cover image The Very Best of Tad Williams

The Very Best of Tad Williams

Tad Williams. Tachyon (IPG, dist.), $15.95 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-1-61696-137-4

This marvelous short fiction retrospective testifies to the breadth of Williams’s creativity. All but one of these 17 otherworldly tales have appeared in magazines or anthologies, but fans will welcome the chance to have them all in one place. Several of the earlier pieces are particularly charming, including “The Old Scale Game,” with its thoroughly modern monsters, and “Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air”, a chortling version of the book of Genesis. Williams effectively portrays poignant human regrets and longings in “Three Duets for Virgin and Nosehorn,” a miniature masterpiece, and explores the paradoxes of religious belief in “The Stranger’s Hands” and “And Ministers of Grace.” “A Stark and Wormy Knight,” a linguistic tour de force, shows without one misplaced word just how clever dragons can be. Williams’s sensitivity to atmosphere and trademark attention to telling detail shine through most of the selections in this varied collection of little gems. (June)