Fantasy fiction has a long and honourable history of parodying its own traditions and, in The Flying Sorcerers
, Peter Haining has collected a wide range of comic fiction from the genres of fantasy, horror, and sf. The 24 stories span the century, from P.G. Wodehouse's hilarious "A Slice of Life", about the inventor Wilfred Mulliner and the dastardly baronet Sir Jasper ffinch-ffarrowmere, through the likes of C S Lewis, Kurt Vonnegut Jr and Mervyn Peake to stories by more recent favourites such as Roald Dahl and, of course, Terry Pratchett, whose story "Turntables of the Night", featuring DEATH, opens the collection.
The stories range from Michael Moorcock's hilarious spoof of heroic fantasy, "The Stone Thing", to more considered twists on conventional themes, as in Angela Carter's story of a reluctant vampire, "The Lady of the House of Love". Arthur C. Clarke even manages to find humour in the end of the world, with the closing story: "No Morning After".
Haining introduces each story with a brief but informative biography of its writer so, if you like the stories here, you will be able to find more by the same authors. This makes the collection an excellent introduction to the wide range of comic fantasy and sf writing produced this century. -- Elizabeth Sourbut
This sparkling sequel to WIZARDS OF ODD once again turns logic on its head with a galaxy of star writers and stories. Terry Pratchett, the arch-priest of the genre, leads off with the eccentric figure of DEATH on new and curious mission, Roald Dahl plays havoc with country superstition, and Arthur C. Clarke shows the funny side of cosmic doom. Add to these dazzling contributions from masters such as Kurt Vonnegut Jr., Angela Carter, C.S. Lewis, P.G. Wodehouse and Michael Moorcock, and you have a blend of comic fantasy, supernatural extravaganza and sf that is almost literally in orbit. The title of the book stems from the fact that many of the stories feature characters who can fly - either under their own power or by machines - or they simply run into trouble with aerial objects of one sort or another. Bringing together some of the best fantasy available, THE FLYING SORCERERS is a gloriously bizarre, wonderfully varied collection of stories.