Jacob's Reviews > In the Land of Time: And Other Fantasy Tales

In the Land of Time by Lord Dunsany
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's review
Oct 09, 2011

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bookshelves: sci-fi-fantasy-etc, i-own, short-fiction, 2010-2011
Read from July 04 to 22, 2011

October 2011

No doubt most folks just call Lord Byron "Byron" (I know I do), but does anyone just say Dunsany? That's Lord Dunsany to you, and you'd better hope Neil Gaiman doesn't come after you for that. Granted, I haven’t actually read The King of Elfland's Daughter yet, but I've heard good things about it--and when I found this collection, I figured I'd give it a try. Stories from one of the fathers of modern mythic fantasy? I'm in!

Oh dear.

Here's the thing: Dun--sorry, Lord Dunsany--writes some fantastic stories. Really awesome stuff. Dreamlike, poetic prose about gods and heroes, epic quests, strange worlds and cities and beasts, it's all really, really...

...kind of...


Y'know, this "Gods of Pegāna" stuff isn't working for me. Same for the "Tales of Wonder" and the "Prose Poems." Sorry, but you know what I would really like to read? A good old-fashioned ghost story. And maybe a murder mystery. How about a kids' story? Or something about a dog? And you know what would be really great, a series of sci-fi, fantasy, horror and adventure tales all told by an unreliable, hard-drinking old liar in a London gentlemen's club!

What's that? Lord Dunsany wrote those, too? Sweeeet.

It's funny, really: Dunsany invented an entire pantheon of gods and entire worlds in "The Gods of Pegāna" and "Time and the Gods," created some great legendary and mythic tales, wrote about heroes and elves and such, and what do I like? The ordinary stuff. The very un-Dunsany bits. "Thirteen at Table" is a nice little ghost story; "The Two Bottles of Relish" was a fantastic murder mystery. "The Cut" is about a dog that learns the value of money--entertaining stuff. And the highlight of this collection were the Jorkens tales--only a handful out of several volumes' worth, which are sadly very difficult to find. And if nothing else, you must find and read "The Pirate of the Round Pond." Best story in this collection bar none.

Screw the gods. I'll take Jorkens, and a smart dog, and two kids and their toy sailboat any day of the week. Another whiskey, if you please!
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Reading Progress

07/11/2011 page 193
45.0% "WARNING: Reading Lord Dunsany in large amounts can lead to a prose overdose. Consult your physician before reading further." 2 comments
07/20/2011 page 328
76.0% "Just when I was getting bored with Dunsany, along came the Jorkens tales. A mix of (extremely exaggerated) fantasy, horror, sci-fi tales told by Jorkens, to fellow members of an unnamed London gentleman's club. Good stuff. Unfortunately, this volume only collects five stories--out of several dozen Dunsany wrote. Must. Find. More!"
07/22/2011 page 432
100.0% "Hey. HEY. GUYS. YOU GOTTA READ THIS. I mean, forget the fairy tales, just get this for "The Pirate of the Round Pond." And "The Cut." Oh, and "The Two Bottles of Relish." And "Our Distant Cousins." But mostly for "The Pirate of the Round Pond," which is brilliant. "The Cut" is brilliant too! And some others. Etc." 1 comment
02/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Daniel (new)

Daniel I've had my eye on this for awhile.

Jacob I gotta say, it's incredibly weird going from Lovecraft to Dunsany.

message 3: by Daniel (new)

Daniel It is weird going from Lovecraft to any other genre fiction. If I'm reading Lovecraft while working some fiction of my own, I end up with these long, torturous sentences that plunge into extreme states of agitation that leave indelible marks on my psyche without any real idea as to their full import or meaning...

You get the idea. :)

message 4: by Terry (new)

Terry I definitely enjoy Dunsany's longer novels better than his short stories. As you say there's a lot of pretty language and prose-poetry, but it often doesn't go anywhere. I found -The King of Elfland's Daughter-, -The Charwoman's Shadow-, and -The Chronicles of Shadow Valley- much more satisfying.

Jacob Like I said, I did enjoy (and highly recommend) some of his stories--the less poetic ones--but I'm interested in trying his novels too. King of Elfland's Daughter and The Charwoman's Shadow especially. Hadn't heard of Shadow Valley, though. Will have to look that up.

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