Friday, October 16, 2020

The Top 100 Fantasy Books

When I saw that Time had published a list of "The Top 100 Fantasy Books" yesterday, I will admit to some initial trepidation, as often these lists are put together by high-falutin' literary critics who look down on children's books, and Oz in particular, it seems. But no, this was actually a panel consisting of Time editors and some of today's top fantasy writers. So I was pleasantly surprised to see several children's books on the list, and Oz is indeed represented—but not by the book just about everyone on the planet would expect! No, belive it or not (I won't hold you in suspense, so I'm going to spoil it here; this is your last chance to go look at the list before I let this cat out of the bag), The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is not on the list, but Ozma of Oz is! Since many Oz readers actually consider Ozma to be the best book in the series (whenever there's a poll for best Oz books, Wizard and Ozma usually battle for the top spot, with Marvelous Land a distant third), but for the rest of the literary world to notice is a testament to just how good it is. Personally, however, if I were to put only one book by L. Frank Baum on that list, it wouldn't even be an Oz book. I still think that Queen Zixi of Ix may be the best thing Baum ever wrote.

One other book I noticed is not on the list: The Hobbit! The entire Lord of the Rings cycle is there, but its prequel didn't make it. I would have also included Edward Eager's Half Magic, but they were limited to only one hundred books. I do think this list may be too heavily weighted towards books of the late twentieth century and the twenty-first (so far), but half the fun of lists like this is the back-and-forth of the reactions.

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