Go to Homepage   Martin H Greenberg & John Helfers (editors): Warrior Fantastic

  Crescent Blues Book Views

Three and one half moon gifDAW Books (Paperback), ISBN 0-88677-950-2
Get a few of the world's best fantasy writers, lob them into a room with several books of historical and legendary heroes and what do you get? The editors of this collection probably distilled Warrior Fantastic from the resultant atomic explosion. DAW carefully excavated the tattered remains of this manuscript from the ruins and carefully restored it to provide their readers with 16 delightful tales of warrior mayhem.

Book: Martin H. Greenberg & John Helfers, Warrior FantasticOften, when reading an anthology like this one finds a few turkeys. One or two stories that stand out as being particularly bad. In Warrior Fantastic David Bischoff's "A Game of Swords" wins this award with what this reader felt was an unsatisfactory ending. How can Sofia de Christabel single handedly save her city from a horde of a thousand plus demons? I suggest reading it to find out. But even this story rates three moons. As for the rest of the collection, if you like fantasy mixed with humor, realism, surrealism and just plain fancy then I highly recommend Warrior Fantastic.

On the humorous side, Tim Waggoner's "As Good As A Rest" features a warrior queen trying her hand at other careers -- like sitcom princess and lawyer -- with hilarious, if not predictable, results. Alan Dean Forster's "At Sea," the second best in this cate-gory, convulses readers with visiting Valkyries.

Book: Martin H. Greenberg & John Helfers, My Favorite Horror StoryMore serious discussions of warrior prowess can be found in Diana L Paxton's "A Two Edged Blade" -- another version of the Finnesburgh story, with Viking warriors surviving in a hostile land. Or perhaps Jody Lynn Nye's "Conscript" would be more your style. Nye gifts readers with a realistic first person view of life on a world where wizards rule and magical battles rage. Alas for poor Timmen Carver's preference for carving wood in his workshop than carving enemy flesh for his lord.

If you prefer the mystical side of battle, Kristin Schwengel's "Spirit Warrior" evokes Ancient Egyptian myths to provide a cat warrior of ageless times. Bradley H Sinor provides a little Arthurian legend with his "Final Score" -- a tale wherein Ashe, ancient knight of old, tracks a serial killer for honor and revenge and tips his hat to Arthurian enthusiast Geoffrey Ashe in the bargain.

Overall Warrior Fantastic provides many pleasures and very few disappointments. Sorry, I lied. Reading the last page nearly broke this reader's heart, simply because after the last page I had no more stories to read.

Stephen John Smith

Click here to share your views.