cover image Wizards' Worlds

Wizards' Worlds

Andre Norton. Tor Books, $17.95 (500pp) ISBN 978-0-312-93191-9

This collection of 13 captivating short stories and novellas written between 1952 and 1985 samples the wide range of Nebula Grand Master Norton's ( Tales of the Witch World 1 ) work. The first six entries, set in the Witch World universe, depict mostly female protagonists coping with the aftermath of wars made even more devastating by the deployment of magic. ``Toads of Grimmerdale'' and ``Changeling'' recount the travails of Hertha, a noblewoman who is cast out into ``drifts of ice-crusted snow'' by her brother after she refuses to abort the fetus of a rapist. ``Spider Silk'' is what blind, former slave Dairine is taught to weave by male-hating giant arachnids. In the title novella, an Esper fleeing a lynch mob is carried into another world, where his kind rules--but even there he is different and must fight for survival. A dreamer who creates worlds for others finds her work, herself and her client in grave danger in ``Toys of Tamisan.'' ``Mousetrap,'' the earliest story here, envisions a not-too-distant future in which mankind explores Mars but human nature remains the same. ( Nov. )