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Wizards: Magical Tales From the Masters of Modern Fantasy

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Never-before-published stories by Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, Garth Nix, and a magical lineup of writers. Throughout the ages, the wizard has claimed a spot in human culture-from the shadowy spiritual leaders of early man to precocious characters in blockbuster films. Gone are the cartoon images of wizened gray-haired men in pointy caps creating magic with a wave of their wan Never-before-published stories by Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, Garth Nix, and a magical lineup of writers. Throughout the ages, the wizard has claimed a spot in human culture-from the shadowy spiritual leaders of early man to precocious characters in blockbuster films. Gone are the cartoon images of wizened gray-haired men in pointy caps creating magic with a wave of their wands. Today's wizards are more subtle in their powers, more discerning in their ways, and-in the hands of modern fantasists-more likely than ever to capture readers' imaginations. In Neil Gaiman's "The Witch's Headstone," a piece taken from his much-anticipated novel in progress, an eight-year-old boy learns the power of kindness from a long-dead sorceress. Only one woman possesses two kinds of magic-enough to unite two kingdoms-in Garth Nix's "Holly and Iron." Patricia A. McKillip's "Naming Day" gives a sorcery student a lesson in breaking the rules. And a famished dove spins a tale worthy of a meal, but perhaps not the truth, in "A Fowl Tale" by Eoin Colfer. Contents ix • Preface (Wizards: Magical Tales From the Masters of Modern Fantasy) • essay by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois 1 • The Witch’s Headstone • (2007) • novelette by Neil Gaiman 25 • Holly and Iron • (2007) • novelette by Garth Nix 58 • Color Vision • (2007) • shortstory by Mary Rosenblum 83 • The Ruby Incomparable • [Anvil of the World Universe] • (2007) • shortstory by Kage Baker 99 • A Fowl Tale • (2007) • shortstory by Eoin Colfer 105 • Slipping Sideways Through Eternity • (2007) • shortstory by Jane Yolen 119 • The Stranger's Hands • (2007) • shortstory by Tad Williams 139 • Naming Day • (2007) • shortstory by Patricia A. McKillip 153 • Winter’s Wife • (2007) • novelette by Elizabeth Hand 187 • A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil's Ninth Question • [Pearleen Sunday] • (2007) • novelette by Andy Duncan 219 • Barrens Dance • [World of The Innkeeper's Song] • (2007) • shortstory by Peter S. Beagle 234 • Stone Man • (2007) • shortstory by Nancy Kress 254 • The Manticore Spell • (2007) • shortstory by Jeffrey Ford 263 • Zinder • (2007) • shortstory by Tanith Lee 277 • Billy and the Wizard • [Billy] • (2007) • shortstory by Terry Bisson 284 • The Magikkers • (2007) • shortstory by Terry Dowling 299 • The Magic Animal • (2007) • novelette by Gene Wolfe 326 • Stonefather • [Mither Mages] • novella by Orson Scott Card


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Never-before-published stories by Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, Garth Nix, and a magical lineup of writers. Throughout the ages, the wizard has claimed a spot in human culture-from the shadowy spiritual leaders of early man to precocious characters in blockbuster films. Gone are the cartoon images of wizened gray-haired men in pointy caps creating magic with a wave of their wan Never-before-published stories by Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, Garth Nix, and a magical lineup of writers. Throughout the ages, the wizard has claimed a spot in human culture-from the shadowy spiritual leaders of early man to precocious characters in blockbuster films. Gone are the cartoon images of wizened gray-haired men in pointy caps creating magic with a wave of their wands. Today's wizards are more subtle in their powers, more discerning in their ways, and-in the hands of modern fantasists-more likely than ever to capture readers' imaginations. In Neil Gaiman's "The Witch's Headstone," a piece taken from his much-anticipated novel in progress, an eight-year-old boy learns the power of kindness from a long-dead sorceress. Only one woman possesses two kinds of magic-enough to unite two kingdoms-in Garth Nix's "Holly and Iron." Patricia A. McKillip's "Naming Day" gives a sorcery student a lesson in breaking the rules. And a famished dove spins a tale worthy of a meal, but perhaps not the truth, in "A Fowl Tale" by Eoin Colfer. Contents ix • Preface (Wizards: Magical Tales From the Masters of Modern Fantasy) • essay by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois 1 • The Witch’s Headstone • (2007) • novelette by Neil Gaiman 25 • Holly and Iron • (2007) • novelette by Garth Nix 58 • Color Vision • (2007) • shortstory by Mary Rosenblum 83 • The Ruby Incomparable • [Anvil of the World Universe] • (2007) • shortstory by Kage Baker 99 • A Fowl Tale • (2007) • shortstory by Eoin Colfer 105 • Slipping Sideways Through Eternity • (2007) • shortstory by Jane Yolen 119 • The Stranger's Hands • (2007) • shortstory by Tad Williams 139 • Naming Day • (2007) • shortstory by Patricia A. McKillip 153 • Winter’s Wife • (2007) • novelette by Elizabeth Hand 187 • A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil's Ninth Question • [Pearleen Sunday] • (2007) • novelette by Andy Duncan 219 • Barrens Dance • [World of The Innkeeper's Song] • (2007) • shortstory by Peter S. Beagle 234 • Stone Man • (2007) • shortstory by Nancy Kress 254 • The Manticore Spell • (2007) • shortstory by Jeffrey Ford 263 • Zinder • (2007) • shortstory by Tanith Lee 277 • Billy and the Wizard • [Billy] • (2007) • shortstory by Terry Bisson 284 • The Magikkers • (2007) • shortstory by Terry Dowling 299 • The Magic Animal • (2007) • novelette by Gene Wolfe 326 • Stonefather • [Mither Mages] • novella by Orson Scott Card

30 review for Wizards: Magical Tales From the Masters of Modern Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Althea Ann

    While reading this book, I just came across this article: http://factualfacts.com/funny-facts/a... It's pretty unusual that an anthology ever gets more than 3 stars from me - after all, tastes differ, and in any random selection, there's bound to be a few stories I think are great, and a few that don't do much for me. However, this anthology was, really, really good. I'd say 4.5 stars. Contents: Neil Gaiman - “The Witch’s Headstone”. (2008 Locus Award winner for best Novelette.) The story later tu While reading this book, I just came across this article: http://factualfacts.com/funny-facts/a... It's pretty unusual that an anthology ever gets more than 3 stars from me - after all, tastes differ, and in any random selection, there's bound to be a few stories I think are great, and a few that don't do much for me. However, this anthology was, really, really good. I'd say 4.5 stars. Contents: Neil Gaiman - “The Witch’s Headstone”. (2008 Locus Award winner for best Novelette.) The story later turned out to be a chapter in 'The Graveyard Book,' so I'd already read it. But it was worth reading again. Garth Nix - “Holly and Iron”. A female Robin Hood in an alternate-history "Ingland" is shaken when her poor tactics lead to her sister's death. Will she be able to find a way to unite a divided country? Mary Rosenblum - “Color Vision.” I've read Rosenblum's first two novels (because they were part of the Del Rey Discovery series, which featured a bunch of great new authors) - but apparently she's published 8 books since then! I might have to try some catching up! This story is a teen sci-fi piece, about how a young girl's synaesthesia turns out to be a lifesaver, when the new school principal turns out to be a villain from another world. Kage Baker - “The Ruby Incomparable.” Kage Baker is truly missed. I only have a few more books by her to read, and I've sort of been saving them, since I know no more are coming... Here, she tells the tale of a fairy-tale marriage between Pure good and Pure evil. The story is available for free online: http://www.lightspeedmagazine.com/fic... Eoin Colfer’s - “The Fowl’s Tale.” I'm not a huge Colfer fan (didn't like Artemis Fowl), but this story's only 5 pages long, so it doesn't grate. Amusing tale of a greedy parrot who shows up at court with a tale to tell... Jane Yolen - “Slipping Sideways Through Eternity.” A modern Jewish girl meets the Prophet Elijah, who takes her on a trip through time, helps her understand her heritage, and inspires her for the future. Tad Williams - “The Stranger’s Hands.” A village takes in two wanderers - a man who seems to have lost his wits in an injury, and his caretaker. Soon, it is discovered that some who touch the disabled man's hands have their heart's desire magically granted. Soon, the needy flock to the town in hopes of having their wishes granted. But with greater exposure comes the revelation that the village's miracle man is (or was) actually one of the most powerful, dangerous, and evil wizards around. Is there some trick here? A well-crafted and thought-provoking tale. Patricia A. McKillip - “Naming Day.” A young woman eagerly anticipates her 'naming day,' when her magical academy conducts a ceremony in which the students choose their magical name. But her mother has a lesson about values to teach her daughter. Elizabeth Hand - “Winter’s Wife”. Hand is really good at short stories, and this in no exception. This was probably my favorite in the book... about a 'mountain man' from Maine, who marries a bride from Iceland that he met on the Internet. When a developer starts destroying ancient trees, something must be done... Andy Duncan - “A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil’s Ninth Question.” I'd read this Southern Gothic piece before (in Fantasy: The Best of the Year, 2008) but again, it was worth re-reading. Basically, a girl runs away from working in a sideshow, ends up living in a witch's house full of ghosts, and meets the devil... but there's more to it than that. Peter S. Beagle - “Barrens Dance.” The reason I got this book - I was looking for more from Peter Beagle. This story is redolent of ancient myth, as it tells the story of what a woman must do to escape an evil wizard's unwanted advances. Nancy Kress - “Stone Man.” Under stress, a boy discovers he has heretofore-unknown magical powers. it loses him a friend, but gains him a new group of friends and a mission in life... Not Kress' best, but not bad. Jeffrey Ford - “The Manticore Spell.” A monster might be dangerous - but also sublime: endangered and strangely beautiful. Should every monster be killed? Tanith Lee - “Zinder.” By day, Zinder is a deformed dwarf who lives in an impoverished village, tormented by ignorant bullies. But by night he is a powerful wizard, who travels the world, dispensing advice and magical boons amid glittering courts, and doing good deeds for the needy. Kind of a retelling of the Biblical tale that Jesus may be disguised as any lowly beggar... written with Lee's own poetic language and lovely imagery. Terry Bisson - “Billy and the Wizard.” Short, surreal tale of a boy who finds a wizard in his garage. Not my favorite, but I can see why others would like it. Terry Dowling - “The Magikkers.” If someone told you you had only enough magic for one true spell - and then asked you to give away that magic, would you? Gene Wolfe - “The Magic Animal.” Sometimes I love Gene Wolfe, and at other times I feel that his stories go off track due to their ambition. This Arthurian tale verges toward the latter, but there are still some lovely aspects to it. Orson Scott Card - “Stonefather.” This novella is apparently in the world of Card's 'Mithermages' series (2 books published so far; haven't read either yet.) However, I probably will - this is a good (if a bit typical) high fantasy story, with an original take on earth/water magic and an interesting setup.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Vicky

    Fantasy stories ignite the imagination in ways that realistic fiction can not. Characters are larger than life. Conflicts mean life and death – often for an entire race or culture. In this collection, editors Dann and Dozois, have collected unpublished short stories from a variety of well-known fantasy authors. Each story is about a wizard, but rarely do they appear in the pointed hat and starry cape (like the one on the cover of the book): Orson Scott Card introduces us to the mages of the eleme Fantasy stories ignite the imagination in ways that realistic fiction can not. Characters are larger than life. Conflicts mean life and death – often for an entire race or culture. In this collection, editors Dann and Dozois, have collected unpublished short stories from a variety of well-known fantasy authors. Each story is about a wizard, but rarely do they appear in the pointed hat and starry cape (like the one on the cover of the book): Orson Scott Card introduces us to the mages of the elements, who draw their power and their forms from nature. Mary Rosenblum creates a magical world of colorful auras and a mysterious villain, threatened with oblivion by the real mask they wear. Terry Dowling takes us to a special school, where students make choices that affect not only their own magical power and abilities, but those around them as well. Journey through hell and talk to the devil with stories from Andy Duncan and from Terry Bisson. There is no way to give proper accolades to every story and author represented in this book. Pick up the book and choose one of the excellently crafted stories to embark on a magical mini-vacation today! There are 18 destinations to choose from; a little something to suit every fantasy reader.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tish

    I only read about half of this book, so my rating is only based on that much of it, plus my impression of the book as a whole. This seemed like a great collection of short stories by some excellent authors, some of whom I have read, others new to me. Those stories I read were good; I think I especially liked the one by Garth Nix. The problem is that I really don't like short stories. They are too short! I like to really sink my teeth into a book and short stories are just over far too soon for m I only read about half of this book, so my rating is only based on that much of it, plus my impression of the book as a whole. This seemed like a great collection of short stories by some excellent authors, some of whom I have read, others new to me. Those stories I read were good; I think I especially liked the one by Garth Nix. The problem is that I really don't like short stories. They are too short! I like to really sink my teeth into a book and short stories are just over far too soon for my liking. So if you like short stories, this book is highly recommended.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    Most of these stories were a chore.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Voula (otl1987)

    Some of the stories I really loved, some I liked and some I found pointless. Some of them had a deeper meaning that touched me deeply and some of them were adventurous and just fun to read. Overall, I consider this book a very nice collection of short stories. It reminded me of how exciting fantasy books are, which I hadn't read for years. "The witch's headstone", "The Ruby Incomparable", "Winter's wife" and "Zinder" :Favorites "The stranger's hands", "The Manticore Spell", "Billy and the wizard" Some of the stories I really loved, some I liked and some I found pointless. Some of them had a deeper meaning that touched me deeply and some of them were adventurous and just fun to read. Overall, I consider this book a very nice collection of short stories. It reminded me of how exciting fantasy books are, which I hadn't read for years. "The witch's headstone", "The Ruby Incomparable", "Winter's wife" and "Zinder" :Favorites "The stranger's hands", "The Manticore Spell", "Billy and the wizard" : I could do without reading... I am going to write something about each one of them, so if you don't feel like reading, just go on to the next review! "The witch's headstone" I liked a lot. It was the first piece I read of Neil Gaiman and the reason I'm starting the Graveyard Book soon. Really well written and it made me feel I was there. He manages to create a really nice atmosphere. I really don't think that if you read it you can resist The Graveyard Book. "Holly and Iron" was an interesting story as well. I liked it a lot, but it was not my kind of story. Meaning that I am not the person who will read a whole book on this particular theme. I liked the characters a lot, and the way they were described. A story worth reading. "Color vision" I also liked a lot. Nice, moving ending. But it was enough as it was. "The Ruby Incomparable" is definitely one of my favorites. As soon as I finished it I felt the urge of reading more about it, about that world and about Svnae's life. I really liked the deeper meaning of this one. A story that got me thinking. Also, the story that got me searching more of Kage Baker (remember, I am a fantasy rookie). "A Fowl Tale" was very fun to read. Easy read and very imaginable. "Slipping sideways through eternity" was nice, interesting how it got connected to real historical facts. But not something I would read again. "The stranger's hands" I didn't really get. It didn't catch my attention. I finished it just because I can't leave a book with a part unfinished. "Naming Day" was really fun to read. Really caught my attention, light writing and light reading. A perfect short story. "Winter's wife" , also one of my favorites. Really liked the characters, the setting, it was all easy to imagine. And I also liked what it really meant. And I loved Winter's wife, the person! "A Diorama of the Infernal Regions" didn't excite me. It reminded me of strangely dark movies with puppets and strings and fake smiles and lots of red backround. A story I won't miss. "Barrens Dance" I expected better. Maybe because of some reviews that listed it as one of the best and my sister that kept asking me if I read it yet, with excitement and sparks all over her eyes. Don't get me wrong, it was a really nice story, moving and all, but not my favorite of this selection. "Stone Man" is one of my favorites. Something between "About a boy" and "Harry Potter". I would love to read more about the battle of the good ones and the "Other Side". I love the fact that it's connected to the real world. I would definitely read more. "The Manticore Spell". I didn't like that one. Couldn't imagine the characters, nor the settings. It wasn't interesting for me at all. "Zinder" on the other side, was a very sweet story. Full of wisdom and kindness. It reminds us of the goodness and generosity hidden in all of us. I really enjoyed reading it, I would read it again and I surely recommend it. "Billy and the wizard" was a stupid, meaningless story. It just left me with the impression that the author was asked to write a story for this collection and he remembered it an hour before the deadline and came up with this. It really discouraged me on finding out more about Terry Bisson. "The Maggikers" was alright. Didn't find a serious meaning to it. It was a nice read though. But just for once. "The Magic Animal". Hmmmm... I can't say that I didn't enjoy it. But it was one of the stories that just couldn't get me hooked and I left it every two pages and got back to it again later. I loved the fact that Merlin is involved and all the time traveling was interesting, but that's all. "The Stonefather" was very long for a short story and the first half was a bit dull and flat for my taste. It reminded me of "The perfume" by Patrick Suskind. After that, it got really interesting, but it was kinda like reading two different stories. I liked how it envolved nature's elements. It was nice overall.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Wendy

    Nineteen authors come together to form a collection of stories filled with wizards, and magical worlds in both ancient and modern times. The anthology kicks off with Neil Gaiman's "The Witch's Headstone" staring Bod, a boy being raised in a cemetery and ends with "Stonefather" by Orson Scott Card about a boy born in poverty with nothing but his abilities to survive in a hostile world. The main theme is, of course, wizards and how in every age and culture there seems to be different (or maybe not Nineteen authors come together to form a collection of stories filled with wizards, and magical worlds in both ancient and modern times. The anthology kicks off with Neil Gaiman's "The Witch's Headstone" staring Bod, a boy being raised in a cemetery and ends with "Stonefather" by Orson Scott Card about a boy born in poverty with nothing but his abilities to survive in a hostile world. The main theme is, of course, wizards and how in every age and culture there seems to be different (or maybe not that different, after all) versions of them, whether they're evil or good - and sometimes both. I had a really hard time reading this book, it just seemed like the same thing over and over again and after a while, I was terrible bored. I think they overdid it with nineteen so-so stories when several strong ones would have made this anthology a lot better. There were a few stories that I really liked, like Garth Nix's "Holly and Iron" about two princesses trying to take their home back and Patricia A. McKillip's "Naming Day" which was a lovely story about a young witch learning what's important in life. There were a few really interesting ones and I felt those were the ones that truly seemed magical to me. Some of the stories seemed superficial and just a filler for the book, there didn't seemed to be any point to them. Unfortunately, the overall theme seemed very cheesy to me and mediocre at best. I thought this book had the potential of being well, magical, but I was really disappointed.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mender

    This book was crazily difficult to find in the goodreads system. Too many books named Dark Alchemy, and apparently not linked up well to any of the authors. But we found it by ISBN so it does exist, and a thousand other people found it too. I liked a few of these stories, some of them I'd read before as they're excerpts from longer works. But the new author I liked was Kage Baker. I'm not sure I'd choose to read a long story in that style but as a short story about wizards it was pretty adorable. This book was crazily difficult to find in the goodreads system. Too many books named Dark Alchemy, and apparently not linked up well to any of the authors. But we found it by ISBN so it does exist, and a thousand other people found it too. I liked a few of these stories, some of them I'd read before as they're excerpts from longer works. But the new author I liked was Kage Baker. I'm not sure I'd choose to read a long story in that style but as a short story about wizards it was pretty adorable. Mostly I really need to stop picking up short stories. I feel at the end of it like I've run a marathon, where nothing was particularly bad, nothing long enough to be satisfying, and I feel like I've read 12 books and need a holiday.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Felicia

    I never really loved short story format, but I've been warming up to it since I've been trying to plow through books that have been sitting on my shelf for FOREVER. This compilation had some GREAT entries, all centering around the idea of wizards. Ones I loved the most were by Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Garth Nix and Kage Baker (who I have only read a few things by, must remedy!) A few were a little simplistic and young-adultish in tone, but still enjoyable. It's a fine line with fantasy/fol I never really loved short story format, but I've been warming up to it since I've been trying to plow through books that have been sitting on my shelf for FOREVER. This compilation had some GREAT entries, all centering around the idea of wizards. Ones I loved the most were by Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, Garth Nix and Kage Baker (who I have only read a few things by, must remedy!) A few were a little simplistic and young-adultish in tone, but still enjoyable. It's a fine line with fantasy/folktale, and these tales proved to be engrossing sometimes as a full length series. Very enjoyable!

  9. 4 out of 5

    PurplyCookie

    This anthology contains never-before-published stories by masters of fantasy: Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, Garth Nix, and a magical lineup of writers. Throughout the ages, the wizard has claimed a spot in human culture — from the shadowy spiritual leaders of early man to precocious characters in blockbuster films. Today's wizards are more subtle in their powers, more discerning in their ways, and-in the hands of modern fantasists — more likely than ever to capture readers' imaginations. The Witch's H This anthology contains never-before-published stories by masters of fantasy: Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, Garth Nix, and a magical lineup of writers. Throughout the ages, the wizard has claimed a spot in human culture — from the shadowy spiritual leaders of early man to precocious characters in blockbuster films. Today's wizards are more subtle in their powers, more discerning in their ways, and-in the hands of modern fantasists — more likely than ever to capture readers' imaginations. The Witch's Headstone by Neil Gaiman >> A story that'll be a part of Gaiman's soon to be released book "The Graveyard" about a boy who grew up in the graveyard. He asks the question whether people who take their own lives become happier afterwards. "It's like the people who believe they'll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn't work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you." Holly and Iron by Garth Nix >> Only one woman possesses two kinds of magic--enough to unite two kingdoms that have been at war for so long. Running away from one's destiny is futile if it meant the unification of all. Slightly reminiscent of the Arthurian legend of the sword-in-the-stone. Color Vision by Mary Rosenblum >> What if you could see colors in sounds? How would you move about in the world? A promising story but tended to get confusing towards at the end, with too many elements thrown in the mix. The Ruby Incomparable by Kage Baker >> I loved this story of a headstrong daughter from the marriage of the purest evil and the purest Good! I wish that the author would make a novel out of this story of Svnae--of her various adventures and exploits. Had a fantastic time reading it. A Fowl Tale by Eoin Colfer >> A famished dove spins a tale worthy of a meal (as was the custom in the old days), but perhaps not the exact truth. What'll happen to him when he's found out? Enjoyable short story on all accounts. Slipping Sideways Through Eternity by Jane Yolen >> Millions of devout Jews set a place for the prophet Elijah at the family table every Passover; what would happen if he does actually show up? A shade too religious for my taste; containing quite a narrative of the Holocaust and the Jewish Diaspora. The Stranger's Hands by Tad Williams >> What if you could obtain your Heart's desire through the use of magic from the most evil wizard of the time, would you do so? What if you yourself have no idea of your true Heart's desire, would you risk it anyways? Naming Day by Patricia McKillip >> This provided a sorcery student a lesson in breaking the rules, and of putting your family first before anything else. I so wanted to find out what was Averil's true name, but I guess that's a secret shared between mother & daughter. Winter's Wife by Elizabeth Hand >> An Icelandic bride in modern Maine makes elemental magic. "Hey, with a name like mine, where else you gonna find a wife?" Quite true, Mr. Winter. A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil's Ninth Question by Andy Duncan >> A confusing tale about a blessed girl having had the opportunity to meeting the widow of Flatland House and her 473 dead friends, singing a duet with the Devil's son-in-law and earning a wizard's anger by setting the former free. Barrens Dance by Peter Beagle >> A story about the intricacies of love and lust, obsession and devotion and of a wizard who performs his magic not by spells or wand waving, but by dancing. Stone Man by Nancy Kress >> A story with a very cocky, modern tone to it populated by the brotherhood of wizards in a modern-day city. Not to my liking due to all the peppering of expletives and the abruptness of its ending. The Manticore Spell by Jeffrey Ford >> What goes around, comes around even in the case of wizards and magical beasts. The story gets to be long-winded in its pacing so it might prove to be boring to some. Zinder by Tanith Lee >> What begins as your ordinary, oft-used Ugly Duckling story proves to be something else. I love Zinder--of the possibilities that are present with what he already possesses and of his conscious decision to use them for the good and never expecting anything in exchange. Billy and the Wizard by Terry Bisson >> I can't make sense of this short story of a boy finding the Devil rummaging in his garage, looking for a wizard trapped in a magazine. The Magikkers by Terry Dowling >> What is the difference between a magician and a magikker? I never thought that there was a difference at first. Better pick carefully if you can only perform one magical act your entire life as a magikker. Now, if it were me, I'd definitely be the predictable type. The Magic Animal by Gene Wolfe >> If you had the gift of understanding the speech of animals, would you help the world to be a better place? Take care of what you are prepared to sacrifice--it may lead to a broken heart. I liked the references to Merlin & the Lady of the Lake. Stonefather by Orson Scott Card >> A boy born in poverty who had to deal with contempt his entire life found himself relying on his natural abilities and wit to survive in a city populated by watermages. Book Details: Title Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy Author Edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois Reviewed By Purplycookie

  10. 4 out of 5

    Richa

    A collection of short stories is always a convenient and favoured medium for me. Especially when it has contributions from various authors, like this book. All the stories are equally gripping and intriguing. They are suitable for readers across all ages. Moreover, they all are basically hope-giving stories, even if the title gives the impression of darkness or dismail mood. I enjoyed all the stories. Full of magic, hope and charm, this book is worth every last penny spent.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Tim Hicks

    Good variety, quality authors. Recommended.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nerine Dorman

    This is one of those books that I bought ages and ages ago that just lurked on my TBR pile, making me feel awfully guilty for years. I'd thought, at the time of purchase, that this collection was for adults, and indeed there was no indication on the cover that this is a YA read, but there you have it. This is YA fantasy. Not that I'm complaining, because the stories were of a consistently high quality. I admit there is only one reason that I purchased the anthology, and that was because of Neil G This is one of those books that I bought ages and ages ago that just lurked on my TBR pile, making me feel awfully guilty for years. I'd thought, at the time of purchase, that this collection was for adults, and indeed there was no indication on the cover that this is a YA read, but there you have it. This is YA fantasy. Not that I'm complaining, because the stories were of a consistently high quality. I admit there is only one reason that I purchased the anthology, and that was because of Neil Gaiman – my reckoning being that any anthology he appears in will be of a sufficiently high standard, and overall, I wasn't wrong in this assumption. His story, "The Witch's Headstone" is part of the same setting as The Graveyard Book and really is as charming and dark as any typical Gaiman tale. Garth Nix's "Holly and Iron" goes back to the ancient conflict in the British Isles, stock standard fantasy fare and a tale underpinned by the bonds of blood ... and resolving ancient conflict. Kage Baker's "The Ruby Incomparable" gave me joy, as it harks back to classic-style storytelling that is conscious of itself within the framework of a god-like storyteller. A very well developed voice. It was lovely also to see a Peter S Beagle story here – "Barrens Dance" had all the wonderful mythic qualities that are hallmarks of his writing, even if I'll never be certain what exactly a shukri looks like, and maybe that's all right too... "The Manticore Spell" by Jeffrey Ford also struck me as a stand-out piece, with much sorrow and beauty attached to it. Of course Tanith Lee's inclusion with the story "Zinder" is a treat. She deserves far more mainstream recognition for her contribution to the genre over the years. The story itself is surprising, and takes twists and turns that I could not predict. Oh man, and the Gene Wolfe story, "The Magic Animal", was lovely. I can see why the editors left that one till almost last. I stopped reading there as Orson Scott Card is on my DNR list due to his attitude towards LGBTI people. I know folks say that one should separate the art from the artist, but I cannot in good conscience read his work.

  13. 4 out of 5

    David

    I think my favorite story was 'Stonefather.'

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    The first story in the collection, which also happened to be the first story I read, is “The Witch’s Headstone” by Neil Gaiman, the, as far as I’m concerned, Lord and Master of All Things Fantastical And Mysterious. “The Witch’s Headstone” later became a chapter in Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, which I’ve also read and reviewed before. However, I just had to read it again, both because I love Gaiman and because, to be honest, I was beginning to miss that Bod Owens. The story begins with Bod (short The first story in the collection, which also happened to be the first story I read, is “The Witch’s Headstone” by Neil Gaiman, the, as far as I’m concerned, Lord and Master of All Things Fantastical And Mysterious. “The Witch’s Headstone” later became a chapter in Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, which I’ve also read and reviewed before. However, I just had to read it again, both because I love Gaiman and because, to be honest, I was beginning to miss that Bod Owens. The story begins with Bod (short for Nobody) Owens investigating the story that a witch is buried outside of the graveyard in which he lives, on the consecrated ground. After questioning both his “parents” (quick note:: I’m glossing over a good deal of the backstory of Nobody Owens because it’s not talked about in “The Witch’s Headstone”. For the full details, see The Graveyard Book. For the purposes of this review, though, it should be known that Bod is an orphan who has been, essentially, communally adopted by a local graveyard and it’s inhabitants and has been given the “freedom of the graveyard”, meaning he can see and talk to all sorts of spirits normal people can’t) as well as his teachers and guardians, Bod decides he’d like to meet the witch. Unfortunately, Bod is a good boy and won’t violate the wishes of those who he’s supposed to obey. Perhaps it’s the power of the graveyard, then that sends him hurtling over the fence one day when the branch he’s sitting on in his favorite apple tree breaks. When he awakes, he sees the infamous witch, Elizabeth (Liza) Hempstock, standing over him. He questions her about her life as a witch, how she died, and the fact that all she wants more than anything now is a headstone, something to mark her burial space and, also, her existence. Bod then forms a plan to get Liza the headstone she seeks. Stealing an ancient and valuable amulet from the Sleer (WE ARE THE SLEER. WE GUARD. I have a friend who has that exact phrase tattooed on the back of her neck, fun little tidbit), an ancient crypt-monster, Bod heads to a local pawnshop to sell the snakestone. When Bod tells him he found the stone in a graveyard, the man becomes enraptured with greedy thoughts of mountains of treasure and locks Bod up in an office while he calls his business partner. It’s then that Liza shows up and, hearing what a nice thing Bod is doing for her, helps him to become invisible and escape, but not before Bod notices and absconds with a heavy stone paperweight on the desk. Bod quickly returns the amulet to the Sleer (IT ALWAYS COMES BACK) and, after recieving a thorough flogging from his parents, makes Liza’s headstone out of the paperweight he stole. He mows the grass over her burial site, and leaves the stone carved just how Liza requested it: E.H. We don’t forget. Perhaps the thing I love most about this story, and about Bod in general, is that he really is such a loving boy. Yes, he disobeys his parents. Yes, his curiosity can get him into trouble (we’re talking stolen by demons and taken almost to the gates of hell kind of trouble) but, at the end of the day, he’s generous and caring and a truly warm heart in the cemetary. I also think that Bod gives us the chance, as readers, to read a very well written narrative told in the voice of an ordinary child (Bod never gets to be older than his early teen years) which I think is especially interesting given the fact that Bod is, really, anything but ordinary. He lives in a cemetary, for God’s sake, which isn’t a good start. But Gaiman writes him with such sympathy and love that it’s kind of easy to forget all that. And just love Bod for Bod, which is the best any writer can do, I think – to get a reader to love a character for that character, flaws and all. I’m moving on now to “Color Vision” by Mary Rosenblum, another story in the Dark Alchemy collection, and I’m about a page in to it. So far it’s a little hard to get in to, but I also wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that I read it right after the Gaiman. After all, it’s hard to step away from the mastery Gaiman writes with when it comes to fantasy and fairy tales.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Eloise Sunshine

    It's a great example of how different we all are and how we perceive the world regarding some very common topics. Well, a number of fantasy writers were given the same task and same keyword, yet so amazingly different stories formed in their heads and came out as a compilation. Fantasy and ideas only enriches our world. Great many thanks and a deep bow before you, our modern Masters!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Phoenixfalls

    This was a strong collection of stories, though one definitely aimed at a young adult audience. The introductions to the collection (and to each of the authors) could have used some help, as they might as well have simply been a listed bibliography, but the authors selected ranged pretty widely across the SF and Fantasy map and very few of the selections were true clunkers. For me, the highlights were two stories by authors I had never read before: "The Ruby Incomparable," by Kage Baker, was a fu This was a strong collection of stories, though one definitely aimed at a young adult audience. The introductions to the collection (and to each of the authors) could have used some help, as they might as well have simply been a listed bibliography, but the authors selected ranged pretty widely across the SF and Fantasy map and very few of the selections were true clunkers. For me, the highlights were two stories by authors I had never read before: "The Ruby Incomparable," by Kage Baker, was a funny, wise little gem of a story, a perfect example of what fantasy short stories should be: just a glimpse, though a fantastic setting, of a truth about human nature. On the strength of this story I will be picking up some of her novels. "Barrens Dance," by Peter S. Beagle (who I have always intended to read but have never gotten around to) was a beautiful, melancholy love story on multiple levels and will probably stay with me some time. Some of my favorite authors' selections were a little disappointing to me: Patricia McKillip (who is always worthwhile simply for the quality of her prose) is not as strong at the short story length as she is at novel length, and that showed in her story, though from another author I might have been impressed with her coming-of-age tale; and Orson Scott Card's novella which closed the volume had me involved and invested until the end, when he rushed through a climax that was MUCH too large for the story's length. The novella apparently is set in the world of his next novel, and I expect the novel will be much more satisfying. "The Witch's Headstone" by Neil Gaiman, was intriguing enough that I am moderately interested in the YA novel set in the same world (The Graveyard Book); "Winter's Wife" by Elizabeth Hand had some haunting moments, "The Stranger's Hands" by Tad Williams would have been impressively thought-provoking if he didn't spell out the issue he was trying to convey (but it is a YA collection, so maybe that is allowable); "The Manticore Spell" was sweet but forgettable; I was thoroughly enjoying "The Magikkers" by Terry Dowling until I finished it, when it immediately prompted a "but why?". Two stories were resonant in a way unusual for this collection: both "A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil's Ninth Question" by Andy Duncan and "The Magic Animal" by Gene Wolfe were clearly stories about something important, and I spent some time pondering them, but they left me kind of cold and just a little confused as to what, exactly, their message was. But there were surprisingly few stories I really disliked. "Holly and Iron" by Garth Nix was simply too large a story for novella-length, and I spent the entire time being annoyed at its heroine; "A Fowl Tale" by Eoin Colfer seemed a total waste of space -- it wasn't funny, as it was meant to be, and absolutely nothing happened in it; "Zinder" by Tanith Lee was an ugly tale with absolutely no plot or conflict to resolve, it was just a picture of ugliness. But that's only 1/9 of the stories (53 out of 400 pages) so on the whole, I can recommend this collection to any fan of magic-oriented fantasy.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Wealhtheow

    Neil Gaiman's "The Witch's Headstone" is a weird little tale of a boy living in a graveyard, surrounded by ghosts--they are also his teachers and only friends. Garth Nix's "Holly and Iron" is a novel take on the Norman conquest and the Robin Hood legend. "The Ruby Incomparable" is another wonderful tale by Kage Baker, and shares many characters with The Anvil of the World. Jane Yolen's "slipping Sideways Through Eternity" actually plagirizes *herself*, which takes doing (it's a terrible, pat, sh Neil Gaiman's "The Witch's Headstone" is a weird little tale of a boy living in a graveyard, surrounded by ghosts--they are also his teachers and only friends. Garth Nix's "Holly and Iron" is a novel take on the Norman conquest and the Robin Hood legend. "The Ruby Incomparable" is another wonderful tale by Kage Baker, and shares many characters with The Anvil of the World. Jane Yolen's "slipping Sideways Through Eternity" actually plagirizes *herself*, which takes doing (it's a terrible, pat, short-story version of The Devil's Arithmatic). Terry Dowling's "The Magikkers" tells the story of a school for magic--but unlike other magic schools, each student can only perform one piece of true magic. Will they keep it for themselves? Or "share" it with the headmaster? Creepily enough, the latter choice is the one the author favors. Orson Scott Card's "Stonefather" might have been a good story (I liked the world building) except that once again, it's the tale of a young, righteous man who upholds truth, justice and his own personal religion against the thoughtless cruelties of his fellows. In the end, of course the mocking, high-spirited girl says "I'm only a weak-skinned girl" before aquiesscing to be his nurturing mother/wife figure. Yay!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Muntz

    This is mostly a pretty bad anthology. There are a lot of good authors, a lot of them very good at novel-length, and I liked the idea (there's something about the traditional wizard and variations on it that resonates with me when I think about it abstractly, I don't know--like it's almost never something I enjoy in real stories but in principle I feel like I like the idea), but hardly any of the stories were any good. My favorite in the collection--the Manticore Spell by Jeffrey Ford, which is This is mostly a pretty bad anthology. There are a lot of good authors, a lot of them very good at novel-length, and I liked the idea (there's something about the traditional wizard and variations on it that resonates with me when I think about it abstractly, I don't know--like it's almost never something I enjoy in real stories but in principle I feel like I like the idea), but hardly any of the stories were any good. My favorite in the collection--the Manticore Spell by Jeffrey Ford, which is sort of a masterpiece of fantasy and lyrical surrealism--I'd already been through in another collection, but I liked the stories by Andy Duncan and Peter Beagle even if I didn't love them. There was a decent story from Tad Williams, and one from Elizabeth Hand that came from a collection I'd read... where I skipped it originally. (That one started excellent but finished flat for me.) The story from Gene Wolfe--probably my favorite author, though I tend not to like his short fiction--was one of his worst, which was pretty disappointing. I read a few others but thought they were completely awful. So yeah: I really liked the idea of this anthology but it wasn't so good. I can live with that but I wouldn't suggest it to anyone.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Steve Cran

    These two gentlemen have comiled a colletion of short stories about wizards and and other people who do magic. They have collected at the time it was writen nver before published writing samples fro the likes o Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Jane Yolen ,Eoin Colfer and others. The stories are very enterntaining and enjoyable to read. Stories have such plots as a boy who is raised in a graveyard does a favor for a witch. While out of the graveyard he gets in trouble and the dead witch helps him out. In H These two gentlemen have comiled a colletion of short stories about wizards and and other people who do magic. They have collected at the time it was writen nver before published writing samples fro the likes o Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Jane Yolen ,Eoin Colfer and others. The stories are very enterntaining and enjoyable to read. Stories have such plots as a boy who is raised in a graveyard does a favor for a witch. While out of the graveyard he gets in trouble and the dead witch helps him out. In Holly and Iron two sisters who are related to the Normans and British kings rebel against Norman rule of Britain. One sister dies in battle and the other goes seraching for vengeance. The ending is quite a surprise. SOme of the stores take place in a fantasy world while others occur in different versions of Historical reality. Some stories take place in modern times. A good idea for this book is to take note of the authors you like best and explore their work further,

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kylie

    I put this off for a while, as anthologies can be hit-or-miss for me but I ended up liking half of the stories, some of them a lot - which is reasonably rare. The thing I didn't like about it is that it's one of those anthologies that lists the authors achievements before the story. To me it feels like trying to prove the author's credentials somehow, I prefer to have the story stand by itself and have the author biographies afterwards, or all collected together at the end.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Eleanor

    I absolutely loved this collection. From the first story to the last one, Orson Scott Card's Stonefather, I was entranced.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jarad Johnson

    Wizards, witches, warlocks, enchanters, have all captivated humanity since the beginning of time, whether they be the mysterious shamans from the time of early man or the fascinating and powerful characters in blockbuster films. In these new stories by some very well-known and prolific authors in the fantasy genre, every point on the spectrum of mages is explored, from Harry Potter-esque stories about children discovering their hidden talents to epic battles between warring wizards. I enjoyed al Wizards, witches, warlocks, enchanters, have all captivated humanity since the beginning of time, whether they be the mysterious shamans from the time of early man or the fascinating and powerful characters in blockbuster films. In these new stories by some very well-known and prolific authors in the fantasy genre, every point on the spectrum of mages is explored, from Harry Potter-esque stories about children discovering their hidden talents to epic battles between warring wizards. I enjoyed almost every story. The ones I didn’t like I felt were either not relevant to the overall tone of the collection or were ideas and themes meant to be expounded upon in a full-fledged novel. Usually, I generally avoid short story collections because I find that many of the stories presented would have made better novels, but this was very well done. But, there are some stories in this collection that I felt deviated from the title. Some were not even about sorcerers, but made a vague reference to them in the story. Not that the stories were not good, I just don’t think that they belong in this collection. However, there were a few in here that were, frankly, bad. Poorly written, childish and simple plots that were not enjoyable. But they were precious few, and for a short story collection, I think that speaks to the overall talent of the authors presented. For me, the most outstanding piece in the whole collection was the very last, called Stonefather. It detailed the journey of a boy named Runnel, who runs away from a family that he feels will not miss him and geos to the neighboring city to seek a better life, a city ruled by Watermages, who fear the powerful Stonemage that Runnel is employed by and others like him. Throughout, we see Runnel discover his hidden talents and help to bring harmony to the city he lives in. I would love to gush about every detail of this story, I sadly must move on. Although it was my favorite, the progression of events throughout was a little fast paced. I would love to see this turned into a novel. You could theoretically spend several chapters talking about Runnel’s home life. Some of these stories were not great, for various reasons. This was sadly the case with Holly and Iron, by Garth Nix. I really hate to say that about Nix, because I loved the Abhorsen series he wrote, is one of the best fantasy series that I have come across. But this would have been better as a novel. There was not enough substance, and the epic plot he presented did not fit on thirty-five pages. It needed a whole book to be effectively told. It details, somewhat like Stonefather, the battle of two warring factions of sorcerers, who have different abilities. Its main character is the princess of the losing side, who is destined to unite her people. What I really like is that the story bears a strong resemblance to the tale of King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone. There was another outstanding story in this collection, The Strangers Hands, by Tad Williams. In my opinion, it leaned more towards fable than story. It details the account of small town that receives a new visitor who performs miracles by touch, somewhat reminiscent of The Green Mile, but that was as far as the similarities went. A wizard comes into town to counsel the local priest about the matter, and discovers that the stranger is one of the darkest wizards of their time, a Voldemort-like figure. He is mortal enemies to a powerful sorcerer, who is summoned to deal with the matter. The plot seesm predictable, but it does not go where you expect it to. In one of the stories that caught my attention, the author wrote a strong friendship between a Christian priest and powerful Wizard. The relationship in the story is a normal one. I thought nothing of it, at first. But in a time of great division, it’s important to talk about unity. I may be wrong, but by writing these two characters as friends, I think the author may have had another message to the story. Many faiths around the world demonize or fear a religion that is not theirs. They deem them heretics, and sinners. This has been seen in many wars and conflicts throughout history, but it’s also true in day to day interactions for many people. I’m a great believer in the phrase, “people often fear what they don’t understand.” That applies to everything, whether it be a person’s religion, nationality, or the color of their skin. But by making these two interact like they do, may be a subtle message of acceptance and tolerance, which is something that we could all use more of, even when our representatives don’t reflect that. Finally, there was a story that really got on my nerves, The Fowl’s Tale, by Eoin Colfer. It was the story of a bird that claims he is the lost prince of a prominent kingdom. I just really felt that this did not belong here. The only mention of sorcery was that a magic ring supposedly turned the prince into a bird, but even this to me was reaching a bit too far to be classified as a tale of wizardry. I don’t know if this was a matter of lazy editing, or a thoughtless attempt at adding diversity to the collection, but it did not work. In summary, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Overall, I found most of the stories to be thoughtful and engaging. Some, of course, were a miss but I think that’s sort of normal for a collection of stories. Very rarely will you find one where you love every single installment. I hope to read more collections in the future.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jay Odd

    Dark Alchemy is a collection of short stories suited to those who love fantasy, wizard/mage stories in particular. Some stories are traditional and some are modern. I think that if you come to this book having a fondness for one style, you’ll come away from it with a taste for the other too. I usually like my fantasy to be dark or comic, or both (think Discworld or Dunsany). But I found myself really enjoying some of the higher fantasy stories and even some of the urban tales, which I often strug Dark Alchemy is a collection of short stories suited to those who love fantasy, wizard/mage stories in particular. Some stories are traditional and some are modern. I think that if you come to this book having a fondness for one style, you’ll come away from it with a taste for the other too. I usually like my fantasy to be dark or comic, or both (think Discworld or Dunsany). But I found myself really enjoying some of the higher fantasy stories and even some of the urban tales, which I often struggle to get on with. I mean, ooookay, I totally found myself, like, enjoying being in the world of the teenagers in Mary Rosenblum’s Color Vision (ok, I’ll stop that now). Melanie is friends with a mysterious boy named Cris who spends his time sitting in a wheelchair in an overgrown garden. Together with another friend, Jeremy, they embark on a dangerous adventure involving magical trees and a form of synesthesia which is even harder to explain than the real thing. There’s even a tree fort to really get you wrapped up in adolescent reminiscence. The stories which really stood out for me were Orson Scott Card’s Stonefather, Neil Gaiman’s The Witch’s Headstone, Garth Nix’s Holly and Iron and Peter S. Beagle’s Barrens Dance. Stonefather was the last story in the book and I read it in the bath, resulting in one of those I’ll just try a quick short story… I’m engrossed… that was great… argh it’s cold scenarios. It’s probably the most traditional story in the book and perhaps unnecessarily rambling at times, but it’s got some great imagery and a believable folk-lore feel to it. The Witch’s Headstone was the first story in the book (good editing there Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois) and is a proper, feel-good, typically Gaiman tale. It’s full of likeable characters and fuzzy feelings without seeming like it’s only written for kids. Holly and Iron showed some great writing by Garth Nix. Barrens Dance has made me want to check out more of Peter S. Beagle’s work, an author I’m not familiar with. It was an intriguing story with an intelligent writing style. It’s told directly to the reader by the narrator and it’s easy to imagine sitting around a fire, listening to this storyteller. It’s also worth mentioning Tad Williams’ The Stranger’s Hands, Patricia A. McKillip’s Naming Day, Terry Dowling’s The Magikkers and Gene Wolfe’s The Magic Animal. All of these were solid stories, good enough to make me want to read more by each author. I’d love to read a novel-length version of The Stranger’s Hands. A mystery man who says nothing but grants people’s wishes by clutching their hands is a great premise. Naming Day was a little too Harry Potter-ish for me (sorry, I’m not a fan), but it was certainly great fun to read and a sweet tale of adolescent friendship. The Magikkers and The Magic Animal are both wonderful stories and more traditional in style than many in the book. Review from Examining the Odd - https://examiningtheodd.com/2018/01/1...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Guy Haley

    Short story collections are among the best of books, each a chest full of who knows what treasures. Mostly these are gathered from all over the place, heaps of literary spoils of various provenance. It’s not so often that you get one like this, where each story has been specifically crafted for the collection, like the contents of a cabinet of curiosities… The 18 authors in the book were asked to write a story about wizards. Perhaps it is the subject matter, but the result is a set of curiously s Short story collections are among the best of books, each a chest full of who knows what treasures. Mostly these are gathered from all over the place, heaps of literary spoils of various provenance. It’s not so often that you get one like this, where each story has been specifically crafted for the collection, like the contents of a cabinet of curiosities… The 18 authors in the book were asked to write a story about wizards. Perhaps it is the subject matter, but the result is a set of curiously similar tales. Most involve children, with the discovery of magic in the mundane a favoured topic. (Though Neil Gaiman reverses this in his “The Witch’s Headstone”, having his juvenile protagonist venture from a magical world into a prosaic one). Even Gene Wolfe’s “The Magic Animal” casts Merlin and his paramour Viviane as kids. This gives a strangely one-sided experience, as if unconsciously all these authors feel that magic can only be experienced by children. Or perhaps that adult wizards are by inclination evil, as Peter S Beagle’s Carcharos, Kage Barker’s The Master of the Mountain and Tad William’s Elizar the Devourer. Even when grown-up magic-users do feature – good or evil – they are nearly always seen through the eyes of children. The discovery of magical or other powers has been used as a metaphor for growing up for so long that it is deeply ingrained in our culture, but its overuse as such here does make you wish for a couple of tales about adults along the lines of Clark Ashton Smith’s seminal Eibon stories. There are a couple of tales in here that feel like dry runs for multi-part epics. Among these is “Holly and Iron” by Garth Nix, which takes us to an alternative past where Norman Iron mages battle Saxon Holly wizards (one small point about this tale – the name Robin, as used for a girl, is of relatively recent, American provenance). The ending positively shouts out “more to come”. Likewise Orson Scott Card’s “The Stonefather”, which is flagged as a preview to his Mithermages series, due in 2008. Still, although these seem cynically placed, they add to a rich mix of varied fiction (children in common aside) that takes in dark, contemporary, and heroic fantasy. This is a very good collection, and if the stories appear a little unfocused, probably a consequence of asking authors to write about a particular subject, they are all well told, and more than a few beautifully written. Well worth the cash. The Stories Because Death Ray does not do things by halves, here are all the stories reviewed and rated. The Witch’s Headstone by Neil Gaiman (24pp) Small boy being raised in a graveyard by a fantastical cast of undead characters ventures into the mundane world to find a memorial for a dead witch. Atmospheric, but a little hollow. FOUR STARS Holly and Ironby Garth Nix (33pp) Estranged, half-Saxon daughter of the Duke of Normandy abandons her struggle against her father’s people and embraces her dual magical nature. Derivative, historically false, girl has a boy’s name. Never read Garth Nix before, and from this I can’t see what the fuss is about. THREE STARS Color Vision by Mary Rosenblum (25pp) Kid with synaesthesia gets drawn into magical struggle with Highlander-like uber-wiz sucking out other’s wizards souls. Nothing new here. THREE STARS The Ruby Incomparable by Kage Barker (16pp) Daughter of the world’s most evil overlord and its most wholesome saint struggles with what she will do with her own life. Nicely humorous, pacy fable about our wishes for our children. FOUR STARS A Fowl Tale Eoin Colfer (6pp) Silly story about a compulsively lying parrot. Fun stuff from the author of Artemis Fowl. THREE AND A HALF STARS Slipping Sideways Through Eternity by Jane Yolen (14pp) A young jewish girl is transported through time by the prophet Elijah, who here is cast as a chronology-bending wizard. Serious, though optimistic, tale about the Jewish diaspora and holocaust. THREE AND A HALF STARS The Stranger’s Hands by Tad Williams (20pp) Mysterious stranger turns up in backward village and begins granting all and sundry their heart’s desire, to no ill effect. But is he as good as he seems? All things need opposition, magic is no different. Nice sketch on that subject. FOUR STARS Naming Day by Patricia A Mckillip (14pp) Wizards at school await their magical names, but typical teenager Averil gets sidetracked. Or does she? Perhaps we all take our parents for granted, and foolishly deny them their own power in our youthful arrogance… THREE AND A HALF STARS Winter’s Wife by Elizabeth Hand (34pp) Nice local hippy gets a strange wife from Iceland whom he meets over the internet. She’s lovely, but she’s far more than she seems, as young Justin discovers. The best of the “children see magic” stories in this book. FOUR STARS A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil’s Ninth Question by Andy Duncan (32pp) Whimsical story about a young girl in the 19th century coming into her power. Lovely imagery, nice beat. FIVE STARS Barrens Dance by Peter S Beagle (15pp) Beautifully written story about the evil, dancing wizard Carcharos pursuing another man’s wife. All smooth phrases and languid imagery, sadly it goes a bit Animal Magic at the end. FOUR AND A HALF STARS Stone Man by Nancy Kress (20pp) Yet another “kid discovers power”, and a precursor to a longer saga to boot, it would appear. Teenage protagonist nicely drawn, but it doesn’t really go anywhere. THREE STARThe Manticore Spell by Jeffrey Ford (19pp) Wonderfully technicolor story complete with deliciously over the top description of the titular mythical beastie. The only story here that really deals with the magical fantasy staple of Thinning, which is odd if you think about it. FIVE STARS Zinder by Tanith Lee (14pp) A great little story about a village idiot who has a nocturnal life as the world’s most powerful wizard. Beautiful, moving and magical. FIVE STARS Billy and the Wizard by Terry Bisson (7pp) Boy with talking doll saves the day and foils the devil’s plan. Sharp dialogue, a little cracker. FOUR AND A HALF STARS The Magikkers by Terry Dowling (15pp) A bit of a different take on wizard school. “Magikkers” only have one act of magic in them. Which will Samuel choose? THREE AND A HALF STARS The Magic Animal by Gene Wolfe (27pp) Viviane the American teenager must work hard to make sure Merlin the Wizard is in the right place at the right time to save the past, present, and future. An unusually straightforward story from the master of literary ambiguity that does not require years of cogitation to grasp. FOUR AND A HALF STARS Stonefather by Orson Scott Card (74pp) Ender’s Game author sets up his new fantasy world with this novella about a boy who discovers his power over stone (the second such elemental mage in the book). Excellent if formulaic heroic fantasy. FOUR STARS

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lafourche Parish Library

    Our world moves at a pace that makes it hard for people to carve out time to sit somewhere quiet and read. This can be especially hard for fans of the fantasy genre, which is well known for its trilogies and sagas and other formats that run so long that a busy reader looking to choose their next book could easily worry about the possibility of forgetting much of the beginning by the time they reach the end. That's not even getting into how many single volumes are heavy enough to work as effectiv Our world moves at a pace that makes it hard for people to carve out time to sit somewhere quiet and read. This can be especially hard for fans of the fantasy genre, which is well known for its trilogies and sagas and other formats that run so long that a busy reader looking to choose their next book could easily worry about the possibility of forgetting much of the beginning by the time they reach the end. That's not even getting into how many single volumes are heavy enough to work as effective doorstops. Fortunately, there is a format perfect for people who lack much time to read: short story anthologies. Wizards edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois is a particularly fine example. Collecting eighteen stories, including ones by such giants in the genre as Neil Gaiman, Jane Yolen, Peter S. Beagle, and Tanith Lee, a reader will find delightful, self-contained stories of people who take fate into their hands and shape their worlds, some for the better, some for the worse, all for the interesting. Not only is this a fine pick for a time-strapped fan of the genre, it also covers a wide enough selection within it to serve as a sampler for people who have been wanting to give literary fantasy a try but do not know where to start. Whether you are an old fan or a curious newcomer, you likely haven't read all eighteen authors before, so there's a chance this book will lead you to your next favorite writer. ARE YOU AND THIS BOOK A GOOD MATCH? DISCOVER MORE WITH NOVELIST APPEALS GENRE: Adult Books for Young Adults; Anthologies; Fantasy Fiction SUBJECT: Magic (Occultism); Wizards - Catherine, Librarian

  26. 5 out of 5

    Treece

    Intro It's only fair that with all the effort the publisher and editor took to create this anthology, I should give it some extra attention. The line up of writers are A-listers and this was a red-carpet affair of a book. I value the fact I could grab it at my local library. The exposure to writers I am not familiar with was really great. I can go out support them as well as the authors who I cherish and have devoted my time to for years. There's a connecting theme throughout the anthology, or con Intro It's only fair that with all the effort the publisher and editor took to create this anthology, I should give it some extra attention. The line up of writers are A-listers and this was a red-carpet affair of a book. I value the fact I could grab it at my local library. The exposure to writers I am not familiar with was really great. I can go out support them as well as the authors who I cherish and have devoted my time to for years. There's a connecting theme throughout the anthology, or conflict, if you will, of people vs. society; family, friendships, and our place in the world, where we transcend the self and discover love, kindness, and what it means to make a positive difference in all our relationships. Now, on to the good stuff. The stories- Zinder, was written by my favorite author(of all time since I first started reading sci-fi), The Incomparable, Tanith Lee. Her story is located more than half-way through the book. The editors knew how to space things out to keep me reading. Ms. Lee is a British author who has a prolific career and an amazing body of work that stretches back to the 70's and crosses the genres of sci-fi, horror,and fantasy; adult and YA; t.v. and film. The fact she was featured in this work is why I was able to appreciate this collection more. She is one of the classic writers and has influenced Gaiman, and others not featured, such as Storm Constantine. Zinder is a creatively wonderful take on the the Ugly Duckling tale filled with magic, humor, lore, and the message beauty is defined by action(s): making the world a happier and better place wherever and however you can. The Witch's Headstone by Neil Gaiman sparkles with the author's familiar witty narration style; drawing you in from the first sentence and keeping you there until the final moment. He takes symbolism, metaphor and simile to a meteoric level of writing that doesn't bloat you with academic foolishness whether you're well read or not. Gaiman knows how to enchant, how to tell a story. He is the wizard of writing. I smiled when I finished reading and remembered my childhood adventures, and learning how to care for others even when society said I should not. Holly and Iron by Garth Nix did not disappoint me. I always wanted to read something by this author and was pleased and thrilled with his writing style. The way he uses Anglo-Saxon mythology and crosses it with history and magic is brilliant. It doesn't hurt that the heroine, Robin, kicks butt and takes you along for this fast-paced ride. After reading The Ruby Incomparable by Kage Barker, I want to look for more of her work. She has a dry and sly sense of humor. It doesn't hurt she knows how to spin a fine yarn using mythic tradition and arch-types. Since she made her debut in the late-90's I'm sure she has tons of work for me to look forward to. Sadly, she passed away four years ago, and was only 45 years old. Tad Williams is brilliant; if Gaiman is the wizard of writing, he is the mage of plot twists and turns, with layered characterization and masterful insights. The Stranger's Hands, which examines human nature, the concepts of good and evil, and how what's buried in our hearts effects the outcomes of our actions. So much happens in this story that you go away with questions and more. Naming Day by Patricia McKillip reminds me of why this author just keeps on getting better and better. If Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, and Jane Yolen had a child, then it is Patricia McKillip. I'm always sucked in and held captive by her characters and plot line. She's wonderful. This story was a fun coming of age tale mirroring Baker's The Incomparable Ruby in ways that mattered most. Elizabeth Hand's Winter's Wife started off with loads of promise, awesome characters, and superb narrative, until it was stunted with too much metaphoric symbolism. Darn it. I had such high hopes for this. The ending wasn't at all bad, darkly humorous and satisfying. Still, in the middle, more should have been less. Andy Duncan's A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or the Devil's Ninth Question just pissed me off. It was junky; overblown narration, irritating to the extreme, and smug nerd posturing. Preening in terms of language, and, "Oh, look at how smart I am and all the stuff I know" as part of a skit of characters I could care less about. A brainiac wankfest hoarding knowledge and skill by force feeding it all into no plot until it burst open and stank. I choked on every overdone sentence and paragraph, grateful that writers like Hemingway understood how to use language at it's bare bones to create something crisp and clean to read while pounding out an amazing short story. This was a stuffed do-do bird of a piece that needs to collect dust somewhere. Nancy Kress' Stone Man is a good story but she lost me by trying to be too hip and smart. Sorry. I have read better stories by her, and this measured up and then puttered out at the end. Glad that Zinder followed close behind this to redeem my loss of faith as I floundered about upset because Stone Man had a lot going for it. Billy and the Wizard by Terry Bisson is hysterical and nothing you will expect. A must read and very funny! The writing is sharp and clean, and Bisson knows how to use satire to make a sharp point and drive it into the funny bone, while tying everything up right and tight. Go team Terry Bisson! Gene Wolf and Terry Dowling are superior writers. That's my disclaimer. For this anthology, their efforts forced me towards the last story, Orson Scott Card's Stonefather, which was by far the longest. The story is poignant, wonderful and lyrical, with superior dialogue. Card is The Master of the mouth and conversing in anything he writes. This was a strong ending to the entire anthology. Dowling or Wolf failed to keep my interest. Same thing with Jane Yolen, a knife-edge author with mad skills and an impressive career. My issue with anything I read by Yolen is her stories tend to be bogged down with too much muckedy muck. I'm glad I grabbed Wizards. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy magic and tales of magic users. There are more solid stories than bad in this collection to keep you involved. Grab a copy and enjoy!

  27. 4 out of 5

    S.S.

    I originally bought this book because I thought the cover was really eye-catching and because I saw that one of the stories included was written by Neil Gaiman. I'm a relatively new fan to his work and so didn't want to pass up the chance to read another of his stories. I am glad that I bought it, as I really enjoyed it. Every story focussed on magic or magicians in some way, which is a theme I always enjoy a lot. Like with all anthologies, some stories worked for me whilst other didn't, althoug I originally bought this book because I thought the cover was really eye-catching and because I saw that one of the stories included was written by Neil Gaiman. I'm a relatively new fan to his work and so didn't want to pass up the chance to read another of his stories. I am glad that I bought it, as I really enjoyed it. Every story focussed on magic or magicians in some way, which is a theme I always enjoy a lot. Like with all anthologies, some stories worked for me whilst other didn't, although I wouldn't necessarily say that any of them were particularly horrible. They just didn't work for me this time. I thought that the stories were all really well written (some more so than others.) My favourites were, of course, Neil Gaiman's 'The Witch's Headstone', Garth Nix's 'Holly and Iron', Elizabeth Hand's 'Winter's Wife' and Tanith Lee's 'Zinder'. This is something that I know I will enjoy again when I return to it in the future.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Mark Buxton

    This book is a collection of short stories written by some of the most popular authors of our time. Neil Gaiman shares the tale of a young boy and the ghost of a graveyard witch, while Jane Yolen describes a young girl's rescue mission back to a concentration camp in 1943. As the book title foretells, the common element among the stories is the presence of magic, usually with wizards. The collection has a nice variety of short and long stories with a full range of intensities. Eoin Colfer shares This book is a collection of short stories written by some of the most popular authors of our time. Neil Gaiman shares the tale of a young boy and the ghost of a graveyard witch, while Jane Yolen describes a young girl's rescue mission back to a concentration camp in 1943. As the book title foretells, the common element among the stories is the presence of magic, usually with wizards. The collection has a nice variety of short and long stories with a full range of intensities. Eoin Colfer shares a short one about a hungry albino parrot, while Garth Nix spins a tale about a young girl's struggle for revenge to control "Ingland". Nix's 36-page chapter would actually make a nice, full novel. Many of the authors' contributions include valuable lessons for characters and readers alike, almost like fables, although the messages aren't always spelled out. Overall, it's a very entertaining book if you're looking for short stories written by accomplished authors of middle grade fantasy.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Սամուէլ

    Having taken a three year break between reading the first half and second half of this anthology, I feel obligated to write a review. Wizards caught my eye initially because of its title and cover art, but when I noticed Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Eoin Colfer and Orson Scott Card in the mix, I knew had to read it. I've decided to write about each of the stories within out of respect to each story and its author, also to revisit the ones I read three years ago. The Witch's Headstone -Neil Gaiman Altho Having taken a three year break between reading the first half and second half of this anthology, I feel obligated to write a review. Wizards caught my eye initially because of its title and cover art, but when I noticed Neil Gaiman, Garth Nix, Eoin Colfer and Orson Scott Card in the mix, I knew had to read it. I've decided to write about each of the stories within out of respect to each story and its author, also to revisit the ones I read three years ago. The Witch's Headstone -Neil Gaiman Although it was so long ago, I remember this being a cute story, that itself was an excerpt from The Graveyard Book. Holly and Iron -Garth Nix Possibly my favorite story of the collection that dealt with two main types of magic - "Inglish" and "Norman." If nothing else, I would suggest this story. Color Vision -Mary Rosenblum I don't remember a lot about his one, but it neither stuck out as particularly good, nor particularly bad. The Ruby Incomparable -Kage Baker Very short, kind of confusing but an interesting world. Looking back at it didn't bring any particular feelings of awe or the opposite. A Fowl Tale -Eoin Colfer So incredibly short! Nevertheless, worthwhile read, interesting idea concerning what a "wizard" is. Slipping Sideways Through Eternity -Jane Yolen It's very easy to not realize that when religion in involved in fantasy stories, it is almost exclusively some strand of suspicion or legend that stems from Western Christianity. Not necessarily my favorite story ever, but probably the first that I've read which fuses Judaism with fantasy. The Stranger's Hands -Tad Williams I don't really remember what William's story was about, and can therefore neither laud, nor critique it. Naming Day -Patricia A. McPhillip Love, love, loved this story. Hilarious, engaging, amazing world. I want to know more about this world than was contained in the (relatively) short story though! Winter's Wife -Elizabeth Hand Interesting take on what exactly a "wizard" is, but I'm very glad this story was included in the anthology. A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil's Ninth Question -Andy Duncan What a peculiar tale. As indicated by the title, reading Duncan's story will make you a bit mystified, a bit confused, and a bit gratified. I will note that the narrator is very skilled at writing believable (at least to a man) from the perspective of a teenage girl. Barrens Dance -Peter S. Beagle I loved the world, I don't remember getting too close to the characters though because of the folk-y medieval narration style. Stone Man -Nancy Kress I was not expecting to like this short story as much as I did. At the end I really wanted to know what was going to happen next. I was also curious as to the size of the city it takes place in. Very engaging, but leaves the reader wanting more. The Manticore Spell -Jeffrey Ford Ford's story seemed a bit too short to convey everything that he was trying to in this story. I'm not a hundred percent sure what exactly this world was all about, and unfortunately, even just a few days later I don't remember what exactly the plot was about either. Zinder -Tanith Lee Zinder is a great example of how violence and action are not always necessary in a fantasy story. Zinder, the main character, is such a great character. Although there's relatively little dialogue, the reader grows to truly like him. Billy and the Wizard -Terry Bisson The narration was not my favorite because of how childish it was, and it seemed unnecessarily difficult to follow what was going on - especially given the simplicity of the narration. The Magikkers -The Magic Animal Sometimes when you read a book or a story, you really feel that a world is populated, and sometimes you feel that you've seen everything there is to see. I think perhaps with The Magikkers I saw all that there was to see. Nice story, but not increadbily engaging. Stonefather -Orson Scott Card I was expecting a lot out of Orson Scott Card's because it was so long and the very last story. It took me a bit longer to get invested in Stonefather than some of the other stories, but I really did feel the magic that he described and he made me think about stone and water in ways that I hadn't. The editors noted that this story takes place in the same world as some of his other works, and it would be interesting to see other parts of this world, but I'm not eager enough to prioritize it over my other books to read. In summary, my favorite stories would have to be Nix's Holly and Iron, McPhillip's Naming Day and Stoneman by Kress. Interestingly, one takes place in a medieval world, that is most likely the real world, the second is a contemporary world similar to but definitley not the same as ours and the last was urban fantasy in what we could believe is our world. Many of the stories such as Stonefather take place in a different, medieval-esque world. I very much appreciated the variety of settings and different types of wizards. The editors did a very good job in collecting these in my opinion, and although it took me a while, I'm very glad I read this anthology.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Grant Van wingerden

    As a comic fan of old, I parted from others by not also embracing fantasy and science fiction to any degree. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection. It didn't hurt obviously that there's a Neil Gaiman story as I was just ahead of the curve in collecting The Sandman and other similarly fine works. But there is no story here, even from authors I'm not familiar with, that isn't unique and worth reading. Recommended.

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