Legends: Stories By The Masters of Modern Fantasy Hardcover – Aug 15 1998
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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, each of these stories is exceptionally well written and universally well told. The authors here 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
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 Silverberg collects 11 previously unpublished short "novels" by genre celebrities, each a window on a sprawling saga that has shaped the way modern fantasy fiction is written and read.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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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..
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...Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
If it hadn't been for Stephen King's Little Sisters of Eleuria and George R.R. Martins The Hedge Knight, this compilation would have been a big disappointment. Read morePublished on July 2 2013 by Sassy NS Lass
When i bought this book i thought it would be teriffic. I was not disssopointed. Being fairly new to fantsy books this gave me many new seris to readPublished on July 29 2003
What would you expect from 11 short stories from 11 of the best selling famous of modern fantasy writers? The stories are set in the same worlds of the original best selling works. Read morePublished on Feb. 16 2003
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. Read morePublished on Aug. 28 2002 by John Simpson
I would have to say Robert Jordan's submission to Legends is perhaps his best work. This was a short story, about 80 pages. It was almost a completely new writing style. Read morePublished on May 11 2002 by Evan Wearne
If you're at all a fan of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time saga (and how could you not be!) then this book is worth the buy for that story alone. Read morePublished on Dec 23 2001 by Bryan
There are two stories contained within this book that I consider absolute must-reads, and worth the price of the book on their own. Read morePublished on Nov. 23 2001 by Amazon Customer
^Legends^ presents original stories from the best writers of fantasy literature. George R.R. Martin's "A Hedge Knight" is a must read for anyone who enjoys his "A... Read morePublished on Oct. 17 2001 by Rich Gubitosi