Fantasy Fiction

The "fantasy=escapism" equation is older than the genre as we know it. People in the old days boycotted the Theater, not just because it was a potential hotbed of wickedness, but because it was something other than Real Life and therefore odious to Sensible People. Some radical Christian sects have prohibited the reading of fiction on grounds that only the Bible has any literary value (....even though Jesus clearly told fictional stories).

In our day, fantasy as a fiction genre is more narrowly defined than simply "that which is not established fact." It encompasses stories of dragons, elves, dark and mysterious woods, magic (or majyck, or whatever the kids are calling it these days), unicorns, gnomes, etc. High fantasy usually takes place in a world or realm other than our own; low fantasy imports fantastic elements into the-world-as-we-know-it.

Certainly, there is plenty of fantasy fiction that can be defended on no grounds. The flood of worthless literary drivel with images of buxom maidens and swarthy sword-wielding savages with pointy ears on their paperback covers began sometime in the 1960s and has only increased as its putrid waters have swelled. But there's plenty of good fantasy, too, some of it among the best fiction ever written.

Because good fantasy, of course, has something to say about the human condition. Sometimes taking characters out of the humdrum of Earth-bound existence allows authors more artistic freedom to create the situations necessary to tell the narrative they have burning a hole in their imagination. Or sometimes they just make the story a bit more fun. Sometimes they make it darker, or scarier, or just plain more weird.

If you're J.R.R. Tolkien, the fantasy element plays a different role (mythmaking) than that of the story it frames (the sinfulness of sin and the cost of redemption). The point is, good fantasy isn't just about the fantastical. In most cases (Ursula K. LeGuin comes to mind), the unfamiliar is used to show how even it is ultimately familiar, and if we can see ourselves in the Edmund Pevensies and Gurney Hallecks we read about, the fantasy has done its job.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

 

Q&A with Pastor Doug Wilson: "Should Christians read books with magic?"

 

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746 Items found Print
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100 Cupboards
by N. D. Wilson
from Random House
Fantasy for 3rd-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$6.79
100 Cupboards - Paperback Trilogy
by N. D. Wilson
from Random House Books for Young Readers
for 3rd-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$22.07
21 Balloons
by William Pene du Bois
from Viking Press
for 4th-6th grade
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$7.50 (1 in stock)
21 Balloons
by William Pene du Bois
First Edition from Viking Press
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$7.50 (1 in stock)
Abel's Island
by William Steig
from Square Fish Publishing
Animal Fantasy for 3rd-5th grade
1977 Newbery Honor Book
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$5.94
Abel's Island
by William Steig
First edition, Fifteenth Printing from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Animal Fantasy for 3rd-5th grade
1977 Newbery Honor Book
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Acceptable Time
Wrinkle in Time Series #5
by Madeleine L'Engle
from Square Fish Publishing
Fantasy for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$6.79
Acceptable Time
Wrinkle in Time Series #5
by Madeleine L'Engle
First Edition from Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Fantasy for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Chatterer the Red Squirrel
by Thornton W. Burgess
Revised ed. from Dover Publications
for 3rd-6th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$2.55
Adventures of Peter Cottontail
by Thornton W. Burgess
Reprint from Dover Publications
for 3rd-5th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$2.55
Adventures of Pinocchio
Illustrated Junior Library Series 3
by Carlo Collodi
from Grosset & Dunlap
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in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Adventures of Pinocchio
Illustrated Junior Library Series 1
by Carlo Collodi
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Adventures of Pinocchio
Illustrated Junior Library Series 2
by Carlo Collodi
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Adventures of Pinocchio
by Carlo Collodi
from Macmillan
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$4.00 (1 in stock)
Adventures of Pinocchio
Illustrated Junior Library Series 4
by Carlo Collodi
from Grosset & Dunlap
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Adventures of Sir Balin the Ill-Fated
The Knights' Tales
by Gerald Morris
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$5.09
Adventures of Sir Gawain the True
The Knights' Tales
by Gerald Morris
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$5.94
Adventures of Sir Givret the Short
The Knights' Tales Book 2
by Gerald Morris
from Sandpiper Books
for 5th-8th grade
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Adventures of Sir Lancelot the Great
The Knights' Tales Book 1
by Gerald Morris
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$5.94
Aesop's Fables
Illustrated Junior Library Series 4
by Aesop
from Grosset & Dunlap
Fables for 2nd-6th grade
Aesop's Fables
by Aesop
from Henry Holt and Company
Fairy Tales, Fables, and Legends for 1st-5th grade
in Picture Books (Location: PICTURE)
$9.34
Aesop's Fables for Children
by Aesop & Milo Winter
Pap/Com from Dover Publications
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$11.99
Alice in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
from Dover Publications
for 3rd-6th grade
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$4.24 $2.00 (1 in stock)
Alice in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll with illustrations by Ralph Steadman
from Firefly Books
for 5th-10th grade
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$12.00 (1 in stock)
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Illustrated Junior Library Series 4
by Lewis Carroll
from Grosset & Dunlap
Fantasy for 5th-8th grade
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Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Illustrated Junior Library Series 2
by Lewis Carroll
from Grosset & Dunlap
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in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
Illustrated Junior Library Series 1
by Lewis Carroll
from Grosset & Dunlap
for 5th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Penguin Classics
by Lewis Carroll
from Penguin Classics
Fantasy for 5th-8th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$9.35
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Puffin Classics
by Lewis Carroll
from Puffin Books
Fantasy for 2nd-7th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$5.09
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Sterling Classics
by Lewis Carroll & Scott McKowen
Unabridged from Sterling Publishing Co.
for 4th-6th grade
in Sterling Classics (Location: FIC-STE)
$9.95
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
from Dover Publications
Fantasy for 5th-8th grade
in 19th Century Literature (Location: LIT6-19)
$2.55
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Children's Classics
by Lewis Carroll
from Dilithium Press, Ltd.
for 4th-6th grade
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass Boxed Set
by Lewis Carroll
from The Folio Society
for 5th-12th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$35.00 (1 in stock)
Ancient, Strange, and Lovely
Dragon Chronicles #4
by Susan Fletcher
Reprint from Atheneum
for 3rd-7th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$9.34
Animals Under the Rainbow
by Aloysius Roche, with wood engravings by Agnes Miller Parker
from Sheed & Ward
for 3rd-6th grade
in Animal Stories (Location: FIC-ANI)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Annotated Peter Pan
by J. M. Barrie
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Fantasy for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$24.00 (1 in stock)
Annotated Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame
from W. W. Norton and Co.
Fantasy for 4th-8th grade
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$33.96 $25.00 (1 in stock)
Annotated Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum
from W. W. Norton and Co.
for 5th-Adult
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At the Back of the North Wind
Everyman's Library Children's Classics
by George MacDonald
from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Fairy Tale for 4th-Adult
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$15.30
At the Back of the North Wind
by George Macdonald
1st edition from HarperCollins
for 4th-6th grade
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At the Back of the North Wind
by George MacDonald
from Wilder Publications
for 4th-Adult
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$9.99
At the Back of the North Wind
by George MacDonald, Illustrated by Jessie Willcox Smith
from Dilithium Press, Ltd.
Fairy Tale for 4th-Adult
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Austere Academy
Series of Unfortunate Events #5
by Lemony Snicket
from HarperCollins
Morbid Humor for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Babe the Gallant Pig
by Dick King-Smith
1st edition from Yearling
Animal Stories: Fantasy for 2nd-5th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
Bad Beginning
Series of Unfortunate Events #1
by Lemony Snicket
from HarperCollins
Morbid Humor for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Ballad of Sir Dinadan
Squire's Tales Book 5
by Gerald Morris
Reprint from Sandpiper Books
for 5th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$13.56
Bark of the Bog Owl
Wilderking #1
by Jonathan Rogers
2nd edition from Rabbit Room Press
for 4th-8th grade
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$12.71
Battle for Skandia
Ranger's Apprentice #04
by John A. Flanagan
Reprint from Puffin Books
for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$7.64
Battle for the Castle
by Elizabeth Winthrop
from Yearling
for 4th-6th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$5.94
Battle of the Labyrinth
Percy Jackson & the Olympians #4
by Rick Riordan
from Hyperion/Madison Press
for 4th-8th grade
in Fantasy Fiction (Location: FIC-FAN)
$6.79
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