The Mammoth Book of Extreme Fantasy by Mike Ashley

(7.0/10)

There have been several ' Mammoth Book of ' titles and this collection of 24 stories is no exception to the rule as all of them will get the reader thinking about what the next one will be like as the tag for these tales being 'Extreme' is never more true.

Mike Ashley's previous anthology, Extreme Science Fiction, has been surpassed by this new selection from the finest writers in the fantasy business; Michael Moorcock, Orson Scott Card, Christopher Priest and Paul Di Filippo bring the weird and wonderful to readers in order to confuse, enlighten, and broaden their minds.

Each story has its own personal message, brand of humour and specific theme. For the downright unusual 'Charlie the Purple Giraffe was Acting Strangely ' by David Levine who tells his story all about cartoon animals and one in particular who knows he has a readership. This is one of those stories that gets the reader thinking outside the box, but it is only one of many in this anthology of the peculiar.

'Senator Bilbo' by Andy Duncan, set in Tolkien's Shire, tackles the problem of racism in a normally thought of leafy suburb. 'Lost Wax' by Leah Bobet shows what happens to apprentice Sima when he thinks above his low social station among magic users. 'Master Lao and the Flying Horror' by Lawrence Person treads deeper into Chinese kung-fu territory with all the comedy and slapstick humour of the story.

'Elric at the End of Time', one of Michael Moorcock's early masterpieces of his Elric themed novels, tells about the white-haired albino prince with slanted red eyes who becomes a warrior sorcerer due to his cousin Yrkoon's evil plans to overthrow his rule.

The reader will be amazed at how diverse the subject matter that is categorised as extreme fantasy.

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