Thursday, December 19, 2013
'Barlowe's Guide to Fantasy' by Wayne Douglas Barlowe
'Barlowe's Guide to Fantasy' is a followup to the author's highly successful 'Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials' (1979). Published by Harper Prism in 1996, 'Fantasy' is 144 pages long, although 34 of these, consisting of sketches from Barlowe's forthcoming (back in 1996) book 'Barlowe's Inferno', are tacked onto the end as padding.
As with 'Extraterrestrials', this book adheres to a double-page format, with the fantasy character depicted on one page, while the facing page provides explanatory text, and an ancillary illustration or two.
There are 50 fantasy characters presented, some from older myths and legends (like, for example, the gryphon or griffin).
Other entries are derived from modern horror and fantasy novels.
Not all entries are necessarily monsters of one sort or another......
As with 'Extraterrestrials', there are going to be some omissions and inclusions among the 50 profiles that will strike some readers as awkward, but overall, 'Fantasy' provides a good overview of the genre.
There are certainly some images that will lead you to seek out a particular novel or series with which you are unfamiliar, and for those characters with whom you may previously have been familiar, seeing them depicted in Barlowe's meticulous artwork is a nice surprise.
With used copies in good condition available for under $5, getting 'Barlowe's Guide to Fantasy' is a worthwhile investment.