Greenmantle by Charles de Lint

What happens when you combine Robert Graves's The White Goddess with Martin Scorsese's mafia flick Goodfellas? I'm not sure, but it wouldn't be far from Charles de Lint's 1988 'mythic fiction' novel Greenmantle. Called the father of urban fantasy, Charles de Lint is the author of dozens of novels that combine fantasy with mainstream fiction. …

Continue reading Greenmantle by Charles de Lint

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

The following is an excerpt from the presentation I made earlier this week for my seminar on (Post)Colonial Geographies with Professor Sandeep Banerjee at McGill University. The young protagonist of Salman Rushdie's children's fantasy novel Haroun and the Sea of Stories asks his father Rashid Khalifa, a great storyteller better known as the Shah of …

Continue reading Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie

Julian the Magician by Gwendolyn MacEwen

Julian the Magician is the work of a poet of the mythic, the magical, and the exotic: Gwendolyn MacEwen. Although she is better known for her poetry--and mostly, I suspect, by academics rather than the general public--I recommend reading her today. Her style is a "sort of powerful poetic mad half-abandoned prose somewhere between [Kenneth] …

Continue reading Julian the Magician by Gwendolyn MacEwen

The Year’s Best Fantasy, eds. David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

It's like fantasy tapas, or if you prefer, a buffet: fantasy short stories contain all the excitement and inspiration of a novel, in a way that requires less commitment. Instead of reading a five-course fantasy series of 900+ pages, you can hunker down for a 10- or 20-page adventure. And while you're at it, eat …

Continue reading The Year’s Best Fantasy, eds. David G. Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer

Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever: Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson

Beware! Leper unclean! shout the crowds. Don't touch me! responds Thomas Covenant, the antihero of Stephen R. Donaldson's memorable epic fantasy trilogy. In this exchange, which Convenant repeats in his mind like a mantra for his sanity, Donaldson summarizes the conflict of his protagonist. Despite being unlikeable, Covenant tends to garner your empathy. He's a …

Continue reading Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever: Lord Foul’s Bane by Stephen R. Donaldson

The Secret History of Fantasy, edited by Peter S. Beagle

If you're like me, you have probably starved for an original fantasy novel. So many novels and short stories rely too heavily on The Lord of the Rings and the epic fantasy genre that spawned from it. Are there any original fantasy works that use impossible situations without having elves, orcs, and dragons run across …

Continue reading The Secret History of Fantasy, edited by Peter S. Beagle

The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I, by Stephen King

What do you get when you combine Tolkien and the Western? Stephen King's Dark Tower series. Meet Roland, the last gunslinger. He's Aragorn meets John Wayne. A solitary man “wandering but not lost,” he carries two six-shooters that were once his father's pistols. His single quest, which he pursues with an instinctual audacity, is summarized …

Continue reading The Gunslinger: The Dark Tower I, by Stephen King