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Great Science-Fiction & Fantasy Works

  Science-fiction & fantasy literature: a critical list with discussions.

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Umberto Eco

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Standard Disclaimer:

This is a brief discussion of Umberto Eco and, of course, of some speculative-fiction books by Eco.

This discussion and list does not necessarily include every book by Eco: it includes only those books that I both know and like. Just as with the author list itself, omission of a particular item may mean I didn’t think highly enough of the omitted item, or it may simply mean that I have not yet sufficient familiarity with it. (In a very few cases, I have listed some books merely on the strength of my opinion of the author: all such books are clearly marked below, as throughout these lists, with a hash mark (#) before the title so you know what’s what.)

I don’t pretend that this discussion is a deep analysis. My intent is no more than to give you a rough idea of what kinds of tales Eco tells, how those tales are usually told, and what makes them and Eco worthy; in sum, to help you rank Umberto Eco (and the works by Eco listed here) on your personal literary “to do” list.

A Few Words About Umberto Eco

Regrettably, I have not yet had an opportunity to write an essay on this author, but the “Other Resources” section below will lead you to some information about the “Notable Books” listed farther down this page.

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Other Umberto Eco Resources

Umberto Eco Resources on the Web

Eco being a darling of mainstream lit-crit, there is a plethora of resource material on him, but you can find an awful lot of what is utile at just a few web sites. First is his current web site, titled simply Umberto Eco. Also valuable is the now-lost (but archived) Porta Ludovica, a sub-site of The Modern Word site. The latter presents quite a few links to further Eco resources: see the Umberto Eco Pages & Links there (but be aware that not a few of all those links are now dead, while others are of only marginal utility to any critical evaluation. Of some use, too, is The Umberto Eco Wiki [archived copy].

A few other focussed and useful Eco resources include—of course—the ever-useful Author’s Calendar Umberto Eco page, and the article “A Resounding Eco” at Time [archived copy].

There is, of course, a ton more material, including interviews, one-off reviews of particular books (Porto Ludovico has within it a highly useful tabulation of Selected Reviews of Eco texts) [archived copy], and even essays and articles by Eco himself. But somehow, though Eco certainly has produced a real oeuvre, the marvels of modernity have very nearly reduced him to being someone, as the wondeful line goes, “famous for being famous”, and much of the material is more about Eco than about the works. Anyway, as always, to dig beyond what is descibed above, Google Is Your Friend.

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Umberto Eco Resources in Print

Here again, the heavy lifting has already been done—see Books; Edited books and books with other authors; and Writings on Umberto Eco at Eco’s site, and Eco Criticism: Books [archived copy] at Porto Ludovico.

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Notable Science-Fiction and Fantasy Books by Umberto Eco **

(While Eco’s books are all quite bizarre, this is the only one that actually contains portions that can legitimately be classed “fantasy”.)

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