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1. Bone Dance: A Fantasy for Technophiles
2. Territory
3. Finder: A Novel of the Borderlands
4. War for the Oaks: A Novel
5. Falcon
6. Bone Dance
7. War for the Oaks
8. Double Feature
9. Firebirds Rising: An Anthology
10. War For The Oaks: The Screenplay
11. Nightspeeder: The Screenplay
12. The Princess and the Lord of Night
13. ThePoets' Grimm: 20th Century
14. Freedom and Necessity
15. Wizard's Row (Liavek #3)
16. Festival Week (Liavek Book 5)
17. Hidden Turnings
18. Firebirds: An Anthology of Original
19. Magical Beginnings
20. After the King: Stories In Honor

1. Bone Dance: A Fantasy for Technophiles
by Emma Bull
Paperback: 320 Pages (2009-07-07)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765321734
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Sparrow’s my name. Trader. Deal-maker. Hustler, some call me. I work the Night Fair circuit, buying and selling pre-nuke videos from the world before. I know how to get a high price, especially on Big Bang collectibles. But the hottest ticket of all is information on the Horsemen—the mind-control weapons that tilted the balance in the war between the Americas. That’s the prize I’m after.

But it seems I’m having trouble controlling my own mind.

The Horsemen are coming.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Exceptional
At first, I was apprehensive. Not because the story seemed like it was going to be bad--quite the opposite. I was very excited to read it, but then I started and I thought it was extremely confusing for the first 25 or so pages. I thought that if I couldn't even tell if the main character was a girl or a boy by the 2nd page, then something was wrong. I had no idea what was going on, and even had my sister read some to make sure I wasn't just being thick. So, getting into it was a bit difficult, and under different circumstances I might have just given up.

But then, at some point, things started clicking. It was great. The plot is, like another reviewer said, dynamite. It is unique, interesting, and engaging. Sparrow is an intriguing character and the post-apocalyptic world she lives in is very well drawn. Personally I think the weakest point of the book is the character development--I didn't find myself wholly sold on the fullness of the characters, and Sparrow even annoyed me at a few parts because I thought she was being somewhat predictable. That being said, it wasn't distracting at all. The quality of the prose and the worldbuilding and the plot positively makes up for any small lack of character development that I was sensing.

I usually don't enjoy futuristic sci-fi esque novels but Bone Dance was different enough to be intriguing to me. Plus, the writing is fantastic. If only she got more recognition! I've read War for the Oaks as well, and enjoyed it just as much. This one, however, is simply exceptional because I found it to be so weird and awesome. I had a hard time explaining what it was about to a friend of mine, but I don't see that as a problem. Just read it and get into and prepare for a long night as you absorb Sparrow's story.

4-0 out of 5 stars This is one of my favorites.
This is a fairly interesting apocalyptic fantasy. Sparrow is a trader who specializes in restoring and preserving recording/sound/media equipment, and locating old movies. When Sparrow is approached to find a banned (possibly mythological) movie about "The Horsemen" (psychics who worked for the government as special ops before they started world war three and destroyed everything) The Horsemen come looking for Sparrow, which results in some extremely bad things happening to Sparrow and friends.

I'm really happy that this was reprinted, the new cover art is really great.

4-0 out of 5 stars What Does the Horse think of Being Ridden after the Apocalypse?
Bone Dance is subtitled "A Fantasy for Technophiles," but aficionados of tarot, Santeria (the religion of which voodoo is a derivative), Raymond Chandler, and classic movies are also in luck.
In the aftermath of a nuclear war between the US and South America, most people go about their lives and mind their business, but narrator/protagonist Sparrow keeps getting involved with the exceptions, like the dancing Jammers who seem to have a group mind and a direct line to the gods, or the scary-dangerous Beano, who deals in pain, or mysterious strangers who talk in riddles. A techno-wizard, able to coax cables and wires to deliver the goods, and keeper of a cache of irreplaceable recordings from the past, Sparrow can sell a copy of Singing in the Rain to the wealthiest man in town and then help man the sound and lighting mix at the local nightclub. But then the memory blackouts begin, and Sparrow starts losing the hustler's edge, and a tarot card reading presents more Greater Trumps in a single spread than any mere street urchin should ever evoke. The carefully guarded secret of Sparrow's past is tied to the origins of the war and the special agents, the Horsemen, who triggered it. Now the last surviving Horsemen are seeking each other out for a final showdown, and Sparrow is the trump card each one wants to wield. Hubris, despair, love and hope are at war with each other.
Sparrow is almost torn apart by the struggle, but eventually comes to a place where choice, real choice, becomes possible.
Emma Bull is such a good story-teller that I get vertigo just thinking about what her IQ must be. Some rajah or sultan ought to pour rubies, gold, and emeralds into her lap. This is no read-and-forget distraction novel; it etches itself into your mind and changes you.I just wish the new publication included an index with source-references for all the movie quotes. I only caught about half of them, and inside jokes are more fun if you're, well, on the inside.Yes, it's lame to need an index, but I'd rather be lame and learn than remain uninformed.

4-0 out of 5 stars Steampunk Rocks!
Emma Bulls' "Bone Dance" is a remarkable book.From the early introduction to Sparrow, the video Dealer, he rapidly becomes the focal point.One Debbie Reynolds fix is not enough for his high end client, he wants the Horsemen.As we learn quickly, (and to paraphrase Monty Python), Nobody wants the Horsemen!. We also find that Sparrow is not what he seems, yet he becomes part of a community rather than a loner struggling to survive.

I appreciate the writing style.It is terse, and highly interesting.One of the nice touches that turn this into a matter of style as well as substance, is the definitions tha accompany each chapter.Crowley, for instance changes meaning from section to another.From "transformation and the logical development of existing conditions thwarted.His magical weapon is the pain of the obligation.His magical power is necromancy ." to "Immortality. Truth unveiled.The Great Mother communicating to those below in the measure that they can achieve their understanding." , we see an ingenuity that is always evident in her work.

If this book were written today, it would not have the same impact.Cyberpunk had to have a beginning, and this bookis part of the canon.

Great book.Great read!

5-0 out of 5 stars reprint of an enjoyableyoung adult post apocalyptic chronicle
The nuclear war between the two American continents changed the world dramatically as the aftermath populations in major cities went from seven digits to three digits or less.Yet humanity somewhat someway sort of survived as civilization evolved in a post apocalyptic world; though devolved might be more accurate.

In that new world order in Minnesota, Sparrow works the night Fair stock exchange as a trader.His specialty is pre-nuke videos and CDs that are rare.As a hustler Sparrow knows what to avoid and when to get out.Thus his being wanted by two rival Horsemen surprises him as he knows to stay away from those powerful telepaths who changed the planet when they caused the war.Still in spite of his efforts to simply survive by selling Big Bang ticket items, the androgynous Sparrow is caught for having information on the Horsemen.They separately are coming for him while working on his mind before he can sell to the highest bidder.

This is a reprint of an enjoyable 1991 young adult post apocalyptic chronicle.The story line is fast-paced, but Sparrow makes the tale work as he has adapted to the new world order of surviving by selling the pre-nuke merchandise before he gets caught up in the Horsemen scenario.The tale holds up nicely as Emma Bull used refreshing spins like the war of the Americas.Readers (and not just "technophiles") who enjoy a tense post nuclear world thriller will want to peruse Sparrow's saga of survival.

Harriet Klausner
... Read more

2. Territory
by Emma Bull
Mass Market Paperback: 432 Pages (2008-12-30)
list price: US$7.99 -- used & new: US$4.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812548361
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Wyatt Earp. Doc Holliday. Ike Clanton.
You think you know the story. You don’t.
Tombstone, Arizona in 1881 is the site of one of the richest mineral strikes in American history, where veins of silver run like ley lines under the earth, a network of power that belongs to anyone who knows how to claim and defend it.

Above the ground, power is also about allegiances. A magician can drain his friends' strength to strengthen himself, and can place them between him and danger. The one with the most friends stands to win the territory.

Jesse Fox left his Eastern college education to travel West, where he’s made some decidedly odd friends, like the physician Chow Lung, who insists that Jesse has a talent for magic. In Tombstone, Jesse meets the tubercular Doc Holliday, whose inner magic is as suppressed as his own, but whose power is enough to attract the sorcerous attention of Wyatt Earp.
Mildred Benjamin is a young widow making her living as a newspaper typesetter, and—unbeknownst to the other ladies of Tombstone—selling tales of Western derring-do to the magazines back East. Like Jesse, Mildred has episodes of seeing things that can’t possibly be there.
When a failed stage holdup results in two dead, Tombstone explodes with speculation about who attempted the robbery. The truth could destroy Earp's plans for wealth and glory, and he'll do anything to bury it. Meanwhile, outlaw leader John Ringo wants the same turf as Earp. Each courts Jesse as an ally, and tries to isolate him by endangering his friends, as they struggle for magical dominance of the territory.

Events are building toward the shootout of which you may have heard. But you haven't heard the whole, secret story until you've read Emma Bull's unique take on an American legend, in which absolutely nothing is as it seems...

... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

3-0 out of 5 stars Badly Needs that Sequel
I don't do plot summaries, so don't expect me to tell you the story in three paragraphs so you will click the "helpful" button.

This is a very fine book, with great characters, a fresh look at some historical figures (were the Earp brothers ALL pimps or only some of them) and an interesting mood and tone. The story, plot if you will, doesn't move forward at a breakneck pace and, worse, it doesn't resolve. I didn't regret reading at the time and I can't say I don't recommend it but.

I don't recommend reading it if you have something else good to read _until_ you hear that a sequel is out. This book needs more book. And it's been long enough that I doubt we will get that. If there were a sequel out, I would give this book four stars and four and a fraction would be more accurate. As it is, three grudging stars.

I have heard disturbing things about discussions in the blogverse in which the author was vilified and may have been discouraged from continuing in this project. It was something called "racefail" and sounds vile. But I wasn't there and I don't know for sure.

Also, she may have simply gotten tired of the project or found no way to continue with the material. That happens more often than one would like and one cannot blame an author if and when it does.

5-0 out of 5 stars Western with a twist
This is a fascinating tale of that which you think you know about an infamous town and famous people and that which suggests you do not. Emma creates twists of fantasy within the framework of a known legend and keeps you off balance all the time. A wonderful read. It leaves a reader wondering if...
One of the best westerns I have ever read. Thank you Emma

5-0 out of 5 stars When a State Becomes an Empire
If you like western American history and refined, elegant prose with well-developed characters, you need search no further. That book is "Territory" by Emma Bull, a story of the west in the 1880's in what was then pre-statehood Arizona Territory. Ms. Bull builds her plot on the concept that Wyatt Earp controls the territory aided by his brothers and allies, killing, robbing, beating without restraint. Back stories include a Chinese spiritualist, a colt breaker with supernatural powers, and a variety of females in traditional (pre-franchise and pre-working) to a female working journalist. Espousal abuse and at least two romances also spice up the novel. The major venue for the histrionics of the plot is located in the town of Tombstone, one of the best known and rowdiest of early cowboy platforms.

While there are many delights to be found in this delightful book, author Bull's profound understanding of personality and the nature of the human animal are wrought with finesse, deftly inserted phrases and passags of dialogue. In this way, the reader is led to empathise with characters and to care about their experience, good and bad, e.g. "Anger was like a wildfire in him. He'd thought he was the wildfire . . . now, he knew he was only the tree;" "He felt like a plague carrier. He needed to go before he spread the infection."

Examples such as these proliferate in "Territory" and these wonderful turns of phrase capture the reader in an entirely new world of experience, e.g. "Her whole inner self skidded away from the memory, like slipping on ice." As he ages, Doc Holliday thinks, "Now (he) had less interest in greatness and more in the length of the rope."

Author Bull's lyrical prose is often sheer poetry as in these descriptions, "The trees cast a broad line of breathing shade on either side and rose above it in places like flowers in a vase." And, "In the east, the night sky seemed to be thinning at its edge, tarnished silver instead of ink." And "And sat on his heels in the freckly shade of the mesquite."

Because one of protagonist Jesse Fox's talents is breaking colts, "Territory" offers a scene of his breaking the colt "Spark." That sequence is one of the most breathtakingly beautiful passages I've ever read. Brava! Ms. Bull! Way to go!"

Like the best souffle you've ever had, Emma Bull's prose is as smooth as double cream brie. Beyond the wonderfully developed and intricate plot, her mastery of the craft of writing makes Emma Bull's "Territory" the masterpiece that it is. The book is now one of my faves--and I'll bet it will be one of yours, too.

5-0 out of 5 stars "I believe," he said, "I am being inconvenienced."
I found the book about four or five weeks ago and am now in the middle of rereading it for the fourth time.I cannot begin to express how intricate and wonderful it is; I hesitate to use my unworthy prose on it.

The only thing I would ask for is: MORE!

I am going to twist the arms of everyone I know so they will read this book.I'm sure they'll thank me afterward.

4-0 out of 5 stars Yippy Ki Yay!
Westerns and magic.The Gunfight at the OK Corral with a fantasy twist.Wyatt Earp as a sorcerer.

This was a fun book with cool characters.I'm constantly juggling several books at once and sometimes one book captures my attention and I read it exclusively until I'm done.Territory was one of those books.

It was also a finalist for some awards in 2008, so it's not just me that thought it was pretty good.

I look forward to the sequel! ... Read more

3. Finder: A Novel of the Borderlands
by Emma Bull
Paperback: 320 Pages (2003-07-13)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$50.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765347776
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
American Library Association Best Books for Young Adults
VOYA Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror

Welcome to Bordertown. A hybrid community of misfits, oddballs and runaways.Where humans, elves and halflings co-exist. Where magic and the brutal realities of survival clash and mix.For Orient and Tick-Tick, it's just home.

Death and dark magic hang ov er the city. A seductive new drug lures young runaways to their destruction.A mysterious plague spreads through the streets. And beneath the clock tower on High Street, Bonnie Prince Charlie lies slain by an unseen hand. A cop named Sunny Rico exploits Orient's talent for finding objects to track the killer and leads both herself and him into the darker secrets of Elflands' immigrant citizens.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (21)

4-0 out of 5 stars Captivating Story & Memorable Characters
A who-dun-it cop mystery isn't generally my cup of tea.But when you throw a writer like Emma Bull into the mix, it really doesn't matter.Anyone who enjoys urban fantasy would thoroughly enjoy this.

Bull does an amazing job creating a world that's half faerie, half human, and then blended until smooth.As a writer, she clearly knows it inside and out.The streets, the inhabitants, the culture and stories.My only critique is perhaps that she knows it too well, leaving readers with the vague, tantalizing knowledge that there's quite a bit of backstory to a minor character or reference made by one of the main characters.

What made me such a fan of this book were the characters.You get to know and care rather deeply for them.A reader can find themselves becoming attached very quickly to the sudden ups and downs of this mystery.Not only are these characters likable and easy to relate to, they're complex as well.Bull creates unique, strong individuals with their own personal conflicts, as well as subtly playing with a bit of traditional gender-role reversal.

As I said, I absolutely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys urban fantasy.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Stimulating, Intellectual, and Addicting Story
One of the things that got me hooked the most about this book is that Bull really makes the reader do the thinking.She doesn't just lay everything out easily for us to accept, but she gives us smart clues and bits of info to let our minds fill in the blanks.Not everything has to be perfectly spelled out for the reader in order to enjoy and understand the meaning and purpose.Writing style aside, Bull gives us a workable and thought-provoking fantasy/mystery with very unique and interesting characters that keep you wanting more and more. My only problem with this book, was that it ended. Emma, please give us more!

4-0 out of 5 stars Peter Pan wouldn't survive in Bordertown . . .
I've been a fan of Emma's since _War for the Oaks,_ and I'm enamored of the Borderlands stories, which are urban fantasy set in the uneasy crease between the human world and Faerie, which has returned suddenly to our plane of existence. Any city has teenage runaways who start their lives over among their own kind (their "kind" being, basically, "not parents"), but Bordertown gets both human and elvish runaways, plus "halfies" (a human-elf mix) and your occasional unique oddity like Wolfboy, who appears here in a supporting role. Orient is a finder. That's his talent: If something is known to exist, he can find it. He can't just tell you where it is, though (like "your keys are behind the couch") -- he has to actually follow his internal compass and go and find it personally. That's fine if someone is looking for a place to buy, say, heirloom tomato plant seeds, but suppose they're looking for a particular explosive device? In this case, he's asked by the police -- such as they are in Bordertown -- to locate the source of a new and extremely dangerous drug plaguing the city. Orient's very best friend and sort-of partner is Tick-Tick, an elvish girl his age in self-imposed exile from the storied lands beyond the Border, where humans literally cannot go. And when she takes ill, the search for the drug turns into something very much more. Besides having a knack for Chandler-esque dialogue, the author is terrific at constructing unusual characters and all of hers fit very nicely within the shared universe of the Borderlands. This is the third time I've read this book in the past twelve years and I expect to enjoy it yet again in the future.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Quick Read
Totally compelling. I started this book yesterday and just finished it. Why is this woman not more of a household name? She deserves a gold star for her fun world - Bordertown, on the edge between Fairy and our world, where the laws of physics don't quite apply and the laws of magic go a little screwy too. What a great setting for the hard-boiled crime thriller she's written! Her characters are fun and as believable as her world (in other words: not so much, but we're willing to play along). If she succumbs to the temptation to create the fantasy coolness her adolescent self must have dreamed on (the perfect bar, the best bookstore, the hottest bike) , the stuff really is cool and I enjoy running down the fantasy with her, so she's forgiven this amateurish stroke. Plus, her writing is fluent, unpretentious, and startlingly good. She's particularly adept at giving each character a distinct and unique voice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Finder
I think this was a great book because it was not specific to a certain genre. It could be classified in any genre. It is a great book. ... Read more

4. War for the Oaks: A Novel
by Emma Bull
Paperback: 336 Pages (2001-07-06)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$4.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765300346
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Acclaimed by critics and readers on its first publication in 1987, winner of the Locus Award for Best First Novel, Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks is one of the novels that has defined modern urban fantasy.

Eddi McCandry sings rock and roll. But her boyfriend just dumped her, her band just broke up, and life could hardly be worse. Then, walking home through downtown Minneapolis on a dark night, she finds herself drafted into an invisible war between the faerie folk. Now, more than her own survival is at risk—and her own preferences, musical and personal, are very much beside the point.

By turns tough and lyrical, fabulous and down-to-earth, War for the Oaks is a fantasy novel that’s as much about this world as about the other one. It’s about real love and loyalty, about real music and musicians, about false glamour and true art. It will change the way you hear and see your own daily life.
Amazon.com Review
Emma Bull's debut novel, War for the Oaks, placed her in the toptier of urban fantasists and established a new subgenre. Unlike most of therock & rollin' fantasies that have ripped off Ms. Bull's concept, Warfor the Oaks is well worth reading. Intelligent and skillfully written,with sharply drawn, sympathetic characters, War for the Oaks isabout love and loyalty, life and death, and creativity and sacrifice.

Eddi McCandry has just left her boyfriend and their band when she findsherself running through the Minneapolis night, pursued by a sinister manand a huge, terrifying dog. The two creatures are one and the same: aphouka, a faerie being who has chosen Eddi to be a mortal pawn in theage-old war between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Eddi isn'tinterested--but she doesn't have a choice. Nowshe struggles to build a new life and new band when she might not evensurvive till the first rehearsal.

War for the Oaks won the Locus Magazine award for Best FirstNovel and was a finalist for the Mythopoeic Society Award. Other books byEmma Bull include the novels Falcon, Bone Dance (secondhonors, Philip K. Dick Award), Finder (a finalist for the MinnesotaBook Award), and (with Stephen Brust) Freedom and Necessity; thecollection Double Feature (with Will Shetterly); and the picturebook The Princess and the Lord of Night. --Cynthia Ward ... Read more

Customer Reviews (72)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fairy wine
Sparkling, effervescent, and delightful, going down easy.

"What did they hit you with?"

"A big rock. Only the most sophisticated weaponry can prevail against me."

Emma Bull does a fantastic job at capturing the aliveness and vibrancy of her heroine's art-rock scene. She creates sharply-defined characters, each with their own voice. The trick of only ever showing the fey from Eddi's mortal, limited viewpoint keeps them mysterious and otherworldly; the phouka, with whom Eddi has the closest dealings, is wry, witty and a little bit alien. Bull's humor is dry and entertaining.

This book gave birth to the genre of urban fantasy. If its plot or elements seem a little stale, try and remember that perspective; when Bull first married together rock musicians living in Minneapolis with a fairy war, no one had done it before. Some respect for the grand dame, please.

War For The Oaks is a lot of fun.

5-0 out of 5 stars Caused Sleep Deprivation!
I won't sum up the plot, because many other reviewers have already done that, but I will tell you what I thought of the book.I thought War for the Oaks was an excellent book.With my current schedule, working full time and going to school full time, I usually only have time to read for a few minutes before bed.I can barely keep my eyes open after a few pages, so it has been taking me quite a while as of late to get through a book.Not so with War for the Oaks; it kept me up well past my bedtime for several nights this past week.

War for the Oaks is written in the third person, but the entire book takes place in the point of view of the main character.This isn't like an epic fantasy novel with a huge cast of characters, a complex storyline, and alternating viewpoints and storylines.I greatly enjoy epic books like that, but I also enjoy books like this one which consist of a more straight-forward story where you're only focusing on one main storyline and following it through from the beginning to the end.The story kept moving at a fast pace, making it difficult to stop reading.Every time I reached a new chapter I couldn't resist reading the first paragraph or two to see what would happen next, and the next thing I knew I had finished reading the chapter.

The characters were likeable, especially the main ones, and I found them believable and realistic -- within the confines of the fantasy, of course!There was a fair amount of romance in the story.Romances in some stories feel forced, as if it's only there because it's expected.However, in War for the Oaks it was done well, woven in throughout the plot in a believable and appealing way.The dialogue had a lot of humor in it, which made the book even more pleasant to read.The plot was straight-forward and simple, nothing earth shattering, but it was engaging when combined with the interesting characters and the enjoyable writing style.I will definitely be reading other books by this author sometime in the future!

5-0 out of 5 stars This is what Fantasy should be
Beautifully written.A fairy tale for today.Emma Bull's writing is almost lyrical.She sets the stage for this urban fantasy with descriptions so rich and vibrant I felt as if I was in the story, right next to the heroine Eddi McCandry as she battles for her friends and her world.The characters are multifaceted and surprising.I love the way Eddi and her friends are forced to become stronger than they ever dreamed possible to survive their encounters with the fae.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite novels. Ever.
I bought my copy of Emma Bull's War for the Oaks in 1987, from the science fiction bookstore that used to be in Harvard Square. I had no idea what the book was about, but it had a staff tag marked "Recommended!!!" I think the three exclamation marks convinced me.

Twenty years later, my copy of the book has a broken spine, the cover image is worn, and my name is scribbled inside because I've loaned it to friends so often (always with dire warnings about the doom to befall if the book did not return). That's because this is among my favorite fantasy novels ever. I've no idea how often I've re-read the story; it simply doesn't get stale. It's like a favorite old movie, a comfy sweater, or comfort-food for the soul; I re-read War for the Oaks when I want to be reassured that the world really will be all right, that love is real, all that kind of stuff. And also, when I want to laugh.

I can't believe I haven't reviewed it before.

At its essence, the story is an oft-told one: a human who becomes a pawn in a war between supernatural factions. Only Emma Bull twisted the plot deliciously. Instead of a folk musician or some kind of back-to-the-land hippie, in WftO the protagonist is Eddi McCandry, a guitar-playing rock-and-roll musician in downtown Minneapolis, who is called upon to bring mortality to the Faerie battle. Her antagonist (or is he?) is the phouka, a man who can change into a dog. The story includes honor, and love, and music, and laughter, in equal measure... well, maybe with the balance tilted towards laughter.

But it'd be possible to tell that story cleverly in a "Nice, what's next?" way. Emma Bull carried this off to perfection. The people in the book are all, ALL, believable and utterly real to me, even the "fantasy" ones. The music references -- and there are many! -- are great. Eddi and her band play music through most of the book, and WftO's references caused me to explore all sorts of artists that I'd never heard of before (like Boiled in Lead and Kate Bush) who've since become part of the soundtrack of my life.

And mostly, the writing -- especially the repartee -- is wonderful. When the phouka dresses for battle -- he wears an olive drab high-necked sweater, with suede gun patches on the shoulders, with matching olive slacks tucked into high brown boots -- Eddi thinks, "He looked like a guerrilla outfitted by Ralph Lauren." And says, "Never dress better than your date." Well, maybe you need more context. But my point is that the dark fantasy -- it *is* about a war -- is considerably lightened by the smartass camaraderie of friendship.

I love this book. If you like fantasy, but not the icky-sweet kind, you'll love it too.

5-0 out of 5 stars Battling the Unseelie
If you love urban fantasy...
dear faerie lovers,
... particularly elf/faerie otherkin folk in the modern world, if you love Charles DeLint's books or Holly Black's young adult novels such as Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, you'll love this book. It is truly among the best.
the silver elves ... Read more

5. Falcon
by Emma Bull
Paperback: 281 Pages (1989-10-01)
list price: US$5.99 -- used & new: US$13.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0441225691
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
When his home planet is besieged by agents of the Central Worlds Concorde, star-pilot Niki Falcon resumes taking the deadly drug that is the source of his power and must choose between saving his planet and destroying himself. Reissue. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (8)

5-0 out of 5 stars I am in love with this book
I have to say first, that I'm completely biased. I love this book, utterly and devotedly. You can tell me its structure is weird, its hero flawed, and its love story twisted. And I will agree with you. And still, I will be in lovewith it. Emma Bull's writing is as poetically beautiful as ever, and the ideas are fascinating. But it is the character of Niki Falcon that makes the novel. Everyone who meets Niki is changed by him, in relating to him they become more themselves, more the best and the worst of them. More human.And so does he. Reading his story is like meeting this tragic, flawed, heroic, bigger than life, and yet terribly human, man. And the relationship leads you deep into the heart, by strange and unexpected ways. It seems impossible not to love Niki and not to love this book. It would feel like a rejection of my own flawed and heroic humanity.

5-0 out of 5 stars Please look past the cheesy cover!
This book is great!It is difficult to describe what its about without giving anything away, but I think some other reviews summed it up well.Know that the first half of the book is very different from the second half, so you are not jared when you get to it. It saddens me that Amazon does not have it in stock, but trust me when I say it is worth buying even from an unknown distributer.Like my title says, ignore the cover picture.The book has a completely different worth then what comes across in that picture.It is full of real emotion, adventure, and - to a degree -mystery.And like any good science fiction/fantasy book, it is timeless, so don't think it is too dated to be worth a read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Bull takes a shot a sci-fi and hits a bulls-eye.
While Emma Bull is most noted for her fantasy, Falcon proves that she's got the chops to cut it as a fast paced science fiction author.

Falcon has a few moments where the plot is confusing.But it never drags for a moment.

If you're not already picking up this book to round out your collection, you should!

5-0 out of 5 stars For Niki, Life is a Race Against Time.And Time is Winning.
Dominic "Niki" Glyndwr comes from the ruling family of Cymru, a relatively isolated planet that is not part of the Central Worlds Concorde - yet.When he returns home after a summer vacation, he finds changes on Cymru.His uncle, the Prince, is acting erratically and seems to no longer care for the people.Niki is determined to make things right and makes connections with an underground revolutionary movement.But, despite all his efforts, his planet is stolen, betrayed by agents of the Central Worlds Concorde, undercover agents he thought of as friends.His family was destroyed and his world shattered before his eyes...

Dominic Glyndwr becomes Niki Falcon, an elite gestalt pilot taking part in an experiment: he has been changed into a being who can literally become his ship.And he's the last.For behind his amazing new abilities lies a deadly drug that systematically destroy's his body's defenses.So when Chyrsander Harris, a famous singer, begs him to break through the Silence imposed by the Central Worlds Concorde to return him to his native planet of Lamia, what has he got to lose?More than he could imagine...

Falcon was an amazing book about a grand adventure across the stars.And a hero to cheer for.Niki is a good guy who tries hard and often makes mistakes, but always for what he feels are the right reasons.He touches the lives of everyone that he comes in contact with: Pedr, the paranoid, frantic Prince; Kitty, the Prince's beautiful, pregnant wife; Rhys, Niki's solid older brother who suddenly belives the worst of him; Jacob, the Prince's security advisor who taught Niki to shoot and defend himself; his mother, Morwenna, a famous geneticist who will destroy his world with a few angry words; Reg, the revolutionary who wants desperately to be a hero; Jhari, the woman who must make the difficult choice between Niki and her job as a Special Agent; Chyrsander Harris, the famous singer who is both more and less than he seems; and a cast of other characters, all of whom are rich and well developed.

Falcon is almost two stories told in one book and there is quite a division between the two, but they link together beautifully as the reader continues to submerge deeper into the story.The plot is lovely and quite unexpected in parts, the characters were strong and weak and normal and yet not, and the writing is beautiful and wonderfully evocative.I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading science fiction and/or fantasy.Take the time to find this in a used bookstore or order it used online - you will not regret it, this book is a treasure!

5-0 out of 5 stars Science fiction at its best
I decided to review this book because I want people to know what a wonderful story it tells.I find it difficult to put into words how I feel about this book without sounding like I really need to get out more.Maybe I do.
I read this book years ago, when I was still in Junior High.I loved it then, but it wasn't until I discovered it again much later that I realized what profound thinking it contained.It describes family loyalty, betrayal, basic survival and above all, dignity, and does it in such a way that you feel you need to reexamine your own values.What would I do for those I care for, and how far would I go to survive?The main character Falcon is portrayed with a surprising dignity and intellegence that is not often seen in such a young character.(By which I mean young as in first novel, not age.)Halfway through the book the story takes such an unexpected turn, you think you started a different book.Yet in the end it all makes sense.Amazing.
I know this sounds corny or ridiculous, or as I said, like I need to get out more.I read this myself and I cringe.Still, I have the need to share this with others because this wonderful twisty novel, with it's solid scifi shell, has at it's center a beautiful and noble story. ... Read more

6. Bone Dance
by Emma Bull
 Hardcover: Pages (1991)
-- used & new: US$44.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000FM88ZM
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7. War for the Oaks
by Bull Emma
 Hardcover: 332 Pages (1987)
-- used & new: US$13.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0739418793
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars war for the oaks
wonderful book -- fantasy firmly grounded in reality -characters I fell in love with - read it again and again --Get it, Read it! ... Read more

8. Double Feature
by Emma Bull, Will Shetterly
Paperback: 280 Pages (1999-01-01)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$9.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1886778116
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
This trade paperback reprint of the Boskone 31 Book contains 13 pieces of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry plus brief biographies and bibligoraphies of each author and an introduction by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. Cover Art by Nick Jainschigg. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars 3.5 stars
Fantasy anthology, plus a couple of essays.

I really like Emma Bull, and I like fantasy, but in general, fantasy short stories don't do the trick. Several of the stories were from the Liavek world, but they were all about the same thing.

I tried to figure out what it is about fantasy short stories that makes them so hard to read. I think it's that the author's trying to create an entire world and explain all the rules of magic within a short story when they'd normally have an entire book to do it in.

At least Bull & Shetterly didn't use unpronounceable names, but names were a problem, too--there were just too many characters in some of these stories.

I really liked the essays, though.

4-0 out of 5 stars Emma Bull, Will Shetterly, "Double Feature"
Great book from two great writers.Anyone who is a fan of theirs will enjoy this little "blast from the past".Buy it and enjoy, if you can find one...

4-0 out of 5 stars Liavek re-visited
If you liked the Liavek series, you'll like this book.If you are a fan on Ms. Bull's other books such as War for the Oaks, or Finder, you might like this book, but you might not.I enjoyed the short story format thatthis book was published in, because I can pick it up and put it down again. I liked the mixed bag of stories, some were very good, some were mediocre,but there is enough variey to have something for everyone.I am a fan ofthe 'Borderland/ Finder' and 'Elsewhere' books by Ms. Bull & Mr.Shetterly, and so was a little disappointed that most of the stories werenot in that genre, but in spite of my disappointment I really did getcaught up in the individual short stories and thououghly enjoyed them. Both authors have a gift with words that can paint their pictures in yourimagination, and leave you wondering about the characters long after you'vefinished their particular story. ... Read more

9. Firebirds Rising: An Anthology of Original Science Fiction and Fantasy
by Kara Dalkey, Charles de Lint, Alan Dean Foster, Emma Bull, Patricia A. McKillip, Sharon Shinn, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Alison Goodman, Carol Emshwiller
Paperback: 544 Pages (2007-10-18)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$3.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142409367
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Here is the eagerly anticipated follow-up to the award-winninganthology Firebirds! Firebirds Rising takes readers from deepspace to Faerie to just around the corner. It is full of magic, humor,adventure, and—best of all—the unexpected. The one thingreaders can count on is marvelous writing. Firebirds Rising provesonce again that Firebird is a gathering place for writers and readersof speculative fiction from teenage to adult, from the UnitedStates to Europe, Asia, and beyond. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars Ok for someone who loves fantasy AND sci fi
I liked half of this book, to be honest I didn't read the whole thing. I am a huge science fiction fan and this book has both science fiction and fantasy stories. I don't really like fantasy all that much so I did not enjoy some of the fantasy stories, but that is my preference. Overall, this book is a good read and I would recommend it to any science fiction or fantasy fan. It is a good compilation of great authors. All of the science fiction stories from the book that I read drew me in from the first or second page and by the end of the story I was left wanting more. I would definitely consider buying books from the authors featured in the book. This book is a great buy for any science fiction or fantasy fan looking for a new fix when they run out of books to read.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Good Collection
I read the first collection, The Firebird, and feel in love all over again with Megan W. Turner and for this book, in addition to my already favorite authors, it introduced me to more of authors whose styles I like very much.

First of all is Ellen Klages, with 'In The House of the Seven Librarians'. I love her prose and all the words make a nice song in my head. It was almost like a poetry.

Second is Tanith Lee. I haven't had the chance to read her books but I like her story 'The House on The Planet'. The title reminds me of Laura Ingalls' :) It has the taste of pioneering adventure in it but of course, with a surprise at the ending. ... Read more

10. War For The Oaks: The Screenplay
by Emma Bull, Will Shetterly
Paperback: 176 Pages (2004-08-31)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$12.34
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932983082
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Adapting the award-winning magical realism classic about a war between faerie kingdoms in modern-day Minneapolis. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Screenplay:

"In film and television, thousands of fine scripts by established writers are never produced. The Black Coat Script Library is dedicated to presenting some of those scripts." (Back cover)

A requirement of fantasy often is the element of the quest where someone is required to make a journey or perform a task or service. Either because the person has some inherent and unknown "gift" or just is lucky enough to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, the person is drafted into service. Usually the individual is less than thrilled initially and that certainly sums up the plight of Eddie McCandry.

Eddie is part of a band and dating the lead guitarist, Stuart. Stuart has become more trouble than he is worth, both professionally and personally. Fueled by jealousy over artistic issues and alcohol, he is ruining any future they had together as well as any future the band had as a group. After another public performance ruined by his drinking and bad behavior, Eddie contemplates leaving the band, which will also require her to end her relationship with Stuart.

Fellow band member and good friend Carla not only is willing to leave with her; she wants Eddie to start her own band. Something Eddie finds overwhelming and she decides she will think about things on a walk home. Along the way she is confronted by creatures that turn out to be nobles from the Summer Court of the Fey folk. They are going to fight the Winter Court after some of the Summer Court's lands have been seized. Eddie, as a mortal, has been chosen by the nobles of the Summer Court to be present for the coming battle. To enhance their chances of victory, assassins sent on behalf of the Winter Court will seek her out and try to kill her. Having placed her in jeopardy by their selection, the nobles of the Summer Court have selected a creature known as "Pooka" to guard her.

They have made their choice and she has no choice but to do their bidding. Something Eddie does not want to do and makes very clear to one and all. The "Pooka," in the forms of a male human, a large dog, and others as well as having numerous other talents, understands her predicament and soon saves her from assassination. Drawn into a battle she did not want by forces she did not believe existed, she quickly finds out more about herself and her place in the world than she ever thought possible.

Based on the novel of the same name written by Emma Bull, this script features an intriguing and diverse cast of characters and plenty of action and secondary storylines with slight changes to the original novel. What really makes all of this work is the element of magic, which is so prominent it deserves top billing itself. With the use of creatures that can change shape at the blink of an eye, spontaneous combustion, shimmering see through veils, and other things, those wishing to turn this great story into a filmed version will have to have the financial resources and access to technology to develop the project correctly. Otherwise, what is at this point a very enjoyable read would be ruined in a film version. Here is hoping that someone is paying attention in Hollywood to this script and looking to do something different than the normal, run of the mill stuff.
... Read more

11. Nightspeeder: The Screenplay
by Emma Bull, Will Shetterly
Paperback: 144 Pages (2004-08-31)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$11.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1932983058
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A rollercoaster science fiction saga about the dangers that lurk in hyperspace\ by the writer of War for the Oaks and illustrated by the artist of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen ... Read more

12. The Princess and the Lord of Night
by Emma Bull
Library Binding: Pages (1994-03)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$80.00
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Asin: 0152635432
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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An unconventional fairy tale presents a princess who must get everything she wants, or her parents will die and their kingdom be destroyed, but the princess reaches the point where she must work to get what she really wants. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars The Princess and the Lord of the Night
This is a wonderful new fairy tale, great for all ages especially anyone who loves fairy tales, but wants them to have a modern flair. This story really makes us all wonder what is it that we truly desire? What would ittake for us to get it? Is it as far away a goal as it may first seem, or isit really quite simple? This is a great book for all ages. ... Read more

13. ThePoets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales
Paperback: 304 Pages (2003-06-01)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$139.93
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Asin: 1586540270
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Writers and readers have long been inspired by the haunting wisdom and sheer imaginative power to be found in the fairy tales of the immortal Brothers Grimm. The editors have collected more than a hundred poems inspired by Grimm tales and written by our finest living poets. A brilliant and informative anthology, a teachable text.

Jeanne Marie Beaumont first book of poetry, Placebo Effects, was selected by William Matthews for the National Poetry Series in 1997. She teaches at Rutgers University. Claudia Carlson works at Oxford University Press in New York. Her poems have appeared in Heliotrope, Coracle, Space and Time, Fantastic Stories and NYCBigCityLit.comm

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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't Go Into the Woods Without It
THE POETS GRIMM is an essential addition to the collection of anyone who grew up with fairy tales - that is, everyone in America who ever opened a storybook that began "Once upon a time. . ." or watched a Disney movie that opened with a princess tortured by her evil stepmother. Here are the stories from the Grimm brothers collections that terrified and delighted us as children, now revisited with adult distance, wisdom, and humor.Ably edited by Jeanne Marie Beaumont and Claudia Carlson, THE POETS GRIMM embraces the breadth of poetry in English in the 20th century, from our most recent poet laureate, Louise Glück, to writers like Terri Windling and Jane Yolen, best known for their work in contemporary fantasy and science fiction.Anne Sexton's important poem, "Twelve Dancing Princesses," from her groundbreaking collection TRANSFORMATIONS, is included, as is an intensely moving poem by Amy Lowell from 1912, which strikes a surprisingly contemporary note.

A deep sympathy for the much maligned usual suspects, wolves and witches, underlies the entire volume, and frankly, if I were Prince Charming, I'd have a call in to my lawyer about a possible libel suit.Perhaps most American of all the Grimm interpretations found here is Tim Siebles' "What Bugs Bunny said to Red Riding Hood," which alone is worth the price of the entire collection.

Reading the poems in this collection bathes the old tales in a new and revelatory light;most telling of all perhaps are the poems which offer new versions of the detailed and mysterious marching orders given to every fairy tale hero or heroine who set off, willingly or not, on a quest. Neil Gaiman's "Instructions," in this vein, makes wonderful new sense of these ever-puzzling rules. Through these poems we see our own childhoods recast, and the clamor of impossibly conflicting childhood directives we all received invoked and examined.

The Poets Grimm offers a wonderful snapshot of poetry of the last half of the last century, taken through an enchanted lens, and I highly recommend it to anyone who ever felt a little cheated by the words, "And they lived happily ever after."

5-0 out of 5 stars Grimms in Verse
While this collection might appear gimmicky to some, a quick persusal of the table of contents will show that many respected poets have used fairy tale motifs in their work.Beaumont and Carlson have gathered numerous poems from a wide range of poets that reflect the enduring themes and characters we inherited through the work of the Brothers Grimm.The usual suspects, such as Anne Sexton, are here but so are some lesser known poets.The anthology is strong and represents many well-known fairy tales along with a few that are lesser known by the general public.The book is recommended for libraries and classrooms in which poetry and/or fairy tales are taught. It also makes great armchair reading for anyone interested in new interpretations of familiar stories. ... Read more

14. Freedom and Necessity
by Steven Brust, Emma Bull
Paperback: 448 Pages (2007-04-17)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$5.69
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Asin: B003R4ZF2Y
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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It is 1849. Across Europe, the high tide of revolution has crested, leaving recrimination and betrayal in its wake. From the high councils of Prussia to the corridors of Parliament, the powers-that-be breathe sighs of relief. But the powers-that-be are hardly unified among themselves. Far from it . . .
On the south coast of England, London man-about-town James Cobham comes to himself in a country inn, with no idea how he got there. Corresponding with his brother, he discovers he has been presumed drowned in a boating accident. Together they decide that he should stay put for the moment, while they investigate what may have transpired. For James Cobham is a wanted man—wanted by conspiring factions of the government and the Chartists alike, and also targeted by a magical conspiracy inside his own family.
And so the adventure begins…leading the reader through every corner of mid-nineteenth-century Britain, from the parlors of the elite to the dens of the underclass. Not since Wilkie Collins or Conan Doyle has there been such a profusion of guns, swordfights, family intrigues, women disguised as men, occult societies, philosophical discussions, and, of course, passionate romance.
Amazon.com Review
The early 19th century was a heady time of repeated challengesto the assumption that the social order as it stood was supernaturally(divinely) ordained. A particularly sticky web of politics and romancetraps Susan Voight and James Cobham in a dense, thrillinglysuspenseful plot connecting a reforming democratic labor movement,Chartism, to a secret society, the Trotters Club, whose corruptmembers intend to exploit a magical ritual for their personal,complicated purposes of vengeance and power. Layers of truths andfalsehoods mislead and confound the protagonists in their dealingswith each other and the conspiracies; they come to understand thatonly honesty can save them. Although the perversion of the naturalpower of sorcery fails because it is unnatural, the social order,unnatural or not, is more resistant to justice. The swift pace,surprising developments, and appealing characters make it nearlyimpossible to put this book down. Though the women's rights movementis glancingly acknowledged, the conventionally romantic fulfillment isa little disappointing. Is there no other end for intelligent,financially independent women than maternity and love-partnership (asbinding, or more, as legal marriage) with a man? ... Read more

Customer Reviews (39)

5-0 out of 5 stars a book to savor
I first read this about 4 or 5 years ago, and it blew me away. So when somebody mentioned it a couple of months ago, I decided to take the chance and put it back in my TBR pile, and see if I still felt the same.

I did.

Freedom and Necessity was written by two of my favorite fantasy authors, but it's historical fiction, not fantasy. It takes place in the mid-19th century, and is told entirely in letters and journal entries.

As the book opens, James Cobham is writing to his cousin Richard to inform him that he, James, is not dead. He has only vague memories of the past months, up until the time he arrived, ill and injured, at the inn where he's now working as a groom. Despite his lack of memory, he cautions Richard that he might want to keep James's resurrection quiet until they can discover where he's been and what happened to him.

Working parallel to the cousins is a distant cousin, Susan Voight. She's long been attracted to and fascinated by James, and with the news of his death, she's set out to discover his past--in particular, what happened when he'd disappeared before--in order, she tells herself, to find that he was just ordinary after all and exorcise him from her heart and mind.

Rounding out the main characters is Susan's best friend, James's stepsister Kitty, a devotee of spiritualism, who's "living in sin" with Richard.

They're all intellectuals and philosophers, though James has taken it further than the rest, and involved himself in radical political reform. (Friedrich Engels is a secondary character.) As the clues emerge, it seems that a combination of politics and the sinister Trotters Club is behind James's disappearance and the continued danger to him.

The clues are revealed slowly, in bits and pieces, and the reader has to actually interpret some of them. It's such a lovely novelty to not have everything spoon-fed to you.

In addition, there's a heart-wrenchingly intense romance between Susan and James, made all the better because they're both such great characters. Both strong, both extremely intelligent, both principled to a fault. Neither one gives the other an easy time.

It's a slow, demanding read, but it's also one to savor. Normally, I get impatient with slow reads, but not with this one.

3-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
Will hold your attention through short periods of time and allow you to put it down easily. Will draw you back into it later. Is also easily read for hours.

I'm not a big one for books told through letters and journals because I hate all that flipping the pages to see who signs the letter so you can tell who's talking. This book or rather these authors do such a good job developing a "voice" for their characters that soon you can tell without the flipping for the most part.

That said the main thrust of the story feels kind of unbelievable to me. I laid the book down and thought to myself, "Ooooookay. If you say so, but that totally could never happen. There were too many loose ends." Not a good last impression, I think.

4-0 out of 5 stars extremely complex not an easy readVictorian mystery
In 1849 his family assumes that Chartism revolutionary James Cobham died in a boating accident.Two months after his alleged death, James finds himself at a Portsmouth, England inn with no idea how he got there or where he has been for the last few weeks.His body is wracked with relatively fresh scars and he still has some injuries that have not completely healed.

He writes to his cousin Richard informing him that he lives, but not sure what happened.His affluent feisty cousin Susan Voight decides to investigate.Her premise is that James was not in an accident, but instead someone wanted him dead most likely for his political and social reforms.Even more mysterious is why hold him prisoner and eventually release him with the possibility he will recall all that happened.She begins to unravel a convoluted plot to destroy James and his fervent revolutionaries through the arcane and the mundane.

The extremely complex plot is not an easy read as the story line is told through an exchange of letters and journal entries.Adding to the difficulty is that the tale has a distinct Victorian feel to it as the Dickensian style of using a zillion players to provide a social period piece is employed.Still this is a fascinating historical thriller that brings to life Europe reacting to the previous year's major revolutionary activity.Susan steals the show from the bewildered James and others with her amateur sleuthing.Though there are some fantasy elements with the occult involved, FREEDOM & NECESSITY is a Victorian mystery thriller that will need plenty of time to complete.

Harriet Klausner

3-0 out of 5 stars Well-done, yet unfortunately, it wears a bit thin
I picked this book up after reading a piece in which China Mieville recommended it, and I really wanted to like it more than I did. The authors certainly faithfully reproduce the sound and feel of the mid-Victorian English lower aristocracy quite well, and in general, their historical re-imaginings were acceptably within the realm of the possible. The atmosphere of High Philosophy lent an edge of gravitas to the political hijinks going on (Hegel's Science of Logic is a recurring motif, although that is not his most influential work; The Phenomenology of Spirit is), and Friedrich Engels makes a cameo appearance that is fun too. The problem for me was that the epistolary style is just so incredibly dense, even rather foreign, that it took me forever to wade through the book. Usually I don't care for the complaint that a book is too long, but in this instance, I find it apt. I was enjoying it through about page 300 or so, but thereafter I was quite ready for them to start wrapping things up, yet there were still 200 increasingly tedious pages to go. This one's a tough call, then: I'd recommend it if you're a patient reader and inclined toward Victorian literature like Dickens or Thackeray or Eliot. But if you just want a ripping good yarn and don't want to have to work overly hard for a payoff (and, in my opinion, it wasn't too great an ending), and/or if you're expecting science fiction or fantasy, well, this probably isn't going to be your cup of tea. Myself, I probably could have used a half-cup instead, and with perhaps a little more sweetener....

5-0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite reads
I LOVE this book, but I will admit it's not for everyone. I read a lot of sf/fantasy, but the best comparison I can come up with is A.S. Byatt's "Posession". If you enjoyed "Posession" I think you will enjoy this book. The story can be a bit hard to follow, but I enjoy flipping back to reread pages that are later referred to. Great mystery, intrique, murder and attempted murder, and, to quote the back cover "of course, passionate romance". Wonderful fun! ... Read more

15. Wizard's Row (Liavek #3)
Paperback: Pages (1987-09-01)
list price: US$2.95 -- used & new: US$51.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0441481906
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16. Festival Week (Liavek Book 5)
 Paperback: Pages (1990-05-01)
list price: US$3.95
Isbn: 0441481922
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

3-0 out of 5 stars second in the series
This is the 2nd book in the series begun with Liavek. I'm not really sure why I like this anthology series less well than the similar Thieves' World series. Though as I look back, I didn't like all of that series, either.

I'm wondering if perhaps the way I've been reading these recent two Liavek books has something to do with my lukewarm feelings about them. It's how I always (for the past couple of years, anyway) read anthologies and omnibuses (correct, btw--I looked it up here). I read them one story or novella or novel at a time, with another book in between. It keeps the stories from blurring into each other and allows me to experience each one individually. It works very well in most cases, but I'm beginning to suspect it might not be best for this type of fantasy anthology.

My biggest problem with most of the stories in this anthology--even the ones I liked--was the language/wording/tone/names--that flavor of writing that a lot of fantasy books have. It got to the point with a couple of the stories that I started wondering if they were written in a deliberately obscure fashion, trying to trip up unworthy readers the way a certain kind of teacher will write tests, not to see if students understand the material, but to try to trick them. Perhaps if I read the stories all in a row instead of with breaks in between, the transition to the fantasy-style wouldn't be so difficult, and I'd enjoy them more. The next one I read, I'll try it that way.

* "A Happy Birthday" by Will Shetterly. A small child foils an attempt to kill The Magician. This one has recurring characters, and was clever, but the multitude of names at the beginning was confusing.

* "Before the Paint Is Dry" by Kara Dalkey. This was one of my favorites. For one thing, it was different. A mural is commissioned for the Council Chamber, that, when completed, will contain a magic spell making the council members' minds susceptible to despair. It's up to recurring character and art critic to fix it.

* "The Rat's Alley Shuffle" by Charles DeLint is a good example of a story that was confusing. Too many names, and ambiguous genders (not a problem, except when the names were replaced with pronouns, then I couldn't figure out who was doing what). There was also an unexplained departure from the established worldbuilding. Wizards in Liavek have to reinvest their luck every year on their birthdays, during the hours of their birth. But the plot of this story had someone inviting a group of wizards to a card game on their birthdays so he could bind their luck in the deck of cards. It was a clever story, but it didn't make sense within the established rules.

* "Two Houses in Saltigos" by Pamela Dean. Another story that starts by confusing me with way too many names. It's a sequel of sorts to her story in the previous anthology, with the suicide order. It takes place in a theater, and the multitude of gender-ambiguous names (I'm wondering if this is a requirement) was even more confusing, because the actors seemed to take roles regardless of gender. I'm not harping on this, really, it's vastly more a matter of clarity rather than gender-identity. In any case, it seems deliberate in this story, which is about a love-tangle between several people for whom gender is irrelevant. It's one of the longer stories in the book, and it did become much clearer about halfway through, but if I weren't so stubborn, I'd have stopped reading after the first few pages.

* "Rikiki and the Wizard" by Patricia C. Wrede. Once again, she writes about the god Rikiki, but this time it's an extremely short story--a fairy tale, about a wizard who offered his daughter's hand in marriage to whichever god would make him so rich and famous that he would never be forgotten. It's written in fairy-tale style, as is the conclusion. Very cute story.

* "Dry Well" by Nathan A. Bucklin. The convergence of a musician-by-default; His Scarlet Eminence, the regent; a shipwreck; magic; history; and the strange workings of fate. It's a convoluted story, but complete and satisfying. Another of my favorites.

* "Choice of the Black Goddess" by Gene Wolfe. This has another shipwreck. A floundering ship lands on an island where a theater troupe has shipwrecked. Several people have gone missing, and they end up playing a deadly game of shah (which sounds like chess, but with fewer pieces). Even when it was finished, I wasn't quite sure what had happened.

* "The Ballad of the Quick Levars" by Jane Yolen. This is a poem, followed by a few paragraphs of explanation. Seems more like an entry in an encyclopedia on Liavek than a story.

* "Pot Luck" by Megan Lindholm. Pot boil is a common delicacy in Liavek--it involves a stew that's kept continuously over the fire, and every day additional ingredients are added. (sounds much like the way I ate when I was a poor student) One inn is particularly famous for its pot boil, until one day, the owner comes in and it reeks. The solution to this mystery was fairly obvious, but it was a fun, and relatively un-confusing story.

* "Show of Faith" by Gregory Frost. A thief, while trying to steal grain with which to make alcohol, ends up with a magic artifact that allows one to speak with the dead. I didn't quite buy the ending.

* "An Act of Trust" by Steven Brust. This was just confusing. It takes place before/after/during the previous story, explaining some details, contradicting others.

* "Ishu's Gift" by Charles R. Saunders is subtitled "an Ombayan Folktale," and that describes it quite well. It's like Ombaya's version of the story of the Garden of Eden.

* "A Cup of Worrynot Tea" by John M. Ford. Another confusing story. Worrynot tea is the Liavekans' birth control. The story starts out sounding like a matchmaking attempt, then about halfway through, it changes, and there are forged messages, a battle, some possible jealousy, and the question of whether or not to reinvest ones luck, and then it just ends.

* "The Well-Made Plan" by Emma Bull. The title is ironic, because the plan in question goes completely awry, and noble wizard Koseth wakes up to find himself in the body of young wizard Silvertop, and his body, presumably housing Silvertop, has been kidnapped. It's a fun story, one of the better ones of the anthology.

3-0 out of 5 stars Liavek - The Players of Luck
This is the second of five books based in the city of Liavek -- home of wizards and magic.The only problem with getting involved with this series is the books are difficult to find.I hunt for them on auctions and inlibraries.They are great short stories. ... Read more

17. Hidden Turnings
 Paperback: 192 Pages (1990-07-19)

Isbn: 0749702796
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars Hidden Turnings
Hidden Turnings, edited and assembeled by Diana Wayne-Jones, is a teriffic collection of short stories mostly in the science-fiction, or fantasy genre.This book contains short stories such as Fifty-Fafty, The Master (my personal favorite), and many more.I only gave this book three stars because although I liked Hidden Turnings, it was an average book, with not many exceptional features.It wasn't written that well, and I found that many of the characters lacked emotion, making some of the stories somewhat borring.This book was also just a bit below my reading and interrest level.It was probably for the 10 to 13 year old age group.
Over all though, this was a good book and you should consider reading it. ... Read more

18. Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction
by Lloyd Alexander, Nancy Farmer, Meredith Ann Pierce, Elizabeth Wein, Michael Cadnum, Kara Dalkey, Nancy Springer, Emma Bull, Patricia A. McKillip, Delia Sherman, Megan Whalen Turner, Laurel Winter, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Sherwood Smith, Diana Wynne Jones
Paperback: 432 Pages (2005-05-05)
list price: US$9.99 -- used & new: US$2.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0142403202
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Firebirds gathers together sixteen original stories by some of today’s finest writers of fantasy and science fiction. Together, they have won virtually every major prize—from the National Book Award to the World Fantasy Award to the Newbery Medal—and have made bestseller lists worldwide. These authors, including Lloyd Alexander, Diana Wynne Jones, Garth Nix, Patricia A. McKillip, Meredith Ann Pierce, and NancyFarmer, tell stories that will entertain, provoke, startle, amuse, and resonate long after the last lage has been turned. And they all share a connection to Firebird—an imprint, like this anthology, devoted to the best fantasy and science fiction for teenage and adult readers.

An ALA Best Book for Young Adults

A Locus Recommended Reading Selection

A New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age

A Selection of the Science Fiction Book Club ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Firebirds: An Anthology.....
Great book full of very interesting stories. Perfect for me since I love fiction and fantasy.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good collection... as one might expect
Firebirds is another masterpiece of editing by Sharyn November.I've heard a lot about the horror that is the slush pile, but people like Sharyn seem to keep finding literary gold.Sure, they're supposedly for kids age 12 to 18, but I tend to think that kids that age are better described as "people", and Firebirds is an excellent book for people (and if you're reading this, odds are that you are one).

I picked up this anthology because it has a Nina Kiriki Hoffman story in it, and she's one of the few authors for whom I am still something of a raving fan.I read that one first. :)

"Flotsam" by Nina Kirki Hoffman is a story about a young boy from another land who winds up in ours and the people that help him out.It's a formula that's been done before, but you know, so was "Fear Street" and Nina Kirki Hoffman managed to write three stories in that trope that were new.She managed to do the same here.What's particularly nice here is that, while there is magic, it's not particularly magical.Though astonishing to the people that have not previously seen it, it's nothing special to the people doing the magic.

"Cotillion" by Delia Sherman is a remarkably (albeit lantern-hung) variant of Tam Lin.There's nothing very special here, which was surprising, as I generally enjoy her work.Then I got to the end, and it ended correctly, even though it broke the pattern.I appreciate that at lot.

"The Baby in the Night Deposit Box" by Megan Whalen Turner was wonderful.I shant bore you with a plot-based retelling, so let me just say that it's a story about a small town and their collective love for a child.I mean, sure there's a fairy war with goblins, enslavement and death as well as buracracy on many levels, but that stuff's not important.Really, it's all about love and bunnies... as well it should be.

"Beauty" by Sherwood Smith felt strange.It was like reading a story that was only half-told.As I read it, I thought that it was a vehicle for a bit of philosophy on pretty people and rightness of action.Then, when I got to the end and read the Author's Note, I saw that it was a sequel of sorts to Crown Duel.It sorta stands on it's own, but I suspect that I would have liked it better had I read the other book first.

"Mariposa" by Nancy Springer is a story that needed to be written.It's very good and addresses a common social problem in a very matter-of-fact and unusual way.This is one of those that is definitely aimed at the 12-18 age range, but also serves as a good reminder for those of us who are a wee bit older.

"Max Mondrosch" by Lloyd Alexander is horrifying and nightmarish and should not be read.Really, get out your tape and stick these pages together.Put a PostIt note on the front of the story with the note "Do not open until economy has improved."You'll thank me later.(Oh yeah, it's really good, you just don't want to read it.)

"The Fall of Ys" by Meredith Ann Pierce really requires knowledge of Celtic myth.This is one of those sories that should really stand on it's own, but really doesn't.It would be better if it were framed as a story within a story, so that the traditional myth could be briefly retold than this story could be told from a "what really happened" perspective.Maybe there wasn't enough space to do it that way, I don't know.In the end, it was somewhat disapointing.

"Medusa" by Michael Cadnum was another story that requires knowledge of myth.However, I think that this story still permeates our mainstream culture, so that's OK.Unlike many retellings, it really dwells on
the concept that the Greek gods really don't care about humans, so I applaud its historical accuracy as well as the way that it twists the form just enough to resolve appropriately for modern audiences.

"The Black Fox" by Emma Bull and Charles Vess is a surprise comic book!Like most of Emma's work, it's well researched and well told.Like most of Charles's work, it's very well drawn and annoylingly lettered.I mean, sure the lettering is beautiful, but it's a little harder to read than the more classic style.Maybe it's just what I'm used to, I don't know.Anyway, it's a good retelling of a classic folk song and again tweaked so as to be accessible to modern readers.I enjoyed it.

"Byndley" by Patricia A. McKillip is pretty much a classic McKillip story.The writing sparkles and the storytelling winds its way through the woods much like the characters it describes.It feels like it should be a novel, yet, at the same time, it's good that it's not.As a novel, it would be ponderous and difficult to get through.As it is, you come in at the end of the story and enough is retold that you understand and appreciate it.It's done well and well done.

"The Lady of the Ice Garden" by Kara Dalkey was another retelling of "The Snow Queen", and I must admit that Kelly Link's version has spoiled me forever.Had I not read that one, I would have thoroughly enjoyed Dalkey's version.As it was, there seemed to be something missing.Granted, there is a subtlety to Japanese culture that I may be missing due to incomplete historical knowledge, but in the end, I just didn't enjoy this one as much as Link's.So it goes.

"Hope Chest" by Garth Nix was holy-crap-what-am-I-reading fantastic.It's another foundling story, but is very different from any other such story I've ever read.It takes the interlinked concepts of destiny/fate/purpose and tells a story that is every bit as heartbreaking at Greek tragedy and still unbelievably good (despite being an American Western).It's worth the price of the collection all by itself.

"Chasing the Wind" by Elizabeth E. Wein was good, but didn't make much of an impression on me.This may have been due to the immediately preceding "Hope Chest", but it could also have been that it was about a time period that doesn't really do much for me, nor does aviation history.I suspect that WWII and aeroplane aficionados would have a very different opinion.

"Little Dot" by Diana Wynne Jones is about kitty cats.It doesn't really work well as a story, as there are too many things left unexplained and the world isn't well built.Were this a story among other stories set in the same world, it would be better.However, the kitty cats feel real, and that's worth something.

"Remember Me" by Nancy Farmer is good but sad.It's about families and misfits.Mostly though, it's about being different, as seen by those who are not.It's short and worth reading, so I shall not say any more here.

"The Flying Woman" by Laurel Winter is an interesting exploration of magic, honor and care taking.There's also an element of "you can't change people", which is a good, though difficult, lesson to learn.In a book full of life lessons, this is an appropriate story to exit on.

Taken as a whole, the collection is wonderful, and the only real problem was that it took me five years to get to it (and then two months to write this review, *sigh*).Sure would be nice if there was a subscription model so one could get the latest monthly or bimonthly Sharyn November book without having to track them all down.Sure, tracking things down is fun, but I don't have the same amount of sleuthing time I once did.

But, if that's the biggest complaint I have, I guess I'm OK.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not Free SF Reader
False advertising you could call this.The cover says Fantasy and Science Fiction, except there is none of the latter.

Unless you call the plane story a really inconsequential sort of alternate history perhaps, or Garth Nix's superhero Western.

If you are looking for SF, do not buy this book.

Whoever wrote the cover needs a whack upside the head.

On the whole it appears to be aimed at kids going by what the editor is saying, and that appears to be the case as this is very lightweight stuff.

Firebirds : Cotillion - Delia Sherman
Firebirds : The Baby in the Night Deposit Box - Megan Whalen Turner
Firebirds : Beauty - Sherwood Smith
Firebirds : Mariposa - Nancy Springer
Firebirds : Max Mondrosch - Lloyd Alexander
Firebirds : The Fall of Ys - Meredith Ann Pierce
Firebirds : Medusa - Michael Cadnum
Firebirds : Byndley - Patricia A. McKillip
Firebirds : The Lady of the Ice Garden - Kara Dalkey
Firebirds : Hope Chest - Garth Nix
Firebirds : Chasing the Wind - Elizabeth E. Wein
Firebirds : Little Dot - Diana Wynne Jones
Firebirds : Remember Me - Nancy Farmer
Firebirds : Flotsam - Nina Kiriki Hoffman
Firebirds : The Flying Woman - Laurel Winter

Hell boy tithe grapple rescue.

3 out of 5

Bank life inheritance withdrawal.

3 out of 5

Tree bloke.

2.5 out of 5

Soulless upbringing.

3 out of 5

Job description.

3.5 out of 5

Riddle me this deadman.

2.5 out of 5

Reptile garden ornament.

2.5 out of 5

Wizard vs King and Queen a bit rough.

2.5 out of 5

Tengu shafting.

3.5 out of 5

Superspeed shootist sheriff slays sister on the way to silver bullet showdown with supervillain shyster.

3.5 out of 5

Plane advance.

3 out of 5

Cat overload.

3 out of 5

Soul asylum.

3 out of 5


3 out of 5

Magic, the gathering.

2.5 out of 5

3-0 out of 5 stars Kind of flat
I found Firebirds kind of flat.I think the best children's stories can be read at many levels. Think of "The Hobbit," which appeals to readers ranging from roughly third or fourth grade all the way up to adulthood.At the simplest level there is just an easily accessible story which appeals to a very young and uncomplicated person.At other levels the story should appeal to more sophisticated readers: there might be complex moral decisions, satirical references only an adult would catch, interesting use of language, etc. I know that all the authors featured in "Firebirds" are capable of writing for multiple audiences, but (other than Wynne-Jones's "Little Dot") I found the work presented here somewhat disappointing. It wasn't horrible; it just didn't have the richness I expected from a collection of writers this talented.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best anthologies I've ever read
This is a collection of some of the finest authors in the biz, and I think every single one of them would be proud of their work here. I loved this book, and although I do admit that it is a little misleading calling it an anthology of fantasy and sci fi when there's pretty much no sci fi in it, I forgive it that small glitch because it's just so good.

If you're an intelligent reader, or someone who likes incredible reimaginings of traditional tales, or someone who likes their authors to think outside of the box and move into truly bizarre and undiscovered realms, then this book is for you. And if you're the kind of person who doesn't just want action and adventure, but who likes stories that truly make the reader think and feel and wonder, then you will definitely like this. I actually cried several times whilst reading this, I was so moved. But don't get the impression that it's a sad book, because it isn't. It's just that a few of the stories were really poignant in an emotional sense to me.

There's something here for everyone. There's even a poem and a comic book story. I would thoroughly recommend this book to any of the fans of the writers contained within it, and also to readers who have never read any of these authors' works before, since it's a great introduction to their talents. Bravo, Firebirds. ... Read more

19. Magical Beginnings
Paperback: 352 Pages (2003-02-04)
list price: US$6.99 -- used & new: US$2.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0756401216
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Every great writer has to start somewhere. Here in one volume are the magical debuts of today's greatest fantasy legends-with new introductions and insight from the esteemed editors. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars One of the 'beginnings' anthologies: 16 fantasy(ish) stories
Each of these stories is a 'first' story (in 3rd person limited unless otherwise specified), and is accompanied by a short essay by the author describing how the story came to be written and published.

The essays are often worth reading - "Third Time Lucky", for example, was indeed accepted for publication by the third outfit to which it was submitted, and wouldn't have existed if Tanya Huff had favoured snow-skiing, for example, over ogling the men at Caribbean resorts.

Apart from the entertainment value, the essays also provide some interesting information on the writers' development, as writers in general and of these stories in particular.

Beagle, Peter S.: "My Daughter's Name Is Sarah" is narrated by her father, a professor who can only watch the 11-year-old's first crush, hoping she doesn't get hurt. Rather than F/SF, this is Beagle's first 'attempt at dealing believably with believable human beings'.

Bull, Emma: "The Rending Dark" (from SWORD AND SORCERY 1) Written partially to supply things missing from Conan stories: friendship and chatty dialogue (one of the two ladies is a Songsmith, the other can hold her own) - as well as being a lost colony world rather than magical.

de Lint, Charles: "The Fane of the Grey Rose" (from SWORDS AGAINST DARKNESS VI, later expanded to the novel THE HARP OF THE GREY ROSE) Cerin (the narrator), a 20-year-old farm labourer and self-taught harper, meets a maid in market one day he nicknames for the flower in her hair. Rather than his lover, she becomes his dearest friend. But somebody else is pursuing her down the years...

Friesner, Esther: "The Stuff of Heroes" Margaret came up with the ultimate gimmick for a romance writer (even though she's really a tech designer with delusions of literary grandeur). Unfortunately, she's hitting the brandy this evening because now that other authors can use the gimmick, her own work won't sell.

Hobb, Robin (as Lindholm, Megan): "Bones for Dulath" (from AMAZONS!) The first Ki and Vandien story, which led to the novel HARPY'S FLIGHT. (Both are swordfighters, just in different styles, rapier and broadsword.) After her partner is poisoned in a pit trap, Ki must find an antidote. The only trouble is, the antidote requires seeking the monster that *created* the trap...

Huff, Tanya: "Third Time Lucky" What if the most powerful wizard in the world were also the laziest, and only wanted to loaf at home on a tropical island? Unfortunately, although Magdalene feels no need to show off - she's had centuries to learn self-confidence - other wizards can be slow learners.

I enjoy Magdalene's casual style. A bad rider (and *atrocious* singer of bawdy songs), she's apt to grumble over the conditions of travel, as well as haggling over passage (and collecting her share of the resulting savings). Any sensible monster recognizes her, shuts up, and leaves IMMEDIATELY. The supporting cast - her demon housekeeper who rarely loses arguments in the marketplace, the villagers who find her a useful neighbour, and the rather nervous guards sent to deliver another wizard's challenge to her - are also entertaining.

Kushner, Ellen: "The Unicorn Masque" (from Windling's ELSEWHERE 1) was composed by Lazarus to please the queen - who does not know that Lazarus' patrons have created *him* to please her, for plans of their own that even he knows little of.

Lackey, Mercedes: "A Different Kind of Courage" - see FREE AMAZONS OF DARKOVER.

LeGuin, Ursula K.: "April in Paris" (from THE WIND'S TWELVE QUARTERS) A frustrated alchemist in the Spider King's reign attempts to invoke a demon, but nets a 20th century mediaeval scholar instead, each depressed over a life's work spent producing a book nobody else will ever care about - and *still* not KNOWING the truth of their subjects of study.

Norman, Lisanne: "The Jewel and the Demon" (from BATTLE MAGIC) is actually a Sholan Alliance story set on the low-tech world of Jalna. The magic system involves psychic abilities with a minimum of wand-waving, so any 'magic' tends to have a more 'scientific' explanation. As for the demon, he sees a way to cut a deal with a reasonable thief rather than the unreasonable mage he's enslaved to...

Norton, Andre: "People of the Crater" - see Norton's GARAN THE ETERNAL.

Patton, Fiona: "The Raven's Quest" - see CAMELOT FANTASTIC. Merlin's raven companion runs afoul of Nimue - but his habit of speaking only in questions saves his life only to condemn him to ask one particular question of everyone he meets.

Reichert, Mickey Zucker: The chieftain's young son has been sent to find "The Ulfjarl's Stone" to save his father's life - and prove himself.

Rusch, Kristine Kathryn: "Sing" The narrator remembers the Earth-human who came among her people years ago to study something he couldn't find words for in their language: music.

Shwartz, Susan: "The Fires of Her Vengeance" (from THE KEEPER'S PRICE) Marelie Hastur, Keeper of Arilinn, returns to her Tower after being raped by bandits (which occurs before the story opens), who left her alive in the mistaken belief that a Keeper no longer a virgin is no longer a threat. Strong points: victim's reaction to rape. Weak points: unexplained situation leading up to the ambush. Also, the story would be hard to follow outside the context of the Way of Arilinn and the strictures placed upon its practitioners (see Bradley's THE FORBIDDEN TOWER).

West, Michelle: "Birthnight" (from Greenberg's CHRISTMAS BESTIARY) How each of the firstborn and endless creatures of magic - including the dragon, the phoenix, the unicorn, and the Queen of Faerie - follow a star across a desert to seek a child that will be born of magic, and yet the end of magic's reign.

3-0 out of 5 stars Less than Magical
Wondrous Beginnings, the science fiction companion volume was much better.

The best thing about this book would be the introductions by each author telling a bit about themselves and the story and how it came to be.

The stories, as one would expect from first published stories, are not of the world-changing variety. Perhaps the best is Peter Beagle's story, and that one isn't fantasy at all, nor science fiction.

The stories aren't bad mind you, some of them are reasonably good. The majority though are middle of the road pieces that are somewhat predictable showing the authors before they developed their voices.

This review may be coloured by the fact I had just finished both Wondrous Beginnings, and Assassin Fantastic. Both DAW anthologies also. This caused me to notice the line-up of the authors was virtually the same in this collection as in Assassin Fantastic. Thus, not really a great overview of the field, but a showcase for the current DAW workhorses(excepting a few). It would have been nice if they could have licensed short stories from authors currently under contract to other publishers for their novels. The collection would have been stronger had they gone farther afield rather than just showing off their own authors.

This was a good idea, but the roster of authors wasn't representative of the stars of the field in my opinion. Of course that does mean you may be exposed to new authors, which is always a good thing. Unfortunately, too many collections of the same authors has caused me a familiarity that has bred not yet contempt, but a bit of apathy.

4-0 out of 5 stars fun fantasy anthology
This fantasy anthology provides fans with the introductory story that sixteen fan favorites started their illustrious respective career.The contributions are fun to read though the quality varies with none being atrocious, but not all sixteen being incredibly fantastic.With each tale, the author of that story furnishes an interesting introduction that includes insight and understanding into their career.Clearly not for the casual genre reader, the fascination is not just with each tale, albeit as engaging they are, but also to compare the MAGICAL BEGINNINGS with recent releases from a virtual who's who.

Harriet Klausner ... Read more

20. After the King: Stories In Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien
Paperback: 448 Pages (2001-10-11)
list price: US$21.99 -- used & new: US$9.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0765302071
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
After the King presents an outstanding collection of new fantasy stories by an extraordinary assemblage of some of the very best writers to ever continue the tradition Tolkien began with The Lord of the Rings.

Stephen R. Donaldson, Peter S. Beagle, Andrew Nortong, Terry Pratchett, Robert Silverberg, Judith Tarr, Gregory Benford, Jane Yolen, Poul and Karen Anderson, Mike Resnick, Emma Bull, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, John Brunner, Harrr Turtledove, Dennis L. McKiernan, Karen Haber, Barry M. Malzberg, and Charles de Lint contribute to a dazzling anthology that captures the spirit and originality of Tolkien's great work.

The millions whose lives have been touched by J.R.R. Tolkien will find the same primal storytelling magic here, undiluted an running ever on.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars "A sense of mystery"
(This is kinda long... the short and sweet is I really enjoyed this book)
After seeing the run of negative reviews I decided to revisit 'After the King' and see if it had lost any of the charm it had the first time through... nope, it still has it.Yes it is true that some of these stories are not tales Tolkien himself would have written, yes some of them can seem out of place amidst the rest, and no they do not take place in Middle Earth, but they all are sweetly faerie and therefore I believe quite Tolkienesque.Please bear with me as I try to explain.

Tolkien was very much the grave and nostalgic author we see in the LotR but he was a lot more too.We know he was light-hearted in the 'Hobbit', but he was also silly and charming in 'Roverandom', and silly and irreverent in 'Farmer Gilies of Ham'.In 'The Smith of Wootton Major' he delighted to show us brief glimpses of a magical land while in the 'Silmarilion' he methodically, but no less wonderfully, presented the whole beautiful and tragic thing.But I think he was most like the painter in 'Leaf by Niggle' who came to find joy in his work yet at the end still yearned for more.

All of the stories in 'After the King' share some of those qualities, albeit some more than others.There are goofy tales and grave ones.Some are light-hearted and some bittersweet.Here's just a few examples: there is the hope-against-all-hope redemptive story of 'Faith', the tongue-in-cheek 'Troll Bridge' reminiscent of Tolkien's own nostalgia for bygone days, and 'Death and the Lady' which exudes that same sense of quiet determination in the presence of great loss that characterized Tolkien's epics.But when it comes to being "after the king" I think 'Gotterdammerung' speaks best for the entire collection when it opens with the following line "We are talking essentially about the need to preserve a sense of magic, of mystery."That is what Tolkien desired(don't take my word for it, read his essay 'On Fairy Stories' and see for yourself).That is what he did best.Never being too fatalistic or disingenuous, he made his worlds a little mysterious.He made them wonderful.These tales in 'After the King' have a bit of that magic in them and the best part of all is that you don't need to be some sort of LotR buff to appreciate it.

If this rambling attempt to compare a few short stories to Tolkien's body of work leaves you a bit sceptical (and my apologies for being so long winded, I felt compelled to speak out) let me encourage you to read this book if for nothing more than the introduction, or addition, to some very good authors.I had not read any of these authors beforehand (I was mostly spending my "fantasy time" rereading LotR)but after finishing many more books by McKillip, 'Fellowship of the Dragon' is still one my favorites.'Reeve the Just' me led me directly to some of Donaldson's other works, and a friends comparison between the brave apprentice in 'Up the Side of the Air' and the proud apprentice Ged of Earthsea fame introduced me to yet another great author I had never read before.So don't be discouraged because this is not some sequel to 'Return of the King'.Even years after reading these stories and authors for the first time I still feel this is a very good collection worthy of its title.

1-0 out of 5 stars Shabby, misleading marketing, but a few good stories.
I see quite a few other readers have preceded me, but I just want to express my anger, as a life long Tolkien fan, at the ethically shabby tactic used to sell this book. If I were an author who's story was published as a part of this collection, I'd be pretty angry, too; I doubt if any of them had any idea that they were going to be associated with a shameful hustle like this. As has been pointed out: none of these stories have any thing to do with Tolkeien's world or characters, nor are they written in a style that recalls his. This is just a particularly grubby sales tactic, intended to sell books to those of us longing to revisit that world in some way. Shame on the editor or the publisher or whoever hatched this misleading title and subtitle- and thanks for the internet, where wary book buyers can be warned.

2-0 out of 5 stars "Amused? He would have been horrified!"
In her introduction to this collection of short stories, purportedly written in honor of the late Oxford don JRR Tolkien, Jane Yolen discusses the flood of fantasy literature that has burst through the gates opened by the phenomenal success of The Lord of the Rings. She mentions the shameful use of his name and work for titles that he would not have even approved, let alone recommended, and concludes that he would have been horrified. Of course, she insists, the volume in hand is different. These stories are not imitations of the master, but rather (shifting into hair-splitting mode) they are "in honor of" him.

In reality, a good percentage of the stories in After the King are the worst sort of imitations, salads of mythic creatures from the Tolkien cupboard with nary a character who could hold his own standing across a fence discussing taters with the Gaffer. Tolkien understood that quests and elves and orcs can only be fantastic when seen with the proper perspective, balanced against the homey and the mundane.

It would be unfair to suggest that all of the stories in this collection are derivative tripe; Terry Pratchett's Troll Bridge does not fail to amuse while Poul and Karen Anderson's Faith is dark yet moving. On the whole, though, Tolkien is better honored through books that don't use his name as a cheap sales gimmick.

1-0 out of 5 stars Tricked, oh so tricked!
Good stories, but if you expect anything that has any continuity with the Ring Mythos, look elsewhere. You will be very disappointed.

What next, "tales of the old south- a tribute to tolkien"? Or how about "a history of jet planes- stories in honor of tolkien"?

The stories, as a collection, deserve 4 stars, but this book's title and dust jacket (hardcover ed.) is so misleadingthat ol' Greenberg gets only one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Stories In Honor of Tolkien
This was an excellent book. The variety of the stories and their settings and themes was refreshing. After reading many classic fairy tales, fantasy and science fiction stories, it was nice to read something new. Some draw you into the past, some are set in the present, while others take you to an unknown time. The characters are not your typical damsel in distress, but people (and creatures) that you can understand and maybe even relate to. One of my favorites is "The Conjure Man" by Charles de Lint. This story talks about a problem that is very close to my heart. I would recommend this book to anyone that has enjoyed fantasy, and especially Tolkien lovers. ... Read more

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