My first real foray in fantasy fiction was way back in the summer of ’84. I met my second boyfriend that summer at the NC Governor’s School…one of those summer program’s for brainiacs. Just like me, he was a geek through and through. He introduced me to Illuminati: The Game of Conspiracy, Piers Anthony, and many other things. Piers Anthony and his Xanth books are what stuck with me the longest.
Xanth is a magical land in which every creature is born with a specific magical talent. If a Xanthian is found to be lacking a magical talent, they are banished to Mundania (the real world) and it becomes almost impossible to return. The reason it is so difficult to find the way back to Xanth is the peninsula of Xanth, shaped similarly to Florida, is not tethered to a specific location on the globe. Sometimes, it seems to be where the real Florida is. Then, other times, a person leaving Xanth might exit into New York or maybe even some other country entirely. This keeps the real or mundane world from invading the magic of Xanth.
As expected, the Xanth books contain all the typical mythical creatures like harpies, golems, ogres, dragons, and centaurs. But, what makes these books truly special is their whimsical nature. The whole series is rife with puns and plays on words. Piers Anthony’s love of word play shows up in the names of other creatures like the Night Mares who bring bad dreams and the titles of many of the books, like Isle of View (say it out loud…doesn’t it sound like I love you). And, while puns usually make me groan, there is something about the way Anthony weaves them into the story that keeps me turning the pages and searching for the next one.
Xanth is truly a fun, engaging series and I think I enjoy it as much today as I did when I first read it. For those of you who hate to see a series end, Xanth is the series for you. The 36th book in the Xanth series just came out this year and Piers Anthony shows no sign of slowing down.
Do you have a favorite series, any genre is cool? Tell me about it, please!