Author, editor and folklorist Philip Martin knows his fantasy literature. The newly published A Guide to Fantasy Literature (Crickhollow Books) is a reworking of The Writers Guide to Fantasy Literature, first published back in 2002. This new work reorients Martin’s take, opening it up to a broader audience of writers and readers. It was a good idea and it works.
By and large, this field of literature is a lot of new wine in old bottles. Fantasy is a form of traditional culture. Like all vibrant, living traditions, it allows a tolerable amount of experimentation, adaptation, and acceptance of new forms over time.
Though in some ways, Martin’s work is a scholarly one, he never seems to lose sight of his readership, bringing interesting, learned and accessible thoughts on all aspects of fantasy fiction, from the history, through patterns, places, characters and so on. A Guide to Fantasy Literature is a very good book. Anyone with a strong interest in fantasy literature will come away from Martin’s guide knowing more than what they arrived with.