Before Adam: The Folk, meet the Folk, they’re a mid-Pleistocene Era family…

Before Adam by Jack London

Today, more than a century after Jack London’s passing in 1916, most people probably remember the San Francisco-born author for his books of rugged adventure, such as his third novel, The Call of the Wild (1903), his fifth, The Sea-Wolf (1904), and his seventh, White Fang (1906). Fewer will recall that amongst London’s 23 novels, 21 short story collections, three memoirs, three plays, 22 books of nonfiction and 45 poems – all written during a life span of only 40 years – this most superhumanly prolific of authors also produced four books that must be classified as either fantasy or sci-fi. I have already written here of London’s 13th novel, The Scarlet Plague Read More

Margaret: A full-blooded swashbuckler

(Fair) Margaret by H. Rider Haggard

Every schoolchild knows that in 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But what about the year before that? Did anything of note happen in 1491? Well, as any reader of H. Rider Haggard's 31st novel, Margaret, will discover, the answer is: plenty! Margaret, which Haggard wrote from 1905 - ‘06, was initially published in London in September 1907 under the title Fair Margaret, and here in the U.S. with the shortened title a month later. It is one of Haggard's historical fictions, but unlike some of his other historicals, such as 1911's Red Eve, this one contains absolutely no fantasy elements to speak of (my editors here on FanLit are perhaps being indulgent and generous for allowing me to even post a r... Read More

The Boats of the Glen Carrig: As memorable as can be

The Boats of the Glen Carrig by William Hope Hodgson

The conventional words of wisdom for any aspiring new author have long been "write what you know," a bit of advice that English author William Hope Hodgson seemingly took to heart with his first published novel, The Boats of the Glen Carrig. Before embarking on his writing career, Hodgson had spent eight years at sea, first as an apprentice for four years and then, after a two-year break, as a third mate for another long stretch. And those hard years spent at sea were put to good use not only in The Boats of the Glen Carrig, but in his third novel, The Ghost Pirates, and in many of his short stories and poems as well. According to August Derleth, "No other writer — not Conrad nor Melville nor any other — has so consistently dealt with the eternal mystery of the sea," a sentiment very closely echoed by Read More

The Enchanted Castle: Nesbit is a master of children’s literature

The Enchanted Castle by Edith Nesbit

Like most children's fantasy adventures, The Enchanted Castle begins with several displaced children, removed from their usual situation due to unfortunate events, and finding their independence in new surroundings. In this case, Gerald, Jimmy and Kathleen find themselves staying at Kathleen's school over the summer holidays in the care of her French teacher. But adventure is on the way, as soon they find a secret path into a beautiful garden where a young princess lies asleep in the centre of a hedge maze.

Of course, she's not real a princess, only the housekeeper's niece, but soon her games of make-believe come astonishingly real as the children discover that her ring is really magical and capable of granting any wish they desire! Of course, being children, their wishes usually lead them to trouble; and in a book full of living statues, dinosaurs, headless ghosts, bu... Read More