The Big Book of Modern Fantasy by Ann and Jeff VanderMee
English | 2020| Fantasy | ePUB | 8.4 MB
Step through a shimmering portal . . . a worn wardrobe door . . . a schism in sky . . . into a bold new age of fantasy. When worlds beyond worlds became a genre unto itself. From the swinging sixties to the strange, strange seventies, the over-the-top eighties to the gnarly nineties—and beyond, into the twenty-first century—the VanderMeers have found the stories and the writers from around the world that reinvented and revitalized the fantasy genre after World War II. The stories in this collection represent twenty-two different countries, including Russia, Argentina, Nigeria, Columbia, Pakistan, Turkey, Finland, Sweden, China, the Philippines, and the Czech Republic. Five have never before been translated into English.
From Ursula K. Le Guin, George R.R. Martin, Stephen King, Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, Aimee Bender, Vladimir Nabokov, Haruki Murakami, Karen Joy Fowler, Italo Calvino, Kelly Link, the full range and glory of the fantastic are on display in these ninety-one stories in which dragons soar, giants stomp, and human children should still think twice about venturing alone into the dark forest.
To some writers, fantasy is an element in a wider set of tools that can be taken out and used for a particular story or novel. Other writers are born with a worldview that skews toward fantasy or become steeped in the non-real and it becomes part of their core identity. Neither approach is inherently better than the other, but for the purposes of post–World War II fantasy it often signified a continuing widening of the breach between the real and the non-real in terms of what most general readers think of as “fantasy” and what kinds of fantasy have been most accepted by genre communities. At times, fantasy has become “that which is produced by a fantasy writer” or “that which I recognize as fantasy because of pop culture.”
The power of pop culture to familiarize readers with the fantastical cannot be overstated. Inherent to popularity is a tendency to render key elements familiar and conventional, even safe. Marketing categories let you know what to expect. (While this can create cliché and generic qualities, they also allow subversive and genre-defying material to reach a wider audience, by allowing “mimics” of a kind to infiltrate the mainstream. The cuckoo’s egg that cracks open to reveal a fairy.)
In a purely technical sense, until recently, sophistication in movie and television versions of fantasy has lagged behind the sophistication of even the most generic Tolkien-derivative fantasy. Thanks to Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, the year 2001 has a mythical science fiction meaning, but the actual year itself proved to be one of the most important in the history of pop culture fantasy, because it was at the end of that year that the first Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies were released, having an effect on the popular imagination of fantasy comparable to the effect of Star Wars on the popular idea of science fiction in 1977. Before 2001, the influence of written fantasy and Dungeons & Dragons made it a major source for much pop culture; after 2001, pop culture and fantasy were nearly synonymous.