PurplyCookie's Reviews > Wizards: Magical Tales From the Masters of Modern Fantasy

Wizards by Jack Dann
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Apr 24, 09

bookshelves: fantasy, mythic-fiction, short-stories
Read in May, 2008

This anthology contains never-before-published stories by masters of fantasy: Neil Gaiman, Eoin Colfer, Garth Nix, and a magical lineup of writers.

Throughout the ages, the wizard has claimed a spot in human culture — from the shadowy spiritual leaders of early man to precocious characters in blockbuster films. Today's wizards are more subtle in their powers, more discerning in their ways, and-in the hands of modern fantasists — more likely than ever to capture readers' imaginations.

The Witch's Headstone by Neil Gaiman >> A story that'll be a part of Gaiman's soon to be released book "The Graveyard" about a boy who grew up in the graveyard. He asks the question whether people who take their own lives become happier afterwards. "It's like the people who believe they'll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn't work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you."

Holly and Iron by Garth Nix >> Only one woman possesses two kinds of magic--enough to unite two kingdoms that have been at war for so long. Running away from one's destiny is futile if it meant the unification of all. Slightly reminiscent of the Arthurian legend of the sword-in-the-stone.

Color Vision by Mary Rosenblum >> What if you could see colors in sounds? How would you move about in the world? A promising story but tended to get confusing towards at the end, with too many elements thrown in the mix.

The Ruby Incomparable by Kage Baker >> I loved this story of a headstrong daughter from the marriage of the purest evil and the purest Good! I wish that the author would make a novel out of this story of Svnae--of her various adventures and exploits. Had a fantastic time reading it.

A Fowl Tale by Eoin Colfer >> A famished dove spins a tale worthy of a meal (as was the custom in the old days), but perhaps not the exact truth. What'll happen to him when he's found out? Enjoyable short story on all accounts.

Slipping Sideways Through Eternity by Jane Yolen >> Millions of devout Jews set a place for the prophet Elijah at the family table every Passover; what would happen if he does actually show up? A shade too religious for my taste; containing quite a narrative of the Holocaust and the Jewish Diaspora.

The Stranger's Hands by Tad Williams >> What if you could obtain your Heart's desire through the use of magic from the most evil wizard of the time, would you do so? What if you yourself have no idea of your true Heart's desire, would you risk it anyways?

Naming Day by Patricia McKillip >> This provided a sorcery student a lesson in breaking the rules, and of putting your family first before anything else. I so wanted to find out what was Averil's true name, but I guess that's a secret shared between mother & daughter.

Winter's Wife by Elizabeth Hand >> An Icelandic bride in modern Maine makes elemental magic. "Hey, with a name like mine, where else you gonna find a wife?" Quite true, Mr. Winter.

A Diorama of the Infernal Regions, or The Devil's Ninth Question by Andy Duncan >> A confusing tale about a blessed girl having had the opportunity to meeting the widow of Flatland House and her 473 dead friends, singing a duet with the Devil's son-in-law and earning a wizard's anger by setting the former free.

Barrens Dance by Peter Beagle >> A story about the intricacies of love and lust, obsession and devotion and of a wizard who performs his magic not by spells or wand waving, but by dancing.

Stone Man by Nancy Kress >> A story with a very cocky, modern tone to it populated by the brotherhood of wizards in a modern-day city. Not to my liking due to all the peppering of expletives and the abruptness of its ending.

The Manticore Spell by Jeffrey Ford >> What goes around, comes around even in the case of wizards and magical beasts. The story gets to be long-winded in its pacing so it might prove to be boring to some.

Zinder by Tanith Lee >> What begins as your ordinary, oft-used Ugly Duckling story proves to be something else. I love Zinder--of the possibilities that are present with what he already possesses and of his conscious decision to use them for the good and never expecting anything in exchange.

Billy and the Wizard by Terry Bisson >> I can't make sense of this short story of a boy finding the Devil rummaging in his garage, looking for a wizard trapped in a magazine.

The Magikkers by Terry Dowling >> What is the difference between a magician and a magikker? I never thought that there was a difference at first. Better pick carefully if you can only perform one magical act your entire life as a magikker. Now, if it were me, I'd definitely be the predictable type.

The Magic Animal by Gene Wolfe >> If you had the gift of understanding the speech of animals, would you help the world to be a better place? Take care of what you are prepared to sacrifice--it may lead to a broken heart. I liked the references to Merlin & the Lady of the Lake.

Stonefather by Orson Scott Card >> A boy born in poverty who had to deal with contempt his entire life found himself relying on his natural abilities and wit to survive in a city populated by watermages.

Book Details:

Title Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy
Author Edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois
Reviewed By Purplycookie
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PurplyCookie Thanks Danielle! :)

Danielle "The Book Huntress" wrote: "Great review, Purplycookie."

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