After the King edited by Martin H. Greenberg
No figure looms larger in fantasy than J. R. R. Tolkien. One hundred and twenty-one (or eleventy-eleven) years after his birth and fifty-nine years after the publication of The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings still functions as the baseline for the entire genre of high fantasy. (There’s a very valid argument to be made that we need to move forward from that baseline, but that’s another post for another time.) But a lot of Tolkien-inspired fantasy only mimics the most obvious trappings of the good Professor’s legendarium. That’s not necessarily a judgment on the quality of those works—Blizzard Entertainment used those trappings as a stepping stone to create their own interesting, engaging world for the Warcraft franchise, and Eragon… well, Eragon exists. It can go either way. Continue reading
Firebirds Rising edited by Sharyn November
My attraction to these Firebird anthologies is a little odd to me. I ultimately find them to be just okay, but I still want to read all of them. Is the beautiful cover art courtesy of Cliff Nielsen? Is it the fact that November is putting a lot of effort into making Firebird an imprint with personality, rather than just another speculative fiction or teen imprint? Is it the fact that I feel bad I don’t read more short story collections? We may never know, although I will say that the fact it was Halloween got me to pick this up at the time I did.
Firebirds edited by Sharyn November
As I mentioned in its review, So Long Been Dreaming was the second short story collection I’d ever read. The first? This anthology, back in middle school–it was on the first shelf to the left in my middle school’s library, and I was taken in by the gorgeous cover. (Not much has changed, apparently.) After encountering Firebirds Rising and Firebirds Soaring at the library near my college, I was feeling a bit nostalgic for it–but I couldn’t find it in either of my library systems. So I consulted eBay, where I found some remainder copies for five dollars a pop. The week before Narnia Week, I settled in to see if I would be as impressed as I was when I was a wee lass–but things certainly have changed.