Anthology Thursday is a series of posts breaking down and reviewing an anthology every month. Because I need to read more short fiction. This month is The Sword & Sorcery Anthology edited by David G Hartwell & Jacob Weisman.
Terrifying barbarians, cunning mages, and daring heroes run rampant through these exceptional examples of the exciting sword and sorcery genre. In “Tower of the Elephant,” Conan takes up jewel thievery but proves to be far better with his sword. “The Flame Bringers” finds antihero Elric infiltrating a band of bloodthirsty mercenaries and outwitting a powerful sorcerer. “Become a Warrior” is the unexpected tale of a child who loses all she holds dear, only to gain unforeseen power and unlikely revenge. Further entries come from early legends such as Jack Vance and Catherine Louise Moore, the next wave of talents including Fritz Leiber and Michael Moorcock, and modern trendsetters like George R.R. Martin, Karl Edward Wagner, and David Drake. This essential, fast-paced anthology is a chronological gathering of influential, inventive, and entertaining fantasy—sure to appeal to action-oriented fans.
The Sea Troll’s Daughter by Caitlin R. Kiernan
Brief synopsis: A warrior kills a Sea Troll and stuff happens.
I’m sort of left wondering…..what was the point in that story? The ending is wholly unsatisfying and the characters were very bland. For me this whole thing was a confusing mesh of incomplete plot points.
The Coral Heart by Jeffrey Ford
Brief synopsis: All choices have consequences and for the man and sword called Coral Heart this is no exception.
This was good and it had a great twist. Although I’m content not reading more about the characters or world.
Path of the Dragon by George R. R. Martin
Brief synopsis: Daenerys Targaryen longs to rule the Seven Kingdoms like her father and those before him. However she is in exile and an usurper sits on the Iron Throne.
I’ve read this before, or this part in the main series. I can’t say much about how it works as a standalone but it does layout much of what makes Game of Thrones so amazing. It makes me want to read it again and the next one can’t happen soon enough.
The Year of the Three Monarchs by Michael Swanwick
Brief synopsis: Even the best laid plans only go so far.
This twisted little story is entertaining……The end.
It was great to step out of my comfort zone and experience different aspects of the Fantasy genre as well as different authors. Short fiction has never been something I particularly enjoyed because I like to be invested in the worlds and characters. A few pages only serves to wet my appetite.
As a whole, I enjoyed this anthology. I think most of my issues or complaints dealt with them being short fiction than anything else. It was also interesting to see how the genre evolved over the decades.
I definitely want to continue reading more anthologies. The variation on a theme is nice but also the slightly narrower focus than compared to most short fiction magazines.