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John Crowley (1) (1942–)

Author of Little, Big

For other authors named John Crowley, see the disambiguation page.

39+ Works 11,524 Members 270 Reviews 108 Favorited
There is 1 open discussion about this author. See now.

About the Author

John Crowley was a recipient of the American Academy & Institute of Arts & Letters Award for Literature. He lives in the hills above the Connecticut River in northern Massachusetts with his wife & twin daughters. (Bowker Author Biography)
Image credit: Photo by Zoe Crowley


Works by John Crowley

Little, Big (1981) 4,201 copies
Aegypt (1987) 1,157 copies
Engine Summer (1979) 716 copies
Love & Sleep (1994) 561 copies
Daemonomania (2000) 537 copies
The Translator (2002) 478 copies
Beasts (1976) 468 copies
The Deep (1975) 404 copies
Endless Things (2007) 393 copies
Novelty: Four Stories (1989) 200 copies
Four Freedoms (2009) 183 copies

Associated Works

Naked City (2011) — Contributor — 647 copies
Black Swan, White Raven (1997) — Contributor — 589 copies
The Science Fiction Century (1997) — Contributor — 536 copies
American Gothic Tales (1996) — Contributor — 464 copies
Poe's Children: The New Horror: An Anthology (2008) — Contributor — 460 copies
Masterpieces: The Best Science Fiction of the Century (2001) — Contributor — 453 copies
The Big Book of Science Fiction (2016) — Contributor — 424 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Seventh Annual Collection (1990) — Contributor — 282 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction: Third Annual Collection (1986) — Contributor — 229 copies
Tails of Wonder and Imagination: Cat Stories (2010) — Contributor — 222 copies
Magicats! (1939) — Contributor — 219 copies
Modern Classics of Fantasy (1939) — Contributor — 209 copies
Conjunctions: 39, The New Wave Fabulists (2002) — Contributor — 199 copies
The Book of Magic: A Collection of Stories (2018) — Contributor — 169 copies
The Judges of the Secret Court (2011) — Introduction, some editions — 161 copies
Interfaces (1980) — Contributor — 155 copies
A Science Fiction Omnibus (1973) — Contributor — 149 copies
Elsewhere: Tales of Fantasy (1982) — Contributor — 145 copies
Future on Ice (1998) — Contributor — 144 copies
Shadows (1978) — Contributor — 142 copies
The Mammoth Book of the Best of Best New SF (2008) — Contributor — 104 copies
Whispers: An Anthology of Fantasy and Horror (1977) — Contributor — 96 copies
American Fantastic Tales: Boxed Set (2009) — Contributor — 92 copies
The Best Science Fiction of the Year #15 (1986) — Contributor — 76 copies
Nebula Awards 25 (1991) — Contributor — 62 copies
Snake's Hands: The Fiction of John Crowley (2003) — Contributor — 45 copies
New Haven Noir (2017) — Contributor — 45 copies
The Seventh Omni Book of Science Fiction (1989) — Contributor — 38 copies
The Orbit Science Fiction Yearbook: No. 3 (1990) — Contributor — 32 copies
Omni Best Science Fiction Three (1993) — Contributor — 28 copies
The Year's Best Science Fiction & Fantasy, 2020 Edition (2020) — Contributor — 22 copies
Conjunctions: 67, Other Aliens (2016) — Contributor — 14 copies
Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 33 • February 2013 (2013) — Contributor — 14 copies
Spirits Unwrapped (2019) — Contributor — 8 copies
Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 18 • November 2011 (2011) — Contributor — 7 copies
Lightspeed Magazine, Issue 96 • May 2018 (2018) — Contributor — 5 copies


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Common Knowledge



Little, Big 25th Anniversary Edition in Fine Press Forum (August 2023)
Little, Big in Hogwarts Express (April 2013)
Fantasy Novel in Name that Book (October 2010)


LLonaVahine | 114 other reviews | May 22, 2024 |
The best "What if?" stories out there are the ones which take a certain action (or character) and change it a little bit - and then allow the story to unfold with that change in place. Sometimes, that allows weirder things to be added, sometimes it is just a story as it may have happened.

Crowley went for the first option - he started with a small change but wrapped it into a secret society and time travel. And yet, the novella works because its internal logic makes sense inside of its own framework.

Cecil Rhodes's real life reads as a story even without embellishments. His will established the Rhodes Scholarship - which is probably the first thing a modern reader think of when they hear his name. His story in Africa may be colorful and his name may be living in a lot of local names (past and current) but I'd admit that I knew very little about him before I met him in this novella (and then went to check how much of what was in the text was true - the answer ended up being "a lot").

It all started really innocently - a young man invented a time machine and went back in time to get a rare stamp. Things did not go exactly as expected and before long the reality he started from seemed to have changed - the British Empire never fell, a time traveling society had been meddling and ensuring that the Empire will stand forever and history as we know it had become a bit less stable. So where does Rhodes come into play you wonder? Well, he had the money and he had the right upbringing and mindset - setting up a scholarship while making sense before his death did not really match his thoughts earlier in his life. So what if he never managed to get to the later stage of his life and never got disillusioned with the Empire?

For most of the novella, the reader needs to pick up from sometimes very subtle clues what kind of reality the text is talking about - ours, the one where Rhodes dies even younger than in ours or something totally different. It could have been frustrating but it ends up fascinating - Crowley's handling of the real history works flawlessly in its merging of the story of a young man, Winterset, who is asked to go back in time and undo a change which brought what he thinks of the real history. There are some places where the text could have stalled but somehow it never happens - the necessary confusion for the story to work ends up being the strength of the novella. And by the end of it, by the time when the reader knows a lot more about that world than any of the characters, it all gets tied together - all the way back to where we started with that rare stamp.

This story is exactly what science fiction (and fantasy) is really good at - looking at real life issues with a different lens. In this case, it is colonialism and the British Colonial Service - the format allows the exploration not only of what had been but of what could have been (both good and bad). The ending may feel unresolved - the story is closed but there is enough of an opening for everyone, including the reader and Winterset, to realize that this may not be the end.

I am not surprised the novella won the World Fantasy Award (even if it is nominally a science fiction story, there are some elements to push it to the border between the two genres or even over into fantasy) - if anything, I am surprised it did not win more awards. I am glad to have finally found it.
… (more)
AnnieMod | 2 other reviews | Apr 23, 2024 |
An Irish nobleman is torn between loyalty to England and his Ulster homeland, or so it appears. A magical flint which he carries on him represents old Ireland and its gods, and a small magical mirror reflects the image of Elizabeth I. With aching beauty and rich period detail, this novel of paranormal history demands to be slowly savored, and so I did.
jillrhudy | 2 other reviews | Mar 21, 2024 |
I really liked this. It had some pretty cool ideas for post-apocalypse societies, but I'll admit, I liked the truthful speakers the best. I got a little bored and distracted at Dr. Boots' List, which is a shame, because it ties in really well with the main story. I hope I didn't miss anything because of it. I very much liked the idea of Path, and the Filing System, and I was intrigued by the League of women. Quite interesting!
zjakkelien | 14 other reviews | Jan 2, 2024 |



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