For over two decades, the late Marion Zimmer Bradley, best-selling and beloved author, discovered and nurtured a new generation of authors. The roster of contributors over the years includes Mercedes Lackey, Laurell K. Hamilton, Charles de Lint, Diana L. Paxson, Emma Bull, Jennifer Roberson, and countless others.
The original stories featured here include such stellar authors as Deborah J. Ross, Dave Smeds, Pauline J. Alama, and exciting newcomers whose voices are sure to be heard again.
Enter a wondrous universe...
Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress
Volume 28 includes stories by Pauline J. Alama, Lorie Calkins, Steve Chapman, Jessie D. Eaker, Rebecca G. Eaker, Rabia Gale, Suzan Harden, Melissa Mead, Jonathan Moeller, Michael H. Payne, Deborah J. Ross, Katharina Schuschke, Jonathan Shipley, Dave Smeds, Catherine Soto, Michael Spence and Elisabeth Waters.
Elisabeth Waters sold her first short story in 1980 to Marion Zimmer Bradley for The Keeper's Price, the first of the Darkover anthologies. She then went on to sell dozens of short stories to a variety of anthologies. Her first novel, a fantasy called Changing Fate, was awarded the 1989 Gryphon Award. Its sequel is Mending Fate, published in 2016.
She currently writes short stories and has edited the Sword and Sorceress anthology series, which ended with Sword and Sorceress 34.
She has also worked as a supernumerary with the San Francisco Opera, where she appeared in La Gioconda, Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly, Khovanschina, Das Rheingold, Werther, and Idomeneo.
"Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress number 28," is a well-edited collection of short stories featuring strong heroines in magical fantasy settings. Elisabeth Waters has done a great job of anthologizing tales by both former contributors and writers new to the field of high fantasy. My favorite story was Pauline J. Alama's "The Damsel in the Garden," which recites a medieval-style tale of a knight in shining armor braving magical perils to save three brothers. But this knight is a girl, who not only prevails in this exciting quest but finds true love. Another standout was Jonathan Shipley's "Dead Salt," in which sorceress Jenna works with army buddy Trayn to keep the peace, but she doesn't get much respect. When they lay their lives on the line, we again appreciate how public servants sacrifice on our behalf, even when we don't deserve it.
This book, being the 28th in a series of collections of short fantasy stories featuring female protagonists, didn't excite me quite as much as most of the previous 27 did. I don't know whether that's because Elizabeth Waters isn't as good an editor as Marion Zimmer Bradley was, or whether the idea has finally begun to feel somewhat formulaic to me after all this time, or whether these were just comparatively weak stories. Maybe at almost 60, I'm just getting a bit jaded. In any case, it's still good, ad someone new to the series might even find it better than that. I'm still planning on continuing with the series, but this offering just seemed weak by comparison. Considering what I'm comparing it to, that's not a horrible insult.