Friday, June 17, 2016

Review: _My Favorite Fantasy Story_ edited by Martin H.Greenberg

There are many Fantasy short stories that are memorable and classics of the genre. Sometimes short stories are all readers have time for reading, but it is hard to find some of these older stories. _My Favorite Fantasy Story_ edited by Martin H. Greenberg is an anthology of such stories. They are favorite stories picked by Fantasy authors with an explanation at the beginning of each story. The stories vary from humorous to serious by many fine Fantasists.

“The Gnarly Man” by the late L. Sprague de Camp is an interesting story. It is a humorous story about an immortal Neanderthal. He goes through life avoiding trouble, so he has a lot of knowledge about the small things in history. The main character is well drawn and sympathetic. This is an entertaining Fantasy story.

Fantasy meets mystery in the Contemporary Fantasy story “Stealing God” by Debra Doyle and James D. Macdonald. The premise is that the Templar knights still exist in our modern day world along with magic. Peter Crossman the Templar knight is summoned to New York to find the missing Holy Grail. An intriguing story of action and mystery ensues. He must fight different factions for the Grail with the help of a warrior nun. Guns, magic and mystery blend well in this entertaining story.

Charles de Lint’s “Ghosts of Wind and Shadow” is another Contemporary Fantasy. It takes place in the fictional city of Newford where Fairy meets reality. Lesli is a teenage girl with the gift of seeing fairies. Her ˘mother doesn’t want her daughter to see such things. Mr. de Lint presents an entertaining story with his descriptive prose and wonderful characters.

There are two Dying Earth stories by classic fantasist Jack Vance. “Mazirian the Magician” is about an ambitious mage trying to steal secrets from another one. He pursues an unattainable woman through a dangerous landscape. “Liane the Wayfarer”  tells the story of Liane, a thief and braggart. He meets the witch Lith who he desires for himself. She sends him on a quest to retrieve her stolen tapestry. He meets an interesting fate for the witch. These stories have wonderful descriptions and quirky  characters. They leave memorable images in the readers mind.

Terry Pratchett’s “Troll Bridge” provides a Humorous Fantasy chosen by Michelle West. It is a satire about Cohen the Barbarian and his talking horse. In his old age, he wants to fight a troll before dying. They find an old, abandoned bridge where a stubborn troll and his family live. This is the tale o˛f what becomes of aging heroes told in Mr. Pratchett’s usual sly humor. Readers will laugh at this story.

Manly Wade Wellman is another Fantasy author of classic stories. He writes magical stories with a Southern flavor. His character of John the Balladeer appears in “The Spring.” In this tale we get the story of a witch trying to control a spring of healing water. John helps his friend Zeb protect the spring with his faith and silver stringed guitar. This is a quiet story that leaves a memorable touch on your mind.

_My Favorite Fantasy Story_ is an entertaining anthology of Fantasy stories edited by Martin H. Greenberg. It is full of good stories picked by Fantasy authors of today. Many of the stories are classics and range from humorous to serious. There are stories by Jack Vance, Barbara Kingsolver, M.R. James and many others. It is a worthwhile read.

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