Viable Paradise: A Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers' Workshop

Suggested Research Reading For Aspiring Fantasists


Part I: The Anxiety of Influence...Or, What's Round This Thing Here, and Can I Bolt It Onto My Story Vehicle?
(Suggested Genre Reading)

* = Hard to find these days. Try used bookstores, libraries, and the shelves of knowledgeable friends.
+ = Available online in HTML, TXT, or PDF format
James Branch Cabell JurgenJurgen*
is the most notorious famous, but he wrote a lot of other neat stuff.
Jack Vance
The Demon PrincesThe Demon Princes
books (I know, they're technically sf. Doesn't matter.)
The Dying EarthThe Dying Earth

or just about anything else.
Lord Dunsany
The Book of Wonder+
The King of Elfland's Daughter
Individual Stories:
"The Hoard of the Gibbelins"+
"The Distressing Tale of Thangobrind the Jeweller"+
"The Fortress Unvanquishable Save for Sacnoth"+
Robert W. Chambers
The King In YellowThe King In Yellow Individual Stories:
"The Repairer of Reputations"+
L. Sprague DeCamp and Fletcher Pratt The Incomplete Enchanter
Specifically, "The Roaring Trumpet" and "The Mathematics of Magic."
Robert E. Howard
Hour of the DragonHour of the Dragon
The only full-length
Conan novel by the
original author.
Short story: "Red Nails."
Fritz Leiber, Jr.
Lankhmar: Tales of Fafhrd and the Gray MouserFafhrd and the
Gray Mouser

stories, collected in
various volumes
Individual stories:
"The Bazaar of the Bizarre"
"Space Time for Springers"
Avram Davidson
The Phoenix and the Mirror* The Avram Davidson TreasuryThe Avram Davidson Treasury
A collection of his wide-ranging short fiction.
E. Nesbit
The Enchanged CastleThe Enchanted Castle The Phoenix and the CarpetThe Phoenix and the Carpet Five Children and ItFive Children and It
Lewis Carroll Alice's Adventures in Wonderland+
Through the Looking Glass+
Arthur Machen The White People+
Spooky, often-anthologized novella.
Mary Renault The King Must DieThe King Must Die
The Theseus myth, revisited.
T.H. White The Once and Future KingThe Once and Future King
Arthur, ditto.
Mary Stewart The Crystal CaveThe Crystal Cave
Arthur, ditto.
John Bellairs The Face in the FrostThe Face in the Frost
Barry Hughart Bridges of BirdsBridge of Birds
Roger Zelazny Nine Princes in AmberNine Princes in Amber
Poul Anderson The Broken Sword

Ellen Kushner SwordspointSwordspoint
Fantasy without magic. Yes, it can be done.
John Crowley Little, BigLittle, Big
Jonathan Carroll The Land of the LaughsThe Land of Laughs
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit and The Lord of the RingsThe Hobbit
The Lord of the Rings

The wellspring for much of modern epic fantasy.
Fairy StoriesOn Fairy-Stories
for the theoretical and philosophical underpinnings of created-world fantasy.

Part II: Suggested Nonfiction Reading