Category Archives: Fiction

The Dedalus Book of Greek Fantasy

Fantasy as a dedicated genre didn’t really exist in Greece till very recently. Many of the stories gathered in The Dedalus Book of Greek Fantasy, dating from the 19th century to the turn of the 21st, are by mainstream literary … Continue reading

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Myths, Genres, and Forms in Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism

Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism is a landmark of literary criticism to which I found my way via its influence on the Tolkien scholarship of Tom Shippey and Margaret Anne Doody’s superb book The True Story of the Novel. Frye’s … Continue reading

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David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks

I was keen to read David Mitchell’s new novel because I loved Cloud Atlas. Like that masterpiece, The Bone Clocks comprises six novella-length sections each narrated by a different character in a different time period. But these narratives are closer … Continue reading

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Greg Bear’s Queen of Angels

My first encounter with Greg Bear’s fiction was the superb Moving Mars, at a time when I was reading everything I could find about the planet Mars. Queen of Angels, though set mainly on Earth, is considered to be part … Continue reading

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Forty Signs of Rain

Having tackled the environmental politics of Mars and Antarctica, Kim Stanley Robinson took on the challenge of global warming. Forty Signs of Rain is the first instalment of a trilogy and should not be judged as a stand-alone novel. Most of it … Continue reading

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The Light of Eden

Do you remember, if you’re old enough, the beautiful painted illustrations on the covers of fantasy and science fantasy novels in the 1980s? Each would depict a scene capturing both a moment in the story and the essence of the … Continue reading

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Utopia without Fascism

The 1000-page bulk of Austin Tappan Wright’s Islandia had sat intimidatingly on the shelf since I acquired it. Only in the period of forced leisure after an operation did I get round to reading it. Long hours in bed gave … Continue reading

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