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This guide contains entries on a wide range of science fiction and fantasy literature. It should be a valuable collection development tool and useful for school, public and academic libraries.
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Magill's books promise a level of quality and information that is consistent throughout all of their publications, and this work is no different. These four volumes cover 791 books or series, 238 of them published during the 1980s and 1990s. The entries are 1,000 words long for single books and 1,500 for series, with a one-sentence summary beginning each entry followed by bibliographical information. The books are identified as science fiction or fantasy and assigned to one of 37 genre categories. An extensive plot summary and identification of the main characters are provided. The rest of the entry contains general criticism of the work in relation to the genre and the author's body of work. Volume 4 contains an extensive bibliography of critical works on science fiction and fantasy, a list of major award winners, a genre index so the reader can identify works that are concerned with time travel or dystopias, a title index that is particularly useful if one cannot remember the name of a series but does know the title of a book within the series, and an author index. The introduction provides an overview of science fiction and fantasy and its place in literature. The list of genres explains what is meant by a "cautionary" work as opposed to an "apocalypse" work.
As with all books of this type, readers are going to find omissions. Mercedes Lackey and Jack Chalker, prolific writers of science fiction and fantasy, are not included. One might also question why some series are covered and others are not. For example, Piers Anthony's Xanth series is here, but the Adept series is not. But this does not detract from the usefulness of the work.
Volumes such as these are important on a number of levels. They are useful as a reader's advisory to enable library patrons to select books with similar themes. A plot summary can be useful as a reminder or explanation of a book. This set is also a valuable collection-development tool. Magill's Guide to Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature is recommended for high-school, public, and academic libraries that have science fiction and fantasy collections.
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Book Description Salem Press, Inc., 1996. Hardcover. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110893569062