Legends: Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy

Robert Silverberg, Editor, Orson Scott Card, Author, Stephen King, Author
Robert Silverberg, Editor, Orson Scott Card, Author, Stephen King, Author Tor Books $27.95 (715p) ISBN 978-0-312-86787-4
Reviewed on: 08/03/1998
Release date: 08/01/1998
Mass Market Paperbound - 379 pages - 978-0-8125-7523-1
Mass Market Paperbound - 378 pages - 978-0-8125-6663-5
Prebound-Glued - 978-0-606-19660-4
Ebook - 720 pages - 978-1-4299-6657-3
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Microcosmic glimpses of broadly imagined worlds and their larger-than-life characters distinguish this hefty volume of heavyweight fantasy. Silverberg collects 11 previously unpublished short ""novels"" by genre celebrities, each a window on a sprawling saga that has shaped the way modern fantasy fiction is written and read. Stephen King weighs in with ""The Little Sisters of Eluria,"" set early in the Dark Tower saga and deftly weaving threads of horror, quest fantasy and the western into a dangerous snare for his indefatigable gunslinger, Roland of Gilead. Ursula K. Le Guin contributes ""Dragonfly,"" a tale about a young woman who would be a wizard that offers a savvy dissection of the sexual politics that govern Le Guin's Earthsea empire. Neo-Arthurian fantasy gets its due in George R.R. Martin's ""The Hedge Knight,"" a prequel to the Song of Ice and Fire series. Only a sliver of fantasy insinuates Silverberg's own ""The Seventh Shrine,"" a Majipoor murder mystery that becomes a fascinating exploration of clashing cultures. Although most of the selections are sober sidebars to serious literary fantasy cycles, Terry Pratchett's ""The Sea and Little Fishes"" is a giddy Discworld romp that pits cantankerous witch Granny Weatherwax against her crone cronies, and Orson Scott Card's ""Grinning Man"" is corn-fed tall talk in which Alvin Maker outwits a crooked miller in the alternate America of Hatrick River. Some entries, among them Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar tale ""The Wood Boy"" and Anne McCaffrey's ""Runner of Pern,"" shine only as light glosses on their authors' earlier achievements. Still, there's enough color, vitality and bravura displays of mythmaking in this rich sampler, which also includes tales by Terry Goodkind, Tad Williams and Robert Jordan, to sate faithful fans and nurture new readers on the stuff of legends still being created. (Oct.)
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