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Tales Before Tolkien
edited by Douglas A Anderson (2003)


Subtitled The Roots Of Modern Fantasy, this is intended to be a collection of early stories that may have influenced Tolkien's work. It matters little if they didn't - as any book containing stories by William Morris, H Rider Haggard, Lord Dunsany and L Frank Baum is sure to be a winner. Includes a list of recommended reading.





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Oxford Book Of Gothic Tales
edited by Chris Baldick (1992)


A high quality selection of 37 gothic masterpieces dating from the late-18th century to more modern times. The usual suspects like Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne and H P Lovecraft are all here. The only real complaint is that there are only seven stories to represent the half-century after 1941. Highly recommended.





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Magical Realist Fiction
edited by Young & Hollaman (1984)


Although not all the stories here can be safely classified as fantasy, this is nevertheless an outstanding collection of some the finest offbeat fiction ever written. Most fantasy readers will already be familiar with names like Calvino, Borges, Márquez and Kafka - but also included here are works by William Faulkner, D H Lawrence, Vladimir Nabokov, Leo Tolstoy and Virginia Woolf.





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Modern Classics Of Fantasy
edited by Gardner Dozois (1997)


Science fiction's best-known editor shows he also has a feel for fantasy in this well-chosen selection of 32 genre classics published from 1939-96. It's missing a lot of big names, but the focus here is the craft of short story writing. There is also a recommended reading list for those wanting to go on to bigger and even bigger things.





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The Fantasy Hall Of Fame
edited by Robert Silverberg (1998)


An impressive anthology of thirty all-time great fantasy short stories as chosen by the members of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. This collection is very hard to fault, although it doesn't have a lot of competition. Highlights include stories by H L Gold, Jorge Luis Borges, Robert Bloch and Fritz Leiber. Worth tracking down.





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Legends
edited by Robert Silverberg (1998)


For this anthology Robert Silverberg asked 11 of the top fantasy writers to contribute one short novel each based in the worlds from their most popular series. As a result we get Robert Jordan offering an early look at the Wheel of Time, a Le Guin Earthsea story, and even a Stephen King Dark Tower titbit. Split into smaller elusively-titled volumes for paperback release.





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'Thieves' World' Anthologies
edited by Robert Lynn Asprin (1979-89)


Anthology series set in a shared fantasy world created by Robert Lynn Asprin who edited or co-edited the original 12-volume series. On the outskirts of the Rankan Empire the city of Sanctuary attracts all variety of lowlife scum. Toss in some warring gods and the result is a host of big name authors trying to top each other and having lots of fun along the way. Getting hard to find.





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Year's Best Fantasy and Horror
ed by Datlow, et al (2001-present)


Good series that always jam-packs a smorgasbord of modern writers between the covers. The award-winning Fourteenth Annual Collection published in 2001 contains a particularly strong 44-story selection and is well-worth seeking out. There is also a terrific of summation of the year in fantasy & horror in each edition.


Fantasy Anthologies
The very best anthologies of fantasy short fiction
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