People have been immersing themselves in stories for thousands of years, originally these were passed from person to person before someone had the genius idea of writing them down. What stories though are the defining example of a type? Literary Wonderlands tries to do this by picking around 100 books and series that they think have redefined the literary landscape when they were published.
There are five sections of books, beginning with Ancient Myth & Legend and then Science and Romanticism it then goes onto the Golden age of Fantasy a New World Order and finishes up in the Computer Age. There are classics such as The Odyssey and Beowulf and the Tempest, The Time Machine and The Water Babies and it brings pretty much up to date with Ann Leckie’s Imperial Radch trilogy. I was pleased to see favourite authors like Sir Terry Pratchett, Iain M. Banks and Neil Gaiman, and titles that I had read and enjoyed like Snow Crash and Neuromancer that I hadn’t expected to make it in.
This lavish coffee table book of books has a small biography of the author and there are lots of pictures, artworks and maps from the books covered. There is a plot overview and for a series or trilogy there is a broader look at the story, but be aware there are frequently spoilers! The main flaw is that as it is very broad in its scope, it misses so many other books that should have been included as defining books of a particular genre but it would have made the book too unwieldy though.