COMIC FANTASYThis page is devoted to fantasy writers that Thalia fondly considers among Her Own Bards; those who blend fantasy, comedy, and often some very sharp insight behind the curtain of entertainment.
Music from the Nutcracker Suite
Links open in a separate window, so that you won't get lost and can work through the entire list, if you wish. All links current as of January 17, 2002.
Personally, I number Aristophanes among the bards of comic fantasy.
I know a few others who remember Thorne Smith -- if you aren't one of them, you can have a treat discovering him! Warning Label: Thorne Smith is bawdy and irreverent. One book has a man transposed into his wife's body get drunk and lecture the Ladies League in favor of legalizing prostitution. Adult guidance suggested: when I (Anitra speaking) first read these novels I was thirteen. (I found them in my father's book collection.) My mother recommended that I wait until I had about prostitution from other sources besides Thorne Smith before I made a career choice. Excellent advice. But as risque as Thorne Smith every gets, it is a joyful and loving risque-ness; he wrote in the 1920's, and in my opinion his version of 'adult novels' looks clean alongside the 1990's versions -- while also being bolder and more original. And a lot funnier.
A friend of mine recommends John Kendrick Bangs as similar to Thorne Smith, if darker in tone. I have found two titles mentioned: Olympian Nights, and a collection called Styx Tryx. I haven't read either yet.
Among the classics in fantasy are the books by the team of Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp. They are on Gardner Dozois' Recommended Reading List and they get mentioned in a very nice intellectual essay, The Craving for Meaning: Explicit Allegory in the Non-implicit Age. There is a much more complete bibliography and discussion, including info on Fletcher Pratt, at Linköping Science Fiction Archive: de Camp, Lyon Sprague.
Another classic writer of a form of his very own was R. A. Lafferty.
I am very fond of satire. Frederick Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth wrote some nice biting stuff. I have a review of Space Merchants posted at Active Books.
Another one of the Golden Age humorous sf writers was Fredric Brown.
In current years, there are:
- Douglas Adams Official site || Memorial site
- Piers Anthony
- Robert Asprin || Bibliography
- James Bibby
- Esther Friesner
- Craig Shaw Gardner
- James Finn Garner, the author of the delightful Politically Correct series.
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
Once Upon a More Enlightened Time
Politically Correct Holiday Stories
- Andrew Harman
- Tom Holt
My favorite book: Flying Dutch
- Christopher Moore
- Terry Pratchett
Michael Marshall Smith
Before & After by Matthew Thomas
Some of the above, notably Piers Anthony and Esther Friesner, have done more serious fantasy also, and even science fiction. Other writers who have done occasional comic fantasy novels among much other writing are:
- Neil Gaiman
Mary Gentle, Grunts
- Robert Sheckley
- Norman Spinrad, The Iron Dream
- Kurt Vonnegut, The Sirens of Titan
- Connie Willis
- Roger Zelazny
Recommended book I haven't read yet, Sewer, Gas and Electric by Matt Ruff.
Also, Mammoth Book of Comic Fantasy, a collection of short stories.
Some favorites that I remember first are:
- Young Frankenstein
- Time Bandits Review || Quotes
- The Brave Little Toaster
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show
- The Princess Bride
- The Little Shop of Horrors
- The Nightmare Before Christmas
Wes wants me to include all of the Indiana Jones movies. What do you think?
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