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