Goblins! A Survival Guide in Four Parts by Brian Froud and Ari Berk


Synopsis: Anyone who brings home this book will be in big trouble. Renowned artist Brian Froud and scholar Ari Berk have conducted a thorough investigation into the goblin realm. (For the uninformed, goblins, a subspecies of faery, are those maleficent creatures that cause all manner of havoc in the human realm.) The fruit of their labor, however, turned out to be a rotten apple: the book is infected with goblins.

Now, thanks largely to Froud and Berk’s continuing carelessness, the noxious, viscid, and largely nonsensical volume has been unleashed on an unsuspecting public. Among its pages are reproductions of the ancient, odoriferous Codex Goblinensis; a glossary of common goblins and their markings; and a gazetteer of goblin photographs taken with the arcane Goblin Camera. Those fearing an infestation can refer to the section detailing how to determine if you’ve “got goblins” and, if so, what you can do about it. (There is nothing you can do about it.)

Combining the folkloric approach of Faeries with the utter wackiness of Lady Cottington, this is the team’s most visually rich and outrageous opus yet.

We’ve had Faeries on the bookshelf at home ever since I can remember, next to Gnomes by Poortvliet and Huygen, Giants by David Larkin et al, and Peter Dickinson’s The Flight of Dragons.  Needless to say,

Spoiler status: not bothered.

First impression was the book is a lot more immersive than similar works I’ve read.  Even if you only compare the covers:




The Goblins! cover is immensely more complicated, and I would say this is only partially due to the advancement of printing techniques and reader expectation since 1978, 1976 and 1980 respectively.  Brian’s come a long way (a long time?), developing his craft since then.  This is one of many signs throughout the book that he’s kept refining and perfecting his art over the decades.  The illustration are excellent, as is to be expected.

I’d never read anything by Ari Berk, and after Goblins I’m not sure I want to.  Maybe I was expecting too much of him; those are some large pointy boots to fill.  The writing starts off well and then sort of devolves into a contrived infodump of the details of goblin life.  There’s a weak plot running through the book, a) the ending of which doesn’t make sense and which is b) ridiculously transparent in the first place.

All in all worth a look through but not a proper considered read.


Goblins! A Survival Guide in Four Parts by Brian Froud and Ari Berk

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