Kate (kate_nepveu) wrote,

Second draft, Fantasy of Manners reading list

Okay, second stab at a reading list for fantasy of manners books. I've broken out mannerpunk, "honorary mentions," and unknowns. As I said in the comments thread to the last post, my personal definition of "fantasy of manners" relies heavily on style. If you disagree with something on here, I'd love to hear why—the more detail, the better—but I reserve the right to be subjective about it.

Quick definition: fantasy of manners = Swordspoint; mannerpunk = Bordertown.

I've added a few things, but only since this morning; there were several other suggestions over at sf.written that I've left off since they'd just go under "unknown."

Thanks for all the input.

Fantasy of Manners

  • Steven Brust's Khaavren series. Dumas pastiches.
  • Pamela Dean
    • Tam Lin. Set in a small liberal-arts college, and based on the ballad.
    • Possibly the Secret Country trilogy, which is a variant on doorway-into-another-world.
  • Teresa Edgerton
    • Goblin Moon and The Gnome's Engine. An alternate-world fantasy duology with a Regency flavor and a Lymond/Lord Peter type.
    • The Queen's Necklace. I haven't read it yet, but I understand it to be in a similar vein.
  • Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle. Frankly, I didn't like this book, but it was mentioned at Readercon, so I include it for your consideration.
  • Ellen Kushner, all of her novels:
    • Swordspoint. The classic fantasy of manners novel.
    • Thomas the Rhymer, a ballad-based novel.
    • The Fall of the Kings, co-written with Delia Sherman; set in the same world as Swordspoint. On my to-read list.
  • Madeleine Robins, Point of Honour. Described as Austen noir at the Readercon talk; first chapter online at Tor. On my to-read list.
  • Delia Sherman, The Porcelain Dove. Haven't read this, either, but it was mentioned at the Readercon talk. I am told that it belongs under "fantasy of manners".
  • Caroline Stevermer: all of her novels under this name are fantasy of manners.
  • Martha Wells
  • Elizabeth Willey's novels: The Well-Favored Man, A Sorceror and a Gentleman, The Price of Blood and Honor. These were summed up by someone else as "Nice Princes in Amber"; I've only read the first, and it didn't leave much of an impression.
  • Patricia Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
  • Patricia Wrede

Honorary Mentions (Things that are close in some way to the above list, yet don't quite seem to fit on it.)

  • Steven Brust, Issola. The most recent in the Vlad Taltos series, and quite literally a novel of manners. First-Person Smartass narration.
  • Steven Brust and Emma Bull, Freedom and Necessity. An epistolary novel set in 1849 with a Lymond-type protagonist. It's ambiguous as to whether there's magic.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold, A Civil Campaign. A volume in the ongoing science fiction Vorkosigan series, the plot of which was strongly and explicitly influenced by Heyer, Austen, and Sayers.
  • John M. Ford
    • The Dragon Waiting ( Pam's review). Alternate history of, inter alia, Richard III and the Princes in the Tower.
    • The Last Hot Time. An urban fantasy closely related to the Bordertown universe; I'm putting it under "Honorable Mention" rather than "mannerpunk" because it feels more adult and less "punk" to me.
  • A.J. Hall, Lust Over Pendle. Novel-length Harry Potter fanfic, summarized in part as "A comedy of manners, in the Golden Age detective thriller genre, set in the year immediately after Voldemort's fall." (I waver as to whether to put this in the "Fantasy of Manners" category rather than here. I said this was subjective.)
  • Diana Wynne Jones, Deep Secret. I think it has a lot of the structural elements, particularly disguise and language, and a bit of the "feel."
  • Walter Jon Williams' Drake Maijstral divertimenti: The Crown Jewels, House of Shards, and Rock of Ages. Farcical caper/comedy of manners sf novels.


  • Holly Black, Tithe. I haven't read it, but the plot fixtures appear to be similar to War for the Oaks.
  • Emma Bull's non-Bordertown novels
    • War for the Oaks. One of the classic works of urban fantasy.
    • Bone Dance. Post-apocalyptic fantasy with an sf feel.
    • Possibly her other novel, Falcon, though it's been long enough since I read it that I'm not sure.
  • Charles de Lint. To me these don't have the same prose style or dialogue as the other urban fantasies listed, but they are close cousins in terms of subject matter, so I put them down tentatively.
    • Newford urban fantasies (numerous)
    • Jack of Kinrowan
  • The Bordertown shared universe, created by Terri Windling and Mark Alan Arnold. Urban fantasy and the prototypical mannerpunk:
    • Anthologies:
      • Borderland
      • Bordertown
      • Life on the Border
      • The Essential Bordertown
    • Novels:
      • Will Shetterly, Elsewhere and Nevernever
      • Emma Bull, Finder

Unknown (These were recommended to me by various people, but I haven't read them and don't know enough about them to classify them)

  • Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series. I know nothing about these but that someone in the audience at Readercon recommended the books to me.
  • Andre Norton and Rosemary Edgehill, The Shadow of Albion and Leopard in Exile. These were recommended to me at Readercon by the same person as above, and appear to be alternate history. On my to-read list.
  • Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett, Armor of Light, Point of Hopes, Point of Dreams. On my to-read list.
  • Liz Williams, The Poison Master. From David Kennedy's review, this appears to be a cross-genre mix of alchemy, sf, and some other things. He reports that the prose is fairly straightforward.
  • Francine Woodbury, Shade and Shadow.
Tags: books, fantasy of manners, sff

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