"mould-breaking fantasy novels" (2013 list)

tegeus-Cromis

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From this list, I don't know Jonathan Carroll's The Land of Laughs, Graham Joyce's The Silent Land, and Allison Uttley's A Traveler in Time. Anyone here read them? Any thoughts? (Or about any of the other books on the list?) Any titles you might add, given the premise of the list, as stated by the author: "there have always been fantasy novels that break the mould, and it's these more distinctive, individual explorations of the fantastic that are my favourites. So, if you think you don't like fantasy – or even if you do – check these out. They don't have dragons or sexy vampires, but they're filled with real magic"?
 

Teresa Edgerton

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I read A Traveller in Time a long time ago—in my late teens I think, so more than fifty years ago? I loved it. I have come across many time travel romances since, some of which have been very similar, but since Allison Uttley wrote hers in 1939 it may well have been the one that inspired (directly or indirectly) all the others.
 

Randy M.

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The Land of Laughs, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Course of the Heart, The Haunting of Hill House, and The City & The City are all extraordinary novels in my reading.

The Land of Laughs: Jonathan Carroll is one of those writers who had uneasily straddled fantasy and mainstream audiences. Because he's difficult to classify, I think maybe he's not as appreciated as he should be. This was his first novel and it starts as a memoir of sorts of a disaffected young man who finally finds someone to love with a similar interest to his. Together they decide to write a biography of their favorite author, Marshall France. This leads them to France's daughter and the small town she lives in. Something is not entirely right there, but it's not until about 1/2 way through the novel you get to see what. In the course of the story the novel changes genres over and again, from memoir to paranoid thriller to fantasy to something rather like horror, but not the blood & guts kind.

The Silent Land is on my TBR pile so I'm looking forward to what others have to say.

Randy M.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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The Course of the Heart is probably (very, very likely) my favorite SFF novel ever. Just recently, I read it for the fifth time.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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Of the novels mentioned in the comments to that article, Hilary Mantel's Beyond Black looks very intriguing, as does Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood. (I've just read the Kindle previews for both.)
 

HareBrain

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I'm not convinced by her explanation for including The Magus as a fantasy. (It must be magic because I can't work out how it's done otherwise.)

I haven't read the Elizabeth Hand book on her list, but any of the three of hers I've read (Black Light, Waking the Moon, Winterlong) would fit. she deserves to be more widely read.
 

Bick

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The City and the City doesn't belong on a list of fantasy books really.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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The City and the City doesn't belong on a list of fantasy books really.
I don't really agree. The premise is fantastical, even though there are no supernatural elements beyond that. You can easily see it as a Borges short story (and it would have probably been much better that way). Gormenghast doesn't have any supernatural elements either. Would you say of it also that it's not a fantasy book?
 

Bick

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I don't really agree. The premise is fantastical, even though there are no supernatural elements beyond that. You can easily see it as a Borges short story (and it would have probably been much better that way). Gormenghast doesn't have any supernatural elements either. Would you say of it also that it's not a fantasy book?
I'm not sure about Gormenghast (or Titus Groan). But they feel more fantastic to me. I guess the placing of Beszel/Ul Qoma in the 'real' world, with characters flying in from Canada and so on made it seem mundane, albeit highly strange in a Kafkaesque way. Whereas Gormenghast seems other worldly to me. So yes, I would define them differently if pushed.

(The Mieville is closer to SF than fantasy, I think).
 

Teresa Edgerton

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There were actually a number of books of the same general type as Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell that came out in the early 1990s, about the same time that Clarke started writing her book. But of course she took whatever inspirations she might have picked up at that time and created something bigger, more complex, and more successful.
 

tegeus-Cromis

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Well, I meant the Gormenghast trilogy. In Titus Alone, Titus leaves Gormenghast and moves to a big, modern city -- so it's sort of the same thing as TC&TC. In any case, describing it as Kafkaesque or Borgesian is enough for me to see it as fantasy (within Borges's definition of the term, or for that matter E.M. Forster's). I guess it's a matter of where one wants to draw the borders of "fantasy."
 

Elckerlyc

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The division between Beszel and Ul Quma exist only in the minds of the citizens. Foreigners have trouble recognizing it.
There is no physical indication of this divide, except perhaps for the change of language on the street-signs.
So, I´d say it's not a fantasy world or novel, but a description of the warped ideas human mind is capable of (read racism.)
 
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