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Legends

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Acclaimed writer and editor Robert Silverberg gathered eleven of the finest writers in Fantasy to contribute to this collection of short novels. Each of the writers was asked to write a new story based on one of his or her most famous series. Stephen King tells a tale of Roland, the Gunslinger, in the world of The Dark Tower, in "The Little Sisters of Eluria." Terry Pratche Acclaimed writer and editor Robert Silverberg gathered eleven of the finest writers in Fantasy to contribute to this collection of short novels. Each of the writers was asked to write a new story based on one of his or her most famous series. Stephen King tells a tale of Roland, the Gunslinger, in the world of The Dark Tower, in "The Little Sisters of Eluria." Terry Pratchett relates an amusing incident in Discworld, of a magical contest and the witch Granny Weatherwax, in "The Sea and Little Fishes" Terry Goodkind tells of the origin of the Border between realms in the world of The Sword of Truth, in "Debt of Bones." Orson Scott Card spins a yarn of Alvin and his apprentice from the Tales of Alvin Maker, in "Grinning Man." Robert Silverberg returns to Majipoor and to Lord Valentine's adventure in an ancient tomb, in "the Seventh Shrine." Ursual K. Le Guin adds a sequel to her famous books of Earthsea, portraying a woman who wants to learn magic, in "Dragonfly." Tad Williams tells a dark and enthralling story of a great and haunted castle in the age before Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, in "The Burning Man." George R.R. Martin sets his piece a generation before his epic, A Song of Ice and Fire, in the adventure of "The Hedge Knight." Ann McCaffrey, the poet of Pern, returns once again to her world of romance and adventure in "Runner of Pern." Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga is the setting of the tale of "The Wood Boy." Robert Jordan, in "New Spring," tells of crucial events in the years leading up to The Wheel of Time, of the meeting of Lan and Moiraine and the beginning of the search for the child who must grow to lead in the Last Battle.


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Acclaimed writer and editor Robert Silverberg gathered eleven of the finest writers in Fantasy to contribute to this collection of short novels. Each of the writers was asked to write a new story based on one of his or her most famous series. Stephen King tells a tale of Roland, the Gunslinger, in the world of The Dark Tower, in "The Little Sisters of Eluria." Terry Pratche Acclaimed writer and editor Robert Silverberg gathered eleven of the finest writers in Fantasy to contribute to this collection of short novels. Each of the writers was asked to write a new story based on one of his or her most famous series. Stephen King tells a tale of Roland, the Gunslinger, in the world of The Dark Tower, in "The Little Sisters of Eluria." Terry Pratchett relates an amusing incident in Discworld, of a magical contest and the witch Granny Weatherwax, in "The Sea and Little Fishes" Terry Goodkind tells of the origin of the Border between realms in the world of The Sword of Truth, in "Debt of Bones." Orson Scott Card spins a yarn of Alvin and his apprentice from the Tales of Alvin Maker, in "Grinning Man." Robert Silverberg returns to Majipoor and to Lord Valentine's adventure in an ancient tomb, in "the Seventh Shrine." Ursual K. Le Guin adds a sequel to her famous books of Earthsea, portraying a woman who wants to learn magic, in "Dragonfly." Tad Williams tells a dark and enthralling story of a great and haunted castle in the age before Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, in "The Burning Man." George R.R. Martin sets his piece a generation before his epic, A Song of Ice and Fire, in the adventure of "The Hedge Knight." Ann McCaffrey, the poet of Pern, returns once again to her world of romance and adventure in "Runner of Pern." Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga is the setting of the tale of "The Wood Boy." Robert Jordan, in "New Spring," tells of crucial events in the years leading up to The Wheel of Time, of the meeting of Lan and Moiraine and the beginning of the search for the child who must grow to lead in the Last Battle.

30 review for Legends

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jessie (Ageless Pages Reviews)

    The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria: 3/5 Decent, but I gave up on this series after the fourth book. So no real connection or investment in the short story for the series. Discworld: The Sea and Little Fishes - 4/5 I always enjoy a visit to Pratchett's Discworld and Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are big favorites. The Sword of Truth: Debt of Bones - 1/5 A short story from a series I really do not like. I can't stand the way Goodkind writes women (or antagonists, or protagonists, or humans) The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria: 3/5 Decent, but I gave up on this series after the fourth book. So no real connection or investment in the short story for the series. Discworld: The Sea and Little Fishes - 4/5 I always enjoy a visit to Pratchett's Discworld and Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg are big favorites. The Sword of Truth: Debt of Bones - 1/5 A short story from a series I really do not like. I can't stand the way Goodkind writes women (or antagonists, or protagonists, or humans) and I dislike the world he created. Tales of Alvin Maker: Grinning Man - 1/5 I am no fan of Card's, but I couldn't even make it through this short story... and it is one of the shortest additions to the anthology. Majipoor: The Seventh Shrine - 3/5 I can't say I really understood everything that went on here (as I have never read any his work), but the ideas were creative and strong. Earthsea: Dragonfly -- 2/5 Confesson: I've never finished Le Guin's most popular series. I gave up early in book one, so this was not a story for me. Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: The Burning Man - 3/5 Like most of Williams' work, this just leaves me cold. Ehhhh. A Song of Ice and Fire: The Hedge Knight - 4/5 The first Dunk and Egg story. The whole reason I wanted to read this and that Danielle sent it to me. And I wasn't disappointed. So many infamous figures were shown - Aerion, Dunk, Egg, Baelor Breakspear, Maekar.... It was an entertaining read. Pern: Runner of Pern - 3/5 Confession: I've never read Pern either. I am not coming off too well as a fantasy fan, huh? The Riftwar Saga: The Wood Boy - 3.5/5 I have a lot of fondness for the Riftwar books and this was a nice, short reminder of why Feist's books are so fun to read. The Wheel of Time: New Spring - 3.5/5 I'd read this before but it features one of my favorite characters (Lan) so it's always worth a reread. It's a bit long, but the story of Lan and Moiraine's meeting and friendship is a good one. All in all, a very satisfying anthology and I look forward to reading Legends II.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    The stories I read from this collection are: 'The Hedge Night' by George R.R. Martin What a phenomenal story. I'm glad I was introduced to Dunk and Egg in the Warriors anthology, even if it meant reading these characters' stories out of order. 'Grinning Man' by Orson Scott Card An interesting story set in a unique alternative America. I was particularly fond of the "knack" magic system. This story makes me want to read other Alvin Maker tales, despite my reservations that the character is based on T The stories I read from this collection are: 'The Hedge Night' by George R.R. Martin What a phenomenal story. I'm glad I was introduced to Dunk and Egg in the Warriors anthology, even if it meant reading these characters' stories out of order. 'Grinning Man' by Orson Scott Card An interesting story set in a unique alternative America. I was particularly fond of the "knack" magic system. This story makes me want to read other Alvin Maker tales, despite my reservations that the character is based on The Book of Mormon's Joseph Smith. 'The Wood Boy' by Raymond Feist A tight short story set in the Midkemia universe. Raymond Feist is not my favorite fantasy author by far, but I really enjoyed this story told from the point-of-view of a servant boy in an enemy-occupied keep.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I really enjoyed reading this compilation of short stories in the fantasy genre. I've read a few of the big name fantasy series, but still not a ton, and this was a good way to get introduced to some other fictional worlds. I'd only read work by three of the 11 authors in the book, two of which I've read the series the short story is meant to be companion to. Hands down my favorite was Terry Pratchett's short story about Granny Weatherwax. I'd never read any of his work before, but own ebook cop I really enjoyed reading this compilation of short stories in the fantasy genre. I've read a few of the big name fantasy series, but still not a ton, and this was a good way to get introduced to some other fictional worlds. I'd only read work by three of the 11 authors in the book, two of which I've read the series the short story is meant to be companion to. Hands down my favorite was Terry Pratchett's short story about Granny Weatherwax. I'd never read any of his work before, but own ebook copies of The Color of Magic and Good Omens. His was the second story in the book, and by the time I finished the other stories, I obtained a physical copy of Equal Rites. I love his witty and sharp writing, and his ability to reveal multitudes with just one sentence. Other stories included had overly descriptive writing and took longer to get through, but overall, the book very enjoyable as a whole. I believe there were only two female authors included, but several stories had female protagonists. I look forward to reading Dangerous Women, which is kind of the same thing but with many more female authors.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Wastrel

    Epic fantasy was big in the nineties. Both commercially, and physically. It made sense, therefore, for someone to provide a little (or, in fact, quite big) roadmap: eleven little introductions to eleven very big authors. The genius, and great virtue, of Legends is that it gathers in one place works by, and in the most popular settings of, most of the most iconic fantasy writers of the age, making this a wonderful entrance point for writers you might otherwise not have read (perhaps intimidated b Epic fantasy was big in the nineties. Both commercially, and physically. It made sense, therefore, for someone to provide a little (or, in fact, quite big) roadmap: eleven little introductions to eleven very big authors. The genius, and great virtue, of Legends is that it gathers in one place works by, and in the most popular settings of, most of the most iconic fantasy writers of the age, making this a wonderful entrance point for writers you might otherwise not have read (perhaps intimidated by their colossal oeuvres). The madness, and great vice, of Legends is that it gathers together eleven authors, almost all of whom are known primarily for their epic (and we do mean EPIC) fantasy, and told them to each write a short story. Which is, to say the least, not something they were expert in. The conflict between this genius and this madness makes this a fascinating, but flawed, anthology. Legends gathers the work not simply of the most commercially successful fantasy authors of the 1990s, but of most of the most commercially successful fantasy authors of all time. Stephen King, Robert Jordan, Terry Pratchett and George RR Martin (who have all sold over 80 million copies) are backed up by Tad Williams, Terry Goodkind, Raymond E Feist, Anne McCaffrey, and Orson Scott Card (all over 15 million copies). For good luck, these commercial giants are supplemented with the glittering critical acclaim of Ursula Le Guin, and by the editor, Robert Silverberg, who has a respectable haul of both dollars and shiny engraved paperweights of his own. It is, to be concise, an astonishing line-up for an anthology, and each writer supplies a story in some way directly connected to their most famous works. The quality is variable. With the possible exception of Stephan King, the authors all seem to have been honestly trying, and most exceeded my (admittedly in some cases low) expectations. No story is entirely without interest. That said, it's clear both that some of these writers had success that outstripped their actual talent, and that in most cases their talent did not lie with the short story. Unsurprisingly, the strongest stories come from those with extensive experience in the short form: Le Guin, Martin, and Pratchett, all of whom contribute stories that are worth seeking out on their own merit; although his talent seems more strained here, I was also impressed by Williams' simple but evocative tale, and Robert Jordan's entry (originally novel-length, edited down to a mere novella for publication), while unashamedly pulp fantasy, was entertaining enough for me to thoroughly enjoy. If you're looking for the best fantasy stories of all time, you needn't read every page of this anthology. Perhaps you needn't read any of it - nothing here outright demands that you read it, although the Discworld, Song of Ice and Fire and Earthsea stories might each be worth consideration, each in their own very different way (you wouldn't complain if you found any of those three in a best-of-the-best anthology). On the other hand, if you want to know about epic fantasy in the 1990s, this is an absolute must-read, as a historical document. Yes, there are some duds (the worst in a technical sense is Feist's entry, although I'd rank it above King's on its greater ambition), but it's all readable, and some of it is actually very good. So for nostalgic old-school fans, and for curious younger students of the genre alike, I'd recommend a look... so long as you don't demand too much. [But WARNING: careful what you're buying. This book and it's sequel have both been split up, in contradictory ways, by different publishers, and some of the naming of volumes can be misleading, so pay attention... or do what I did and buy the complete original version.] If you want considerably more thought on this anthology, its context in the history of the genre, and its individual stories, you can find my full review up on my blog.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Miloș Dumbraci

    The book was an excellent showcase for some of the most famous fantasy series out there. Perfect for me to get a glimpse and decide a ”to read next” list, since many have not been translated into my language and I knew only their names. The average would be 3/5, but it gets an extra star for that great idea and for the enthusiasm with which I read through them like opening mysterious Christmas presents. Stephen King tells a tale of Roland, the Gunslinger, in the world of The Dark Tower, in "The L The book was an excellent showcase for some of the most famous fantasy series out there. Perfect for me to get a glimpse and decide a ”to read next” list, since many have not been translated into my language and I knew only their names. The average would be 3/5, but it gets an extra star for that great idea and for the enthusiasm with which I read through them like opening mysterious Christmas presents. Stephen King tells a tale of Roland, the Gunslinger, in the world of The Dark Tower, in "The Little Sisters of Eluria." - I already knew I hate the series, but this story I loved, so that says a lot about SK's writing super-powers. 5/5 Terry Pratchett relates an amusing incident in Discworld, of a magical contest and the witch Granny Weatherwax, in "The Sea and Little Fishes" - I like some of Pratchetts series, and some I do not. I found Granny Weatherwax to be not funny but an annoying old, well, witch, so this one is not for me 2/5 Terry Goodkind tells of the origin of the Border between realms in the world of The Sword of Truth, in "Debt of Bones." - boring, overlong, incoherent, uninteresting. 1/5 Orson Scott Card spins a yarn of Alvin and his apprentice from the Tales of Alvin Maker, in "Grinning Man." Man, I loved this kind of humor! I thought the ending was cruel and too much, but I will definitely look for the books. 5/5 Robert Silverberg returns to Majipoor and to Lord Valentine's adventure in an ancient tomb, in "the Seventh Shrine." Loved the world settings and the writing, but the policier part of the story is very weak. - so not a good story, but probably a good series 3/5 Ursual K. Le Guin adds a sequel to her famous books of Earthsea, portraying a woman who wants to learn magic, in "Dragonfly." I disliked the Earthsea cycle for being too childish, but, to my surprise, this story was not. It was not that great either, unfortunately, for the end (and twist) felt unbelievable and poetic, not in a good way. Great writing as usual, though 3/5 Tad Williams tells a dark and enthralling story of a great and haunted castle in the age before Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, in "The Burning Man." Read this one in another anthology 2 yeas ago. Cannot remember anything good or bad about it (I have a great memory with the books I do like), so it is a 3/5 and not a series to interest me. George R.R. Martin sets his piece a generation before his epic, A Song of Ice and Fire, in the adventure of "The Hedge Knight." 5/5 Nothing needed said here, it is just as good and realistic as the incredible series which I have already read and loved. Ann McCaffrey, the poet of Pern, returns once again to her world of romance and adventure in "Runner of Pern." Wow, this was bad. I could force myself to read only 2 pages, and still was more bored than I imagined I could be by an entire book. How could people read an entire series of this borefest torture?? 0/5 Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga is the setting of the tale of "The Wood Boy." Loved the Tsurani, definetely want more of them; also greatly enjoyed the writer s skill in starting with the end and leading the story to unsuspected paths. Also loved the realism of the officer s decision. 5/5 Robert Jordan, in "New Spring," tells of crucial events in the years leading up to The Wheel of Time. 5/5 I already read the series and loved it, so no surprise here, either.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Agnes

    Excellent short story collection. I really loved almost all off them . The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria: 5/5 Discworld: The Sea and Little Fishes - 5/5 The Sword of Truth: Debt of Bones - 4/5 Tales of Alvin Maker: Grinning Man - 1/5 Majipoor: The Seventh Shrine - 4/5 Earthsea: Dragonfly -4/5 Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: The Burning Man - 5/5 A Song of Ice and Fire: The Hedge Knight - 4/5 Pern: Runner of Pern - 3/5 The Riftwar Saga: The Wood Boy - 3/5 The Wheel of Time: New Spring - 3,5/5

  7. 5 out of 5

    Chance

    Since this is an anthology of short stories from a number of fantasy series writers I'll give a quick run down of my feelings about them individually. Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria. I love the Dark Tower series, and I remember searching this anthology out just to read Little Sisters when I was reading The Dark Tower books. It remaninds one of my favorite King short stories, but that may just be because I love Roland so much. :) Terry Prachett: Discworld: The Sea and Since this is an anthology of short stories from a number of fantasy series writers I'll give a quick run down of my feelings about them individually. Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria. I love the Dark Tower series, and I remember searching this anthology out just to read Little Sisters when I was reading The Dark Tower books. It remaninds one of my favorite King short stories, but that may just be because I love Roland so much. :) Terry Prachett: Discworld: The Sea and Little Fishes. Loved this story of Granny Weatherwax. Like all Prachett's it was a fun easy read. If anything it was just too short. Terry Goodkind: The Sword of Truth: Debt of Bones,. I think that the real treasure of this anthology is it made me want to read more of the series the stories come from. Debt of Bones was one of those, and I can hardly wait to pick up another Goodkind book to see if he can draw me into a series the way he did w/this story. Orson Scott Card: Tales of Alvin Maker: Grinning Man. I love all of OSC's alternate histories, and this one was a delight. Robert Silverburg: Majipoor: The Seventh Shrine . Try as I may, I just couldn't get into this story... I guess that is the flip side of an anthology like this, sometimes you learn writers you should shy away from. Ursula K. Le Guin: Earthsea: Dragonfly. I enjoy the Earthsea books, and this was no different. If anything Dragonfly left me wanting more. Tad Williams: Memory, Sorrow and Thorn: The Burning Man. This was one of my favorites in the anthology. A very bitter sweet story, and well told. Just the right amount of fairy tale for me. George R.R. Martin: A Song of Fire and Ice: The Hedge Knight. This story from page one reminded me so much of the movie *A Knight's Tale* that I had to look up which came first (the story fwiw). The resemblance didn't spoil the story though. I also learned that i t was adapted into a graphic novel and I cannot wait to find them and read more of Dunk and Egg's adventure. Anne McCaffery: Pern: Runner of Pern. My mom turned me onto the Pern books when I was 13 or so. I enjoyed this story enough to consider rereading, and rejoining, the series. Raymond E Feist: Riftwar Saga: The Wood Boy This was a sad little story... well written, just sad... about the blinding force of first love. Robert Jordan: Wheel Of Time: New Spring. I didn't read this one because I have previously read the novel of the same name that is a prequel to the Knife of Dreams , the first book in the Wot series. I figured it was just a novella of the novel, and well, I have invested enough of my reading time into the WoT series to be rereading a story I didn't much care for in the first place. :)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    My main reason for buying this book initially was the new Robert Jordan story "New Spring," which sheds light on certain events in the Wheel of Time series. That it also had stories by some of my other favorite authors, Tad Williams and Anne McCaffrey was a bonus. I didn't read all the stories included (I wasn't interested in the King or Silverberg ones at all), but I found most of them quite enjoyable. Marketing genius here: I started reading the Alvin Maker (Card), Discworld (Pratchett), Riftw My main reason for buying this book initially was the new Robert Jordan story "New Spring," which sheds light on certain events in the Wheel of Time series. That it also had stories by some of my other favorite authors, Tad Williams and Anne McCaffrey was a bonus. I didn't read all the stories included (I wasn't interested in the King or Silverberg ones at all), but I found most of them quite enjoyable. Marketing genius here: I started reading the Alvin Maker (Card), Discworld (Pratchett), Riftwar (Feist), and Song of Ice and Fire (Martin) series all because of the stories in this book. Anne McCaffrey's Pern story was a bit disappointing, though. Runners? How come we've never heard of them in the whole Pern series until this story? Of all the stories in this book, my faves were Jordan's and Martin's. "New Spring" tells us of the events right after the birth of Rand al'Thor and features the first meeting of Moiraine and Lan. Great stuff for Wheel of Time fans. Martin's "The Hedge Knight" is set before the events of A Song of Ice and Fire but is a great introduction to the world and sucked me right in but good.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Liss Carmody

    I requested this book in order to read the first of the Dunk and Egg tales by George R. R. Martin. Typically I'm not very enthusiastic about anthologies, because they tend to be huge (meaning they take forever to read) and uneven (meaning I have to slog through boring stories in order to get to the ones I enjoy). Although this clocks in at 715 pages and therefore fills the first downfall, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the stories contained herein. Most of them are actually pretty I requested this book in order to read the first of the Dunk and Egg tales by George R. R. Martin. Typically I'm not very enthusiastic about anthologies, because they tend to be huge (meaning they take forever to read) and uneven (meaning I have to slog through boring stories in order to get to the ones I enjoy). Although this clocks in at 715 pages and therefore fills the first downfall, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the stories contained herein. Most of them are actually pretty darn good. Since they are written by proclaimed masters in the world of fantasy literature, I suppose that shouldn't be surprising, but there you are. "The Little Sisters of Eluria," by Stephen King: I haven't read anything from the Dark Tower series, so it surprised me a lot to see Stephen King heading up this collection of tales from fantasy greats. Nevertheless, based on this story, this particular set of books definitely leans more toward the fantasy than the horror, albeit a dark fantasy. The fantastic take on the American wild west is very different in flavor from the usual fantasy tropes and there is plenty of suspense in this short story. It definitely borders on paranormal, but didn't feel out of place here. I will probably not read the series, however, I enjoyed this story. "The Sea and Little Fishes," by Terry Pratchett: I love basically everything Terry Pratchett has ever written, so you can't go wrong with a short story about Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg. This was tightly written and stood out among the other tales. "Debt of Bones," by Terry Goodkind: I'm reasonably sure I haven't read anything from the Sword of Truth series before. If I have, it was in the lost years of my adolescence and I've since forgotten everything about them, ever. This was a well-written story, giving just enough exposition for the complicated setting, before stepping back and letting the characters and their motivations carry the tale. As the protagonist, Abby is more desperate than impressive, but her motherly anguish is very convincing. Zorander is more interesting as a character, and I got the idea (although maybe misguidedly) that he is a recurring character, where Abby probably is not. "Grinning Man," by Orson Scott Card: When I was a teenager, I read most (all?) of the Tales of Alvin Maker, which are fantasy set in the beginning of the nineteenth century in the American eastern frontier (think a magical twist on Davy Crocket and Johnny Appleseed fables). The strength of these stories is in the way that Card manages to capture that larger than life 'fable' quality without trivializing it with the addition of magical elements. This story really worked in that regard: unfortunately, it's just not a style that appeals to me overmuch. It was well written, but I was unexcited about it. "The Seventh Shrine," by Robert Silverberg: This was easily my least favorite of these stories, or at least, the one I complained the most about. Written by the anthology's editor, it smacked a bit of having been given a more delicate hand, either included because he wanted to include some of his own work, or just in need of a vigorous editing by someone with less vested interest. (As a disclaimer, I've never heard of this author or read his full-length books: it's fully possibly he is actually as well-known in the fantasy genre as the others included here, but it didn't seem so as a new reader.) For all that, I didn't dislike the story utterly. It linked archeology and a fantasy setting in an appealing way, and the plot itself was interesting. The part where it fell apart for me was that too much time was spent detailing the world (which had obviously been meticulously built) and explaining things that would already (I hope) have been obvious to fans of the series, but that seemed extraneous to someone reading this story on its own. There was a lot of backstory given, and references to characters who simply didn't need to be mentioned to carry this story forward. I understand the desire to give reference for long-standing fans, but it bogged this story down and did it a disservice. The author also suffered some from the fantasy failing of having overly burdensome 'fantasyesque' names for characters that are a distraction. "Dragonfly," by Ursula K. Le Guin: I haven't read the Earthsea series, but I have heard of Ursula Le Guin, and reading this beautiful and deftly done story makes me wish I had read her full-length works a long time ago. Her characterization is refreshing and I wanted to read much more than I got. "The Burning Man," by Tad Williams: I have absolutely never heard of this author nor the series he is known for. It's a vaguely Norman-esque world, from what I can gather, and although in some ways it seemed very 'ordinary' as a fantasy world, without a unique differentiating hook, at the same time I was struck by the realistic flavor. Rather than 'high fantasy,' it has a grittier feeling that suggests ancient Anglo-Saxon literature more than Tolkien. It was pretty good! I also can appreciate the lack of a classic fantasy happy ending. "The Hedge Knight," by George R. R. Martin: I was so very excited when I came to this story! And it did not disappoint. Set 100 years or so prior to the action in A Song of Ice and Fire, it portrays the same world but a bit through a lens, as one tends to do when recounting history or legends. While it's not a perfect society, this story was by no means as ruthlessly raw as some of the famous moments from the full-length series. Dunk is just a little bit more honorable than one might expect, Egg is just a little bit more plucky (and lucky), and although there is tragedy as well, there is something hopeful about the ending. I keep waiting for some character who appears in the series to make an appearance - but the story honestly stands on its own very well. Except I want to read more of them. "Runner of Pern," by Anne McCaffrey: I was a devoted Pern affectionado as a teenager (who wasn't, right?), although I lost interest when the series skewed away from fantasy and became more sci-fi in flavor. This short story is charming, however, detailing the daily operations of the runner's craft (I really enjoyed the sociology of the Pern world and so this kind of thing is straight up my alley). The conflict is minor and easily resolved, there's a prominent love interest, and it's not really a meaty story in any sense. But it was an enjoyable little read and a flashback to my adolescent love affair with the world. "The Wood Boy," by Raymond E. Feist: I have read (and liked) some Feist, but never the Riftwar Saga. This worked pretty well because the overall frame of the world and it's conflict was narrowed down to a specific story that relied more on characterization and familiar conflicts than on specific world knowledge. It wasn't important to know all about the invaders, and their goals and motivations - just knowing they were invaders was adequate to get on with the rest of the story. It was well written, if not a favorite. "New Spring," by Robert Jordan: Forever I am hearing that I should read the Wheel of Time. Honestly, it's a daunting prospect and this story didn't make me feel as though I -must- read it, although it was well written and the plot was very interesting, despite managing to weave in very specific knowledge about unique cultural elements. I might dive in if I were convinced that the main characters continue to be important characters throughout. As an aside, one wonderful thing about this anthology was that each story was prefaced by a two-page blurb about the world in which the full-length stories are set, including brief plot synopses and explanations of how the short stories fit into the plot. This was especially useful as a refresher for the series that I had read, but not recently, but was a very nice addition as a whole. They also included world maps for most of the worlds: although I generally found there was not much need to consult them in order to understand the stories, this was a very nice touch.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    I'm not going to spend a lot of time grading every story, but will say the book overall was a good read. I really enjoyed Jordan's contribution and thought Martin's tale was the best of the book. I really did not care for Card's story... an oddity since I have liked his other works. But no other clunkers to be found, and that makes this a solid compilation. A 3.5 out of 5 stars, rounding up for high caliber authors inside.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Reynar Swan

    Of the stories in this collection, I found only two I really, really liked: that by King and Pratchett. Everything else, including Martin's The Hedge Knight (surprising because I like his Ice & Fire series), was rather...blah. Of the stories in this collection, I found only two I really, really liked: that by King and Pratchett. Everything else, including Martin's The Hedge Knight (surprising because I like his Ice & Fire series), was rather...blah.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    I picked this collection up primarily because it is the only place I could find online that had the first of George R. R. Martin's Dunk and Egg stories set in the Song of Ice and Fire series and wasn't priced preposterously high. As a whole, the collection was well worth it for the rest of the stories it contained. Some were bound to be better than others, of course, but there were a few gems. Since this is an anthology, I've tried to keep up with my opinions of each of the stories it contained I picked this collection up primarily because it is the only place I could find online that had the first of George R. R. Martin's Dunk and Egg stories set in the Song of Ice and Fire series and wasn't priced preposterously high. As a whole, the collection was well worth it for the rest of the stories it contained. Some were bound to be better than others, of course, but there were a few gems. Since this is an anthology, I've tried to keep up with my opinions of each of the stories it contained and I'll share my thoughts on them below. 1. Stephen King: "The Little Sisters of Eluria" (The Dark Tower) 4 stars. I read the first four Dark Tower books before I just sort of burned out with the series and gave it up. The first two or so were my favorite, though the others did have their moments. This story in particular captured everything I liked about the first book and the tidbits about Roland's backstory that was shown from time to time. Overall, it was a very solid piece. 2. Terry Goodkind: "Debt of Bones" (The Sword of Truth) 1 star. I read the first Sword of Truth book and enjoyed a good 40% of it and loathed the rest. Needless to say, I didn't follow up on the series. While this particular story had some interesting moments (I do like the way magic is handled in this universe), it was otherwise the same typical stuff I didn't care for in this series to begin with. 3. Terry Pratchett: "The Sea and Little Fishes" (Discworld) 2 stars. I like Terry Pratchett, I promise, but this did very little for me beyond being vaguely humorous and showing off some decent characters that played on the witch stereotype. 4. Orson Scott Card: "Grinning Man" (The Tales of Alvin Maker) 1 star. I didn't finish this because I couldn't stand the way it was written. I'd like to say there was more to it than that, but it was so distracting I couldn't get very far. 5. Robert Silverberg: "The Seventh Shrine" (Majipoor) 5 stars. I love, love, love this story. The parts of the story and history it introduced were fascinating, I loved the characters, and the story itself was a fantastic murder mystery. Even after reading Martin's story, this remains the highlight of my experience with the anthology. 6. Ursula K. Le Guin: "Dragonfly" (Earthsea) 4 stars. While a bit slow to start, I did end up really liking this story. The ending in particular seemed to come out of nowhere, though I wonder if it would have been more significant if I knew more about Earthsea. Still, even despite that I enjoyed it. 7. Tad Williams: "The Burning Man" (Memory, Sorrow and Thorn) 1 star. I didn't finish this one either. While I felt there was something there to enjoy, the narrator was about as boring as one could be so I left it off and moved on. 8. George R. R. Martin: "The Hedge Knight" (A Song of Ice and Fire) 5 stars. Again, the reason for buying this and it was well worth it. I love the world created in the Song of Ice and Fire and the chance to revisit it during a time when things weren't quite so dark, dire, and depressing was a nice change of pace from the books that allowed me to enjoy Westeros from a different light. Dunk, or Ser Duncan the Tall, turned out to be an decent fellow and I liked meeting a wide variety of Targaryans. That includes Aegon who is a nice change of pace from the Targaryan's I'm used to dealing with the in main series. 9. Anne McCaffrey: "Runner of Pern" (Dragonriders of Pern) 2 stars. This started off okay, then started to get interesting, and then promptly fell on it's face and I moved on. I'm mostly giving this 2 stars because I really did like what little I saw of the world and the idea behind the runners. 10. Raymond E. Feist: "The Wood Boy" (The Riftwar Saga) 3 stars. While I feel like this story could have been written with any cast of characters in any world, I did enjoy the spin on it from the Riftwar perspective and it was just a solid story beyond that. Perhaps not enough to entice me towards the series, but I liked it on it's own. 11. Robert Jordan: "New Spring" (The Wheel of Time) 1 stars. I tried to read The Wheel of Time once and just couldn't seem to get into it. This story was more or less the same experience as trying to read the first book again. Apparently the average of my individual scores here is roughly a 3, rounded up, but I'm giving it a 4 total for having some awesome exceptions.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    The eleven stories with in this first "Legends" anthology are by some of the best writers of fantasy and science fiction, both in prose and sales. Edited by Robert Silverberg, who also contributed as well, the stories range within their established fictional worlds from stand alone either connect with the main series or in-between main series books or prequels with mixed results. The best stories whether, stand alone or prequel, had the same things in common. First the reader did not need to know The eleven stories with in this first "Legends" anthology are by some of the best writers of fantasy and science fiction, both in prose and sales. Edited by Robert Silverberg, who also contributed as well, the stories range within their established fictional worlds from stand alone either connect with the main series or in-between main series books or prequels with mixed results. The best stories whether, stand alone or prequel, had the same things in common. First the reader did not need to know anything about the fictional setting from any previous location as the authors used the stories to introduce the audience to their written creations. Second, the story usually followed just one character, at most two if change of perspective was easily denoted, allowing the narrative to be tight given average 65 pages each story took. Those that were on the bottom end of the scale were the exact opposite as they relied too much on the reader already knowing the story's universe and too many characters or point-of-view changes to keep track of (or both!). Unfortunately two of the weakest stories are at the very beginning and the end of the anthology, however of the nine stories in the middle of the anthology seven were at the least very good and make this fantastic purchase for anyone who gets it. Individual Story Ratings The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria by Stephen King (3.5/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot.... Discworld: The Sea and Little Fishes by Terry Pratchett (4.5/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot.... The Sword of Truth: Debt of Bones by Terry Goodkind (3.5/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot.... Tales of Alvin Maker: Grinning Man by Orson Scott Card (4/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot.... Majipoor: The Seventh Shrine by Robert Silverberg (3.5/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot.... Earthsea: Dragonfly by Ursula K. Le Guin (4/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot.... Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: The Burning Man by Tad Williams (5/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot.... A Song of Ice and Fire: The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin (5/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot.... Pern: Runner of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (4.5/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot.... The Riftwar Saga: Wood Boy by Raymond E. Feist (5/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot.... The Wheel of Time: New Spring by Robert Jordan (2.5/5) http://thechannelofmattries.blogspot....

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Preacher

    This is really a brilliant idea for a collection, and the execution is fantastic. If you follow long-form fantasy at all, you'll probably at least recognize all of these authors, and each story is a pretty good capsule of the author's style and world. I've found that my reaction to the story maps pretty closely to my reaction to the series as a whole, and so this was a great way to encounter authors I hadn't yet read (Terry Pratchett, most notably - the Granny Weatherwax story is perfect and a p This is really a brilliant idea for a collection, and the execution is fantastic. If you follow long-form fantasy at all, you'll probably at least recognize all of these authors, and each story is a pretty good capsule of the author's style and world. I've found that my reaction to the story maps pretty closely to my reaction to the series as a whole, and so this was a great way to encounter authors I hadn't yet read (Terry Pratchett, most notably - the Granny Weatherwax story is perfect and a perfect introduction to the milieu.) (Note - I read this when it came out, lo these many years ago (and quite a few times since,) so this is a review based on a reread.)

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ria

    An incredible array of talent in this book is amply displayed with quality short stories and novellas. It's impossible to list and recap them all as there are 11 tales included. Suffice it to say the editor has done a sterling job of bringing some of the biggest and best names of fantasy together and putting them all in one book. Fans will love returning to the mythical worlds these fantasy novelists have created and all give a little more insight into the books involved in each series. Bought this An incredible array of talent in this book is amply displayed with quality short stories and novellas. It's impossible to list and recap them all as there are 11 tales included. Suffice it to say the editor has done a sterling job of bringing some of the biggest and best names of fantasy together and putting them all in one book. Fans will love returning to the mythical worlds these fantasy novelists have created and all give a little more insight into the books involved in each series. Bought this for a few select authors that are my favourites but found a whole host of new wonderful writers whose work I now want to explore more fully! I am speaking as one who usually hates short stories or novellas as I always wand a more expanded view of a story but these were brilliant in the way they were a complete story within themselves apart from being affiliated and linked within larger series. An epic collection.

  16. 5 out of 5

    R.G. Ziemer

    The concept behind this weighty 1998 tome was the publication of new short novels and stories by “legendary” creators of popular fantasy worlds – original adventures of their heroes, sequels, or prequels foreshadowing the events chronicled in their classic series. I’ve never been a big fan of fantasy fiction – my usually broad interests encompass hard sci-fi among other forms of popular and classic literature. George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire has been a major deviation for me. I’ve beco The concept behind this weighty 1998 tome was the publication of new short novels and stories by “legendary” creators of popular fantasy worlds – original adventures of their heroes, sequels, or prequels foreshadowing the events chronicled in their classic series. I’ve never been a big fan of fantasy fiction – my usually broad interests encompass hard sci-fi among other forms of popular and classic literature. George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire has been a major deviation for me. I’ve become an ardent fan of the series. My only interest in this Legends anthology was the first of George R.R. Martin’s Westeros novellas, “The Hedge Knight”, which takes place a hundred years before the time of the “Game of Thrones.” And as it turned out, “The Hedge Knight” was my favorite of them all. This first of three novellas introduces Dunk, squire to an old hedge knight – a “free lance” owing allegiance to no particular Lord or House of the Seven Kingdoms. When Sir Arlan dies on the road to a tournament at Ashford, sixteen-year old Dunk picks up the old man’s sword, dons his armor, and rides on to the tournament as Sir Duncan the Tall. Along the way he picks up his own young attendant, the quick and resourceful “Egg”. Together their actions set in motion events that will affect the future history of all the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. It’s a somewhat lighter story than Martin’s Ice and Fire books, without the darkness of fire-gods and white walkers, but written with no less attention to detail, and no less affection for the characters. I’ll definitely be seeking out the Legends II anthology where the second novella was published Well, not to waste a trip to the library, and as long as they gave me time, I read the rest of the stories, too. These selections, from the “legends” of the genre, have only confirmed my inclinations to avoid most fantasy fiction. A stand-alone episode from Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” series – “The Little Sisters of Eluria” -- was about what one might expect from the master – a well-written piece, lush with detail, cleverly plotted – up to a point, when the story seems to lose energy and fade out a few pages before we are done with it. It did nothing to make me want to read any more of the books. I didn’t care for Terry Pratchett’s “The Sea and Little Fishes” – a lot of nonsense about witches of “Discworld” that didn’t really entertain me. “Debt of Bones” by Terry Goodkind was a new installment of his “Sword of Truth” series. It held my interest for a while, but seemed to fizzle out quickly with a lot of wizardry and not much of a payoff. I actually did get a kick out of Orson Scott Card’s “Grinning Man”, set in an alternate history in which the author’s hero Alvin Maker runs into my hero, Davy Crocket! But it was a pretty light piece of writing. One of the better stories was Robert Silverberg’s sequel to his world of Majipoor, where an aging Lord Valentine confronts murder at the mysterious archaeological site of “The Seventh Shrine.” Even this seemed to build up to some great earth-shaking climax that never quite got there. The same complaint might be made of “Dragonfly,” another look at the world of Earthsea. Dark rumblings on the horizon don’t matter so much here, though, because Ursula K. Le Guin is such an excellent writer; she engages the reader with her characters and they carry the story of a young girl seeking to learn the mysteries of the magician’s craft. “The Burning Man” by Tad Williams, taking place in his world of Osten Ard, was also one of the stories I enjoyed. The melancholy reminiscences of an aging queen reveal her experiences as a young girl and secrets behind events that shaped history in her world long ago. It’s a moody piece, mysterious and full of sadness for lost love and a woman’s acceptance of fate. “Runner of Pern” takes us back to Anne McCaffrey’s world where dragons and their riders capture the imagination. In this story, though, the dragons play no role. It’s a simple tale, nicely written, of a young woman’s coming of age as a dispatch runner crossing the dangerous landscape of their sparsely-settled, alien world. Raymond E. Feist’s story from the “Riftwar Saga” moves along deftly without too much mumbo-jumbo of magic and sorcery. “The Wood Boy” tells of a young man’s courage in his attempt to track down a murderer and save a girl through the snowy wilderness. “New Spring” by Robert Jordan was one of the most difficult to read. This prequel to the “Eye of the World” from the “Wheel of Time” series was virtually incomprehensible with its stewpot of complicated names and places and references to people and events not directly connected with the plot. Maybe regular fans of the series, already familiar with the names, would enjoy it. All in all, I’m glad I read these stories, but I’m not likely to seek any of the authors out in the future – with the exception of Martin, of course. When I take this book back to the library, I’ll put in an order for the sequel, so I can read the further adventures of Dunk and Egg.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Markus

    A good overview of some of the best fantasy authors there is. Personally I only thouroghly enjoyed a few of the stories, mostly Ursula. K. Le Guinn's and Silverberg's, but none the less it was worthwhile to get a sample from each.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This is a very well-written collection of short stories by sci-fi & fantasy authors, each related to one the authors' series. My favorite was probably the Earthsea story by Ursula K. LeGuin, but all of them were quite good. This is the first "Legends" collection by editor Robert Silverberg, and includes all the stories. It was also published in a 3-volume set as "Legends Vol. 1" etc. For my own convenience I'm listing the stories, the authors and their series here: "The Little Sisters of Eluria" This is a very well-written collection of short stories by sci-fi & fantasy authors, each related to one the authors' series. My favorite was probably the Earthsea story by Ursula K. LeGuin, but all of them were quite good. This is the first "Legends" collection by editor Robert Silverberg, and includes all the stories. It was also published in a 3-volume set as "Legends Vol. 1" etc. For my own convenience I'm listing the stories, the authors and their series here: "The Little Sisters of Eluria" by Stephen King - Dark Tower "The Sea and Little Fishes" by Terry Pratchett - Discworld "Debt of Bones" by Terry Goodkind - Sword of Truth "Grinning Man" by Orson Scott Card - Tales of Alvin Maker "The Seventh Shrine" by Robert Silverberg - Majipoor "Dragonfly" by Ursula K. Le Guin - Earthsea "The Burning Man" by Tad Williams - Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn "The Hedge Knight" by George R.R. Martin - Song of Ice and Fire "The Runner of Pern" by Anne McCaffrey - Pern "The Wood Boy" by Raymond E. Feist - Riftwar "New Spring" by Robert Jordan - Wheel of Time I was familiar with several of these worlds before reading the collection - I think the unfamiliar one that intrigued me the most was the Wheel of Time story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Disclaimer: I only read the GRRM Dunk & Egg novella, and that is what my review is for. I had no interest in reading the rest of the short stories, as they all seemed to belong to existing series rather than being stand-alone tales, and I always find myself mostly lost when reading those sorts of stories. I picked up this story with some trepidation, because I have mixed feelings about GRRM’s writing. I loved the first three ASOIAF novels, but reading the last two brought back feelings of being Disclaimer: I only read the GRRM Dunk & Egg novella, and that is what my review is for. I had no interest in reading the rest of the short stories, as they all seemed to belong to existing series rather than being stand-alone tales, and I always find myself mostly lost when reading those sorts of stories. I picked up this story with some trepidation, because I have mixed feelings about GRRM’s writing. I loved the first three ASOIAF novels, but reading the last two brought back feelings of being in high school and reading for assignment rather than pleasure. I am happy to report that “The Hedge Knight” is similar to the first three books. It’s an interesting story that moves along with just the right amount of detail (one of my complaints about the later books is that the level of detail is just too much, to the point where the story slows down and gets boring). The characters are well-developed and amusing, and I definitely felt a sense of loss at the end when people started dying (and if you think it’s a spoiler to say that someone dies, you obviously haven’t read a lot of ASOIAF). I finished this novella eager to pick up the next one and see where Dunk & Egg go next, which I consider to be the mark of a good story.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Picking a star rating for an anthology is difficult since I had a range of reactions to the stories in this book. The Terry Goodkind and Robert Silverberg stories were my least favorite. The writing in both was immature and overly moral, particularly the Goodkind. The Silverberg stretched too long and just was not interesting. Ursula K. LeGuin and Anne McCaffrey's stories were middling quality; I didn't dislike them like I did "Debt of Bones" and "The Seventh Shrine", but they didn't strike me t Picking a star rating for an anthology is difficult since I had a range of reactions to the stories in this book. The Terry Goodkind and Robert Silverberg stories were my least favorite. The writing in both was immature and overly moral, particularly the Goodkind. The Silverberg stretched too long and just was not interesting. Ursula K. LeGuin and Anne McCaffrey's stories were middling quality; I didn't dislike them like I did "Debt of Bones" and "The Seventh Shrine", but they didn't strike me the way the other stories did. Stephen King, Terry Pratchett, Orson Scott Card, Tad Williams, George R.R. Martin, Raymond E. Feist, and Robert Jordan all contributed stories I found very enjoyable. I had read the King and Jordan entries previously, and had read the Martin and Williams related series but not the stories in this volume. After reading the Pratchett, Card, and Feist stories I'm definitely interested in reading the related series.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

    Not read all of these stories, only The Hedge Knight by George R. R. Martin and New Spring by Robert Jordan. What a fortuitous collection of short stories this was. Both are add on stories to my favourite fantasy worlds. I look forward to exploring the rest of these when I'm done reading the other series I am invested in. Fans of Martin may be tempted to pick this up to get more of the world in his gigantic The Song of Ice and Fire series. For best results and the most payoff in connecting the t Not read all of these stories, only The Hedge Knight by George R. R. Martin and New Spring by Robert Jordan. What a fortuitous collection of short stories this was. Both are add on stories to my favourite fantasy worlds. I look forward to exploring the rest of these when I'm done reading the other series I am invested in. Fans of Martin may be tempted to pick this up to get more of the world in his gigantic The Song of Ice and Fire series. For best results and the most payoff in connecting the two, I recommend reading The Hedge Knight right after Book Four, A Feast for Crows. Or maybe just before. Or maybe just before and then again just after. Come on, it's a very short story. You can do it.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    I haven't read all the stories yet, but have enjoyed most of them so far. Picked it up for George RR Martin's ASOIAF prequel "The Hedge Knight", which was awesome as expected, 5 stars easy. Also honorable to mention to "Debt of Bones" by Terry Goodkind from The Sword of Truth series which grabbed my attention. Some other entertaining stories mixed in there as well and I may have found a few new series to get in to like The Tales of Alvin Maker and The Wheel of Time. I'd recommend the whole colle I haven't read all the stories yet, but have enjoyed most of them so far. Picked it up for George RR Martin's ASOIAF prequel "The Hedge Knight", which was awesome as expected, 5 stars easy. Also honorable to mention to "Debt of Bones" by Terry Goodkind from The Sword of Truth series which grabbed my attention. Some other entertaining stories mixed in there as well and I may have found a few new series to get in to like The Tales of Alvin Maker and The Wheel of Time. I'd recommend the whole collection just for Martin's story on it's own, but if you're looking for some new authors in the genre it's a great pick up.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    I read this book several years ago. I don't remember when or where or what it looked like. Back then I probably picked it up because of Anne McCaffrey. But the only reason I remember the book at all and why I found it again is The Hedge Knight. My memory of the story is sketchy at best, but it made me get the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire. And the rest, as they say, is history. I am now listening to the audiobook of A Dance with Dragons. If you are a fan of classic fantasy and are not scar I read this book several years ago. I don't remember when or where or what it looked like. Back then I probably picked it up because of Anne McCaffrey. But the only reason I remember the book at all and why I found it again is The Hedge Knight. My memory of the story is sketchy at best, but it made me get the first book of A Song of Ice and Fire. And the rest, as they say, is history. I am now listening to the audiobook of A Dance with Dragons. If you are a fan of classic fantasy and are not scared by books the size of small houses, try A Song of Ice and Fire. Trust me, the HBO series is well done, but the books are much, much better.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    I bought this book for George R. R. Martin's first Hedge Knight story, which is excellent. It also has stories set in Anne McCaffrey's Pern and Robert Silverberg's Majipoor, as well as a number of other popular fantasy worlds. If I remember correctly, the theme is encompassed by the title, and all of the stories take place in those worlds' early histories. I bought this book for George R. R. Martin's first Hedge Knight story, which is excellent. It also has stories set in Anne McCaffrey's Pern and Robert Silverberg's Majipoor, as well as a number of other popular fantasy worlds. If I remember correctly, the theme is encompassed by the title, and all of the stories take place in those worlds' early histories.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gumbo Ya-ya

    ------------------------------------------------ Robert Silverberg, Introduction & Mythos Overviews: The introduction is rather lack-lustre. Silverberg provides a brief historical overview of the emergence of modern fantasy in the 20th century, following a lull where science fiction reigned supreme. At least he doesn't go on at great length. The mythos introductions vary greatly in detail and quality; on balance they provide a helpful grounding for those readers who are not familiar with the seri ------------------------------------------------ Robert Silverberg, Introduction & Mythos Overviews: The introduction is rather lack-lustre. Silverberg provides a brief historical overview of the emergence of modern fantasy in the 20th century, following a lull where science fiction reigned supreme. At least he doesn't go on at great length. The mythos introductions vary greatly in detail and quality; on balance they provide a helpful grounding for those readers who are not familiar with the series in which the stories sit. ------------------------------------------------ Stephen King, The Little Sisters of Eluria: This story was arguably the major draw-card for me when this anthology came out; I had gobbled up the Dark Tower books that had been released at the time, on the tail-end of a late-adolescent King-binge of epic proportion. At the time, the series had yet to go South with the drooling enthusiasm of a rabid dog trying to devour its own arsehole and King's baffling attempt to tie his entire oeuvre together in a tidy knot around Roland and his ill-fated quest had yet to become tangled in the unholy mess of later works like Black House. This was one of two stories that I actually read when I got this book in '98, and I remember enjoying it, but being a little disappointed that it didn't live up to the expectations that The Drawing of Three and Wastelands had built up in me. I guess it was a taste of things to come... ------------------------------------------------ Terry Pratchett, The Sea and Little Fishes: ★★★☆☆ This was the other story I read in this anthology back in '98, being as I was at the time (and remain) a rabid Pratchett fan. It didn't really grab me at first read, perhaps as the Granny Weatherwax novels had never really grabbed me (I'm a Vimes man, me). Rereading it 20+ years after its publication, I quite enjoyed it. In purely functional terms, it's a well constructed story that finds a scope that fits its length, characterisation is smooth and efficient, and the conceit of shifting the perspective away from the central character in the story is played to good effect. It is, perhaps, a little shy on Pratchett's trade-marked cheeky wit (by comparison to his novels), but it did manage to get the odd chuckle out of me. ------------------------------------------------ Terry Goodkind, Debt of Bones: ★☆☆☆☆ This one just dragged. There wasn't any particular thing that stuck out to me as the prime suspect for my lack of enjoyment, it just never grabbed me, and I spent 60 pages or whatever not really enjoying myself. I mainly stuck with it because there were other stories in the collection (that I'd already read) that seemed pretty dull to start with but picked up. This one didn't. I don't know the author or his other works so I don't know how this story fits into his world; it certainly didn't feel like I needed extra background to read it, so it was self-contained, whether it adds anything to the mythos or not would probably depend on the significance of the event that takes place, as there is minimal actual lore-building going on. ------------------------------------------------ Orson Scott Card, Grinning Man: ★★★☆☆ I am not at all familiar with Card's Alvin Maker stories; the only book of his I've read is Ender's Game. I enjoyed this tale, which was well-constructed and, like Pratchett's tale, did a great job of matching scope and length. My main complaints were that the world building was basically absent and the characterisation was minimal. Both of these things, I suspect, would non-issues for someone who had read the novels, as it was, I found I relied heavily on Silverberg's summary of the previous works to make sense of the world about which I was reading. ------------------------------------------------ Robert Silverberg, The Seventh Shrine: ★★☆☆☆ The Pontifex, supreme ruler of Majipoor, has emerged from his usually seclusion in an underground fortress to solve the mystery of a murdered archaeologist at a dig site at a supposedly cursed ancient city that serves as a focus for racial tensions between conquerors and conquered, tensions the Pontifex has sought to soothe during his reign and which now threaten to flare up again. The murder-mystery wrapping of this tale was pretty poor; the author seemed much more concerned with mythos-building, which might have been more interesting if I had any experience with Silverberg's previous works. As it was, this tale failed to stand on its own for me. ------------------------------------------------ Ursula K. Le Guin, Dragonfly: ★★★☆☆ Le Guin definitely didn't phone this one in; it has all the depth and humanity that one would expect from her writing. I'm not a huge fan of the Earthsea books --though I do like the world-- so it's not saying that much but I think I preferred this to most of the novels... ------------------------------------------------ Tad Williams, The Burning Man: ★★★☆☆ Williams did a good job of writing a story within a larger mythos that managed to remain sufficiently self-contained to be interesting to a reader with no previous knowledge of the world. In a manner I find reminiscent of Le Guin, this tale had a strong personal focus on the inner world of the character, weaving her life around the exploration of a single incident of haunting. There was some world-building along the way, generally understated but serving to nicely sketch the backdrop of the story without getting lost in detail. ------------------------------------------------ George R. R. Martin, The Hedge Knight: ★★★☆☆ I have not read any of Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. I have also not lived under a rock for the past decade so I am more than passingly familiar with the lore of Westeros and its neighbouring lands. Not that it would matter; Martin's tale is exemplary in terms of being self-contained, requiring no background knowledge of the reader. Like many of the tales in this book, The Hedge Knight is strongly character-focused, with the plot revolving around a single, simple moment of conflict. Martin provides a good cast of supporting-characters and builds the tension of the tale well, with a little bit of sleight-of-hand making the story evolve into something a little different from what the reader may have initially anticipated. ------------------------------------------------ Anne McCaffrey, Runner of Pern: ★☆☆☆☆ A young woman goes for a run. She gets knocked over. She has a bath. She goes to a festival, falls head-over-heels for the guy who knocked her over, and then fantasises about him knocking her up. If you're a die-hard Pern fan (which I was, 25 years ago) then it's just possible that there is sufficient world-building in this story to make the setting a sliver richer for you than it was before, and it's certainly adequately written, but it falls short of actually being a story. ------------------------------------------------ Raymond E. Feist, The Wood Boy: ★★☆☆☆ Pretty much the opposite of the McCaffrey story: it doesn't summon much of a world to be appreciated, but it's a nice, tight short story. ------------------------------------------------ Robert Jordan, New Spring: ☆☆☆☆☆ ★☆☆☆☆ ★★☆☆☆ ★★★☆☆ ★★★★☆ ★★★★★

  26. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Read only this novella in the anthology. I figured out rather quickly where the story was going, but it was still fun to read a story in which Granny Weatherwax spooks people by being nice. People caused all the bad vibes and fear themselves, although it still proved she’s the most powerful witch around because people are so mindful of her. The witch trying to organise things was such a perfect example of that personality type, people who pretend to be sweet but really aren’t.

  27. 4 out of 5

    John Ferringer

    I made a point of grabbing this specifically because it had the first Dunk and Egg short story from George R.R. Martin, but top to bottom its filled with outstanding stories from so many authors. Highly recommend...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Salamanderinspace

    A good thing about this anthology: the novels kind of match each other in tone and content, so if you like one, you'll probably like most of them. I would describe the book as mediocre high fantasy. There is a little intro in front of each story that explains the "world" the author is writing in, summarizing their previous books in that world. I feel like you'd get more out of the stories if you were familliar with the author's worlds, but it's not a prerequisite. I enjoyed using the book as a t A good thing about this anthology: the novels kind of match each other in tone and content, so if you like one, you'll probably like most of them. I would describe the book as mediocre high fantasy. There is a little intro in front of each story that explains the "world" the author is writing in, summarizing their previous books in that world. I feel like you'd get more out of the stories if you were familliar with the author's worlds, but it's not a prerequisite. I enjoyed using the book as a taster-menu of a lot of authors I never felt compelled to read. The Little Sisters of Eluria. Gritty and grim. If I hadn't known Stephen King wrote it, I would have guessed some mediocre white man wrote it. The protagonist is sexually assaulted in a graphic manner. I was having gender problems with it, so I quit reading on page 72 and went to the next story. 1/10 The Sea and Little Fishes by Terry Pratchett. I'm not sure I like Pratchett's writing style. It seems a bit stylized, almost childlike, and a little preachy. I think I caught an argument against unionizing. The basic premise of the story is that Granny Weatherwax, an old witch who is known for being cruel (even among witches, who are established to be competitive and catlike) is acting nice. People were incredulous in a way that didn't seem plausible. Still, it kept my attention. 4/10 Debt of Bones by Terry Goodkind. Some violence in this one. A war story, of sorts. I liked the protagonist. The wizard, who I think the author meant to be likable, is insufferable. There's a certain amount of emotional inconsistency, and also the sense that the author doesn't have any experience with the states he's trying to describe (from a mother's losing a child to brushing long hair out of one's face.) I read most of this one but ended up quitting at page 192. 3/10 The Seventh Shrine by Robert Silverberg. The protagonist of this is, uncritically, a monarch of a colonizing/imperialist regime. Apart from that, the story is a murder mystery with an interesting setting. 5/10 Dragonfly by Ursula K. Le Guin. I'm normally a huge fan of Le Guin, but I had a little trouble following this one. I've read one of the Earthsea books, the first one, but I still felt a little lost. Still, the protagonist was interesting and I cared about what happened to her. And the writing is poetic. 5/10 The Burning Man by Tad Williams. A family history with angst, drama, murder, and magic. It kept my interest. A lot of stories in this book are sprinkled throughout with casual misogyny, so warning for that. The narrator here refers to a sex worker as a whore and makes some fatphobic comments about her body. It doesn't really seem like the narrator acts like a woman or even plausbily like a person. 3/10 The Hedge Knight by George R. R. Martin. I've never been a fan of Martin. I read the first Ice and Fire book and very much hated how he wrote women, so I didn't continue. Well, in this story he doesn't really bother to write women, and his descriptions of them feature heavily on their breasts or lack thereof. Apart from the lowkey sexism, I did enjoy the story. Though I quit around page 513 because there were too many characters and names to keep track of. 5/10 Runner of Pern by Anne Mcaffrey. Really rich worldbuilding on this one. Easily the best story in the book. Some hurt/comfort, Shakespearean misunderstandings, strong and lovable protagonist, pretty dresses. A romance. 8/10 The Wood Boy by Raymond E. Feist. Another terribly violent war story. I get the sense it might be better if you're familliar with the author's work. There's a frame narrative around a murder mystery. I liked the protagonist's sense of powerlessness. 5/10 New Spring by Robert Jordan. I liked how this author established the setting, but the super dense worldbuilding was kind of a barrier. It was hard for me to get into it. I quit at page 644. 1/10

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    Foreword gives distinction between fantasy and science fiction as well as how fantasy was revived by interest in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. Introduces some of the authors and mentions their contributions to the anthology. A synopsis/summary of the series is given in the front of each story. Author's notes may be included saying "This may be enjoyed as a stand-alone story." Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluthra https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Terry Pratch Foreword gives distinction between fantasy and science fiction as well as how fantasy was revived by interest in Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series. Introduces some of the authors and mentions their contributions to the anthology. A synopsis/summary of the series is given in the front of each story. Author's notes may be included saying "This may be enjoyed as a stand-alone story." Stephen King's The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluthra https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Terry Pratchett's Discworld: The Sea and Little Fishes https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth: Debt of Bones https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Orson Scott Card's Tales of Alvin Maker: Grinning Man https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Robert Silverberg's Manjipoor: The Seventh Shrine https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea: Dragonfly This is the only story without a separate book on Goodreads. Dragonfly is the name given to a girl-child until she is 14. Then, against her drunken, overbearing father's wishes, she is given the name of Irian (she begged and demanded that Rose, the village witch, give it to her. Rose recognized the power Dragonfly held, but refused to teach her any magic. Ivory, a man kicked out of the Wizard's school on Roke, came to the island of Gont and met Dragonfly. She had turned into a giant of a woman. At first, he only wanted to bed her, but later his desires changed. He told Dragonfly about the school he had left and she desired to go there and learn about how to use her magic. They arranged for travel and he received her true name. He tried a spell of glamour on her, but the school's defenses sheared them off of her like cobweb. The Masters in the school were divided as to whether to allow her in. Five were against and four were for letting her in. The four for letting her in helped her, until a showdown revealed that one of the five wasn't what he seemed. (view spoiler)[ The Summoner had returned from the land of the dead, but he was still dead. Dragonfly, or Irian, turned into a dragon and flew away after the confrontation was over. She still does not know her full name, but she needs to find it in fire (dragons) not just water (humans). (hide spoiler)] Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn: The Burning Man Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga: The Wood Boy https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... George R. R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire: The Hedge Knight, A Tale of the Seven Kingdoms https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Anne McCaffrey's Pern: Runner of Pern https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time: New Spring https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Debra Parmley

    I enjoyed every story in this anthology. It's been a while since I read anything by Stephen King. I usually avoid reading his books because they give me nightmares. He's just that good at writing horror. The Little Sisters of Eluria did not give me nightmares. Discworld is the first story I've read by Terry Pratchett. I enjoyed reading The Sea and Little Fishes. I enjoyed Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax's friendship and found this story to be fun. I will probably try another Pratchett story. I had I enjoyed every story in this anthology. It's been a while since I read anything by Stephen King. I usually avoid reading his books because they give me nightmares. He's just that good at writing horror. The Little Sisters of Eluria did not give me nightmares. Discworld is the first story I've read by Terry Pratchett. I enjoyed reading The Sea and Little Fishes. I enjoyed Nanny Ogg and Granny Weatherwax's friendship and found this story to be fun. I will probably try another Pratchett story. I hadn't read any of Terry Goodkind's stories either and I enjoyed Debt of Bones. Orson Scott Card is another new to me author. The world he created is so American and I found that refreshing in a fantasy world. The hills of eastern Kentuck put me in mind of Daniel Boone and I liked how the trickster Rack Miller was tricked in the end. Roger Silverwood, also new to me, in the Seventh Shrine, showed me a world where they were excavating and using telepathy. The shaman I felt was sinister even before the last scene. Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea is an interesting island world with dragons. Dragonfly was very much about a girl who wanted to be named, who became a woman who wanted to be taught and I felt like much of the story was about others keeping her from getting what she wanted. I won't tell you how it ends. Tad Williams in Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn, The Burning Man tells the story of Breda from her time as a young girl to her time now as an old woman. A remembering of her life kind of story. It ends in my opinion, unhappily. I've read and enjoyed George R R Martin's series so his story The Hedge Knight A Tale of Seven Kingdoms was one I enjoyed. Anne McCaffrey's dragon rider stories I've enjoyed in the past, and I really enjoyed Runner of Pern. That one was one of my favorites in this collection. Raymond E. Feist The Riftwar Saga was new to me and The Wood Boy was also one of my favorites. I liked the boy who would trudge through snow at night to confront a murdered and rescue a damsel. Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time isn't a series I started as I was waiting for him to finish it first and it was so long in between books coming out. But I jumped in with New-Spring and the story was very good. All in all I enjoyed the stories in this anthology and I look forward to trying more of their work.

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