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Top Ten Reference Books from
Narnia Books

David Anderson of Narnia Books provided this list of his favorite and most used reference books. He, like most of the booksellers who have listed their favorites, had a very hard time restricting himself to just ten.

  1. Clute & Nicholls (eds.) The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Clute & Grant (eds.) The Encyclopedia of Fantasy. Two hefty tomes which together provide a very good general reference work for the plethora of minor science fiction and fantasy writers. Also often of help with genuinely obscure authors.

  2. Sullivan, Jack (ed.) The Penguin Encyclopedia of Horror and the Supernatural. A nicely illustrated general reference work on classic horror writers, with good coverage of Victorian and Edwardian ghost story writers. [Too much space wasted, though, on cinema horror.]

  3. Bleiler, Everett F. The Guide to Supernatural Fiction and Science-Fiction: The Early Years. The first volume provides a full description of 1,775 books from 1750 to 1960, including ghost stories, weird fiction, stories of supernatural horror, etc. The second provides full descriptions of over 3,000 science-fiction stories from early times to 1930. Both volumes have author, title and motif indexes. Bleiler is a leading authority in these fields and these two works are essential for dealers and advanced collectors of supernatural or science fiction.

  4. Locke, George A Spectrum of Fantasy and A Spectrum of Fantasy, Volume II. Subtitled 'A bibliography and biography of a collection of fantasy literature.' Locke is one of Britain's major dealers in classic supernatural fiction and science fiction, and this is his discursive and highly readable bibliography of his own collection. Provides descriptive bibliography for many obscure books, information that is simply nowhere else to be found. Expensive, but highly recommended.

  5. Bleiler, E.F. The Checklist of Science-Fiction and Supernatural Fiction, 1978 edition. Some 5,600 books are listed, covering the period 1800-1948.

  6. Ashley, Mike Who's Who in Horror and Fantasy Fiction. Now a little dated, but still highly useful. Provides a starting-off point for further research.

  7. Connolly, Joseph Children's Modern First Editions. Now very dated and no longer of use as a price guide; also contains occasional bibliographic errors, so double-checking with other references is necessary. However, well worth having for the colour plates alone. Provides a British counter-balance to the many American reference books on children's literature which seem to totally ignore 95% of classic British children's books.

  8. Individual author bibliographies. Some of the most useful which we consult frequently are: Hammond & Anderson's J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography, Whatmore's 'H. Rider Haggard: A Bibliography', Zeuschner's 'Edgar Rice Burroughs: The Exhaustive Scholar's and Collector's Descriptive Bibliography', Gilbert's A Bibliography of the Works of Dorothy L. Sayers and Shaberman's George MacDonald: A Bibliographical Study

  9. Nash, Paul W. 'Folio 50: A Bibliography of the Folio Society, 1947-1996.' A beautiful, heavily illustrated book and essential for dealers/collectors of Folio Society books.

  10. Our major sub-specialty is the books of Captain W.E. Johns. For that we find the following reference works essential: Berresford Ellis & Williams' By Jove, Biggles! The Life of Captain W.E. Johns and its second edition Biggles! The Life Story of Capt. W.E. Johns (this edition has the authors as Berresford Ellis and Schofield). Also A Biggles Bibliography by Ross Burnet, and copies of Biggles & Co./Biggles Flies Again magazine ( which are a goldmine of bibliographical information.

Narnia Books specializes in supernatural and fantasy fiction, children's literature, detective and mystery fiction, C.S. Lewis and the 'Inklings' group, and the books of Captain W.E. Johns. The owners, David and Joanne Anderson, currently serve as members of the Advanced Book Exchange Advisory Group.

Last update: July 24, 2000

Copyright © 2000 by Deanna Ramsay

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