The Neverending Story (German: Die unendliche Geschichte) is a German fantasy novel by Michael Ende, first published in 1979. The standard English translation, by Ralph Manheim, was first published in 1983. The novel was later adapted into several films.
The majority of the story takes place in the parallel world of Fantastica (Phantásien in the original German version; referred to as Fantasia in the films), a world being destroyed by the Nothing, a mysterious force. The first protagonist is a young warrior who is asked by the Steward of The Empress of Fantastica to set off and find a way to stop the Nothing; the other protagonist is a boy from the real world, a reader of a novel with the same title, for whom the story gradually becomes more and more realistic.
The book centers on a boy, Bastian Balthazar Bux, who is neglected by his father (who has sunken into despair after his wife’s death) and is bullied by his schoolmates. Whilst running from some of them, Bastian bursts into the antique book store of Carl Conrad Coreander. Bastian steals a book from the store called The Neverending Story which Coreander has been reading; he hides in his school’s attic, where he proceeds to read the story through the rest of the day and the night, not realizing that he has effectively become a part of it. After a while of reading he is magically transfixed and is brought into the book.
The book begins in Fantastica, when a “will-o’-the-wisp” goes to ask the Childlike Empress for help against the Nothing, which is spreading over the land. The empress is ill, which is believed to be the cause of the Nothing (or vice versa); she sends the only person that can stop the Nothing, a boy warrior named Atreyu, to find a cure for her. Atreyu is a brave person, being considered a warrior even though he is a young boy of Bastian’s age.
- Bastian Balthazar Bux
- The Childlike Empress/Moon Child
- Falkor, the luckdragon
- Carl Conrad Coreander
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