Fantasy fiction can be a welcome escape from reality even in the best of times, but 2018 was a particularly exhausting season in the TV melodrama that is America. Thank goodness for these ten books, my favorite novels and short story collections that could conceivably be shelved as fantasy, though all genre is a spectrum.
How Long ’til Black Future Month?
By N. K. Jemisin
A masterful short story collection from the author of the Inheritance and Broken Earth trilogies, featuring dragons in New Orleans and fairies in the Jim Crow South.
Once and Forever
The Tales of Kenji Miyazawa
By Kenji Miyazawa
Translated by John Bester
A lyrical translation of the best fabulist stories from Miyazawa, the Hans Christian Anderson of Japan.
By Naomi Novik
If you loved Uprooted, you’ll love Novik’s epic fantasy spin on the Rumpelstiltskin myth.
By Robert Jackson Bennett
The author of the Divine Cities trilogy is back with another series, cementing his status as one of our very best worldbuilders (the good kind of worldbuilder, that is).
Children of Blood and Bone
By Tomi Adeyemi
The propulsive beginning of a new trilogy that draws on West African mythology.
By Jeffrey Ford
A fantastic standalone novel from my favorite fantasy writer, Ahab’s Return imagines what might have happened to Ishmael and Captain Ahab in America after their encounter with Moby-Dick.
By C.L. Polk
In Polk’s stunning, secondary-world debut, noble families control the world through magic.
What Should Be Wild
“Without hyperbole, it’s one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read, and the first page made me gasp out loud on the Halsted bus.” —Adam Morgan in Chicago magazine
A Winter’s Promise
By Christelle Dabos
Translated by Hildegarde Serle
The first-ever YA published by Europa Editions is endlessly fascinating and addictive.
By Sarah Perry
I didn’t think Perry could top The Essex Serpent, but somehow, she did.
Adam Morgan is the founding editor of the Chicago Review of Books and the Southern Review of Books. His essays and criticism have appeared in The Paris Review, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago magazine, and elsewhere.