cover image John Brunner Presents Kipling's Fantasy: Stories

John Brunner Presents Kipling's Fantasy: Stories

Rudyard Kipling, John Brunner. Tor Books, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-85354-9

Every bit as entertaining and instructive as Kipling's Science Fiction, also edited by Brunner (Fiction Forecasts, Sept. 28), this volume presents an impressive selection of genre fiction from a master storyteller. Its entries range from such fables as ``The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo'' from Just So Stories , which explains how the kangaroo got its long hind legs, to such ghost stories as the very traditional ``By Word of Mouth'' and the more innovative `` `They,' '' in which a lonely woman lives in a house full of the ghosts of dead children, to ``The Children of the Zodiac,'' which features astrological deities in a mythic setting. An excellent tale of prehistoric Britain, ``The Knife and the Naked Chalk,'' relates how the early shepherds drove off the wolves; it attains power by focusing on the plight of the hero, who saves his people at great personal cost. The finest story, appropriately enough, is titled `` `The Finest Story in the World' '': here, dreams, intimations of past lives and frustrated writerly ambitions enrich the plot and dramatize tragic themes. (Nov.)