196th out of 418 books — 285 voters
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The trouble with knowing so many people involved in this anthology is that it makes my enthusiasm seem unduly nepotistic... but what the hell. I didn't know them yet when they were working on this; they were in their 30s and I was in elementary school. LIAVEK offers a vivid, deftly edited, and entertaining set of stories that take the yawn-inducing phrase "magic system" and make it genuinely interesting again.
I'm sure you can get the table of contents of this somewhere on line. This is the first of the Liavek books but I wouldn't have loved it so much if I hadn't been introduced to Liavek through John M. Ford's Casting Fortune. At the time I had no idea that it is a shared area for many authors I have come to appreciate. The story of how Liavek came into existence is here, and I must say that I would recommend buying a paper copy, or getting it from the library. The electronic one was very rocky.
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I was completely addicted to the Thieves' World series of the 1980s - at least for about the first six books. In case you're not familiar with them, it's a series of short story anthologies set in the town of Sanctuary, a sort of robbers' den of a town, at the far reaches of an empire that's seen better days - in other words, not much of a law and order kind of place. The trick to these stories, tho', was that any of the participating authors could use any character created by another author, an ...more
This was the start of a re-read of a long-time beloved series that I originally read long enough ago that the details of specific stories have faded, but the underlying worldbuilding for the Liavek setting is so well-done that it still felt like a return to place that I know well. I'm genuinely enchanted by the series' concept of "birth luck" and the possibilities built into the concept of investing one's Luck and a whole society of people who each have their own moments in the year of "special" ...more
After the success of the shared world series "Thieve's World," another group of writers tried a similar thing with a series of shared world stories called Liavek. This was the first one in the series, and has stories by folks like Gene Wolfe, Jane Yolen, Patrica Wrede and a number of others. The basic concept of the book, in which one's magical talents corresponds to the number of hours your mother spent suffering in labor with you, was pretty cool. I liked quite a few of the stories here, altho ...more