All of the Stories in Rogues – Skip and Don’t Skip Summary

I listened to every story in the Rogues anthology, edited by George R. R. Martin, and composed a snippet-review for each one here on my site. I thought it might be useful if there were a quick consumable that gave a blip about each one, to help people decide whether to read or skip a story. I imagine most are like me and get an anthology like this because of a couple or three authors (or maybe even one!) and don’t necessarily want to read the whole thing.

A bit about the format:

A brief review of every story in Rogues:

  1. “Tough Times All Over” by Joe Abercrombie
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Medieval. Not his best work, but a fast-paced multi-POV story told in the First Law universe.
  2. “What Do You Do?” by Gillian Flynn
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Modern. Hilarious and witty sex worker starts a metaphysical business and gets in over her head.
  3. “The Inn of the Seven Blessings” by Matt Hughes
    • SKIP : ( 
    • Medieval. A rogue finds a sentient doll. Cheap ending.
  4. “Bent Twig” by Joe R. Lansdale
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Modern. Crime-fighting Duo. Engaging. Well-paced. I loved it.
  5. “Tawny Petticoats” by Michael Swanwick
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Bizarre Fantasy. Dog-people. Zombies, and a crime caper. Somewhat forgettable plot, but good enough.
  6. “Provenance” by David W. Ball
    • SKIP : ( 
    • Modern. Historic prose. Old Nazi art-collector stuff. Dronefest.
  7. “The Roaring Twenties” by Carrie Vaughn
    • SKIP : ( 
    • Period peace. Maybe people familiar with these characters would enjoy it. Otherwise, it was tough. Real tough.
  8. “A Year and a Day in Old Theradane” by Scott Lynch
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • High medieval fantasy. A complicated Ocean’s 11-esque caper, but with wizards and shit.
  9. “Bad Brass” by Bradley Denton
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Modern. I loved this one. An interesting low-risk caper about a substitute teacher and his unruly students, yet it’s strangely engaging.
  10. “Heavy Metal” by Cherie Priest
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Modern. A gigantic (like, fat) monster hunter hunts monsters. Not a stand out, but not bad either.
  11. “The Meaning of Love” by Daniel Abraham
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Medieval. Another caper, but with such an interesting and unexpected ending, you gotta read this one.
  12. “A Better Way to Die” by Paul Cornell
    • SKIP : ( 
    • Modern. This is a high-fantasy spy story. And it sucks hard. I was surprised with how much I disliked it.
  13. “Ill Seen in Tyre” by Steven Saylor
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Period piece. Charming master-and-apprentice story. Ends up being funny and ridiculous! Entertaining.
  14. “A Cargo of Ivories” by Garth Nix
    • SKIP : ( 
    • Medieval. Another one where the fans of these characters would probably like it, but I found this story about a knight, his sentient wizard ventriloquist doll partner, and some lame caper to be utter shit.
  15. “Diamonds From Tequila” by Walter Jon Williams
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Modern. A memorable, entertaining story told in the first-person of an extremely self-absorbed Hollywood actor. Funny. Engaging. You’ll like it.
  16. “The Caravan to Nowhere” by Phyllis Eisenstein
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Medieval. A quest, betrayals, magic, fights … Good stuff in here, and there is a meaningful theme.
  17. “The Curious Affair of the Dead Wives” by Lisa Tuttle
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Period. Charming little piece right here, using the classic Sherlock/Watson sort of dynamic. Good stuff here.
  18. “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back” by Neil Gaiman
    • SKIP : ( 
    • Period / Fantasy. What the fuck is a Marquis? I still don’t know. This one is rough.
  19. “Now Showing” by Connie Willis
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Slight future. Willis is a master of her craft. This is engaging and entertaining story about girls at a movie theater.
  20. “The Lightning Tree” by Patrick Rothfuss
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Medieval. A sexy and otherworldly rogue manipulates the town’s children while playing with the older women and solving problems. Expertly written.
  21. “The Rogue Prince, or, a King’s Brother” by George R. R. Martin
    • DON’T SKIP : )
    • Westeros. You’re probably reading this book to read this story. It’s set a couple hundreds years before the Song of Ice and Fire books and tells the story of some Targaryens. It’s essentially a history textbook.

So what’s the consensus?

6 pieces earned a SKIP : ( 
15 pieces earned a DON’T SKIP : )

Overall, I enjoyed the anthology. It was a nice change of pace from reading primarily long-form works. I hope this post helps you if you’re considering the anthology, or maybe you’ve already read a piece and were curious what other people thought of it. If so, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you.