Sunday, August 21, 2016

Five fantasy books you won’t find in the fantasy section

Michael Swanwick has received the Hugo, Nebula, Theodore Sturgeon, and World Fantasy Awards for his work. His newest collection of short fiction is Not So Much Said the Cat. One of Swanwick's top five fantasy books you won’t find in the fantasy section, as shared at
Ragnarok by A. S. Byatt

Commissioned to rework a myth in novella form, Byatt chose to concentrate on a “thin child” in WWII Britain who knows her RAF pilot father will not return from the war. The girl (Byatt herself) discovers a book on the Norse gods, whose vivid, terrifying stories have much greater application to what feels like the end of the world than do those of the kindly god she hears in church. Ragnarok is full of invention, Rándrasill, the undersea mega-kelp equivalent of Yggdrasil, the World-Tree, being a particularly brilliant example. Byatt also provides unexpected insights into the original myths. She points out, for example, that Loki can change shape when none of the other gods can, and then draws a moving portrait of his strange yet loving relationship with his daughter, the world-serpent.

In addition to everything else, Ragnarok serves as a lovely introduction to Byatt’s longer works.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue