Thursday, July 21, 2022

Top ten 21st-century fantasy novels

Scholar and editor Brian Attebery has won multiple awards for his work on fantasy and science fiction, mostly recently the World Fantasy Award for his longtime editorship of the Journal of the Fantastic in the Arts. In 2019 he was the Leverhulme Visiting Professor in fantasy at the University of Glasgow. One of his projects there was helping to launch a scholarly series from Bloombury Academic, Perspectives on Fantasy, which he edits along with Dimitra Fimi and Matthew Sanger. He is the author of Stories about Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth and Decoding Gender in Science Fiction, among other books, and co-editor with Ursula K. Le Guin and Karen Joy Fowler of the Norton Book of Science Fiction. As editor of Le Guin's work for the Library of America he is currently working on a volume of her short fiction.

Attebery's new book is Fantasy: How It Works.

At the Guardian he tagged ten of the best non-Eurocentric fantasy titles, works that "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." One title on the list:
The New Moon’s Arms by Nalo Hopkinson (2007)

Caribbean Canadian writer Hopkinson is known for her science-fiction world-building, but she also excels at more intimate fantasies. The magic in this book involves the menopausal protagonist’s manifesting objects from her childhood as well as her encounter with a selkie child. The novel immerses readers in the sensory experience and social dynamics of its island setting, and its focus on the belated coming-of-age of a middle-aged woman challenges expectations about fantasy narratives.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue