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Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through the…

Literary Wonderlands: A Journey Through the Greatest Fictional Worlds Ever…

by Laura Miller (Editor)

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Fails somewhat in its stated aim in that many of the critiques focus on the author and the story rather than the setting of a given work, but as a general overview of SFF throughout the ages, it's still a very enjoyable read.

Some notable exclusions, though: neither Herbert's Dune, Eddings' world from the Belgariad and Mallorean series, nor Barker's Abarat are featured which is puzzling but one supposes that for brevity's sake a line had to be drawn somewhere. ( )
  Fergster73 | Aug 15, 2017 |
This is a truly beautiful book, with gorgeous color illustrations on almost every page 2-page spread, so reading it, even flipping through it, is a delight.The first thing I did was check to see which of my favorite literary worlds had been included, and I read those entries feeling great pleasure and satisfaction to see the texts I love treated with such respectful and thought-provoking attention.

But discovering new-to-you authors is the biggest perk of Literary Wonderlands, with one very slight caveat. If you are someone who avoids spoilers at all costs (I am not), if your reading pleasure is diminished by knowing ahead of time some of what happens in a story, then you'll want to precede with caution. In order for them give substantial insights, quite a few of the entries contain summaries which tell in a very general way what happens in the book being featured. Since many of these books are well known classics, especially the older ones, I don't think this will be an issue for most readers.

The entries were authored by an impressive list of knowledgeable and talented writers, some of them scholars or historians, and some of them creators of their own literary wonderlands, like Lev Grossman (his The Magicians series is, sadly, not included in the book). Essays are arranged in 5 chronological groups: Ancient Myth and Legend, Science and Romanticism, Golden Age of Fantasy, New World Order, and The Computer Age ( a strange title choice because most of the stories in this group have nothing to do with computers). Most, but not quite all, of the authors are from Europe or the United States.

Literary Wonderlands would be a great holiday gift book for anyone (including yourself!) who loves to read. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher with obligations. Review opinions are mine. ( )
1 vote Jaylia3 | Nov 22, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0316316385, Hardcover)

A glorious collection that delves deep into the inception, influences, and literary and historical underpinnings of nearly 100 of our most beloved fictional realms.

Please note: The ebook edition is text-only, illustrations are not included.

Literary Wonderlands is a thoroughly researched, wonderfully written, and beautifully produced book that spans two thousand years of creative endeavor. From Spenser's The Fairie Queene to Wells's The Time Machine to Murakami's 1Q84 it explores the timeless and captivating features of fiction's imagined worlds including the relevance of the writer's own life to the creation of the story, influential contemporary events and philosophies, and the meaning that can be extracted from the details of the work. Each piece includes a detailed overview of the plot and a "Dramatis Personae." Literary Wonderlands is a fascinating read for lovers of literature, fantasy, and science fiction.

Laura Miller is the book's general editor. Co-founder of Salon.com, where she worked as an editor and writer for 20 years, she is currently a books and culture columnist at Slate. A journalist and a critic, her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, the Guardian, and the New York Times Book Review, where she wrote the "Last Word" column for two years. She is the author of The Magician's Book: A Skeptic's Adventures in Narnia and editor of the Salon.com Reader's Guide to Contemporary Authors.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 31 Oct 2016 00:57:09 -0400)

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