Following up on the success of THE PAPERBACK FANTASTIC, VOLUME ONE: SCIENCE FICTION, editor and publisher Justin Marriott switches his emphasis to fantasy in the second volume. THE PAPERBACK FANTASTIC, VOLUME TWO: FANTASY also features dozens of reviews of various novels and comic books, with great cover art from those books and top-notch production by Marriott and Bill Cunningham. The reviewers in this volume are Steve Carroll, S. Clayton Rhodes, Andreas Decker, James Doig, Ian Millsted, Roy Nugen, John Peel, Scott Ranalli, Penny Tesarek, Tom Tesarek, and Benjamin Thomas.
Most of the reviews are of heroic fantasy/sword-and-sorcery
novels and story collections, with a few side ventures into sword-and-planet
and more literary fantasy. Given that, it’s not surprising that books by Robert
E. Howard, Karl Edward Wagner, Michael Moorcock, and Fritz Leiber dominate the
table of contents. Howard is one of my all-time favorite authors, of course, so
that’s fine with me, and I read all of Leiber’s stories about Fafhrd and the
Gray Mouser back in the day, as well. I’m less familiar with Moorcock and
Wager, although I’ve read and enjoyed both. There are also reviews of books by
John Jakes and Lin Carter that I recall reading with great fondness, and a
couple of reviews of books by an author I want to read, C.L. Werner, although I
haven’t gotten around his work yet. Two of Kenneth Bulmer’s heroic fantasy
novels are reviewed, including the first book in his long-running Dray Prescot
series, and although I’ve read and enjoyed several of Bulmer’s historical
novels, I’ve never read his fantasy. I need to get around to those books, as
I enjoyed Volume Two of this series every bit as much as I did Volume One, and for the same reason: it’s well-done, very informative, and highly entertaining. If you’re a long-time reader of heroic fantasy like I am, you really should pick it up, because I think you’ll have a fine time reading it.