In this children's classic, a girl named Alice follows falls down a rabbit-hole into a fantasy realm full of talking creatures. She attends a never-ending tea party and plays croquet at the court of the anthropomorphic playing cards.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a work of children's literature by the English mathematician and author, the Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, written under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells the story of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit-hole into a fantasy realm populated by grotesque figures like talking playing cards and anthropomorphic creatures. The Wonderland described in the tale plays with logic in ways that have made the story of lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the most characteristic examples of the genre of literary nonsense. (Wikipedia)
In this classic novel, a young girl named Alice chases after a white rabbit down a rabbit hole. She discovers a place that rejects traditional reason, and only follows its own mad logic. Join Alice as she meets iconic characters like The Mad Hatter while she tries to navigate this strange new world.
Dracula is an 1897 Gothic horror novel by Irish author Bram Stoker. It introduced Count Dracula, and established many conventions of subsequent vampire fantasy. The novel tells the story of Dracula's attempt to move from Transylvania to England so that he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and of the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and a woman led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.
The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian expresses his desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than himself. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging. This reading uses the 20-chapter 1891 version of Wilde's novel.
The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine. Wilde later revised this edition, making several alterations, and adding new chapters; the amended version was published by Ward, Lock, and Company in April 1891. The novel tells of a young man named Dorian Gray, the subject of a painting by artist Basil Hallward. Basil is impressed by Dorian's beauty and becomes infatuated with him, believing his beauty is responsible for a new mode in his art. Dorian meets Lord Henry Wotton, a friend of Basil's, and becomes enthralled by Lord Henry's world view. Espousing a new hedonism, Lord Henry suggests the only things worth pursuing in life are beauty and fulfillment of the senses. Realizing that one day his beauty will fade, Dorian (whimsically) expresses a desire to sell his soul to ensure the portrait Basil has painted would age rather than himself. Dorian's wish is fulfilled, plunging him into debauched acts. The portrait serves as a reminder of the effect each act has upon his soul, with each sin displayed as a disfigurement of his form, or through a sign of aging. The Picture of Dorian Gray is considered a work of classic gothic fiction with a strong Faustian theme.
A Christmas Carol (full title: A Christmas Carol in Prose, Being a Ghost Story of Christmas) is A Christmas Carol is a Victorian morality tale of an old and bitter miser, Ebenezer Scrooge, who undergoes a profound experience of redemption over the course of one evening.
Gulliver's Travels (1726, amended 1735), officially Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, is a novel by Jonathan Swift that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the "travelers' tales" literary sub-genre. It is widely considered Swift's magnum opus and is his most celebrated work, as well as one of the indisputable classics of English literature.
The quiet Dutch community of Sleepy Hollow lay in the Adirondack mountains on the western shore of the mighty Hudson River in America’s colonial period. The solitude of the woods was breathtaking, and not even a schoolmaster was immune from the eerie miasma which everyone knew permeated the dense forest. Written in 1820, Washington Irving’s The Legend Of Sleepy Hollow has become a classic of American literature, and has been retold in many different ways. Here is the original, from Irving’s own hand.
Voltaire (Arouet, Franc¸ois Marie)
A sparkling 18th century satire by Voltaire
Come and hear the strange tail of The Boss Hank Morgan, a modern day (at the time of publication) Connecticut Yankee who inexplicably finds himself transported to the court of the legendary King Arthur (as the title of the book implies). Hank, or simply, The Boss, as he comes to be most frequently known, quickly uses his modern day knowledge and education to pass himself off as a great magician, to get himself out of all sorts of surprising, (and frequently amusing) situations, as well as to advance the technological and cultural status of the nation in which he finds himself.
In the rather un-subtle sub-text of the story, Twain uses The Boss to express a surprisingly pragmatic and frequently contradictory philosophy. The Boss explores the relative merits of Democracy, and Monarchy, he expresses his views on the “Nature v. Nurture” debate, he frequently speaks forcefully against an established Church, but just as strongly advocates for religion and a variety of churches (just not a compulsory one) and he devotes at least one afternoon to introducing his companions to the concept of inflation. In a far more subtle, yet no less forceful manner, the Boss shares with the reader some views about taxation, slavery (both literal and wage slavery), trade unions, the origins of the German language, the nature of marriage, and probably most powerfully, death.
It is a tall order for a relatively brief text, but Twain manages it all with surprising clarity. No one will agree fully with the Boss on all of these matters, and I would be surprised if Twain himself would. In fact the Boss’s views are so pragmatic, and often contradictory, the reader is left to wonder if Twain himself is alternately speaking through the Boss, and setting him up as a straw man. Either way it is a delightful story and a great piece of American Literature, to say nothing of an excellent argument for education.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (commonly shortened to Alice in Wonderland) is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world (Wonderland) populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures. The tale plays with logic, giving the story lasting popularity with adults as well as children. It is considered to be one of the best examples of the literary nonsense genre, and its narrative course and structure, characters and imagery have been enormously influential in both popular culture and literature, especially in the fantasy genre.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice
Part One of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Mars-Series. Easy, swank, pulp read about an omnipotent gentleman teleported to Mars, finding an outlandish society of ape-, tree- and lizardmen, red-, white-, yellowmen, brains on legs, strange bastions and curious apparatuses, where the strongest survives and women are needy beauties to be saved. How can something be so platitudinous and at the same time so imaginative and enthralling? Boys’ book for sure.
H. G. Wells
In this classic of H. G. Wells, Edward Prendick is shipwrecked on a beautiful island in the South Seas and is drawn into the wild and cruel world of Doctor Moreau, who aspires to play God with animals
Professor Pierre Aronnax is an academic whose thirst for knowledge carries him out of his ivory tower and on the trail of a mysterious sea beast. His curiosity at last is satiated when he finds himself in the belly of the beast-- that is, on board the incredible submarine the Nautilus, courtesy of its mysterious pilot Captain Nemo and in the company of his servant Conseil and sailor Ned Land.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
Herland is a utopian novel from 1915, written by feminist Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The book describes an isolated society comprised entirely of Aryan women who reproduce via parthenogenesis (asexual reproduction). The result is an ideal social order, free of war, conflict and domination. It first appeared as a serial in Perkin's monthly magazine Forerunner.
Old miser Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes a major transformation after being visited by his deceased colleague Jacob Marley, who warns him to change his ways and has three spirits visit him on the night of Christmas Eve.
George MacDonald's fairy stories and fantasy have inspired a number of writers including C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien and of this popular fairy story, which as you might suspect concerns a little princess plotted against by a race of goblins, G.K. Chesterton said that it "made a difference to my whole existence."
Wells, H. G.
This story is of a time beyond the memory of man, before the beginning of history. . .
This is the handwritten book that Carroll wrote for private use before being urged to develop it later into Alice in Wonderland. It was generously illustrated by Carrol and meant to entertain his family and friends. When a sick child in a hospital enjoyed it so much, the mother wrote him saying it had distracted her for a bit from her pain and led eventually to Carroll expanding the story.
Lilith, written by the father of fantasy literature, George MacDonald, was first published in 1895. Its importance was recognized in its later revival in paperback by Ballantine Books as the fifth volume of the celebrated Ballantine Adult Fantasy series in September, 1969. Lilith is considered among the darkest of MacDonald's works, and among the most profound. It is a story concerning the nature of life, death and salvation. Many believe MacDonald is arguing for Christian universalism, or the idea that all will eventually be saved.
Chesterton, G. K.
The Ball and the Cross is G. K. Chesterton's third novel. In the introduction Martin Gardner notes that it is a "mixture of fantasy, farce and theology." Gardner continues: "Evan MacIan is a tall, dark-haired, blue-eyed Scottish Highlander and a devout Roman Catholic.... James Turnbull is a short, red-haired, gray-eyed Scottish Lowlander and a devout but naive atheist.... The two meet when MacIan smashes the window of the street office where Turnbull publishes an atheist journal. This act of rage occurs when MacIan sees posted on the shop's window a sheet that blasphemes the Virgin Mary, presumably implying she was an adulteress who gave birth to an illegitimate Jesus. When MacIan challenges Turnbull to a duel to the death, Turnbull is overjoyed. For twenty years no one had paid the slightest attention to his Bible bashing. Now at last someone is taking him seriously! Most of the rest of the story is a series of comic events in which the two enemies wander about seeking a spot for their duel." MacIan and Turnbull become friends as they protect each other from interference from the modern world, which has trivialized their views over life's most important question (the existence of God) and outlawed their honorable duel. The irony is heightened when they both fall in love with ladies who happen to hold to their opponent's deepest convictions. Professor Lucifer and a Bulgarian monk also play important roles in this perennially relevant story.
De la Mare, Walter
Three monkey brothers, Thumb, Thimble, and Nod, are Mulla-mulgars or royal monkeys. As she dies, their mother gives them the enchanted Wonderstone for protection, and tells them to follow their father. They embark on a journey of fantastical adventure to find their father, who left years earlier in search of the kingdom of his brother, the Prince of the Valleys of Tishnar, promising to return for them after he had found the way.
Dr. David Throckmartin’s scientific expedition to the South Sea Islands discovers among ancient ruins a portal into Muria, an unknown underground world. After the disappearance of Throckmartin, his wife and two companions, his old friend Dr. Walter Goodwin enters Muria with a rescue party, only to confront an fantastic world filled with incredible beings, astounding scientific advances, and the worship of the most evil of all creatures, The Dweller.
Burroughs, Edgar Rice
In the previous novel, during the early days of World War I, Tarzan discovered that his wife Jane was not killed in a fire set by German troops, but was in fact alive. In this novel two months have gone by and Tarzan is continuing to search for Jane. He has tracked her to a hidden valley called Pal-ul-don, which means "Land of Men." In Pal-ul-don Tarzan finds a real Jurassic Park filled with dinosaurs, notably the savageTriceratops-like Gryfs, which unlike their prehistoric counterparts are carnivorous. The lost valley is also home to two different races of tailed human-looking creatures, the Ho-don (hairless and white skinned) and the Waz-don (hairy and black-skinned). Tarzan befriends Ta-den, a Ho-don warrior, and Om-at, the Waz-don chief of the tribe of Kor-ul-ja. In this new world he becomes a captive but so impresses his captors with his accomplishments and skills that they name him Tarzan-Jad-Guru (Tarzan the Terrible), which is the name of the novel
Milne, A. A.
This version of the book is done as a Dramatic Reading with various people speaking each characters part.
When the King of Barodia receives a pair of seven-league boots as a birthday present, his habit of flying over the King of Euralia's castle during breakfast provokes a series of incidents which escalate into war. While the King of Euralia is away, his daughter Hyacinth tries to rule in his stead and counter the machiavellian ambitions of the king's favourite, the Countess Belvane. Ostensibly a typical fairytale, it tells the story of the war between the kingdoms of Euralia and Barodia and the political shenanigans which take place in Euralia in the king's absence. The book introduces us to a princess who is far from helpless; a prince who, whilst handsome, is also pompous and vain; an enchantment which is almost entirely humorous; a villain who is not entirely villainous and receives no real comeuppance; a good king who isn't always good; an evil king who isn't always evil, and so on. The result is a book which children may not enjoy as much as adults. The book was written by Milne partly for his wife, upon whom the character of the Countess Belvane was partially based.
This is not a real book. It does not deal with real people, nor should it be read by real people. But there are in the world so many real books already written for the benefit of real people, and there are still so many to be written, that I cannot believe that a little alien book such as this, written for the magically-inclined minority, can be considered too assertive a trespasser. -- Stella Benson (author)
Honath the Pursemaker is a heretic. He doesn’t believe the stories in the Book of Laws which claims giants created his tree-dwelling race. He makes his opinion known and is banished with his infidel friends to the floor of the jungle where dangers abound. Perhaps he’ll find some truth down there. – The Thing in the Attic is one of Blish’s Pantropy tales and was first published in the July, 1954 edition of If, Worlds of Science Fiction magazine.
James, M. R.
The Five Jars is the only novel written by James, who is best known for his ghost stories. It is a peculiarly surreal fantasy apparently written for children. While he is out walking, the narrator is drawn to a remote pool, and finds a small box that has been hidden since Roman times. He gradually learns how to use its contents, fighting off a series of attempts to steal it, and becomes aware of a strange world hidden from our own.
Lewis, Charlton Miner
Charlton Miner Lewis' version of Gawayne and the Green Knight, a late 14th century alliterative romance, is written in modern language telling the story of the Green Knight's challenge to Gawayne, and the romance between Sir Gawayne and Lady Elfinheart. The name Gawayne is often also spelled Gawain.
Molesworth, Mary Louisa
The Palace in the Garden is the engaging story of three orphans sent to live in the mysterious country cottage of ROSEBUDS. The inquisitive children piece together the unexpected mystery of the Palace in the garden and all that goes with it. The story has a few twists. This book put me in mind of the Secret Garden.
Baum, L. Frank
The Scarecrow of Oz is the ninth book set in the Land of Oz written by L. Frank Baum. Published on July 16, 1915, it was Baum's personal favorite of the Oz books and tells of Cap'n Bill and Trot journeying to Oz and, with the help of the Scarecrow, overthrowing the cruel King Krewl of Jinxland.
Fouqué, Friedrich de la Motte
Undine is a novel by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué concerning Undine, a water spirit who marries a Knight named Huldebrand in order to gain a soul. It is an early German romance, which has been translated into English and other languages. The novel served as inspiration for two operas in the romantic style by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann and Albert Lortzing, respectively, and two ballets: the nineteenth century Ondine and the twentieth century Undine. An edition of the book was illustrated by Arthur Rackham. In The Fantastic Imagination, George MacDonald writes, "Were I asked, what is a fairytale? I should reply, Read Undine: that is a fairytale ... of all fairytales I know, I think Undine the most beautiful."
Russell, W. Clark
Sailing adventure with storms, icebergs, shipwrecks, treasure, and the reawakening of a pirate frozen in suspended animation for nearly fifty years
Fleming, May Agnes
May Agnes Fleming is renowned as Canada's first best-selling novelist. She wrote 42 novels, many of which have only been published posthumely.
The Midnight Queen is set in London, in the year of the plague 1665. Sir Norman Kingsley visits the soothsayer "La Masque" who shows him the vision of a beautiful young lady. Falling madly in love with her, he is astonished to find her only a short time later and saves her from being buried alive. He takes her home to care for her, but while he fetches a doctor, she disappears. Sir Kingsley and his friend Ormistan embark on an adventure to solve the mystery of the young lady - will they ever find her again?
H. G. Wells
H.G. Wells' classic science fiction-fantasy story, in which a scientist known only as “The Time Traveller” tells the tale of his journey to the year 802,701 A.D. and beyond, where he witnesses the end of human civilization as we know it, as well as the beginning of the end of the world. This original time-travel story has been copied many times, but never improved upon.
H. G. Wells
The War of the Worlds is a science fiction novel by English author H. G. Wells, first serialized in 1897 by Pearson's Magazine in the UK and by Cosmopolitan magazine in the US. The novel's first appearance in hardcover was in 1898 from publisher William Heinemann of London. Written between 1895 and 1897, it is one of the earliest stories to detail a conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. The novel is the first-person narrative of both an unnamed protagonist in Surrey and of his younger brother in London as southern England is invaded by Martians. The novel is one of the most commented-on works in the science fiction canon.
Ayn Rand is best known for her classics Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead. One of her earlier works, Anthem, is a dystopian vision of a world in which “self” has been abolished and people have become nothing more than parts of a greater “collective.” Rooted in her own experiences fleeing from the communist Russia of the 1920’s, as well as the rise of fascism in Italy and National Socialism in Germany, Rand wrote Anthem as a warning to all concerned with losing personal identity in an ever changing and rapidly developing world
The story involves a German professor (Otto Lidenbrock in the original French, Professor Von Hardwigg in the most common English translation) who believes there are volcanic tubes going toward the center of the Earth. He, his nephew Axel (Harry), and their guide Hans encounter many adventures, including prehistoric animals and natural hazards, eventually coming to the surface again in southern Italy.
Dunsany, Lord (Edward J. M. D. Plunkett)
"Come with me, ladies and gentlemen who are in any wise weary of London: come with me: and those that tire at all of the world we know: for we have new worlds here." - Lord Dunsany, the preface to "The Book of Wonder"
Very brief, well-crafted stories, many having surprise endings, all steeped in the dye of myth and calling to every reader's neglected imagination.
Wells, H. G.
Radioactive decay is a major theme in the novel The World Set Free, published in 1914. Wells explores what might happen if the rate of decay could be sped up. The book may have encouraged scientists to explore theories of nuclear chain reaction. It also served as a vehicle for Wells to develop his ideas on survival of the human race.
Howard, Robert E.
Conan the Cimmerian pursues the beautiful and deadly pirate Valeria after she kills a Stygian only to find himself cornered by a dragon. Apparently this dragon doesn’t know who he’s messing with. The pair then encounters the city of Xuchotl with its warring factions and ancient secrets. Swordplay and sorcery ensue. – Red Nails is Howard’s final Conan story and was published in the July, August, September and October 1936 issues of Weird Tales magazine
Bulwer-Lytton, Edward George
Zanoni, a timeless Rosicrucian brother, cannot fall in love without losing his power of immortality; but he does fall in love with Viola Pisani, a promising young opera singer from Naples, the daughter of Pisani, a misunderstood Italian violinist. An English gentleman named Glyndon loves Viola as well, but is indecisive about proposing marriage, and then renounces his love in order to pursue occult study. The story develops in the days of the French Revolution in 1789. Zanoni has lived since the Chaldean civilization. His master Mejnor warns him against a love affair but Zanoni does not heed. He finally marries Viola and they have a child. As Zanoni experiences an increase in humanity, he begins to lose his gift of immortality.
Chesterton, G. K.
While the novel is humorous (one instance has the King sitting on top of an omnibus and speaking to it as to a horse: "Forward, my beauty, my Arab," he said, patting the omnibus encouragingly, "fleetest of all thy bounding tribe"), it is also an adventure story: Chesterton is not afraid to let blood be drawn in his battles, fought with sword and halberd in the London streets, and Wayne thinks up a few ingenious strategies; and, finally, the novel is philosophical, considering the value of one man's actions and the virtue of respect for one's enemies.
Willis George Emerson
The Smoky God, or A Voyage Journey to the Inner Earth is the narrative of an aged Norwegian sailor compelled before he dies to tell the story of how he found a passageway to the center of the earth and discovered a world peopled with giants.
News from Nowhere (1890) is a classic work combining utopian socialism and soft science fiction written by the artist, designer and socialist pioneer William Morris. In the book, the narrator, William Guest, falls asleep after returning from a meeting of the Socialist League and awakes to find himself in a future society based on common ownership and democratic control of the means of production. In this society there is no private property, no big cities, no authority, no monetary system, no divorce, no courts, no prisons, and no class systems. This agrarian society functions simply because the people find pleasure in nature, and therefore they find pleasure in their work. In the novel, Morris tackles one of the most common criticisms of socialism; the supposed lack of incentive to work in a communistic society. Morris' response is that all work should be creative and pleasurable.
Charles Willard Diffin
This issue contains "The Dark Side of Antri" by Sewell Peaslea Wright, "The Sunken Empire" by H. Thompson Rich, "The Gate to Xoran" by Hal K. Wells, "The Eye of Allah" by C. D. Willard, "The Fifth-Dimension Catapult" by Murray Leinster, and "The Pirate Planet[' by Charles W. Diffin.
Journey to the Interior of the Earth is an 1864 science fiction novel by Jules Verne (published in the original French as Voyage au centre de la Terre). The story involves a professor who leads his nephew and hired guide down a volcano in Iceland to the “center of the Earth”. They encounter many adventures, including prehistoric animals and natural hazards, eventually coming to the surface again in southern Italy.
Robert E. Howard
"The People of the Black Circle" is one of the original novellas about Conan the Cimmerian, written by American author Robert E. Howard and first published in Weird Tales magazine in three parts over the September, October and November 1934 issues. It is set in the pseudo-historical Hyborian Age and concerns Conan kidnapping a regal princess of Vendhya (pre-historical India) and foiling a nefarious plot of world domination by the Black Seers of Yimsha. Due to its epic scope and atypical Hindustan flavor, the story is considered an undisputed classic of Conan lore and is often cited by Howard scholars as one of his best tales. It is also one of the few Howard stories where the reader is treated a deeper insight on magic and magicians beyond the stereotypical Hyborian depiction as demon conjurer-illusionist-priests.
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.