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The Best Fantasy You've Probably Never Read

Here is my best of the best. These are the fantasy stories that I absolutely adore that many of you have probably never heard of.

So, in order ...

1. Mythago Wood, by Robert Holdstock. Ryhope Wood in England is only 6 miles in circumference, but it will take you a lifetime to walk across it. The Huxley family owns the property and have dedicated their lives to exploring its deadly mysteries.

2. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath, by H. P. Lovecraft. This dark fantasy from the master is about the Dreamlands, a place where we go in our nocturnal wanderings. It is rather rough as it is evident Lovecraft would have edited the story even further if not for his untimely passing, but even in its rough form, it's true magic.

3. The High House, by James Stoddard. This is a truly amazing tale. From Amazon.com: The High House, Evenmere, is an unusual place. There are monsters in the cellar and a dragon in the attic; many of the rooms are entire worlds, strange, wondrous, often nightmarish; and the High House's existence may ensure the survival of Creation itself. But a powerful enemy has risen against Evenmere, and the Master of the High House has disappeared in an unknown world. Carter Anderson, his long-exiled son, must return to defend the manor and the universe from destruction. But Carter has lost the keys to the doors of other worlds. One of his few allies may be a traitor. And the enemy who assails Evenmere from every world, and even from within dreams, knows the High House better than Carter and may hold all the keys.

4. The House of the Borderland, by William Hope Hodgson. This dark fantasy about a man and his sister in an old house in Ireland is not good bedtime reading. Part romance, part horror tale, part cosmic adventure with its dark house, bottomless pit and pig monsters, this is a story that stays with you long after the last page is turned.

5. The Moon Pool, by by Abraham Merritt is about ancient South Pacific ruins and the explorers who discover an underground civilization ruled by one of the most fascinating monsters in early pulp fiction.

6. The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and its sequel, The Moon of Gomrath, by Alan Garner. This dark children's fantasy tells the tale of two children, Colin and Susan, who find themselves in a neverending battle between good and evil. The ending will surprise you as it is the darkest ending I have ever seen in a children's fantasy. Also, in the first book, as the heroes travel through the Fundundelve, there was a section so intense in its claustrophobic suspense, I actually had an asthma attack.

7. The War of the Wizards trilogy, by Andrew J. Offutt and Richard K. Lyon. Starting with Demon in the Mirror, this set also includes The Eyes of Sarsis, and concludes with Web of the Spider. Long out of print, this tale about pirate Tiana of Reme and her involvement in a magical conflict with master wizards is high fantasy worthy of Conan the Barbarian. This tale is not for the kiddies, however due to its sexual innuendos and off screen sexual situations.

8. Elidor, by Alan Garner is about a magical, wondrous world right next door to ours and again, one of the saddest endings you will ever read. Garner must like sad endings. And it has unicorns!

9. The Heavenly Horse from the Outermost West, by Mary Stanton. Think Watership Down, but with horses ... and with godlike powers. And one of them is the equine version of Satan.

Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
(Anonymous)
Jun. 29th, 2010 07:54 am (UTC)
Al Harron sez...
I'm pretty sure many people have read "Dream-Quest," given how popular Lovecraft is on the Net at the moment. However, not nearly enough people have read Merritt, and it's great to see another Merritt reader. "The Metal Monster" and "The Ship of Ishtar" are both great too.
literary_equine
Jun. 29th, 2010 01:01 pm (UTC)
Re: Al Harron sez...
Al, I suspect you're right, especially since "Dream Quest" entered the public domain this year. I suspect to see a lot of copies in the bookstores and possibly even a movie.
stokerbramwell
Jun. 30th, 2010 12:51 pm (UTC)
I'd heard of a few of those before, but not all. On my reading list they go!
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )