Sunday, December 09, 2012

Book Review: _Oceans of Magic_ Anthology


The oceans of the world are the last frontier for humanity besides space. They hold a mystique in our psyches and a promise for the future. Oceans are the theme of the Fantasy anthology Oceans of Magic edited by Brian Thomsen and Martin  H. Greenberg. Divided into three sections, it has different Fantasy stories centered on the ocean. The first section has Historical Fantasies about our world’s oceans during different eras. Next is a section of stories taking place in oceans of Fantasy worlds while the last section deals with sea gods. Many of the stories are interesting and entertaining. So, let’s go explore the mysterious oceans of Fantasy.

“Oh, Glorious Sight” by Tanya Huff takes place on a voyage of Italian explorer John Cabot. It is the poignant story of an abused, orphan boy. Cabot saves him and takes him on the voyage. The boy idolizes Cabot. Befriended by the crew,  he develops a magical talent to control the wind and Aurora Borealis. Cabot considers his powers from the devil and this leads to surprising end. This a sad story with good characters and a bittersweet ending.

World War II is the backdrop for “Tribute” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. A sailor aboard a battleship is the censor. He reads all the mail of the other crew members, deleting parts for security reasons. While reading the mail, he discovers that the crew are seeing a ghost ship. The captain of this ship demands tribute. A decision must be made by the main character to save the ship. This story has realistic characters and an interesting theme.

An interesting story of a navy in another world can be found in “Midshipwizard” by James M. Ward. Hal is a young naval officer wizard on his first ship. In this world there are dragonships, large sea dragons with shells on their backs where the crew lives and fights. On his first experience, Hal saves the dragon’s heart from a saboteur with powerful magic. He endures further training and problems throughout the story. This is a wonderful story with a sense of humor and very different navy.

The longest story in the book has a lot of action and adventure. “The Colossus of Mahrass” by Mel Odom is a magical tale of pirates. Pirate captain Jaelik Tarlsson is being haunted by a ghost. She wants him to help her destroy a magical device of her dead Elven father. He is reluctant to put the lives of his crew in jeopardy, but she convinces him otherwise. An exciting story of magic, trips through dungeons, and sea battles ensues with interesting characters and a touch of humor.

Readers get a different sea tale in the story “Catch of the Day” by Jeff Grubb. The world has succumbed to a strange deluge that fills the sky with clouds. Humans have taken to sailing the cloud sea in magical ships. Captain Meridian is leery of her new passenger and next voyage. August Gold is a scholar who wants to prove dragons exist. They venture into a part of the cloud sea held by a hostile force. This tale is very entertaining with its unusual setting and ending.

“Walk Upon the Waters” by Paul Kupperberg is a story about the last days of Atlantis. The sea gods are angry. They wish to destroy Atlantis for turning to science and forgetting the gods. Thalis is the last wizard who protects Atlantis and must battle with the gods. On his journey to a final battle, Thalis     remembers his life and lost love Kahna. He refuses to surrender to futility. This is a poignant story of enduring love and sacrifice. Thalis is a sympathetic character readers will feel sorry for in his sorrow.

The ocean provides inspiration for writers to create magical, entertaining stories. Oceans of Magic is a Fantasy anthology with many good stories to keep a reader interested for hours. Finding a story to like won’t be hard to  discover. Pick up a copy of the book and embark on a voyage to Fantasy oceans of adventure.

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