Monday, December 1, 2008

A fantasy blast from the past: The Enchanted World

My two daughters have recently started a habit that does my fantasy-loving heart good--paging through a series of Time-Life Books I purchased years ago, The Enchanted World. A really cool television ad that received a lot of airplay back in the early-to-mid 8o's roped me into buying several of them as a young teen, and they still stand proudly on my bookshelf today. Now much younger eyes and hands than mine are enjoying their wondrous contents.

Does anyone else remember these books? They were one of those deals where you bought the first book at a discounted price, then Time-Life would send you one each month (or maybe it was every other month) with "no obligation to buy." But of course these were so awesome I felt pretty darned obligated to purchase as many as I could afford. These books weren't cheap at the time, I think $20 each, but I couldn't resist buying several volumes. My collection includes:

Wizards and Witches

Spells and Bindings



Fairies and Elves

Legends of Valor

Giants and Ogres

I wasn't a big novel reader back then and The Enchanted World hit a sweet spot: Some text mixed in with gorgeous, full-color paintings and other illustrations. I've included a few of my favorites in this post. They were beautifully laid-out and fairly well-written as well.

Eventually my money ran dry and I had to stop collecting the books. I'm not sure how many of them Time-Life eventually published, but the collector in me sometimes has the urge to complete the run. In particular, I wish I hadn't missed The Fall of Camelot.

For the D&D fans out there, the picture below is The Wild Hunt, albeit a slightly different depiction than the one in Deities & Demigods. From Time-Life Books Ghosts:

Their great horses screaming, their hellhounds howling, the riders of the Wild Hunt coursed the northern skies. A host of the dead, they sought new companions from among the living.


Falze said...

21 books, you didn't even scratch the surface.

Wizards and Witches
Fairies and Elves
Legends of Valour
Night Creatures
Water Spirits
Magical Beasts
Spells and Bindings
Giants and Ogres
Seekers and Saviours
Fabled Lands
Book of Christmas
Fall of Camelot
Magical Justice
Lore of Love
Tales of Terror
Book of Beginnings
The Secret Arts
Gods and Goddesses

do a search on ebay (time life enchanted world). right now someone has 18 of them (albeit 7 are ones you already have) for about $30 shipped, no one has bid on them, ends Tuesday at about 8:45. And there are a bunch of other auctions, most at decent prices. There's a copy of Fall of Camelot for $2 at the moment, although that has a bidder. You can get a brand new Fall of Camelot at Amazon for $5.22 shipped or a used one for $4.38 shipped. There's a complete set currently bid at $21 at ebay. You can easily flesh out your collection for the kiddies (yeah, sure, for them, on ebay or probably amazon. And you'll pay a fraction of what they cost when you were spending comic book money on them.

Terry L said...

Yeah, I remember this series. I really wanted to get them, but couldn;t afford to, so I just browsed through them at the local library.

Brian Murphy said...

Holy cow Falze, thanks for the research. I had no idea Time-Life pumped out 21 of these babies. They're actually great books--not exactly exhaustively researched, but as I said they're great coffee-table books with some great layout and illustrations.

The entire book dedicated to dwarfs is a bit of a head-scratcher, though. And Lore of Love sounds a little shady :)

Scott Nehring said...

I loved these books as a kid! Thanks for the memories.

trollsmyth said...

An awesome series! Until recently I had nearly the whole set. And actually the love one is one of the best.

Good luck in your quest to track 'em all down, Brian.

- Brian