All this week, we'll be hearing from some of the authors involved in this fabulous new anthology, which is out now in paperback and ebook, so sit back and relax as they take you through their favourite fantasy worlds...
Tonight, we're hearing from Elizabeth Bear on her favourite fantasy...
There are good books, bad books, great books, mediocre books, and favourite books.
My favourite book is Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn, which I have reread an average of every 24 months since I was in second or third grade. It's an utterly marvellous novel with an entirely undeserved reputation for being a cute, simplistic children's story.
In reality, it's a gorgeous, textured, deeply themed novel of adventure, discovery, and subversion. It's the sort of book that can have you laughing at the top of a page and crying at the bottom, replete with strong characters--including a number of females, human and otherwise, who do not fit into the standard fantasy tropes, or, if they do, take them in unexpected directions--and trenchant observations. It sparks, it leaps, it flits like the butterfly who so annoys our titular unicorn when she first sets off on her quest.
It's a book that's not just one of the best-written fantasy novels of all time, but full of elegant, painful truths of the heart, each honed to a razor's edge. It's got the best harpy in the history of harpies, and a self-deluded spider, and a wizard who's not very good at his job. It's got footloose wordplay and wicked cleverness. It's got choices that are not safe.
It's got the true magic. The one you must give up your own liver for, and not expect to get it back.
I keep hoping to write something that good. "The Ghost Makers" is my latest attempt; I expect to be at it a long time.