Top 10 21st-century fantasy novels

Utdelare: The Guardian

10 verk 19,358 böcker 924 recensioner 4.0

At the heart of every fantasy is something unreal, impossible, or at the very least, so extraordinary as to take us outside the universe we think we live in. Fantasy world-building surrounds those

visa mer unreal things with recognisable furniture and plausible emotion, so that Coleridge’s “willing suspension of disbelief” can kick in. As writers from Tolkien to Pratchett have taught us, the task for both writers and readers is easier when the impossible involves motifs and storylines we recognise from oral narratives such as tales, legends and myths. That also ties most fantasy literature, up to the turn of the millennium, to European culture, because the myths we know are likely to be Greco-Roman or Norse; the tales, German or French or sometimes Scandinavian.

However, in this century, a new wave of fantasy challenges that European dominance. Writers of colour and writers from indigenous cultures use magical narratives to depict experiences and express viewpoints difficult to convey within the constraints of realism. One of the effects of fantasy is the way it forces us to consider the categories of the real, the possible and the ordinary – all the norms that fantasy violates. And, in particular, the new fantasy reveals how culture-bound those norms are. Non-European traditions mark off boundaries differently and include as natural entities things we might think of as supernatural. Out of those different ways of setting the limits of the possible and assigning meaning to the impossible come different versions of the fantastic.

The works I list here not only tell engaging stories set in vividly imagined worlds, they are also worth reading for the way their versions challenge our sense of the ordinary and the limits of the real.

Brian AtteberyLT author page
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Utdelningsår:
2022

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