Fantasy short story collection.
Publication year: 2010
Page count: 362
Publisher: Book View Café
A diverse collection ranging from urban fantasy to ancient world historical fantasy. My only complaint is that none of the stories have a dragon lord and only one has a dragon. 🙂 But there are plenty of fierce women and even a female wizard or two.
The book is divided into several sections according to the subgenre of the stories. The first section is High fantasy.
Eagle’s Beak and Wings of Bronze or Something Unusual Happens to Allis by Deborah J. Ross: Everyone says that Allis is a slow and stupid girl and she knows it, too. Everyone in her family can change into a were-creature but her change comes later than most. And a bit stranger.
One Small Detail by Katharine Kerr: Eladana is a wandering wizard. One day, she meets a very kind and friendly innkeeper and his young daughter. She decides to stay, for a while, at least.
Hero by Sherwood Smith. Tam has left his boring home and is searching for a way to become an adored hero. But what is required to become a hero?
The next section is Fantastical Others.
Kind Hunter by Pati Nagle. Torril has been raised to abhor killing anything alive. But now he’s hunting a nightwalker.
The Merrow by Steven Harper. Fisherman Jack Dougherty meets a merrow, a sea creature who claims to have been Jack’s father’s and grandfather’s friend in both life and death. But is he really?
Night Harvest Cuvée Rouge by Vonda N. McIntyre. A very short story about hunting.
Repo Babe by Jennifer Stevenson. Young Jane has gotten a temp job in her aunt Heather’s firm. This story has only dialog so it’s a bit hard to follow in a few places.
The section is Modern fantasy.
Grow your own by Brenda W. Clough. A witch’s familiars are plants. Unfortunately for the witch, the plants have her disagreeable personality, too.
East of the Sun, West of Acousticville by Judith Tarr: The narrator is in a musical afterlife which is a bit strange because he (or she, we never find out) wasn’t interested in music in life. But when music and even sounds just fade away, the souls investigate the situation. This means traveling into other afterlives.
Headless Over Heels by Chris Dolley: Brenda can see dead people. To her, that’s just an annoyance because they complain a lot. Then one ghost warns her than she will be killed next.
Somewhere in Dreamland Tonight by Madeleine E. Robins: Ruth’s only child Peggy has started to go out a lot, with boys, and Ruth is very worried. She comes across a dress from her “wild summer” and relives the reason why she’s so worried.
Daddy’s Big Girl by Ursula K. Le Guin: Jewel Ann is the narrator’s younger sister. Everyone is so happy when she’s born but when she continues to grow quickly, people start to treat her like a freak.
Fantastic Merlin has two stories inspired by the ancient wizard.
Taco Del and the Fabled Tree of Destiny: A merlin’s tale by Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff: Taco Del is the merlin of Hismajesty. Tale set after the modern civilization has mostly fallen.
The Thief of Stones by Sarah Zettel: Uther Pendragon sends Merlin Ambrosius to Eire to King Berach Ui Neill. But Merlin is there for his own machinations, looking for a way to get more power.
The stories in the Ancient Fantastics section have something to do with the Ancient world.
Not My Knot by Irene Radford: Monica is an archeologist working for her Ph.D. She has already had experiences with magic and now when she finds a Celtic knot design etched on the ground, she’s willing to try her luck and see where it will lead her.
Dusty Wings by Nancy Jane Moore: When she was writing her dissertation Corinne went to Guatemala and what she learned there shook her badly. Now, when she sleeps she often has nightmares about what happened.
Heart of Jade by Amy Sterling Casil: Great Lord of the Mayan City of Coban has only one child, a Daughter who is called the Lady. She comes to Two Frog with a curious request: to carve a jade amulet for her father and make him a god. Two Frog is a lowly jade carver but he knows some magic although not that kind. Still, he must obey.
Feather of the Phoenix by Katharine Eliska Kimbriel: The story of Sinbad’s youngest daughter Laylah who has inherited her father’s love of adventure.
The Natural History and Extinction of the People of the Sea by Vonda N. McIntyre and illustrated by Ursula K. LeGuin: An essay about the sea people who were called sea monsters for a time.
I liked a lot several of the stories, such as the very first one, Smith’s, Clough’s, Tarr’s, Casil’s and Kimbriel’s stories. Most of them have clever twists and some have unusual settings, too. Very good for people looking for diverse fantasy collection.