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Fantasy Masterworks is a series of classics that deserve to be in print and kept there rather than languishing as OP titles. They were published monthly by Millennium which is an imprint of the Orion Publishing Group, a UK publisher, whose other imprints include Dolphin, Orion Media, Phoenix and Victor Gollancz. Below you'll find the reviews we've done to date (with cover/title links to them) along with synopses of those titles yet to be reviewed (the covers are linked to larger versions). They are in reverse order of release with the newest ones on the left. It is a companion series for their SF Masterworks line.

SF Masterworks | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 | Page 4 |            Fantasy Masterworks | Page 1 | Page 2 | Page 3 |

Orion Fantasy Masterworks
   No. 50
The Mark of the Beast and Other Fantastical Tales The Mark of the Beast and Other Fantastical Tales by Rudyard Kipling
"Rudyard Kipling was a major figure of English literature, who used the full power and intensity of his imagination and his writing ability in his excursions into fantasy. Kipling, one of England's greatest writers, was born in Bombay. He was educated in England, but returned to India in 1882. He began writing fantasy and supernatural stories set in his native continent, such as 'The Phantom Rickshaw' and 'The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes', and his most famous weird story is 'The Mark of the Beast' (1890), about a man cursed to transform into a were-leopard. This Masterwork, edited by Stephen Jones, Britain's most accomplished and acclaimed anthologist, collects all Kipling's weird fiction for the first time; the stories range from traditional ghostly tales to psychological horror."

   No. 49
Something Wicked This Way Comes Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
reviewed by James Seidman
Trouble comes in the form of Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show. The show looks on the surface like a regular carnival, but it has a particularly special attraction. The carrousel, functional despite the "out of order" sign, can change a person's age. Ride the carrousel forward, and with each revolution you age one year. Ride it in reverse, and the years melt away.

   No. 48
The Forgotten Beasts of Eld The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia A. McKillip
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
There is a sense of antiquity about this book -- not that of a dusty obsolescence nor a sliding into oblivion. On the contrary, this is one of those shining complex things that our ancestors seemed to find it easy to do and that we have somehow forgotten in the rush and spin of our modern days -- this has the feel to it of a tale that has come down from some ancient dawn, a day long gone, but it is bright with the ancient magic and it feels ageless, eternal, light and perfect like a star.

   No. 47
The Anubis Gates The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers
"Brendan Doyle is a twentieth-century English professor who travels back to 1810 London to attend a lecture given by English romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This is a London filled with deformed clowns, organised beggar societies, insane homunculi and magic. When he is kidnapped by gypsies and consequently misses his return trip to 1983, the mild-mannered Doyle is forced to become a street-smart con man, escape artist, and swordsman in order to survive in the dark and treacherous London underworld. He defies bullets, black magic, murderous beggars, freezing waters, imprisonment in mutant-infested dungeons, poisoning, and even a plunge back to 1684. Coleridge himself and poet Lord Byron make appearances in the novel, which also features a poor tinkerer who creates genetic monsters and a werewolf that inhabits others' bodies when his latest becomes too hairy. "

   No. 46
Sea Kings of Mars and Other Worldly Stories Sea Kings of Mars and Other Worldly Stories by Leigh Brackett
"A collection of the best stories by one of fantasy and science fiction's most evocative writers, including Sea Kings of Mars, which combines high adventure with a strongly romantic vision of an ancient, sea-girt Martian civilisation. "

   No. 45
Replay Replay by Ken Grimwood
"At forty-three Jeff Winston is tired of his low-paid, unrewarding job, tired of the long silences at the breakfast table with his wife, saddened by the thought of no children to comfort his old age. But he hopes for better things, for happiness, maybe tomorrow ... But a sudden, fatal heart attack puts paid to that. Until Jeff wakes up in his eighteen-year-old body, all his memories of the next twenty-five years intact. If he applies those memories, he can be rich in this new chance at life and can become one of the most powerful men in America. Until he dies at forty-three and wakes up in his eighteen-year-old body again..."

   No. 44
Song of Kali Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
reviewed by John Berlyne
Robert Luczak is something of an innocent idealist. A poet and journalist, he is commissioned to write an article on M. Das, a famous Indian poet who disappeared some years ago and is now rumoured to have resurfaced (or perhaps have been resurrected) in Calcutta. More than this, Das has apparently written a new epic work and Luczak is to negotiate for the rights to publish this in America. It all sounds fairly straightforward.

   No. 43
Was Was by Geoff Ryman
reviewed by Matthew Cheney
It is a novel woven from three main strands of narrative: the story of a girl named Dorothy who lives a sad and painful life in 19th-century Kansas and once made an impression on a young substitute teacher named Frank Baum; the story of Frances Gumm, whose difficult childhood forever haunted the persona she became when she changed her name to Judy Garland; and the story of Jonathan, an actor dying of AIDS who dreams of one day playing the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, and who, before he dies, traces Dorothy back to Kansas and Baum.

   No. 42
The Iron Dragon's Daughter The Iron Dragon's Daughter by Michael Swanwick
reviewed by James Seidman
The story focuses around Jane Alderberry, a girl who was kidnapped from her family's suburban home. She now lives in the "upper world," a parallel world filled with a wide assortment of magical creatures such as elves, dwarves, nymphs, hags, satyrs, birdmen, and the like. Her captors keep her as a virtual slave performing menial labor in a factory making dragons, huge self-aware war machines made with advanced electronics and alchemy. Terribly out of place in a world with no native humans, she has trouble finding any solace, even among her fellow laborers.

   No. 41
Grendel Grendel by John Gardner
reviewed by Chris Przybyszewski
Some readers see fantasy and science fiction as an evil, though sometimes a necessary one. Fabulist fiction sells; it is popular entertainment. Fabulist fiction keeps the publishing world moving and growing in its way. The opposite faction regards fantasy as a joyous necessity, one that allows certain writers to explore parts of existence unavailable to a pedestrian strolling the avenues of Paris, be it the one in Tennessee or in France. Here we have a full blown fabulist achievement that highlights a capability intrinsic to fantasy, but which is found sparingly in realist fiction.

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Copyright © 2004 by Rodger Turner

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