Okay, George R. R., with you and your silly name–”Mr. Martin” as you might have it–you wouldn’t be trying to pass off a history textbook as a short story now would you? Would you?! Actually, I don’t even need to ask the question. That’s exactly what this story is. But, it’s in Westeros, and it deals with Targaryens. So I’m in. Mmmmm … Targaryens …
There is something to be said about being the lead-in entry for George R.R.’s story in this anthology, which of course, is exactly where Rothfuss’ “The Lightning Tree” is located. And can I mention Rothfuss, a newcomer, without also mentioning the other powerhouse newcomer in this collection, Joe Abercrombie? I think not. And in that note, there is something to be said about being the lead story, which Abercrombie was.
But Abercrombie fell a little flat, unfortunately–which is insane to say, really–and Rothfuss absolutely did not. But what was it about? Bast? Was Kvothe in it? The Waystone in? TELL ME!
If you knew me personally, and had to guess whether or not I would enjoy a story about a college-age girl going to the movies, in the future, with her girlfriends–and the primary goal of the main being not to keep her friends from being sidetracked by scorching guys–you’d probably give that one a quick no. But what do you think happened?
You may have read the title and wondered, hmm, what is a Marquis? And what is so special about this coat? Well, normally I wouldn’t want to ruin it for you–and I guess I won’t–so let’s dig a little deeper and see what this tale is all about, and more importantly, whether or not you should be reading it.
Ready for a 19th century Sherlock-Holmes esque mystery-solving dynamic duo set in England? Then let’s dive into this story about a start-up P.I. team taking on a ghost story … but it ends up not being ghosts. Something worse. A monster.
Author Phyllis Eisenstein comes out of a semi-retirement, and takes a beloved character out of a similar retirement to tell us this curious story set in the desert on some fantasy world. Our main character is a bard with the ability to teleport. This ends up being important to the story, but not the reason for the story. The reason for the story feels deeper, in a sad way.
You’d expect this one to be a little foggy for me, since it has been almost two weeks since I finished it, but oh no. You don’t forget a story like this. Forget the title. It’s nonsense, and essentially an in-story quip. This story is told in the first person by a hilariously self-absorbed and weird-looking actor looking to break his career wide open with a feature. And once again, I find that the stories set in the modern world are much more enjoyable for me in this short-form anthology (which is continuing to surprise me!).
So I made a huge mistake and allowed a long time to elapse before writing some of these review snippets. Oops! However, maybe it will be a service to you, because if the story was memorable, then I should be able to do you a nice job–even now. This story, “A Cargo of Ivories”. I tried, guys. I really did, but it was rough. I have a tough time with really whacky fantasy gimmicks and the two main characters were just odd …
This charming little piece of historical fiction is shorter than many of the other stories–or at least it felt that way, which is a good thing–and doesn’t quite fit the traditional “rogue” mold as it’s brother and sister stories in this anthology. It’s about a teen and his apprentice, at some point in the distant past. They’re traveling around, visiting the ancient wonders of the world … but they stop in Tyr for a pet-project. How do you think it goes?
The intro of accolades for Paul Cornell was jaw-dropping. I remember thinking, “holy shit, this guy has got some serious writing chops!” Then I learned it’d be a little story about a famous spy character he’d been writing about for a long time. It was billed as strange, fast-paced, where he’d be pitted against a foe as cunning as he. But did the story deliver?