of an otherworld. It is a story of fantastic love and heartrending loss; of impossible things and unshakable destinies; and of the great Tale that envelops us all. It is a wonder.
6. The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny - Amber is the one real world, casting infinite reflections of itself -- Shadow worlds, that can be manipulated by those of royal Amberite blood. But the royal family is torn apart by jealousies and suspicion; the disappearance of the Patriach Oberon has intensified the internal conflict by leaving the throne apparently up for grabs.
In a hospital on the Shadow Earth, a young man is recovering from a freak car accident; amnesia has robbed him of all his memory, even the fact that he is Corwin, Crown Prince of Amber, rightful heir to the throne -- and he is in deadly peril . . .
This omnibus edition contains five books, Nine Princes in Amber, The Guns of Avalon, Sign of the Unicorn, The Hand of Oberon and The Courts of Chaos, which together make up the first half of Roger Zelazny's finest work of fantasy and an undisputed classic of the genre.
Note : having read and enjoyed the entire Amber chronicles I have taken artistic license and included the final five novels of Amber within this volume. They are Trumps of Doom, Blood of Amber, Sign of Chaos, Knight of Shadows and Prince of Chaos
7. Viriconium by M. John Harrison - Viriconium gathers Harrison's stories about the great city Viriconium, the empire that rose after the fall of the Afternoon Cultures, and the struggles that surround them, their art and legends, and their connection to our world. The collection starts with "The Pastel City," in which two queens, Methvet Nian and Canna Moidart, battle for control of the empire; Lord tegeus-Cromis and the last survivors of his order fight for Methvet Nian against the rapacious Northerners and the terrifying geteit chemosit, remnants of the late Afternoon Empires.
In "A Storm of Wings," the great airman Benedict Paucemanly returns from the moon, bearing with him an invasion of locustlike creatures who come from the stars and threaten to destroy the human world.
The final story connects Viriconium to our world through mirrors and strange stories of those who traveled into great Viriconium and returned forever changed. Harrison creates an epic history of a captivating and strange metropolis full of bravos and dancers, intrigue and romance.
8. The Conan Chronicles, Volume 1: The People of the Black Circle by Robert E. Howard - Conan the Cimmerian: he rose from boy-thief and mercenary to become kingof Aquilonia. Neither supernatural fiends nor demonic sorcery could oppose the barbarian warrior as he wielded his mighty sword and dispatched his enemies to a bloody doom on the battlefields of the legendary Hyborian Age.
Collected together, in chronological order, are all Robert E. Howard's definitive stories of Conan, exactly as he wrote them, as fresh, atmospheric and vibrant today as when they were first published in the pulp magazines more than sixty years ago.
9. The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll - Schoolteacher Thomas Abbey, unsure son of a film star, doesn't know who he is or what he wants--in life, in love, or in his relationship with the strange and intense Saxony Gardner. What he knows is that in his whole life nothing has touched him so deeply as the novels of Marshall France, a reclusive author of fabulous children's tales who died at forty-four.
Now Thomas and Saxony have come to France's hometown, the dreamy Midwestern town of Galen, Missouri, to write France's biography. Warned in advance that France's family may oppose them, they're surprised to find France's daughter warmly welcoming instead. But slowly they begin to see that something fantastic and horrible is happening. The magic of Marshall France has extended far beyond the printed page... leaving them with a terrifying task to undertake.
10. The Compleat Enchanter: The Magical Misadventures of Harold Shea by L. Sprague de Camp & Fletcher Pratt - This is an omnibus edition of the Harold Shea tales, containing The Incomplete Enchanter (Foreword entitled "Fletcher and I" by L. Sprague de Camp together with "The Roaring Trumpet" & "The Mathematics of Magic") and The Castle of Iron.
"The Mathematics of Magic: the greatest discovery of the ages... at least, that's what Professor Harold Shea thought. With the proper equations he could instantly transport himself and his friend Reed Chalmers to other times, to visit the wondrous lands of ancient legend. But Shea's magic did not always work -- at least, not quite as he expected."
11. Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees - Lud-in-the-Mist is the third novel by Hope. It continues the author's exploration of the themes of Life and Art, by a method already described in the preface of her first novel, Madeleine: One of Love's Jansenists (1919): "to turn from time to time upon the action the fantastic limelight of eternity, with a sudden effect of unreality and the hint of a world within a world".
12. The Book of the New Sun Volume 2 : Sword and Citadel by Gene Wolfe - Recently voted the greatest fantasy of all time, after The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun is an extraordinary epic, set a million years in the future, on an Earth transformed in mysterious and wondrous ways, in a time when our present culture is no longer even a memory.
Severian, the central character, is a torturer, exiled from his guild after falling in love with one of his victims, and journeying to the distant city of Thrax, armed with his ancient executioner's sword, Terminus Est.
This edition contains the second two volumes of this four volume novel, The Sword of the Lictor and The Citadel of the Autarch.
13. Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin - Marsh meant to turn down York’s offer. It was too full of secrets that spelled danger. But the promise of both gold and a grand new boat that could make history crushed his resolve-coupled with the terrible force of York’s mesmerizing gaze. Not until the maiden voyage of his new sidewheeler Fevre Dream would Marsh realize he had joined a mission both more sinister, and perhaps more noble, than his most fantastic nightmare…and mankind’s most impossible dream.
Here is the spellbinding tale of a vampire’s quest to unite his race with humanity, of a garrulous riverman’s dream of immortality, and of the undying legends of the steamboat era and a majestic, ancient river.
14. Beauty by Sheri S. Tepper - Beauty is a moving novel of love and loss, hope and despair, magic and nature. Set against a backdrop both enchanted and frightening, the story begins with a wicked aunt's curse that will afflict a young woman named Beauty on her sixteenth birthday. Though Beauty is able to sidestep tragedy, she soon finds herself embarked on an adventure of vast consequences. For it becomes clear that the enchanted places of this fantastic world--a place not unlike our own--are in danger and must be saved before it is too late.
15. The King of Elfland's Daughter by Lord Dunsany - The poetic style and sweeping grandeur of The King of Elfland's Daughter has made it one of the most beloved fantasy novels of our time, a masterpiece that influenced some of the greatest contemporary fantasists.
The heartbreaking story of a marriage between a mortal man and an elf princess is a masterful tapestry of the fairy tale following the "happily ever after."
16. The Conan Chronicles, Volume 2: The Hour of the Dragon by Robert E. Howard - The second volume, completing the definitive collection of Conan stories, featuring the most distinctive and well known fantasy hero of all time.
Conan the Cimmerian: he rose from boy-thief and mercenary to become king of Aquilonia. Neither supernatural fiends nor demonic sorcery could oppose the barbarian warrior as he wielded his mighty sword and dispatched his enemies to a bloody doom on the battlefields of the legendary Hyborian Age.
17. Elric by Michael Moorcock - Elric of Melniboné is the haunted, treacherous and doomed albino sorcerer-prince. An introspective weakling in thrall to his black-bladed, soul-eating sword, Stormbringer, he is yet a hero whose bloody adventures and wanderings through brooding, desolate lands leads inexorably to his decisive intervention in the war between the forces of Law and Chaos.
This volume brings together The Stealer of Souls and Stormbringer, the first two published books of Elric’s adventures, and confirms Michael Moorcock’s place as one of the most important fantasy writers of our time.
18. The First Book of Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber - From the moment when they first met, in the commission of the same, audacious theft, Fafhrd, the giant barbarian warrior from the Cold Waste, and the Gray Mouser, master thief, novice wizard and expert swordsman, felt no ordinary affinity. Forged over the gleam of sharpened steel as, back to back, they faced their foes, theirs was a friendship that would take them from adventure to misadventure across all of Nehwon, from the caves of the inner earth to the waves of the outer sea. But it was in the dark alleys and noisome back streets of the great fog-shrouded city of Lankhmar that they became legends.
THE FIRST BOOK OF LANKHMAR includes the first four volumes of the hugely enjoyable Swords series.
19. The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip - Morgon, Prince of Hed, wants only to rule and work the land of his birth as best he can, but he is faced by a very different challenge from that of his ancestors. The stars have marked him out and he must wander strange, foreign lands full of untamed magic, and confront riddling wraiths and mysterious harpists at the behest of the all-knowing High One. But his is a perilous quest, involving grave danger, to himself, his promised bride, his land and his people.
This volume contains The Riddle-Master of Hed, Heir of Sea and Fire and Harpist in the Wind, the complete Riddle-Master trilogy, which is among the most respected and popular fantasies of recent years.
20. Time and Again by Jack Finney - "Sleep. And when you awake everything you know of the twentieth century will be gone from your mind. Tonight is January 21, 1882. There are no such things as automobiles, no planes, computers, television. 'Nuclear' appears in no dictionary. You have never heard the name Richard Nixon."
Did illustrator Si Morley really step out of his twentieth-century apartment one night -- right into the winter of 1882? The U.S. Government believed it, especially when Si returned with a portfolio of brand-new sketches and tintype photos of a world that no longer existed -- or did it?
21. Mistress of Mistresses by E. R. Eddison - MISTRESS OF MISTRESSES was the first published novel in E.R. Eddison's celebrated Zimiamvian trilogy. Like Tolkien's Middle-Earth, Zimiamvia is a world which mirrors our own - but passions run stronger there, and life, love and treachery are epic in their intensity. And magic, of course, is a reality. Mezentius had ruled the Three Kingdoms with a firm hand, but his legitimate heir is a weakling, frightened of the power of his half-brother, Duke Barganax, and of that of the terrifying Horius Parry, Vicar of Rerek. As Parry and Barganax manoeuvre, intrigue and plot, it is clear that the new king isn't long for the world. The key to the control of the Three Kingdoms lies with Lessingham, Parry's cousin, the only man both sides can trust. But then Parry decides that Lessingham must die. As heroes and villains clash, an even darker game is being played - for the Lady Fiorinda is testing her own powers to decide the fates of men...
22. Gloriana or the Unfulfill'd Queen by Michael Moorcock Queen Elizabeth I of England (ruled in late 1500's), also known as Gloriana and Good Queen Bess, has been a source of endless fascination for centuries. There are many movies (Elizabeth made Cate Blanchett's career) and dozens of books, not to mention Web sites devoted to her. While there was great strife during her reign, Elizabeth I was one of the most beloved monarchs of all time, and her period is known as the Golden Age of English history. Some of the world's greatest luminaries came from her country in that period, including William Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser, Christopher Marlowe, and Sir Walter Raleigh.
23. The Well of the Unicorn by Fletcher PrattRobbed of lands and heritage by the rapacious Vulkings, young Airar Alvarson had only his limited gift for sorcery to aid him against a world of savage intrigues. Then he met a mysterious sorcerer and was given a strange iron ring -- a ring that led him into a futile conspiracy and soon had him fleeing for his life.
Driven by enchantments and destiny, he found himself leading a band of warriors against the mighty empire of the Vulkings. With him was a warrior maid who mocked him while she sought to serve by fair means or foul. Then he met the Imperial Princess who preached the peace of the Well but it soon became apparent she would bring him only turmoil and strife!
24. The Second Book of Lankhmar by Fritz Lieber - The Second Book of Lankhmar contains two brief novels as well as eleven short stories. The first of the two novels, and the more famous, is The Sword of Lankhmar. The best fable of human/rodent relationships since the "Pied Piper of Hamlin," Leiber creates an below-ground and ratty reflection of Lankhmar Above when a potion given to the Mouser to aid in the investigation of a plague of rats instead shrinks our hero to rodent size. While this might appear a notable advantage for prying into the affairs of ratdom, a serious problem -- and high jinks -- ensue when the Mouser becomes besotted by an alluring human/rat hybrid.
Unfortunately, four of the eight short stories that form Swords and Ice Magic are among the series' weakest, "Beauty and the Beasts" and "The Bait" being particularly insubstantial, though the ephemeral quality of these tales is offset somewhat by the more consequential character of "The Frost Monstreme" and "Rime Island," preludes to the three short stories included in the final collection, The Knight and Knave of Swords. Together, these five tales represent a departure from Lankhmar and the duo's earlier adventures, representing not only a change of locality but tone and organization as well.
25. Voice of Our Shadow by Jonathan Carroll - For Joe Lennox, successful young writer, Vienna provides a refuge from the tragedy of his brother's death, until he starts up a friendship with the eccentric India Tate and her magician husband Paul. Gradually Joe falls in love with India, but Paul finds out - before he suddenly drops dread.
And now Joe has two deaths on his conscience and another voice calling from beyond the grave ...
26. Emperor of Dreams by Clark Ashton Smith - From the vampire-haunted alleyways of mediaeval Averoigne to the shining spires of dying Zothique, Clark Ashton Smith weaves his literary sorcery, transporting us to forgotten realms of necromancies and nightmares, lost worlds and other dimensions. In the enchanted regions of Hyperborea, Atlantis and Xiccarph, encounter malefic magic and demonic deeds beneath the last rays of a fading sun ...
For the first time ever, this volume encompasses Clark Ashton Smith's entire career as a writer. Smith virtually stopped writing stories in 1937, for reasons that have never been satisfactorily explained, but he left behind a unique legacy of fantasy fiction which is as imaginative and decadent today as when it was first published in the pulp magazines more than half a century ago.
27. Lyonesse I - Suldun's Garden by Jack Vance - A monument of fantastic literature to stand beside such classics as Dune and The Lord Of The Rings, LYONESSE evokes the Elder Isles, a baroque land of pre-Arthurian myth now lost beneath the Atlantic, where powerful sorcerers, aloof faeries, stalwart champions, and nobles eccentric, magnanimous, and cruel pursue intrigue among their separate worlds. In this first book of the trilogy, Suldrun's Garden, Prince Aillas of Troicinet is betrayed on his first diplomatic voyage and cast into the sea. Before he redeems his birthright, he must pass the breadth of Hybras Isle as prisoner, vagabond, and slave, an acquaintance of faeries, wizards, and errant knights, and lover to a sad and beautiful girl whose fate sets his bitter rivalry with the tyrant Casmir, King of Lyonesse.
28. Peace by Gene Wolfe - Wolfe's novel about a bitter old man whose highly imaginative memoirs go beyond the real world and into another dimension.
It is full of wonderful snatched flights of whimsy and of fancy -- the porcelain teapot adorned with the faces of its previous owners, and which, when filled up, will break; the transformation of an every day neat and tidy store into an Antique Bookshop, with gold leaf lettering on the door which instantly "goes from bright newness to an antique patina that might have graced the Great Chalice of Antioch"; the aboriginal people who, ten thousand years ago, crossed the Bering Straits into what would become America and "...eventually settled at Indianola, Indianapolis, Indian Lake, and various other places at which point they were forced to become Indians in order to justify the place names."
The protagonist of Peace, is a creature of brooding creativity of which he himself may be almost unaware but which enables him to give the book its fantastical edge. It allows him to live in a house which is infinitely larger inside than out, and whose many rooms reflect not so much the genius of an architect but rather the living memories inside his own mind. He moves freely between the future and the past, talking as an adult to people long dead whom he knew as a boy -- even asking advice from an old doctor as to what he should do when he gets his stroke many years in the future.
The reader is never quite sure who this man is, or where precisely he came from, or what exactly he is trying to do -- but there is a little of all of us in him, and one way or another he takes up every reader and carries them all through into his timeless realm with him.
29. The Dragon Waiting by John M. Ford The Wars of the Roses have put Edward IV on the throne of England, Lorenzo de' Medici's court shines brilliantly, and Duke Galeazzo Maria Sforza plots in Milan. But this is a changed world, and medieval Europe is dominated by the threat from the Byzantine Empire. Sforza, the Vampire Duke, marshals his forces for his long-planned attack on Florence, and Byzantium is on the march. A mercenary, the exiled heir to the Byzantine throne, a young woman physician forced to flee Florence, and a Welsh wizard, the nephew of Owain Gly Dwr, seem to have no common goals but together they wage an intrigue-filled campaign against the might of Byzantium, striving to secure the English throne for Richard, Duke of Gloucester, and make him Richard III.
30. The Chronicles of Corum by Michael Moorcock - The Hand of Kwll and the eye of Rhynn in exchange for the heart of Airoch. There were Gods abroad in those days. It was their whim to wipe clean the slate of history, to destroy the old races, the Vadhagh, the Nhadragh, the remnants of still more ancient peoples. Mankind, the contemptible Mabden, was ther instrument, washcloth of the Gods. But the Gods themselves fell out, and Chaos gained the advantage over Law. The stage was set for heroes. One such was the Vadhagh Prince Corum.
Driven mad for revenge by the callous slaughter of his family and race, and by his own grotesque multilation at the hands of the Mabden, he agreed to accept from the treacherous sorcerer Shool the Eye of Rhynn and the Hand of Kwll in exchange for a lien on his soul. Thus armed he set out upon a personal crusade against the Sword Rulers, Lords of Chaos, puppetmasters to Man. And first of these was the loathsome Arioch, Knight of the Swords, master of five of the fifteen planes of reality. From Arioch, Prince Corum required his heart.
31. Black Gods and Scarlet Dreams by C. L. Moore - Jirel of Joiry, the first of the great female warriors, the beautiful commander of the strongest fortress in the kingdom, would face any danger to defend her beloved country. She wielded her bright sword against mighty armies, the sinister magic of evil sorcerers and fearsome castles guarded by the dead, even daring to descend into Hell itself...Northwest Smith, the scarred and weathered outlaw, the legendary hero of the spaceways, forced to confront the terrible mysteries, the terrifying, mythic monsters of the universe...Jirel of Joiry and Northwest Smith are C.L. Moore's greatest creations and she used them not only to spin spellbinding tales but also to explore the mysteries of the human psyche.
32, The Broken Sword by Poul Anderson - The sword Tyrfing has been broken to prevent it striking at the roots of Yggdrasil, the great tree that binds earth, heaven and hell together . . . but now the mighty sword is needed again to save the elves, who are heavily involved in their war against the trolls, and only Scafloc, a human child kidnapped and raised by the elves, can hope to persuade the mighty ice-giant, Bolverk, to make the sword Thor broke whole again. But things are never easy, and along the way Scafloc must also confront his shadow self, Valgard the changeling, who took his place in the world of men.A superb dark fantasy of the highest, and most Norse, order The Broken Sword is a fantasy masterpiece.
33. The House on the Borderland and Other Novels by William Hope Hodgson - From the chilling adventure tale of the sea, The Boats of the 'Glen Carrig', and the power and horror of The Ghost Pirates, to the strange and haunting vision of the House on the Borderland and the bizarre and wonderfully imaginative The Night Land, the four great novels of William Hope Hodgson are universally recognized as one of the landmarks in the literature of the weird and fantastic. Strange and compelling, these are powerful works that exercise the same fascination today as they did on Lovecraft and Clark Ashton Smith, and all four are collected here.
34. Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers - It is the year 1529 and Brian Duffy, a soldier of fortune, finds himself in Venice. A late-night confrontation with three brothers over a matter of honor convinces Brian to find greener pastures. After a chance meeting with an old monk named Aurelainus, Brian finds himself hired on to be the bouncer at the famous Herzwesten brewery and inn (formerly a monastery) located in Vienna. During Brian's voyage from Venice to Vienna, he crosses the Dolomite Mountains, only to meet assassins who attack him. Dwarves and creatures Brian knew only from mythology assist him in vanquishing his attackers.
The mythical Fisher King is a central character in The Drawing of the Dark, and cameos by the Roman god Bacchus, the Lady of the Lake, reincarnations of King Arthur and Sigmund from Norse mythology, Merlin, and hosts of soldiers, including Vikings and Swiss mercenaries, add to the otherworldly feel. The legendary heroes are allied against legions of soldiers from the Turkish Ottoman Empire under Suleiman and his wizard Ibrahim, who try to repeat the successes of their 1521 and 1526 invasions of eastern Europe by laying siege to Vienna. But just what is their objective? The city or the beer?
35. Lyonesse II - The Green Pearl and Madouc by Jack Vance - In Lyonesse II: The Green Pearl and Madouc the magical lands of high enchantment - the Elder Isles, the land, long-vanished beneath the ocean, from which King Arthur's ancestors fled to Britain - come to brilliant life again. In this ancient land the realm of chivalry and the world of faerie exist side by side and it is a place of strange beauty, high adventure and eerie magic. Warring kings renew their conflicts, opposing magicians devise ever more strange and sinister stratagems and Madouc, ostensibly the daughter of the ill-fated Princess Suldrun but in reality a changeling, becomes embroiled in political rivalries, military adventures - and the quest for the Grail.
36. The History of the Runestaff by Michael Moorcock - Those who dare swear by the Runestaff must then benefit or suffer from the consequences of the fixed pattern of destiny that they set in motion. Several such oaths have been sworn in the history of the Runestaff's existence... - The High History of the Runestaff. Dorian Hawkmoon, late the Duke of Koln, fell under the power of the Runestaff, a mysterious artifact more ancient than Time itself. His destiny, shaped by a vengeful oath sworn by the maddened Baron Meliadus of the Dark Empire, pitted Hawkmoon in battle against his own allies and forced him, by the Black Jewel embedded in his skull, to betray his very heritage.
37. A Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay - A Voyage to Arcturus is a novel by the Scottish writer David Lindsay. First published in 1920, it combines fantasy, philosophy, and science fiction in an exploration of the nature of good and evil and their relationship with existence. It has been described by the critic and philosopher Colin Wilson as the "greatest novel of the twentieth century" and was a central influence on C.S. Lewis's Space Trilogy.
38. Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson - The unsettling dreams begin for small-town reporter Will Barbee not long after he first meets the mysterious and beautiful April Bell. They are vivid, powerful and deeply disturbing nightmares in which he commits atrocious acts.
And, one by one, his friends are meeting violent deaths. It is clear to Barbee that he is embroiled in something far beyond human understanding, something unspeakably evil. And it intimately involves the seductive, dangerously intoxicating April, and the question, 'Who is the Child of the Night?' When he discovers the answer to that, his world will change utterly.
39 - The Mabinogion by Evangeline Walton - The Mabinogion is to Welsh mythology what the tales of Zeus, Hera, Apollo and their sibling gods are to Greek myth . . . The magical adventures of Gwydion, the wizard-prince, Prince Pwyll, Arawn, the Lord of Death, the beautiful Rhiannon and the steadfast Branwen have thrilled generations. Evangeline Walton's compelling rendition of these ancient, thrilling stories of magic, betrayal, lost love and bitter retribution were originally published as The Island of the Mighty, The Children of Llyr, The Song of Rhiannon and The Prince of Annwn. The stories include the encounter between Prince Pwyll and Arawn, the God of Death, which Pwyll survives by agreeing to kill the one man that Death cannot fell, and the tale of Bran the Blessed and his family's epic struggle for the throne. The Mabinogian is universally recognised as the world's finest arc of Celtic mythology; Walton's vivid retelling introduces a world of gods and monsters, heroes, kings and quests, making accessible one of the greatest fantasy sagas of all time.
40. Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson - The gathering forces of the Dark Powers threaten the world of man. The legions of Faery, aided by trolls, demons and the Wild Hunt itself, are poised to overthrow the Realms of Light. Holger Carlsen, a bemused and puzzled twentieth-century man mysteriously snatched out of time, finds himself the key figure in the conflict. Arrayed against him are the dragons, giants and elven warriors of the armies of Chaos, and the beautiful sorceress Morgan le Fay. On his side is a vague prophecy, a quarrelsome dwarf and a beautiful woman who can turn herself into a swan, not to mention Papillon, the magnificent battle-horse, and a full set of perfectly fitting armour, both of which were waiting for him when he entered the magical realm. The shield bears three hearts and three lions - the only clue to Holger Carlsen's true identity. Could Carlsen really be a legendary hero, the only man who can save the world?
41. Grendel by John William Gardner - Grendel is a beautiful and heartbreaking modern retelling of the Beowulf epic from the point of view of the monster, Grendel, the villain of the 8th-century Anglo-Saxon epic. This book benefits from both of Gardner's careers: in addition to his work as a novelist, Gardner was a noted professor of medieval literature and a scholar of ancient languages.
42. The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick - Part classic fantasy, part Charles Dickens, The Iron Dragon's Daughter is one of the most unique novels in the genre. Jane is a changeling child, enslaved in a factory that makes the iron dragons - terrible engines of war - until she discovers the secret of the dragons' sentience and is able to use one of the beasts to escape. Then, her adventures as a thief and an outsider take her into a reality rich in wild magic and sharp-edged technology, a world where Time and shopping malls have a strange relationship and gryphons have a low capacity for alcohol. A surprising and brilliant novel that undercuts the easy escapism of more conventional fantasy.
43. WAS by Geoff Ryman - Ryman's darkly imaginative, almost surreal improvisation on L. Frank Baum's Oz books combines a stunning portrayal of child abuse, Wizard of Oz film lore and a polyphonic meditation on the psychological burden of the past.
44. Song of Kali by Dan Simmons - The story concerns an American poet who travels with his Indian wife and their baby to Calcutta to pick up an epic poem cycle about the goddess Kali. The Bengali poet who wrote the poem cycle has disappeared under mysterious circumstances.
Song of Kali won a World Fantasy Award.
45. Replay by Ken Grimwood - In this intriguing fantasy adventure, Jeff Winston, a failing 43-year-old radio journalist, dies and wakes up in his 18-year-old body in 1963 with his memories of the next 25 years intact. He views the future from the perspective of naive 1963: "null-eyed punks in leather and chains . . . death-beams in orbit around the polluted, choking earth . . . his world sounded like the most nightmarish of science fiction." But Grimwood has transcended genre with this carefully observed, literate and original story. Jeff's knowledge soon becomes as much a curse as a blessing. After recovering from the shock (is the future a dream, or is it real life?), he plays out missed choices. In one life, for example, he falls in love with Pamela, a housewife who died nine minutes after Jeff; they try to warn the world of the disasters it faces, coming in conflict with the government and history. A third replayer turns out to be a serial killer, murdering the same people over and over. Jeff and Pamela are still searching for some missing part of their lives when they notice they are returning closer and closer to the time of their deaths, and realize that the replays and their times together may be coming to an end.
46. Sea Kings of Mars and Otherworldly Stories by Leigh Brackett - A collection of the best stories by one of fantasy and science fiction's most evocative writers, including Sea Kings of Mars, which combines high adventure with a strongly romantic vision of an ancient, sea-girt Martian civilisation.
47. The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers - Author Tim Powers evokes 17th-century England with a combination of meticulously researched historic detail and imaginative flights in this sci-fi tale of time travel. In his brief introduction, Ramsey Campbell sets The Anubis Gates in an adventure context, citing Powers's achievement of "extraordinary scenes of underground horror, of comedy both high and grotesque, of bizarre menace, of poetic fantasy."
48. The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip - Almost destroyed because of a man's fear and greed, Sybel, a beautiful young sorceress, embarks on a quest for revenge that proves equally destructive. Winner of the World Fantasy award, this exquisitely written story has something for almost every reader: adventure, romance and a resonant mythology that reveals powerful truths about human nature.
49. Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury - The carnival rolls in sometime after midnight, ushering in Halloween a week early. The shrill siren song of a calliope beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery.
And two boys will discover the secret of its smoke, mazes, and mirrors; two friends who will soon know all too well the heavy cost of wishes. . .and the stuff of nightmare.
50. The Mark of the Beast and Other Fantastical Tales by Rudyard Kipling - Rudyard Kipling was a major figure of English literature, who used the full power and intensity of his imagination and his writing ability in his excursions into fantasy. This Masterwork, edited by Stephen Jones, Britain's most accomplished and acclaimed anthologist, collects all Kipling's weird fiction for the first time; the stories range from traditional ghostly tales to psychological horror.