Jamaican Marlon’s James “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” Listed as One of the 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time

Jamaican Author Marlon James
The book “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” by Jamaican author Marlon James has been included in a list of the 100 best fantasy books of all time compiled by Time magazine. His fourth novel, the book draws on African mythology and history for its stories, types of characters, and narratives. James, who identifies as a gay man, won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for his novel “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” which explores the times surrounding the attempted assassination of reggae icon Bob Marley. James’s fantasy novel offers a “welcome palliative to an often-heteronormative genre,” according to Elijah Wolfson. “Black Leopard, Red Wolf” was written as the first book in a trilogy that retells the same story of a boy who goes missing and the fantastical characters who are sent to bring him back. The novel presents a story of evil, heroism, betrayal and redemption, using fascinating language and providing the world-building and magical elements traditionally found in classics of the fantasy genre.

Time compiled its list of the top 100 fantasy books of all time by gathering a panel of leading fantasy authors such as Neil Gaiman, Tomi Adeyemi, Cassandra Clare, George R.R. Martin, Marlon James, and Diana Gabaldon. These writers, who could not nominate their own work, joined with Time staff members to nominate their favorites. The group then ranked 250 nominees on the basis of “originality, ambition, artistry, critical and popular reception, and influence on the fantasy genre and literature more broadly.” The final list that resulted from their efforts emphasizes how imaginative fantasy fiction has developed from its early origins in oral storytelling to modern fantasy novels. According to Time magazine, these top 100 books help readers to trace human history and to better understand reality.

About the author

Stephanie Korney