Title: The Flying Sorcerers
Author: Peter Haining
Page Count/Review Word Count: 372
I couldn’t decide whether to give this a four or a five, but in the end, I made the call and I’m happy with it. This book is fascinating in many ways, and it’s pretty much the perfect introduction to the genres of comic fantasy and comic science fiction. Because it’s a collection of short stories, you get to meet a huge range of authors as diverse as Terry Pratchett, C. S. Lewis, Roald Dahl and Arthur C. Clarke.
For some reason, I wasn’t expecting much when I started reading this. I mean, I’m a fan of a bunch of the contributors, but I just didn’t think it was going to be as good as it was. In the end, though, it turned out to be the best collection of assorted stories that I’ve ever read. It’s the kind of book that you just can’t stop reading – there’s so much to take in that you can really read it how you want, whether you decide to dip in and out of it or whether you prefer to work your way through it in one sitting.
It’s hard for me to pick a favourite from the stories in the collection, but I will say that I was surprised by the quality of each of the authors – and not just the ones that I already liked to begin with. In fact, this is almost a rallying call for the genres of comic fantasy and comic science fiction, and it signals the arrival of a serious genre of literary significance. It gives you a buzz to see how fictional worlds can be used to reflect the real life situations of the authors who wrote them, and you’ll have a laugh along the way at the same time.
Overall, then, if you have an interest in the genre – or if you’d simply like to get started with a comprehensive introduction – there isn’t anywhere better to get started. This book belongs on your bookcase, whatever you’re into. It’s one of those rare books that have a broad appeal – and you might meet a new favourite author.