The Mammoth Book of Awesome Comic Fantasy by Mike Ashley
(Mammoth Books)

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Synopsis

With the hilarious "Happy Valley," a story originally written by John Cleese and Connie Booth for Monty Python's Flying Circus, this third volume in an extraordinarily popular Mammoth Book series gets off to a suitably silly start. It continues merrily apace with "Attack of the Charlie Chaplins" by Garry Kilworth, visits "The Strawhouse Pavilion" by Ron Goulart, and takes in "A Bad Day on Mount Olympus" with Marilyn Todd. Along the way it introduces Esther Eisner's "Gunsel and Gretel" and Cherith Baldry's "Broadway Barbarian" and renews acquaintance with F. Anstey's "Ferdie." It bemuses as well as amuses with "A Case of Four Fingers" concocted by John Grant, not to mention "The Absolute and Utter Impossibility of the Facts in the Case of the Vanishing of Henning Vok" from Jack Adrian. And before this wildly comic romp ends, it discovers "Math Takes a Holiday" (Paul Di Filippo) and "Mother Duck Strikes Again" (Craig Shaw Gardner). Fantasy finds broad definition in this wackily comic tour. While some of the stories approach the domain of science fiction, others are lodged in an everyday reality. None of them, though, fails to entertain. Together, the more than thirty selections -- thirteen of them brand-new and the balance of them often rare finds or forgotten gems -- provide a fresh sampling of comic genius in the sphere of fantasy fiction and a wide range of tales to suit every taste in humor.
 

About Mike Ashley

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Mike Ashley is a renowned expert in the world of science fiction and fantasy literature. He received the Science Fiction Research Association's Pilgrim Award in 2002 for lifetime achievement in science fiction research. He has written many books, including "A Brief History of King Arthur" (Robinson, 2010); "Taking Liberties" (British Library, 2008); "Gateways to Forever" (Liverpool University Press, 2007); "The Age of Storytellers" (British Library, 2006); "Transformations "(Liverpool University Press, 2005); and "Starlight Man: The Extraordinary Story of Algernon Blackwood" (Constable, 2001).
 
Published June 9, 2001 by Carroll & Graf. 512 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Mammoth Book of Awesome Comic Fantasy

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“A Death in the House, a sentimental pastoral alien visitation story by Clifford Simak reflects ironically on the two original alien encounter stories, Eric Brown's “Ulla, Ulla,” a postmodern glance backward on H.G.

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It's hard, given the wealth of material in the field, to make a bad selection of fairy tales, and Ashley's, while not startling, does offer a nice mix of the usual (including such authors as George MacDonald, Edith Nesbit, L.

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Howard’s “The Valley of the Worm” (1934) finds Howard in brilliant form, coalescing many famed heroes into a single figure (not Conan), while George MacDonald’s “The Golden Key” (1867) is a kind of adult fairy story.

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Most of the stories feature series characters, including Ron Goulart’s occult inspector Max Kearney, John Morressy’s dizzy wizard Kedrigern, and Avram Davidson’s delightful continental debauche, Dr. Eszterhazy, investigating an apparently honest fraud in “Milord Sir Smiht, The English Wizard.

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The Mammoth master's third collection of silly, satiric, ridiculous, cute, pun-packed, cornball fantasy is often fun, but, well, not exactly awesome.

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Publishers Weekly

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More successful on the whole are the reprints, notably Porter Emerson Browne's "The Diplodocus" (1908), about a Luther Burbank type who combines animal instead of plant species with hilarious results, and Nelson Bond's "Nothing in the Rules" (1943), an ingratiating romp about horse racing and a r...

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