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5.0 out of 5 stars Oh my. A fantasy lovers Dream made paper
Two years ago, if someone told me that for less than $30, I could have almost a dozen novellas from great and varied authors and set in their worlds, I would have told them they were nuts, crazy and from another universe.
Lo and behold. Silverberg managed the feat. Are you a Wheel of Time nut? There is a prequel novella for you. Enjoy Tad Williams? The newest...
Published on Oct. 6 1998 by Jvstin

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and miss...
I was thrilled to see Silverberg put this book together. Several wonderful authors, contributing glimpses into their own creations.. brilliant! (No Dennis McKiernan or Neil Gaiman, but you can't please everyone.) Then, after waiting a year, I see the publishers expand it to three separate (and separately-priced) paperbacks. What? Maybe they couldn't fit it into one,...
Published on March 2 2000


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4.0 out of 5 stars Legends are not born, they are written., Feb. 12 2003
By 
sc_demandred (Irvine, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy (Hardcover)
Robert Silverberg's idea to collect short stories and novellas from some of this era's most notable and talented Fantasy authors is pure cream-filled joy for fans of the Genre. Despite having read the pertinent series by Stephen King, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, Terry Goodkind, and Orson Scott Card, this book opened up new worlds to explore and new chapters in some of my favorite series.
My favorites were the ones by King, Williams, Silverberg, Feist, and McCaffrey. I have lost all interest in Terry Goodkind mostly because I find his characters to be wooden and uninteresting, and this story was no more compelling than the last book of his that I read. Goodkind also has a penchant for the "gotcha" ending, something that is frustrating to any reader who struggles to find logical connections between events and character motivation.
The best of this book, however, is The Hedge Knight by George R. R. Martin. I had never heard of Martin when I picked up Legends, and the first thing I did after finishing The Hedge Knight was to go pick up his novel "A Game of Thrones." Thanks to this book, I am now a fan of what may be the best epic fantasy series ever written, and yes, that includes Tolkien, Goodkind, and Jordan. The Hedge Knight is a simple tale of a young man recently knighted trying to make a name for himself in a tournament. The plain and honest style of Martin's prose hooks you in, and suddenly you care very deeply about this hedge knight, Dunk, and what is to become of him as he runs afoul of a vain and dangerous prince. Set approximately 100 years prior to the events that begin in "A Game of Thrones," this tale is a wonderful introduction to Martin's Westeros and the rich mythology and history he has built into it.
I was also intrigued by Feist's The Wood Boy, a tale that, for all it's positioning and setting as a chapter in a tale of strange alien invaders, is about nothing more complex than human nature and the compulsions that make us what we are as a species. Silverberg's Majipoor is also a very intriguing world, and I will be investigating it in the future.
Terry Pratchett's entry is also a key one, showing that not all fantasy need to be deadly serious or take itself very seriously at all. Pratchett almost recalls Douglas Adams' contributions to Science Fiction.
I think most Fantasy fans will be very happy with this book, largely becuase it is not a one-trick pony. There's something in here for every fan of the genre. Are you into fantastic worlds of extremes and mythology? Try Majipoor. Do you like to read tales that chill you and freeze your blood? The little sisters of Eluria are your ticket. Curious about an America that might have been? Orson Scott Card is yor man. Into knights and jousting, intrigue and politics? Martin and Jordan are for you. You can hardly go wrong buying this book, because if even one of the stories catches your interest, there's a new author for you to love. Thank you, Robert Silverberg.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Hit and miss..., March 2 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy (Hardcover)
I was thrilled to see Silverberg put this book together. Several wonderful authors, contributing glimpses into their own creations.. brilliant! (No Dennis McKiernan or Neil Gaiman, but you can't please everyone.) Then, after waiting a year, I see the publishers expand it to three separate (and separately-priced) paperbacks. What? Maybe they couldn't fit it into one, I'm not sure of how that's arranged, but there's no reason they couldn't do it in two books. Except the obviou$ one of cour$e.. find the collection in a library or borrow it from someone, but don't encourage the book company by paying for all three books! Please!
Ok, that rant out of the way.. this collection is fantastic overall, but somewhat hit and miss. Williams, Pratchett and Silverberg provide some wonderful short tales, definitely worthy of their series. Robert Jordan's, though very well done, will likely be incomprehensible and pointless to anyone not familiar with the series. (And even if you've read the series, it adds nothing. Too bad.) Feist's is only average.. probably could have come from anyone. But there's plenty of other Riftwar material out there. Martin and McCaffrey's contributions I found interesting, but nothing made me want to read more of their works. King's contribution was pointless and went nowhere.. much like the Dark Tower series so far. Hopefully he'll wrap it up in a nice way, but this small diversion is worthless. Goodkind was simplistic and had a too-impossibly-happy ending (just like the rest of his books). Decent, but he's better at longer stories. OS Card's awful piece of drivel is the worst clunker here, but Le Guin's bunch of aimless ramblings comes in a close second. Maybe it's because I haven't read any Earthsea books, but nothing was explained and nothing happened in the story. Still, why argue? Fantasy fan or not, this collection has something for everyone. Just decide how much you're willing to pay for it..
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4.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant surprise for this "Anti-Fantasy" reader, Nov. 8 1999
This review is from: Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy (Hardcover)
First things first- I don't read this type of book. Ever. As a die-hard Stephen King fan, I bought the book for the new "Dark Tower" story. That said, I must admit- his story, "The Little Sisters of Eluria", was one of the lesser stories in this wonderful book. First off, this is a BEAUTIFUL book, with great illustrations, helpful maps, and story-so-far recaps for the uninitiated (Like ME! ). Storywise, the only dud in the bunch (11 stories in all) is the last one- "New Spring", a "Wheel of Time" story by Robert Jordan- this story was virtually incomprehensible and impenetrable to me, and represented all of the reasons why I don't like fantasy books. On the plus side are "The Hedge Knight", which had me on the edge of my seat, and "Runner of Pern", one of the most lyrically beautiful stories I've ever read. Will I follow these authors back to their respective fantasy worlds? Probably not...but it was nice to visit them for a while. OH YEAH! The Dark Tower story was nice, too.....
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3.0 out of 5 stars A mixed bag, much as you'd expect, March 7 1999
By 
This review is from: Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy (Hardcover)
A note before I start: I enjoy reading all of the authors in this book, but I enjoy discriminating more.
Disparate styles, contrived stories, and writing that occasionally shows the author more interested in making the deadline than in developing the story. But for the avid reader of fantasy, a must-have. Well, I am that avid reader. I was a little disappointed, overall, but there were some gems hidden away in there, given the patience.
An author by author review is pointless and subjective, and only serves to demonstrate my own prejudices in the genre; having said that...
There are few truly great writers in the fantsy genre, a genre, which, it must be said, is often (rightly) maligned. But those few writers always shine through. IMHO the best of the bunch right now is Martin, whose Hedge Knight actually adds to the feel of the world of Ice & Fire. Martin's compassion and warmth for his characters shines through all his writing, even and especially for the anti-heroes (Martin's style does not create 'villains' in the traditional sense; the motives and passions of each are far too well portrayed, leading the reader to identify strongly with a character who merely has different designs and desires).
A close second is LeGuin, whose writing is, as ever, flowing and magical throughout.
At the other end of the spectrum, I still have a problem with King's series - just personal taste, I assure you - and found this to be the weakest of the stories.
Somewhere in the middle there are the others. Feist's system of magic itself explains why Pug is no longer a major character in his novels - rather the same problem as faces the comic writers trying to come up with new villains to offer Superman a decent fight... these characters become by nature too powerful.
Jordan's story adds to the depth and color of the Wheel of Time, but his writing still seems stilted by the need to describe everything to the nth degree. But at least something _happens_ in the story!
To sum up; if you like a particular series or author, then that short story is bound to impress. A grand idea, but I think Chris Tolkein accomplished far better with Silmarillion than this project can hope to do.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Oh my. A fantasy lovers Dream made paper, Oct. 6 1998
By 
Jvstin "Paul Weimer" (Twin Cities, MN United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy (Hardcover)
Two years ago, if someone told me that for less than $30, I could have almost a dozen novellas from great and varied authors and set in their worlds, I would have told them they were nuts, crazy and from another universe.
Lo and behold. Silverberg managed the feat. Are you a Wheel of Time nut? There is a prequel novella for you. Enjoy Tad Williams? The newest fantasy legend, George R.R. Martin? Yep, they are all here. Even stuff for Pern-lovers and Discworld fanatics.
The beauty of this work is two fold. First, the quality is high throughout. Nary a clunker in the lot. Second, if you haven't read all the authors' and their series, this is a good taste of a bunch of the best. Never considered Stephen King before? Here is a Gunslinger novella. If you are one of those afraid to try the huge Wheel of Time, the novella by Jordan gives a nice feel for his writing.
Buy it for a friend. Buy it for yourself. Buy it for someone who has never tried fantasy before. (I have done the first two...).
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great collection, with stories by many favourite authors., Oct. 4 1998
By 
acm@chem.ucsd.edu (California, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy (Hardcover)
LEGENDS: SHORT NOVELS BY THE MASTERS OF MODERN FANTASY, edited and introduced by Robert Silverberg, presents "eleven rich, robust new stories by the best-known and most accomplished modern creators of fantasy fiction, each one set in the special universe of the imagination that made that writer famous throughout the word." Thus we have, for instance, a Wheel of Time story by Robert Jordan, an Earthsea story by Ursula K. Le Guin and, of course, a Discworld story by Terry Pratchett.
THE LITTLE SISTERS OF ELURIA is Stephen King's contribution, set in the world(s) of The Dark Tower. It describes how the last gunslinger, Roland of Gilead, encounters first a band of mutant humans and then the not-so-benevolent sisterhood of the title.
THE SEA AND LITTLE FISHES features Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, set at the time of an annual competition to see who's the best at witching. Granny's inevitable victory shakes up the whole kingdom as she shows how she's bad at being nice but good at being right.
DEBT OF BONES is a story by Terry Goodkind, set prior to the events of his Sword of Truth books. Abigail come to plead with the First Wizard to save her family from an early invasion of the D'Harans, but her mission does not go quite as she intends...
GRINNING MAN presents Davy Crockett as he never was, in Orson Scott Card's alternate America of the Tales of Alvin Maker. Crockett causes trouble for Alvin who, thanks to the young Arthur Stuart, learns an important lesson in distinguishing truly good acts from the disguises taken by evil acts like revenge.
THE SEVENTH SHRINE describes an event on Silverberg's own Majipoor, late in the reign of Valentine as Pontifex, the senior ruler of the giant planet. A strangely ritualistic murder during an archeological dig of an ancient alien city prompts Valentine to investigate.
DRAGONFLY revisits the wizards (and witches) of Earthsea in Le Guin's contribution. A local witch has detected some unidentified power in the girl Dragonfly but refuses to teach her any magic. Years later, the grown woman concocts a scheme with a visiting wizard to pass herself off as a man and study on Roke.
THE BURNING MAN is a story from Tad Williams' lands of Osten Ard, the setting of his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn books. It is told by Breda, orphaned by one king and then adopted by another, and concerns first love, an occult rite and a difficult choice, all of which will burn in her mind forever.
THE HEDGE KNIGHT is an entertaining tale from the Seven Kingdoms of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Squire Dunk finds himself with a knighthood when his master dies, and decides to enter a local tourney to prove himself a champion.
THE RUNNER OF PERN is set, of course, on Anne McCaffrey's world. Tenna is the daughter of a long line of runners, message carriers for those who cannot use dragons to send their letters, and her story provides insights into yet another way of life on Pern.
THE WOOD BOY is a short tale from Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga and concerns Dirk, two dead bodies and a Lord's gold. Dirk's life is changed forever when his Lord's estate is occupied by the invading Tsurani, and changed again by treason, murder and revenge.
NEW SPRING describes how Lan met Moiraine as a prelude to Jordan's books of The Wheel of Time, answering the question of how he came to throw her into the freezing waters of a lake, and then become her Warder and join her twenty year quest to find the Dragon Reborn.
Before reading the collection, I had read books set in five of the eleven worlds presented, and I'm looking forward to further exploration of the other six. While writing good short fiction is difficult, writing good short fiction in a setting that's previously been described in the course of a number of novels must be even more difficult. Such a short story can't be treated merely as a chapter extracted from a novel, where storylines can be set up in earlier chapters and then concluded in later chapters, but I think that all of the authors met the challenge very well. Of course, many of them make their task a little easier by moving to a time before the events of any of their books, or to a setting that has not already been used, but the stories are still entertaining nonetheless. Possibly the only author to fall into the trap of providing too much background was Silverberg himself, though I'm still looking forward to reading the Majipoor books. Even those authors noted for writing huge individual works --- such as Robert Jordan, whose seven Wheel of Time books total over 4500 pages, constituting a single, continuous story --- managed complete pieces in eighty pages or less.
Coming at this from the point of view of a Pratchett fan, I can also recommend AFTER THE KING: STORIES IN HONOR OF J. R. R. TOLKIEN (Tor) and THE WIZARDS OF ODD (Ace).
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mixed effort--some excellent, others, well..., Sept. 27 1998
By 
Ian Vance (pagosa springs CO.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy (Hardcover)
I'll be honest--I bought this book on the strengths of Jordan, Williams, and King, so it is not surprising that these are what I consider the cream of the crop in this collection. King's 'Little Sisters' was well written if somewhat predictable. I think he could have done more with this idea, though the ending was masterful. Williams' "Burning Man' adds flavor to the sweeping MS&T saga... and Jordan, who releases this short story about Lan and Moiraine rather timely, with fantasy fans salvating over the soon-to be released "Path of Daggers.." Espicially good in this, 'New Spring,' is the charicterization of a youger, less matured Moiraine Several other stories were simularly enthralling: Martin's 'Hedge Knight,' LeGuin's 'Dragonfly' (is she sure the last book of Earthsea has been written?) and Silverberg's 'Seventh Shrine.' I have never written Card, and while 'Grinning Man' was somewhat unimpressive, the ideas of Alvin Maker's world are intriguing... Goodkind's 'Debt of Bones' is worlds better than 'Wizard's First Rule', though still suffering simular faults in overlong verbose descriptions of pointless tangents and one-dementional charicters... I have never read Ann McCaffery, and for her story 'Runner of Pern'...suffice to say it was the only one I didn't bother finishing. Prachet's 'Little Fishes' was amusing, though I usually don't go for fantasy humor. Finally is Fiest's 'Wood Boy', well deserving to be at the bottem of the list. Having enjoyed the RiftWar saga I expected much more; this story was not only pointless but also poorly written. Very disappointing. Some of 'Legends' is good, some excellent, and some crap. Worth the price.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Ultimate Collection of Fantasy Fiction, Aug. 23 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy (Hardcover)
This is it! A collection of 11 short novels, written by the greatest fantasy writers alive, and all of the stories take place in their respective authors' most famous fictional worlds.
Stephen King contributes a haunting tale of Roland the Gunslinger titled "THE LITTLE SISTERS OF ELURIA".
Terry Pratchett takes us back to Discworld, as he tells the story of a magical contest run amok in "THE SEA AND LITTLE FISHES".
Terry Goodkind gives us the first piece of short fiction set in the world of "The Sword of Truth". Here, in "DEBT OF BONES", he tells the story of the origin of the Boundary between the worlds.
Orson Scott Card's "Alvin Maker" series is one of the most literate around. His story tells of Alvin's encounter with the "GRINNING MAN".
Ursula LeGuin earned universal acclaim for her Earthsea saga. "DRAGONFLY" is the story of a woman whose dream is to learn the magical arts.
Anne McCaffrey's novels set in the world of Pern combine fantasy and science-fiction elements to produce a unique and vibrant world. Her story is titled "RUNNER OF PERN"
Robert Silverberg is best known for his Majipoor series of novels. Here we return to the life of Lord Valentine, in an epic tale called "THE SEVENTH SHRINE"
George R.R. Martin set the fantasy world on fire with "A Game of Thrones", the first book of his epic saga "A Song of Ice and Fire". His contrbution to LEGENDS is "THE HEDGE KNIGHT: A TALE OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS".
Raymond E. Feist's novels set in the world of Riftwar and Serpentwar are some of the most popular around. His story tells of the revenge of "THE WOOD BOY".
Tad Williams is best known for his epic trilogy "Memory, Sorrow and Thorn". Here he returns to the world of Osten Ard, as he tells the tale of "THE BURNING MAN".
Robert Jordan's massive saga "The Wheel of Time", has taken fantasy to new heights. His story, "NEW SPRING", is a prequel to the epic series.
As if this weren't enough, LEGENDS features nearly 30 color/b&w illustrations, some never before published, plus a special introduction by Robert Silverberg.
LEGENDS is a huge volume, the stories long and complex. Anyone who enjoys fantasy, or great storytelling , can't afford to miss LEGENDS.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THIS is what we've all been missing!, Aug. 28 2002
By 
John Simpson "john_the_gnerphk" (Old Town, ME United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy (Hardcover)
There are many of us who have never read Jordan's "Wheel of Time", who indeed are overawed by the vast mass of his epic work. Herein lies the answer: "New Spring", a single story that can serve as an introduction to the whole of Jordan's world. It is marvelously entertaining in its own right; as well, it contains glimpses of the past and future that no Jordan aficionado should miss.

Within this volume, one can find not one, but eleven novellas by the finest talespinners of our age. Each represents an essential element of one of the world's greatest fantasy series. Were Tolkein alive today, doubtless a tale of Middle-Earth would grace these pages... but surrounded by this awesome store of treasures, his absence can be but scarcely noted.

I have no doubt that this is the finest fantasy anthology yet seen by my generation. Neither the collector nor the serious reader should permit it to pass by.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Masters of fantasy without fantasy, Feb. 10 1999
This review is from: Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy (Hardcover)
This anthology has the subtitle "Masters of fantasy", but the stories in it are neither masterful nor fantastic. Of the eleven short stories, only LeGuin's story truly deserves the subtitle with its beautiful language and sense of magic. Pratchett and Jordan shows solid handiwork; Pratchett giving insights in witchcraft, headology and the personality of Esmeralda Weatherwax and Jordan with a well-paced prequel to his Wheel of Time books.
Of the rest, only Martin's story is decent. While it's well-written and original it is totally lacking any feeling of fantasy. The rest either lack fantasy feeling (Feist, McCaffrey, Silverberg), are cliched (King, McCaffrey), simply badly written (Feist) or manage to roll all the bad points of every other story into a big heap whose only virtue is showing everything that can be done wrong with epic fantasy (Goodkind).
I never managed to finish the stories by Card or Williams.
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