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March 31, 2019 picking this up again because I m, um, you know, fearsome like that and stuff Why thank you so much for the support, doggy looking barnacles mine P.S Expect this review to be bumped to death as I read and crappily non review stories in this collection and stuff You re welcome and stuff January 2019 Disclaimer there are twelve short stories in this collection I only read Glen Cook s Because I m revoltingly selective like that And also because DUH. Friendly warning the first three paragraphs of this review are a total waste of your time You re welcome. Shaggy Dog Bridge by Glen Cook 4.5 stars and stuffShit happens Sometimes no matter how much you dog gnaw the bone you don t get it to make no sense, specially the who done what whySo I read this sentence the very first in this lovely little tale full of fluffy bunnies and pastel colored rainbows and thought to myself why do I ever bother reading stuff NOT written by Glen Cook, anyway Okay, so you probably think that this is me slightly exaggerating again and that this sentence is nothing special And it s alright I mean, you re entitled to your ever erroneous opinion and stuff Besides, I was as clueless as you Barnacled Bunch once view spoiler hahahahaha, just kidding Trying to make you feel better about your little selves, that is all hide spoiler The Effigy Engine A Tale of the Red Hats by Scott Lynch I m not a huge fan of the novels Lynch writes, but this is the second short story that I read from him and you know what, I liked the two a lot Amethyst, Shadow, and Light by Saladin Ahmed it s not in the same world like the first novel of the writer, but it was another good surprise Good story, good characters, great writing.Camp Follower by Trudi Canavan It had a prety ok story I haven t read anything before by Trudi and I m not really tempted to do so in the near future.The Dragonslayer of Merebarton by K J Parker Not so great like the other storie Parker has written, but still it s a Parker story It lacks the twists the others had, but the humour and the same interesting storytelling it s there.Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine by Kate Elliott It s not a bad one, but not in the same league with Lynch and Ahmed.Spirits of Salt A Tale of the Coral Heart by Jeffrey Ford It has a great storytelling, but the characters weren t so humane after all.Forever People by Robert V S Redick Another new writer for me The ideea was interesting and exotic but, something didn t quite worked well Still it showed that the writer has the potential to do it right.Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl by Ellen Klages This one was also a strange tale In the beginning we have a main characters that transforms in a secondary one until the end I really didn t care about the story, still this former main character, a thief to be precisely, saves the day.Shaggy Dog Bridge A Black Company Story by Glen Cook Im not a fan of the writer and this story shows me why I always wasn t able to finish what I started from Cook ant this story it s in the same league like the other texts.The Ghost Makers by Elizabeth Bear Another great story, but it wasn t the first time I read it It was selected for another Best of so I knew it from there Highyly Recommended.One Last, Great Adventure by Ellen Kushner and Ysabeau S Wilce I had to read it very carefuly to really understand the twist It s a story with good storytelling but it wasn t quite such a good one like the rest.The High King Dreaming by Daniel Abraham It a story that makes me understand why I m not impressed with the writing of Abraham Still, the anthology was a good effort with stories that deserves to be read and authors to be discovered. Before I get to my review, I want to offer a friendly public service message to those who are fortunate enough to be reading and voting on the various genre awards Go ahead and pencil in Fearsome Journeys as this year s winner for best anthology, and Jonathan Strahan as winner for best editor That s right, find your nomination form, jot the title down, put a huge asterisk beside it as the likely winner, and focus your reading efforts on those categories yet be decided Okay, so maybe I am being a bit facetious, but it really is that good Short story collections are problematic for me On the one hand, I like being able to sample authors in small doses, and to get a feel for their work, or to simply pay a brief visit with old favorites, no strings or subsequent volumes attached On the other hand, I find them wildly uneven in terms of content and quality, with the weakest entries unfairly dragging down my overall impression of the collection as a whole.Much to my delight, Fearsome Journeys has proven to be the rare exception to that rule There were a few stories here that didn t completely wow me, but I can honestly say I still enjoyed them all While those few suffer by comparison against their companions here, they likely would have come across as some of the better entries in a different collection There are several authors here who have just shot to the top of my TBR pile, based on the strength of their contributions, and a few others who ve absolutely demanded I immediately rectify their absence from that same pile.The Effigy Engine A Tale of the Red Hats by Scott Lynch was a great choice to lead off the collection It s fantastic in every sense of the world, with a world and characters I would gladly revisit.Amethyst, Shadow, and Light by Saladin Ahmed was another great story, reminiscent to me of the tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, with a surprise ending that left me with a satisfied smile.Camp Follower by Trudi Canavan was a really interesting story, with several twists that worked exceptionally well, and an ending that satisfied immensely.The Dragonslayer of Merebarton by K J Parker was, for me, probably the weakest entry in the collection I simply didn t care for the telling, finding it too casual and removed, with no sense of urgency, but the story itself was decent.Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine by Kate Elliott than redeemed that small literary stumble with a great tale, exceptionally well told, some nice mythology, and characters I really want to read about.Spirits of Salt A Tale of the Coral Heart by Jeffrey Ford is one of the few I had issues with As well told as it was, I didn t care for the main character at all The clever twist ending redeemed it somewhat, but not enough to rise above its peers.Forever People by Robert V S Redick is a story that I quite liked, finding myself very invested in seeing how it all developed, but I find myself feeling a little well, ambiguous about the ambiguity of the ending I didn t originally care for it, but found it better on a second read, although I find myself wavering again this morning.Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl by Ellen Klages is an oddly comic tale that almost felt out of place here, but had some really nice elements to it, and won me over with just how thoroughly the tables were turned by the end.Shaggy Dog Bridge A Black Company Story by Glen Cook was a serviceable enough story, with some great moments of action and drama, but I found the narrative a bit flat, as if it assumed too much of the reader in terms of Black Company knowledge Having said that, I can see why Cook is so often mentioned in the same breath as Steven Erikson.The Ghost Makers by Elizabeth Bear was an absolutely stellar tale, well told, with a pair of intriguing protagonists, and a nice weaving of magic and mythology It took me a while to warm up to it, but my appreciation continued to grow as each layer was revealed.One Last, Great Adventure by Ellen Kushner and Ysabeau S Wilce was a story where I found the present tense narrative a bit jarring at first, but eventually settled in to enjoy a decent tale.The High King Dreaming by Daniel Abraham is a deep, dark, introspective, tale told in snippets and scenes While it may not have offered the strongest story in terms of plot, it was compelling from a narrative standpoint.For those of you who are curious, it s Lynch, Elliott, and Bear who are the three authors who ve made the most significant climbs in my TBR pile, and Ahmed and Canavan who have won themselves a place Overall, however, this just a great collection of tales, well selected and well put together by a man who has an obvious feel for the genre I cannot recommend Fearsome Journeys highly enough Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins As usual with anthologies, this was a good mix of the sort of stories that interested me and ones that don t I was decidedly meh about a few of them, but for the most part it s a solid collection, showcasing the current crop of SF F talent I think my favourite stories were Scott Lynch s The Effigy Engine , Trudi Canavan s Camp Follower , and Kate Elliott s Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine maybe also Elizabeth Bear s The Ghost Makers.I think my problem with short stories is that they don t have enough time to develop the world and characters in the way I like from a fantasy story Some people are very deft at it, but mostly it s a bit beyond people to write a good short story with the kind of twist I like from the form as well as the world characters I like from the context Which is, if not my failing, at least a problem on my side, not theirs I m not suggesting that everyone should write according to my rules ( DOWNLOAD KINDLE ) ☪ Fearsome Journeys: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy ♹ A Brand New Series Bringing You Fantasy Stories From Some Of The Biggest And Most Exciting Names In The Genre The Authors Appearing In The Launch Volume Include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick And KJ Parker An Amazing Array Of The Most Popular And Exciting Names In Fantasy Are Set To Appear In The First In A Brand New Series Of Fantasy Anthologies Featuring Original Fiction, From The Master Editor Jonathan Strahan The Authors Appearing In The Launch Volume Include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick And KJ ParkerContent The Effigy Engine A Tale Of The Red Hats By Scott Lynch Amethyst, Shadow, And Light By Saladin Ahmed Camp Follower By Trudi Canavan The Dragonslayer Of Merebarton By K J Parker Leaf And Branch And Grass And Vine By Kate Eliot Spirits Of Salt A Tale Of The Coral Heart By Jeffrey Ford Forever People By Robert V S Redick Sponda The Suet Girl And The Secret Of The French Pearl By Ellen Klages Shaggy Dog Bridge A Black Company Story By Glen Cook The Ghost Makers By Elizabeth Bear One Last, Great Adventure By Ellen Kushner Ysabeau Wilce The High King Dreaming By Daniel Abraham
An anthology, so there ll always be some you or I like better than others, but not a stinker in the bunch Particular highlights for me included stories by Scott Lynch in a vaguely Vancean mode , Elizabeth Bear a welcome return to the world of the Shattered Sky, although not directly connected to any of the novels and K.J Parker the least romantic, least chivalrous bit of dragon slaying you re ever likely to come across Plus strong contributions from Glen Cook, Ellen Kushner, Daniel Abraham and Saladin Ahmed, amongst others. Engaging as usual, but not particularly outstanding A dragon comes to town and the town s sole knight has the task of dispatching it. I don t expect a lot from short story anthologies I may well have been reading short story anthologies since before I started in on novels At least in the grownups section of the library, and maybe before I remember those old Alfred Hitchcock anthologies from my elementary school as well as I remember The Mouse the Motorcycle But, as I say, I don t expect much Outside of a very small number of editors, I ve become accustomed to enjoying an anthology if it has than two stories I really like Money well spent there are a whole lot which do not even chin that bar Truth is, if there is ONE wonderful story in it, then I am happy Good short fiction is hard to find, and I just don t have the time to scour the small presses to weed them out for myself This book has three wonderful stories Each one alone would have been enough.The Effigy Engine, by Scott LynchThe Ghost Makers, by Elizabeth BearSpirits of Salt A Tale of the Coral Heart, by Jeffrey FordIt also has a few very good stories beside these As there are only twelve stories in the entire book, that s a high ratio The Dragonslayer of Merebarton, by K.J Parker, and One Last, Great Adventure, by Ellen Kushner were the ones that really stood out for me This is the second anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan which I have really enjoyed, after Swords Dark Magic The New Sword and Sorcery He may well be one of those too rare editors able to put together a truly compelling anthology I think each may qualify as a novelette Kindle reading has skewed my ability to easily tell the difference there. There s nothing like an anthology claiming to offer a survey of a field to remind you why you hate that field The cover calls this The New Solaris Book of Fantasy , but as the introduction makes semi clear, what began as a plan for something wide ranging soon degenerated into a collection of mainstream fantasy Which is to say, these stories all occur in pseudo mediaeval secondary worlds Some of the worlds, indeed, are so close to historical that it gets quite distracting, particularly when terms like French and Outremer crop up For me, they d have worked far better as mythic takes on our own history But no, enough extra details have to be tweaked to make sure it comes across as some half arsed DD simulacrum Elsewhere, writers offer Crazy New Twists eg, the hero can t be arsed to undertake the grand quest which were indeed funny when I read them in one page gag strip Thrud, a quarter of a century ago The closest we get to slipstream is a story by Jeffrey Ford, one of the writers whose name convinced me to pick this up he brings a strangeness too often absent from the other tales, which at best are generally held together by an engaging narrator rather than having anything novel in their substance Compare the last largely fantasy anthology I read, George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois Rogues Now, by no means was every story therein a classic, but it had some writers whose absence is glaring in anything claiming to offer a general view of modern fantasy Martin himself, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss And even then you d still be missing the weird, the urban fantasy, the strange historicals Until I was convinced to give A Song of Ice and Fire a try, I had pretty much sworn off modern mainstream fantasy This book is a good snapshot of why Mercifully, matters do improve towards the end Elizabeth Bear s offering has faint echoes of Clark Ashton Smith, Ellen Kushner co writes something sweetly self aware, and the reliably impressive Daniel Abraham wraps it up. Fearsome Journeys is an anthology of fantasy short stories, most of which are quests or at least quest adjacent Though editor Jonathan Strahan intends it to encompass a wide spectrum of modern fantastika, I found the my favourites tended towards the low magic grit of Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser s end of the spectrum than elf strewn high fantasy It s a solid collection from some excellent fantasy writers.Military fantasy gets a good look in with Scott Lynch s opener The Effigy Engine A Tale of the Red Hats , which pits a band of highly competent mercenary wizards against an enemy with a battlefield super weapon, and of course Glen Cook s contribution is another amusing and alarming tale in his long running Black Company series Shaggy Dog Bridge A Black Company Story Trudi Canavan s hard edged Camp Follower ranges from gritty military fantasy to a high magic showdown Kate Elliott shows a bloody political skirmish from the point of view of civilians caught in the middle in Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine.Saladin Ahmed s Amethyst, Shadow and Light was one of my favourites a sword and sorcery heist in Fritz Leiber ish tradition, featuring a rabbit warrior woman and a barbarian named Zok No, no, it s really good.Another favourite was K J Parker s The Dragonslayer of Merebarton , featuring a retired knight whose social obligations unfortunately include dragonslaying This one had a light if somewhat weary tone and may have been the pick of the collection I also enjoyed the amusing Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl , a screwball comedy about thieves and con artists.This is a fine cross section of fantasy fiction that I would recommend to anyone looking to sample the genre.