Cover image for Fluent in fantasy : a guide to reading interests
Fluent in fantasy : a guide to reading interests
Herald, Diana Tixier.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Englewood, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1999.
Physical Description:
ix, 260 pages ; 26 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN3435 .H47 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



The rich and complex genre of fantasy fiction appeals to readers of all ages. Designed for readers' advisors and collection development specialists in public, school, and college libraries, this in-depth guide expands upon the material on fantasy fiction offered in Genreflecting. Herald offers a historical and structural overview of the genre, describes 15 subgenres and a score of variations within them, and lists the best and most current reads available in the fantasy arena. Descriptive entries contain information about pertinent review resources, bibliographies, criticism, awards, and organizations. An author/title and subject index help provide easy access to specific titles and authors and an appendix lists recommended fantasy titles for young adults. A must for readers' advisors and collection development specialists, this book will also be valuable to writers, researchers, bookstore owners, and dedicated fans of fantasy fiction.

Author Notes

Diana Tixier Herald , a former readers' advisory librarian, is program and outreach manager at Delta County Libraries, Delta, CO, and an author, readers' advisory consultant, workshop presenter, and speaker.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Fantasy literature is no longer limited to depictions of fairies and unicorns. In today's world, it can include vampire-hunting teenagers, werewolf detectives, time travelers, and romance-seeking ghosts. Likewise, modern horror literature continues to push the envelope of conventional acceptance with splatterpunk and psycho-killer antiheroes. Librarians not familiar with current trends will need resources to guide their collection development decisions. Fantasy and Horror is a selective critical guide to more than 2,300 works of fiction and poetry from 1762 to 1998. Barron states in his preface that Fantasy and Horror "is an extensive revision of two separate guides, Horror Literature and Fantasy Literature, both published by Garland in 1990 and now out of print." Barron also edited What Fantastic Fiction Do I Read Next? [RBB F 15 98], which is a noncritical guide to fantasy novels released between 1989 and 1997. The first half of his new book lists titles in chronological chapters such as "Early and Later Gothic Traditions, 1762^-1896" or "Contemporary Fantasy, 1957^-1998." Chapters were written by experts, who provide lengthy introductory essays. Within each chapter, authors are listed alphabetically. For each title, there is a synopsis of the story and often commentary. All titles included are considered to be recommended. The second half of the book focuses more on secondary material, such as reference and online resources, critical studies, and books dealing with fantasy TV, radio, movies, and art. There are also chapters on teaching the literature, magazines, and library collections. A final chapter provides listings of best books (with essential purchases indicated for libraries on a budget), awards, books for children and young adults, and organizations. The valuable series guide lists titles in internal reading order when that is significant to appreciating the series. In the appendix is a key to finding information about major authors. Indexes are by title, by author/subject, and by theme. This volume is an excellent companion to other titles on the fantasy and horror genres, including The Encyclopedia of Fantasy [RBB S 1 97] and St. James Guide to Horror, Ghost and Gothic Writers [RBB My 1 98]. Herald, like Barron, is a recognized authority on aspects of genre fiction. She is the author of the fourth edition of Genreflecting: A Guide to Reading Interests by Genre (Libraries Unlimited, 1995) and also series editor for the Genreflecting Advisory series. Fluent in Fantasy is a noncritical listing of fantasy books intended to "help readers to find the books they want to read and to help booksellers and librarians help their clients find those books." Titles selected are considered to be the most popular books from the nineteenth century to 1998 and are arranged in chapters such as "Sword and Sorcery" and "Paranormal Powers," with dozens of subcategories. Most citations are extremely brief, with many only listing author and title. Symbols are used to indicate award winners, books popular among young adults, and "new" (books released in 1998). Concluding each chapter are "D's Picks," listing personal recommendations. In addition to the chapters on various subgenres, there are chapters that cover short stories and secondary resources, including organizations and awards. Appendixes provide a short glossary of fantasy terms, the YALSA-BK Best Fantasy for YA list, and a recommended core collection. There is no overall series list, though series are included under each of the subgenres. Barron's book is excellent for supporting horror literature studies and reader's advisory. Herald's book is better suited for those libraries that need a guide to supplement What Fantastic Fiction Do I Read Next? or that prefer the Genreflecting approach to genre fiction. Both Fantasy and Horror and Fluent in Fantasy are recommended for high-school and public libraries; Fantasy and Horror is recommended for academic libraries as well.

Library Journal Review

Librarians new to reader's advisory and unfamiliar with the fantasy and romance genres will find these two guides very helpful. Herald, a consultant specializing in genre fiction, expands on the fantasy material she discussed in Genreflecting (1995) and describes 15 fantasy subgenres (from Sword and Sorcery to Dark Fantasy), listing for each the best and most current books available. Revising and expanding her Happily Ever After (1987), Ramsdell, LJ's Romance columnist, thoroughly covers the genre from early classics to contemporary novels. She also includes subcategories not discussed in the previous edition (Regency, alternative reality romance, ethnic/multicultural romance). Both volumes feature recommended core collections, author, title, and subject indexes, and other useful resources.ÄWW (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

School Library Journal Review

This useful book begins by providing a definition of fantasy and a history of the genre. Subsequent chapters provide descriptions and annotated lists of titles in various subgenres including "Sword and Sorcery," "Saga, Myth, and Legend," "Alternate and Parallel Worlds," and "Graphic Novels." The selected titles come from many sources, including library and bookstore patrons, award winners, and reader polls. There is also a chapter on resources such as bibliographies, biographies, atlases, online resources, organizations and conventions, and awards. A glossary of common fantasy vocabulary, the "YALSA-BK Best Fantasy for YA List," and a recommended core collection are appended.-Marlyn K. Roberts, Codman Square Library, Dorchester, MA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Chapter 1 Introductionp. 1
What Is Fantasy?p. 2
Importance of Fantasyp. 4
Where Is Fantasy Going?p. 5
Scope and Purposep. 5
Selection of Titlesp. 6
Organization of the Bookp. 6
Reviews and Resources for Librariansp. 7
The Nature of Fantasy Readersp. 8
Chapter 2 Overview of the Genrep. 9
Fantasy Conventionsp. 9
History of the Fantasy Genrep. 9
Early Fantasy Authorsp. 11
Chapter 3 Sword and Sorceryp. 15
Questp. 26
Tolkienp. 28
Epicp. 30
Heroicp. 37
Wizards, Sorcerers, and Enchantressesp. 42
D's Picksp. 47
Chapter 4 Saga, Myth, and Legendp. 49
Arthurian Legendp. 49
Robin Hood and Sherwood Forestp. 55
Ancient Civilizationsp. 55
Celtic Fantasyp. 56
The Americasp. 60
Asiap. 60
Europep. 61
Africa and the Middle Eastp. 63
Byzantiump. 63
D's Picksp. 63
Chapter 5 Fairy Talesp. 65
The Familiarp. 66
Originalsp. 69
Fairy Tale Short Storiesp. 71
D's Picksp. 72
Chapter 6 Humorp. 73
D's Picksp. 78
Chapter 7 A Bestiaryp. 79
Anthologiesp. 79
Unicornsp. 80
Dragonsp. 81
Uncommon Common Animalsp. 85
D's Picksp. 87
Chapter 8 World of Faeriep. 89
D's Picksp. 92
Chapter 9 Contemporary Fantasyp. 93
Urban Fantasyp. 93
The Human Conditionp. 96
Magic Realismp. 98
D's Picksp. 100
Chapter 10 Alternate and Parallel Worldsp. 101
Alternate Historyp. 101
Parallel Worldsp. 106
Alternate Worldsp. 114
D's Picksp. 120
Chapter 11 Time Travelp. 121
D's Picksp. 123
Chapter 12 Paranormal Powersp. 125
Psionic Powersp. 125
Shapeshiftersp. 133
Immortalityp. 134
Supernatural Beingsp. 135
D's Picksp. 136
Chapter 13 Graphic Novelsp. 137
D's Picksp. 140
Chapter 14 Celebrity Charactersp. 141
D's Picksp. 143
Chapter 15 Shared Worldsp. 145
Shared World Seriesp. 146
Dungeons and Dragons and Other Role-Playing Game Worldsp. 154
Novels Based on Role-Playing Gamesp. 155
D's Picksp. 155
Chapter 16 Dark Fantasyp. 157
Weird Talesp. 161
D's Picksp. 162
Chapter 17 Fantasy Featuring Detectionp. 163
D's Picksp. 168
Chapter 18 Romantic Fantasyp. 169
D's Picksp. 171
Chapter 19 Short Storiesp. 173
Anthologiesp. 173
Anthology Seriesp. 177
Collectionsp. 178
Chapter 20 Resourcesp. 181
Bibliographies and Biographiesp. 181
Encyclopediap. 183
Guides and Atlasesp. 183
History and Criticismp. 186
Journalsp. 188
Online Resourcesp. 188
Publishersp. 190
Organizations and Conventionsp. 192
Awardsp. 193
Fantasy Awardsp. 193
SF and Fantasy Awardsp. 199
Appendix A The Vocabulary of Fantasy or Common Conventionsp. 201
Appendix B The YALSA-BK Best Fantasy for YA Listp. 205
Appendix C Recommended Core Collectionp. 209
Referencesp. 217
Author/Title Indexp. 219
Subject Indexp. 253