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The 111 Greatest Works of Fantasy Fiction

Fantasy fiction is sometimes considered the less reputable step-sister of science fiction. But fantasy has had an honourable place in literature since the first stories were told on this planet, long before the invention of science fiction.

The works cited on this Greatest Fantasy Fiction list have been selected based on the same research and surveys that helped us create The Greatest Literature of All Time list, as well as all our other "greatest" lists.

For this list, priority is given to major works of fantasy—novels, novellas and other epic works. Shorter works will appear on a Greatest Fantasy Stories list, soon to appear.

Some debate may arise over whether certain works are really fantasy fiction or just mainstream works with a few fantastic elements. We have tried to follow the consensus of readers, writers, scholars and critics as well as we could determine it.

The discovery of new titles and the reassessment of old titles in the genre are ongoing. Check back periodically to get the latest revisions to this list.

Latest update: February 12, 2024

c.800–1400
One Thousand and One Nights
by Anonymous, Persia
Story collection includes Tale of the Fisherman and the Jinni, The Tale of the Three Apples, The Barber's Tale of Himself, and others
1485
Le Morte d'Arthur
by Thomas Malory, England, Poetry
1605
Investiture of the Gods
by Xu Zhonglin, China
Novel
1611
missing graphic
The Tempest
Play
1786
Vathek
by William Beckford, England
Novel
1812–1857
missing graphic
Grimm's Fairy Tales
Story collection also known as Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales; Children's and Household Tales
Includes "Cinderella", "Little Red Cap", "Hansel and Gretel", "Rapunzel", "Snow White", "Rumpelstiltskin", "Tom Thumb", and others
1820
missing graphic
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
by Washington Irving, United States
Story
1827
Flowers in a Mirror
by Li Ruzhen, China
Novel
1839
"The Fall of the House of Usher"
by Edgar Allan Poe, United States
Story
1842
"The Masque of the Red Death"
by Edgar Allan Poe, United States
Story
1858
Phantastes
by George MacDonald, Scotland
Novel
1865
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll, England
Novel
1871
Through the Looking-Glass
by Lewis Carroll, England
Novel
1872
Fairy Tales and Stories
by Hans Christian Andersen, Denmark
Story collection
1887
She
by H. Rider Haggard, England
Novel
1891
missing graphic
The Picture of Dorian Gray
by Oscar Wilde, Ireland
Novel
1893
"The Damned Thing"
by Ambrose Bierce, United States
Story
1896
The Well at the World's End
by William Morris, England
Novel
1897
missing graphic
Dracula
by Bram Stoker, Ireland
Novel
1900
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
by L. Frank Baum, United States
Novella
1902
missing graphic
"The Monkey's Paw"
by W.W. Jacobs, England
Story
1907
missing graphic
The Willows
by Algernon Blackwood, England
Novella
1911
"Casting the Runes"
by M.R. James, England
Story
1915
Herland
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, United States
Novel
1922
The Worm Ouroboros
by E.R. Eddison, England
Novel
1924
The King of Elfland's Daughter
by Lord Dunsany, Ireland
Novel
1937
The Hobbit
by J.R.R. Tolkien, England
Novel
1938
The Sword in the Stone
by T.H. White, England
Novel
1946–1959
Gormenghast
by Mervyn Peake, England
Novel series
1950
The Dying Earth
by Jack Vance, United States
Story collection
1950–1956
missing graphic
by C.S. Lewis, England
Novel series includes The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; and others
1952
Travel Light
by Naomi Mitchison, England
Novel
1954
Conan the Barbarian
by Robert E. Howard, United States
Story collection
1954–1955
Lord of the Rings
by J.R.R. Tolkien, England
Novel
1958
The Once and Future King
by T.H. White, England
Novel
1962
Something Wicked This Way Comes
by Ray Bradbury, United States
Novel
 
A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle, United States
Novel
1965
missing graphic
Dune
by Frank Herbert, United States
Novel
1967
The Master and Margarita
by Mikhail Bulgakov, Russia
Novel
1968
The Last Unicorn
by Peter S. Beagle, United States
Novel
 
Dragonflight
by Anne McCaffrey, United States
Novel
1968–2001
missing graphic
The Earthsea Cycle
by Ursula K. Le Guin, United States
Novel series also known as Earthsea; The Earthsea Trilogy
1970
Swords and Deviltry
by Fritz Leiber, United States
Story collection
 
Nine Princes in Amber
by Roger Zelazny, United States
Novel
1972
Watership Down
by Richard Adams, England
Novel
1973
The Dark Is Rising
by Susan Cooper, England
Novel
 
The Princess Bride
by William Goldman, United States
Novel
1976
The Riddle-Master of Hed
by Patricia A. McKillip, United States
Novel
 
Interview With the Vampire
by Anne Rice, United States
Novel
1977
The Sword of Shannara
by Terry Brooks, United States
Novel
 
Lord Foul’s Bane
by Stephen R. Donaldson, United States
Novel
1978
The Stand
by Stephen King, United States
Novel
1979
Kindred
by Octavia E. Butler, United States
Novel
1980
The Book of the New Sun
by Gene Wolfe, United States
Novel
1981
Little, Big
by John Crowley, United States
Novel
1982
The Elfstones of Shannara
by Terry Brooks, United States
Novel
 
Magician
by Raymond E. Feist, United States
Novel
1982–1984
The Belgariad
by David Eddings, United States
Novel series
1982–2004
The Dark Tower
by Stephen King, United States
Novel series includes The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, The Waste Lands, Wizard and Glass, and others
1983
The Mists of Avalon
by Marion Zimmer Bradley, United States
Novel
 
The Anubis Gates
by Tim Powers, United States
Novel
1983–2015
Discworld
by Terry Pratchett, United States
Novel series
1984
The Summer Tree
by Guy Gavriel Kay, Canada
Novel
 
Mythago Wood
by Robert Holdstock, England
Novel
 
Fire and Hemlock
by Diane Wynne Jones, England
Novel
 
Dragons of Autumn Twilight
by Margaret Weis, Tracy Hickman, United States
Novel
1984—1986
The Fionvar Tapestry
by Guy Gavriel Kay, Canada
Novel
1985
Perfume
by Patrick Suskind, Germany
Novel
1986
Replay
by Ken Grimwood, United States
Novel
 
Howl's Moving Castle
by Diana Wynne Jones, England
Novel
1986–2011
Redwall
by Brian Jaques, England
Novel series
1987
War for the Oaks
by Emma Bull, United States
Novel
1989–1996
Sandman
by Neil Gaiman, England, graphic novel series
1990
The Eye of the World
by Robert Jordan, United States
Novel
 
Tigana
by Guy Gavriel Kay, Canada
Novel
 
Good Omens
by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, England
Novel
1991–
Outlander
by Diane Gabaldon, United States
Novel series
1994–2020
The Sword of Truth
by Christopher PriestTerry Goodkind, United States
Novel series includes Wizard's First Rule, Stone of Tears, Blood of the Fold, Temple of the Winds, and others
1995
The Prestige
by Christopher Priest, England
Novel
 
Assassin’s Apprentice
by Robin Hobb, United States
Novel
1995–2000
His Dark Materials
by Philip Pullman, England
Novel series includes Northern Lights (The Golden Compass), The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass
1995–2003
The Old Kingdom
by Garth Nix, Australia
Novel series
1996
Neverwhere
by Neil Gaiman, England
Novel
1996–
A Song of Ice and Fire
by George R.R. Martin, United States
Novel series includes A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, A Dance with Dragons, and others
1997
Ella Enchanted
by Gail Carson Levine, United States
Novel
1997–2007
Harry Potter
by J.K. Rowling, England
Novel series includes Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, ...and the Chamber of Secrets, ...and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and others
1998
Stardust
by Neil Gaiman, England
Novel
2000
Perdido Street Station
by China China, England
Novel
2001
American Gods
by Neil Gaiman, England
Novel
2002
Coraline
by Neil Gaiman, England
Novella
 
Eragon
by Christopher Paolini, United States
Novel
2004
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
by Susanna Clarke, England
Novel
2005
Twilight
by Stephenie Meyer, United States
Novel
2006
The Lies of Locke Lamora
by Scott Lynch, United States
Novel
2006–2008
Mistborn: Era One
by Brandon Sanderson, United States
Novel series
2007
The Name of the Wind
by Patrick Rothfuss, United States
Novel
2008
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman, England
Novel
 
Graceling
by Kristin Cashore, United States
Novel
2009
The City & the City
by China Miéville, England
Novel
 
The Magicians
by Lev Grossman, United States
Novel
2010
Who Fears Death
by Nnedi Okorafor, United States
Novel series
2010–
The Stormlight Archive
by Brandon Sanderson, United States
Novel series
2011
Prince of Thorns
by Mark Lawrence, England
Novel
 
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
by Catherynne M. Valente, United States
Novel
 
Amng Others
by Jo Walton, Wales / Canada
Novel
2015
The Devourers
by Indra Das, India
Novel
2015–2017
Broken Earth Trilogy
by N.K. Jemisin, United States
Novel
Includes The Fifth Season, The Obelisk Gate, The Stone Sky
2016
The Paper Managerie and Other Stories
by Ken Liu, United States
Story collection
 
Every Heart a Doorway
by Seanan McGuire, United States
Novella
2017
The Changeling
by Victor LaValle, United States
Novel
2018
Children of Blood and Bone
by Tomi Adeyemi, United States
Novel
 
Circe
by Madeline Miller, United States
Novel
2019
This Is How You Lose the Time War
by Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone, Canada, United States
Novella