Robert Silverberg has won five Nebula Awards, four Hugo Awards, and the prestigious Prix Apollo. He is the author of more than one hundred science fiction and fantasy novels -- including the best-selling Lord Valentine trilogy and the classics Dying Inside and A Time of Changes -- and more than sixty nonfiction works. Among the sixty-plus anthologies he has edited are Legends and Far Horizons, which contain original short stories set in the most popular universe of Robert Jordan, Stephen King, Ursula K. Le Guin, Gregory Benford, Greg Bear, Orson Scott Card, and virtually every other bestselling fantasy and SF writer today. Mr. Silverberg's Majipoor Cycle, set on perhaps the grandest and greatest world ever imagined, is considered one of the jewels in the crown of speculative fiction.
Microcosmic glimpses of broadly imagined worlds and their larger-than-life characters distinguish this hefty volume of heavyweight fantasy. Silverberg collects 11 previously unpublished short "novels" by genre celebrities, each a window on a sprawling saga that has shaped the way modern fantasy fiction is written and read. Stephen King weighs in with "The Little Sisters of Eluria," set early in the Dark Tower saga and deftly weaving threads of horror, quest fantasy and the western into a dangerous snare for his indefatigable gunslinger, Roland of Gilead. Ursula K. Le Guin contributes "Dragonfly," a tale about a young woman who would be a wizard that offers a savvy dissection of the sexual politics that govern Le Guin's Earthsea empire. Neo-Arthurian fantasy gets its due in George R.R. Martin's "The Hedge Knight," a prequel to the Song of Ice and Fire series. Only a sliver of fantasy insinuates Silverberg's own "The Seventh Shrine," a Majipoor murder mystery that becomes a fascinating exploration of clashing cultures. Although most of the selections are sober sidebars to serious literary fantasy cycles, Terry Pratchett's "The Sea and Little Fishes" is a giddy Discworld romp that pits cantankerous witch Granny Weatherwax against her crone cronies, and Orson Scott Card's "Grinning Man" is corn-fed tall talk in which Alvin Maker outwits a crooked miller in the alternate America of Hatrick River. Some entries, among them Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar tale "The Wood Boy" and Anne McCaffrey's "Runner of Pern," shine only as light glosses on their authors' earlier achievements. Still, there's enough color, vitality and bravura displays of mythmaking in this rich sampler, which also includes tales by Terry Goodkind, Tad Williams and Robert Jordan, to sate faithful fans and nurture new readers on the stuff of legends still being created. (Oct.)
'The biggest names in contemporary fantasy have written novellas set in their most popular worlds. Fortunately, the standard matches the notion; maybe the contributors were spurred on by group rivalry' Time Out 'An essential buy for every fantasy fan' SFX 'A dream team of fantastic fantasy' USA Today 'A stellar compilation' Booklist
These are Volumes 2 and 3 of the four planned unabridged audiobook programs that together comprise the new fantasy anthology Legends: Stories by the Masters of Modern Fantasy, edited by Silverberg (see Vol. 1, Audio Reviews, LJ 11/1/98). The anthology contains new and original works from famous writers of epic fantasy, with each set in an established fictional universe. Conveying this large anthology as four separate volumes, containing two to three stories each, is a double-edged sword: it allows the consumer to pick and choose only the programs that appeal but makes the entire work rather pricey. Volume 2 contains Robert Jordan's "The Wheel of Time: New Spring," Terry Pratchett's "Discworld: The Sea and Little Fishes," and Orson Scott Card's "Tales of Alvin Maker: The Grinning Man." Volume 3 adds Terry Goodkind's "The Sword of Truth: Debt of Bones," Ursula K. Le Guin's "Earthsea: Dragonfly," and Tad Williams's "Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: The Burning Man." Frank Muller, Sam Tsoutsouvas, and Kathryn Walker are the skilled and imaginative readers here. Although the performances and production are impeccable, the stories vary somewhat, if not in quality then in the facility with which they engage a listener who is uninitiated to the corresponding epic cycle. The packaging provides one- to two-line descriptions, but other contextual material available in the printed book (e.g., the introduction by Silverberg, listings of all the books in the series to date) are absent. Still, both volumes are recommended for all fantasy fiction collections.ÄKristen L. Smith, Loras Coll. Lib., Dubuque, IA