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Legends, Volume 1 [Hardcover]

Stephen King , Orson Scott Card , Robert Silverberg
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Description

From Amazon

Acclaimed writer and editor Robert Silverberg gathered 11 of the finest writers in fantasy to contribute to this collection of short novels. Each of the writers was asked to write a new story based on one of his or her most famous series, and the results are wonderful. From Stephen King's opening piece set in his popular Gunslinger universe to Robert Jordan's early look at his famed Wheel of Time saga, these stories are exceptionally well written and universally well told. The authors include King, Jordan, and Silverberg himself, as well as Terry and Lyn Pratchett, Terry Goodkind, Orson Scott Card, Ursula K. Le Guin, Tad Williams, George R.R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, and Raymond E. Feist. This is not only a great book in and of itself, but it's also a perfect way for fantasy fans to find new novels and authors to add to their "to read" lists. --Craig E. Engler --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

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 Silverberg collects 11 previously unpublished short "novels" by genre celebrities, each a window on a sprawling saga that has shaped the way modern fantasy fiction is written and read.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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Orson Scott Card, Ursula Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan, et al. It reads like a who's who of modern sf/fantasy writers. This anthology is a stellar compilation of new stories by 11 masters of the genre, with each tale set in a well-established and well-loved universe. Stephen King leads off with a grisly but compelling episode in the Dark Tower saga. Terry Pratchett's offering is an amusing incident in his Discworld series; editor Silverberg revisits the Majipoor of Lord Valentine; Tad Williams tells a haunting story that stems from his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy; and Raymond Feist spins a poignant tale of revenge within his Riftwar setting. Fans of Jordan's massive Wheel of Time saga will be especially interested to learn just how Lan and Moiraine first met and how their search for the baby who would become the Dragon Reborn began. Silverberg sets the scene with a fine introduction to fantasy in general and the contributors in particular; each of the novellas is preceded not only by an introductory note on the saga involved but also by a listing of all the books in the series to date. What is so noteworthy about this collection is the fact that all the selections are first rate and are well integrated into their universes, making the book a bonanza not only for avid fans who are familiar with the various series and want more but also for less well read fantasy readers, who will find each story herein a great introduction to a writer's world. Sally Estes --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Kirkus Reviews

Eleven substantial new ``short novels'' set in (mostly) famous multivolume fantasy worlds that need little or no introduction. Stephen King offers a tale of the Dark Tower featuring Roland the Gunslinger. Terry Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax, as amusing as ever, materializes from Discworld. Terry Goodkind dusts off the Sword of Truth. Orson Scott Card's Alvin Maker puts in an appearance, as does editor Silverberg's Lord Valentine of Majipoor. Ursula K. LeGuin, concise and elegant as always, revisits Earthsea; Tad Williams delves into Memory, Sorrow and Thorn; Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern fly again; Raymond E. Feist expands on his Riftwar Saga; and Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time rolls on. The odd one out would is George R. R. Martin, whose Song of Ice and Fire thus far boasts but a single entry. Will readers relish a volume of such utterly disparate yarns? Well, fantasy fans like what they like, and will read anything regardless of normal, rational considerations; neither does Silverberg's introduction shed any light on the modern predilection for grossly distended, interminable, pseudo-medieval sagas. So the answer is: probably yes. ($250,000 ad/promo) -- Copyright ©1998, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"There's enough color, vitality and bravura displays of mythmaking in this rich sampler to sate faithful fans and nurture new readers on the stuff of legends still being created."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An enjoyable sampler of the best high fantasy available today."—San Francisco Chronicle

"Best Anthology of the Year."—Rocky Mountain News

"A dream team . . . Legends is the rarest of the rare—an entire collection of original short novels by top fantasy writers . . . Here is a dab of each writer at the top, a worthy sampler that could yield a reader someone new to enjoy."—USA Today

"Orson Scott Card, Ursula Le Guin, George R. R. Martin, Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan, et al. It reads like a who's who of modern sf/fantasy writers. This anthology is a stellar compilation of new stories by 11 masters of the genre, with each tale set in a well-established and well-loved universe. Stephen King leads off with a grisly but compelling episode in the Dark Tower saga. Terry Pratchett's offering is an amusing incident in his Discworld series; editor Silverberg revisits the Majipoor of Lord Valentine; Tad Williams tells a haunting story that stems from his Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy; and Raymond Feist spins a poignant tale of revenge within his Riftwar setting. Fans of Jordan's massive Wheel of Time saga will be especially interested to learn just how Lan and Moiraine first met and how their search for the baby who would become the Dragon Reborn began. Silverberg sets the scene with a fine introduction to fantasy in general and the contributors in particular; each of the novellas is preceded not only by an introductory note on the saga involved but also by a listing of all the books in the series to date. What is so noteworthy about this collection is the fact that all the selections are first rate and are well integrated into their universes, making the book a bonanza not only for avid fans who are familiar with the various series and want more but also for less well read fantasy readers, who will find each story herein a great introduction to a writer's world."—Sally Estes, Booklist

"A superb Baedeker to the fantasy worlds of 11 of the field's finest writers."—Dallas Morning News

"Perhaps Legends, an anthology of brand-new novellas by nearly a dozen of the more-famous modern writers in the field, will help secure long-overdue respect. All the writing is of the highest caliber; and each of the tales is compelling. To top it off, artists such as Michael Whelan, Keith Parkinson and Erik Wilson have contributed illustrations that become icing on the cake. Legends makes for a fine road map to the worlds of 11 masters of the genre and serves as a perfect milestone for future fantasy anthologists. Silverberg has put together an anthology of which he and his fellow writers can be justly proud."—Des Moines Daily Register
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"A stellar compilation." --Booklist (starred review)

"A dream team...Legends is the rarest of the rare--an entire collection of original short novels by top fantasy writers....Here is a dab of each writer at the top, a worthy sampler that could yield a reader someone new to enjoy." --USA Today

"There's enough color, vitality and bravura displays of mythmaking in this rich sampler...to sate faithful fans and nurture new readers on the stuff of legends still being created." --Publishers Weekly(starred review)

"I wouldn't be at all surprised if this was the best selling anthology of the year." --Science Fiction Chronicle

"This is a collection of grace, style, and substance." --Statesman Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Robert Silverberg has written more than 160 science fiction novels and nonfiction books, and has edited over 60 anthologies. He published his first story in 1954 while just a sophomore at Columbia University; in 1956, he won his first Hugo Award, for Most Promising New Author. His works include the bestselling Lord Valentine trilogy and the timeless classics Dying Inside and A Time of Changes. Silverberg has won the prestigious Nebula Award an astonishing five times, as well as four Hugo Awards. He holds the additional honor of winning these honors in five decades, and he has been nominated for both awards more times that any other writer.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Legends
The Dark Tower
STEPHEN KING
THE GUNSLINGER (1982) THE DRAWING OF THE THREE (1987) THE WASTE LANDS (1991) WIZARD AND GLASS (1997)
 
 
 
 
 
These novels, using thematic elements from Robert Browning's poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came," tell the saga of Roland, last of the gunslingers, who embarks on a quest to find the Dark Tower for reasons that the author has yet to reveal. Along the way, Roland encounters the remains of what was once a thriving society, feudal in nature but technologically quite advanced, that now has fallen into decay and ruin. King combines elements of fantasy with science fiction into a surreal blend of past and future.
The first book, The Gunslinger, introduces Roland, who is chasing the Dark Man, an enigmatic sorcerer figure, across a vast desert. Through flashbacks, the reader learns that Roland was a member of a noble family in the Dark Tower world, and that that world may or may not have been destroyed with help from the Dark Man. Along the way, Roland encounters strange inhabitants of this unnamed world, including Jake, a young boy who, even though he is killed by the end of the first book, will figure prominently in later volumes. Roland does catch up with the Dark Man, and learns that he must seek out the Dark Tower to find the answers to the questions of why he must embark on this quest and what is contained in the Tower.
The next book, The Drawing of the Three, shows Roland recruiting three people from present-day Earth to join him on his way to the Dark Tower. They are Eddie, a junkie "mule" working for the Mafia; Suzannah, a paraplegic with multiple personalities; and Jake, whose arrival is startling to Roland, who sacrificed Jake in his own worldduring his pursuit of the Dark Man. Roland saves Jake's life on Earth, but the resulting schism nearly drives him insane. Roland must also help the other two battle their own demons, Eddie's being his heroin addiction and guilt over not being able to save his brother's life, and Suzannah's the war between her different personalities, one a kind and gentle woman, the other a racist psychopath. Each of the three deals with his problems with the help of the others, and together the quartet set out on the journey to the Tower.
The third book, The Waste Lands, chronicles the first leg of that journey, examining the background of the three Earth-born characters in detail. The book reaches its climax when Jake is kidnapped by a cult thriving in the ruins of a crumbling city, led by a man known only as Flagg (a character who has appeared in several of King's other novels as the embodiment of pure evil). Roland rescues him, and the group escapes the city on a monorail system whose artificial-intelligence program has achieved sentience at the cost of its sanity. The monorail challenges them to a riddle contest, with their lives as the prize if they can stump the machine, who claims to know every riddle ever created.
Wizard and Glass, the fourth volume in the series, finds Roland, Jake, Eddie, and Suzannah continuing their journey toward the Dark Tower, moving through a deserted part of Mid-World that is eerily reminiscent of twentieth-century Earth. During their travels they encounter a thinny, a dangerous weakening of the barrier between different times and places. Roland recognizes it and realizes that his world is breaking down faster than he had thought. The thinny prompts him to recall the first time he encountered it, many years before on a trip out West with his friends Cuthbert and Alain, when Roland had just earned his gunslinger status. It is this story--of the three boys uncovering a plot against the ruling government and of Roland's first love, a girl named Susan Delgado--that is the central focus of the book. While the three manage to destroy the conspirators, Susan is killed during the fight by the townspeople of Hambry. The story gives Jake, Eddie, and Suzannah new insight into Roland's background and why he may sacrifice them to attain his ultimate goal of saving his world. The book ends with the foursome moving onward once more toward the Tower.
The Little Sisters of Eluria
STEPHEN KING
 
 
 
 
 
[Author's Note: The Dark Tower books begin with Roland of Gilead, the last gunslinger in an exhausted world that has "moved on," pursuing a magician in a black robe. Roland has been chasing Walter for a very long time. In the first book of the cycle, he finally catches up. This story, however, takes place while Roland is still casting about for Walter's trail. A knowledge of the books is therefore not necessary for you to understand--and hopefully enjoy--the story which follows. S. K.]
I. Full Earth. The Empty Town. The Bells. The Dead Boy. The Overturned Wagon. The Green Folk.
On a day in Full Earth so hot that it seemed to suck the breath from his chest before his body could use it, Roland of Gilead came to the gates of a village in the Desatoya Mountains. He was traveling alone by then, and would soon be traveling afoot, as well. This whole last week he had been hoping for a horse doctor, but guessed such a fellow would do him no good now, even if this town had one. His mount, a two-year-old roan, was pretty well done for.
The town gates, still decorated with flowers from some festival or other, stood open and welcoming, but the silence beyond them was all wrong. The gunslinger heard no clip-clop of horses, no rumble of wagon wheels, no merchants' huckstering cries from the marketplace.The only sounds were the low hum of crickets (some sort of bug, at any rate; they were a bit more tuneful than crickets, at that), a queer wooden knocking sound, and the faint, dreamy tinkle of small bells.
Also, the flowers twined through the wrought-iron staves of the ornamental gate were long dead.
Between his knees, Topsy gave two great, hollow sneezes--K'chow! K'chow!--and staggered sideways. Roland dismounted, partly out of respect for the horse, partly out of respect for himself--he didn't want to break a leg under Topsy if Topsy chose this moment to give up and canter into the clearing at the end of his path.
The gunslinger stood in his dusty boots and faded jeans under the beating sun, stroking the roan's matted neck, pausing every now and then to yank his fingers through the tangles of Topsy's mane, and stopping once to shoo off the tiny flies clustering at the corners of Topsy's eyes. Let them lay their eggs and hatch their maggots there after Topsy was dead, but not before.
Roland thus honored his horse as best he could, listening to those distant, dreamy bells and the strange wooden tocking sound as he did. After a while he ceased his absent grooming and looked thoughtfully at the open gate.
The cross above its center was a bit unusual, but otherwise the gate was a typical example of its type, a western commonplace which was not useful but traditional--all the little towns he had come to in the last tenmonth seemed to have one such where you came in (grand) and one more such where you went out (not so grand). None had been built to exclude visitors, certainly not this one. It stood between two walls of pink adobe that ran into the scree for a distance of about twenty feet on either side of the road and then simply stopped. Close the gate, lock it with many locks, and all that meant was a short walk around one bit of adobe wall or the other.
Beyond the gate, Roland could see what looked in most respects like a perfectly ordinary High Street--an inn, two saloons (one of which was called The Bustling Pig; the sign over the other was too faded to read), a mercantile, a smithy, a Gathering Hall. There was also a small but rather lovely wooden building with a modest bell tower on top, a sturdy fieldstone foundation on the bottom, and a goldpainted cross on its double doors. The cross, like the one over the gate,marked this as a worshipping place for those who held to the Jesus-man. This wasn't a common religion in Mid-World, but far from unknown; that same thing could have been said about most forms of worship in those days, including the worship of Baal, Asmodeus, and a hundred others. Faith, like everything else in the world these days, had moved on. As far as Roland was concerned, God o' the Cross was just another religion which taught that love and murder were inextricably bound together--that in the end, God always drank blood.
Meanwhile, there was the singing hum of insects that sounded almost like crickets. The dreamlike tinkle of the bells. And that queer wooden thumping, like a fist on a door. Or on a coffintop.
Something here's a long way from right, the gunslinger thought. 'Ware, Roland; this place has a reddish odor.
He led Topsy through the gate with its adornments of dead flowers and down the High Street. On the porch of the mercantile, where the old men should have congregated to discuss crops, politics, and the follies of the younger generation, there stood only a line of empty rockers. Lying beneath one, as if dropped from a careless (and long-departed) hand, was a charred corncob pipe. The hitching rack in front of the Bustling Pig stood empty; the windows of the saloon itself were dark. One of the batwing doors had been yanked off and stood propped against the side of the building; the other hung ajar, its faded green slats splattered with maroon stuff that might have been paint but probably wasn't.
The shopfront of the livery stable stood intact, like the face of a ruined woman who has access to good cosmetics, but the double barn behind it was a charred skeleton. That fire must have happened on a rainy day, the gunslinger thought, or the whole damned town would have gone up in fl...
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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