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  1. #1

    What are the best fantasy short stories??

    I just read Burning man by Tad Williams, and I thought it was very boring.
    I also read inheritance by Hobb, and disliked that too(though I LOVE Hobb)

    George R.R Martin's Hedge knight and Sworn sword are perfect though.

    but I have not found many fantasy short stories, any recommendations?

  2. #2
    Some of my favorites and includes SF as well (also some are novelettes)

    The Detective of Dreams by Gene Wolfe
    The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore by Harlan Ellison
    The Jaguar Hunter by Lucius Shepard
    Friend's Best Man by Jonthan Carroll
    The Transformation of Martin Lake by Jeff VanderMeer (novella)
    The Specialist's Hat by Kelly Link
    The Aleph by Jorge Luis Borges
    The Summer Isles by Ian R. Macleod
    Louise's Ghost by Kelly Link
    The Last Castle by Jack Vance
    City of Blinks by Rhys Hughes
    The Edge of the World by Michael Swanwick
    Radio Waves by Michael Swanwick
    Spermaceti Whiskers by Rhsy Hughes
    Fugue State by John M. Ford (novella)
    Streetcorner Man -by Jorge Luis Borges
    The Drowned Giant by JG Ballard
    The Little Black Box by Philip K. Dick
    The Day Before the Revolution by Ursula Leguin
    Hell Is the Absence of God by Ted Chiang
    The Puzzle by Zoran Zivkovic
    What Killed Science Fiction by Paul di Filippo
    The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath by HP Lovecraft
    The Dead Lady of Clown Town by Cordwainer Smith
    Catch That Zeppelin by Fritz Leiber
    The Empire of Ice Cream Jeffrey Ford (novellete)
    Into the Gardens of Sweet Night by Jay Lake (novellete)
    The Raggle Taggle Gypsy by Michael Swanwick
    The Fantasy Writer's Assistant by Jeffrey Ford
    The Suicide Club by Robert Loius Stevenson
    Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
    The Days of Perky Pat by Philip K. Dick
    The White People by Arthur Machen
    Kid Charlemagne by Paul Di Filippo
    At the Mountains of Madness by HP Lovecraft
    Pen and Ink by Holly Phillips
    The Specialist's Hat by Kelly Link
    The Tain by China Mieville
    Sandkings by George R.R. Martin
    There is a Hole in the City by Richard Bowes
    The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen
    The Executioners Daughter by Angela Carter
    Little Gods by Tim Pratt
    A Midsummer Night's Dream by Neil Gaiman
    Leningrad Nights by Graham Joyce
    The Luck in the Head by M. John Harrison
    A Study in Emerald by Neal Gaiman
    Science & the Arts by M. John Harrison
    Young Man's Journey to Viriconium by M. John Harrison

    Hmm, there are so many excellent short stories that come out constantly it's hard to keep up with

    Really some talented authors in this field currently, some great work in genre mags and lately we have had some fantastic colelctions released.
    Last edited by Jay_T; August 27th, 2005 at 03:51 AM.

  3. #3
    A few Jay missed out:
    Viriconium Knights - M John Harrison
    The Snow Women - Fritz Leiber
    The Unholy Grail - Fritz Leiber
    Ill Met in Lankhmar - Fritz Leiber
    Bazaar of the Bizarre - Fritz Leiber
    Lean Times in Lankhmar - Fritz Leiber
    The Lords of Quarmall - Fritz Leiber
    The Singing Citadel - Michael Moorcock
    Titus Awakes - Mervyn Peake (ok, this is actually only about 3 pages long, and it's unfinished).

  4. #4
    The Danse Macabre - Mervyn Peake
    With Morning Comes Mistfall - George RR Martin
    The Fantasy Writer's Assistant - Jeffrey Ford
    Remembering Melody Tael - George RR Martin
    Partial Eclipse - Graham Joyce



    This list'd be much longer If I am allowed to include horror.

  5. #5
    Peake wrote other short stories that were fantasy? Now I've got to try and find those as wel as Boy in Darkness, which seems impossible to get hold of. (Apparently it's Young Adult, but given that it's Peake, and it's about Titus Groan, then I seriously doubt it).

  6. #6
    Registered User
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    The best (and cheapest) way to find Boy in Darkness is looking for the anthology "Inner Landscapes" which was published in 1969 by Corgi (UK) and Paperback Library (USA). This anthology contains Boy in Darkness, a novella by Aldiss (Danger : Religion) and a short story by Ballard (Voices of Time). It's easy to find at abebooks, Ebay or other sources for used books.

    When it comes to best fantasy stories I must also mention Andrew Burnett Swann. His novellas like Where is the Bird of Fire ? and The Manor of Roses are superb.

    Of course the short fiction of Gene Wolfe, Fritz Leiber and Roger Zelazny. And surely Theodore Sturgeon deserves a mention : his almost forotten novella And My Fear is Great is one of the best fantasy stories ever written.

  7. #7
    Thanks for the advice. I'll look out for the anthology.

  8. #8
    Chick with a Sword Jirel of Joiry's Avatar
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    Another great fantasy anthology is "Smart Dragons, Foolish Elves" Ed. by Alan Dean Foster and M. Greenberg. It is a great collection of funny fantasy. Every time that I am in need of a laugh I read this book.

  9. #9
    Registered User Leiali's Avatar
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    I remember vaguely reading a story by Theodore Sturgeon which was entitled 'The Silken....Strand' not sure what the last bit was, quite subversive fantasy but an excellent story nonetheless. I found it disturbing reading at the time, I think I shall dig it out and re read it now I say this!

  10. #10
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    A few personal favourites are

    by C. L. Moore
    1. Shambleau
    2. Black God's Kiss
    3. Black Thirst


    by Clark Ashton Smith
    1. The Dark Eidolon
    2. The Voyage of King Euvoran
    3. The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan
    4. The Tale of Satampra Zeiros
    5. The Last Incantation
    6. The Double Shadow
    7. The Maze of Maal Dweb
    8. The Dweller in the Gulf
    9. The Monster of the Prophecy
    10. The Colossus of Ylourgne


    by Robert E. Howard
    1. The Black Stone
    2. The Tower of the Elephant
    3. A Witch Shall be Born
    4. Beyond the Black River
    5. Wings in the Night
    6. Worms of the Earth


    by H. P. Lovecraft
    1. The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath
    2. The Shadow over Innsmouth
    3. The Colour out of Space


    I could go on with dozens of others if I had a better memory, I'm sure Jay T. could also list a few more worthy of inclusion. Brys includes a few of Leiber's 'Fafhrd & the Gray Mouser' stories in his post above, and apart from Gene Wolfe I don't think I've read any Short Fantasy written after 1970!! So many authors - so little time.

  11. #11
    Lord Deceiver estranghero's Avatar
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    Good picks here, especially Jay's list. I'd like to cite a number of Lucius Shepard's stories, like "Nights at White Bhairab" and "How the Wind Spoke at Madakhet" but these are a bit horror. MJ Harrison's "The Dancer from the Dance" is also good.

    For a new recommendation, Patricia McKillip's short stories are great but I don't think she has 'em collected.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Generalbassist
    George R.R Martin's Hedge knight and Sworn sword are perfect though.

    While they are certainly enjoyable, I'm not too sure how they work as independant pieces - I think some of their impact comes from having read the series, and I wonder how they'd work for someone who hasn't read the series. Any comments?

  13. #13
    For a new recommendation, Patricia McKillip's short stories are great but I don't think she has 'em collected.
    Mckillip has a collection Harrowing the Dragon scheduled for a November release.

  14. #14
    "While they are certainly enjoyable, I'm not too sure how they work as independant pieces - I think some of their impact comes from having read the series, and I wonder how they'd work for someone who hasn't read the series. Any comments?"


    I thought so too when I read it, I loved it much because I knew what happend in ASOIAF, but then I spoke to two friends who had read it, and none of them had even heard of the series, but they thought Hedge knight was the best short story they had read

  15. #15
    Diamond Dog Luke_B's Avatar
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    I recommend short story lovers visit Shortform - a livejournal community for the review and discussion of short (speculative) fiction.

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