From Sword and Sorcery to Paranormal Romance, from Weird Fiction to Fairy Tales, Fantasy For Good presents a wide range of exciting short fiction to accommodate every taste. In this collection of thirty stories, legendary authors (including NYT Bestsellers and World Fantasy Award winners) and great new up-and-comers in the genre spin tales of magic and mayhem.
Featuring brand new fiction from Piers Anthony, Michael Moorcock, Carrie Vaughn, Kelley Armstrong, Alan Dean Foster, Katharine Kerr, David Farland, Jane Lindskold, Nnedi Okorafor, Todd McCaffrey and many more, alongside classic tales from George R.R. Martin, Jay Lake, Kevin J Anderson & Rebecca Moesta, and Neil Gaiman.
Fantasy For Good also includes a classic tale by master novelist, Roger Zelazny, author of the Nine Princes of Amber, who passed away in 1995 after a battle with colorectal cancer. His son, Trent, provides a moving introduction.
All proceeds from the sale of this anthology go directly to The Colon Cancer Alliance, a charity dedicated to the prevention of this deadly disease, as well as funding research and supporting patients who suffer from it.
Jordan Ellinger is a recent first place winner in the Writers of the Future Contest and is a Clarion West graduate. His work can be seen in “AE – The Canadian Speculative Fiction Review”, and the anthologies “Time in a Bottle” and ”Sha’Daa: Last Call”. He has two graphic novels in various stages of development: The Seven with Luke Eidenschink and Causality with illustrator Joey Jordan. In his spare time, he helms Every Day Publishing, publisher of Every Day Fiction, Every Day Poets, Flash Fiction Chronicles, and Raygun Revival.
Disclaimer: I have a story in this anthology, but none of us were paid for our work. This is a very worthwhile charity project. It benefits colon cancer research through the donation of royalties to the Colon Cancer Alliance.
It's also crammed with really good stories by some of the big names in the Fantasy and SF genres. Nearly 400 pages of them! A few of the stories are reprints, but most are originals (as is mine, in case anyone wonders.)
I bought this book after reading the introduction via Urban Fantasy magazine. The intro is from the son of Roger Zelazny, one of my favourite writers, who died of colon cancer, and the proceeds of the book go to colon cancer charities.
I enjoyed some of the selections, though the book did have one major problem: it doesn't appear to have been past a copy editor, meaning that the stories are just as they have come from the contributors. Now, in some cases, they're professional enough that this doesn't matter, because they produce a clean manuscript, or, in the case of the reprints, the story may already have been copy edited. In other cases, though, this puts some embarrassing and distracting errors on display.
It also seems to be a rule for anthologies that the editors make at least one error in their introduction, and here it's "poured" when they mean "pored".
Now to the stories. They're in several sections. The first is Sword and Sorcery, which has a tendency to veer into Grimdark - in other words, unpleasant stories about unpleasant characters who almost deserve their considerable suffering. That's not the case for all of them, fortunately, but it is for most.
"The Edge of Magic", Henry Szabranski: The story of an unhappy marriage and the war between men and women.
"Annual Dues", Ken Scholes: A redemptive moment for a grimdark character? That doesn't end well.
"Elroy Wooden Sword", S.C. Hayden: A genuinely good-hearted and heroic character is, of course, a naive dupe. Several apostrophe issues, comma splices, "a furry of smoke and fire" (typo for "fury"), a couple of other homophone errors and misspellings, the anachronistic term "coolest" dropped into the middle of the text, but otherwise not a bad story of its type.
"In the Lost Lands", George R.R. Martin: One of the kings of grimdark. I thoroughly disliked all the nasty, cruel, self-centred characters, but it was beautifully written and cleverly plotted.
"Worms Rising from the Dirt", David Farland: Not even the beginning of a story, but a part from the middle of a story, with no real conclusion.
"Snow Wolf and Evening Wolf", James Enge: This, I thought, was well done, the clash of two different kinds of werewolf in medieval Iceland.
"Knight's Errand", Jane Lindskold: This is the kind of story I enjoy more, with a world-weary knight rediscovering some of his idealism as he and a winged horse fight against the trap of a sorcerer. Lots of imaginative worldbuilding and the feel of a true old-style sword-and-sorcery yarn.
Fairy Tales: this was a dark genre in its origins, and has returned there from its sojourn in Disneyland.
"Languid in Rose", Frances Silversmith: This story about the breaking of a curse by a courageous young queen reminds me a little, in its theme if nothing else, of Ursula Le Guin's "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas". Typo "membered" for "remembered".
"Green They Were, and Golden-Eyed", Alan Dean Foster: Foster's stories strike me as the fictional equivalent of a "For Dummies" book, successful because they aim so low in terms of challenge to the reader. This is a somewhat cutesy Christmas story about Santa being helped by rainforest frogs, and contains a few minor errors and a shaky and inconsistent attempt to sound Australian, as well as a dangling participle and a couple of misused words ("needful" for "needy" and "propitiate" for "propitious").
"Golden", Todd McCaffrey: I read the first of the books that Todd McCaffrey wrote in his famous mother's Pern series, and was amused, in an appalled kind of way, to see him repeatedly refer to burning coals in a "grazier" (which must have been painful for the cattle farmer concerned). Accordingly, I was expecting homophone errors, and I got them, most notably "horde" (a group of dangerous beings) when he means "hoard" (a collection of valuable objects). Since this is a story about (non-Pern) dragons, the word comes up a lot, and it's consistently wrong. There are also a number of sentences in which some key word has been missed out, and "quilting" when he means "quirking". The story itself is... OK, but not anything special. It's clear that it wasn't because of his writing talent that he got published.
"Mountain Spirit", Piers Anthony: I used to read a lot of Piers Anthony, but it's not something you can sustain as an adult, really, certainly not as a feminist adult. This story is a particularly egregious example of gender stereotyping, written in the same sort of for-dummies style as the Foster.
"Moon Glass", Megan N. Moore: I enjoyed this story about love and its excesses and symbols.
"The George Business", Roger Zelazny: Perhaps not one of Zelazny's best works, but there's plenty of distance to travel between Zelazny's best works and "not good". This is amusing, the story of two initially fairly inept confidence tricksters who happen to be a knight and a dragon, and he knows how to spell "hoard".
The Paranormal: This appears to be the editors' term for what I would call supernatural horror, for the most part.
"Only the End of the World Again", Neil Gaiman: Even more than Zelazny, for my money Gaiman is unable to write a bad story, and even when (as here) there are deeply disturbing elements to it, I somehow end up enjoying it. Even though it's Lovecraft fanfic, which I usually abominate. What is the man's secret?
"Lenora of the Low", Marina J. Lostetter: Dark and gruesome, and with a couple of issues ("accompaniment" for "companion", and "broach" for "brooch"), but, to me, a successful story of a woman's revenge taken for her sister's sake.
"Trufan Fever", Katherine Kerr: I enjoy Kerr's writing, and this is no exception, a shifter story that could as easily have been in the Urban Fantasy section of the book, where its tone would have fitted better. A few fumbled sentences don't detract too much.
"Undying Love", Jackie Kessler: A nasty, tragic story with a demon who seems too nice by half, but helpless to prevent a long series of horrible events.
"Dancing with the Mouse King", Carrie Vaughn: I usually enjoy Vaughn's work more than this. Not that it's bad, I just didn't follow why the protagonist suddenly switched sides near the end. It's beautifully told, and the theme is nicely sustained, though.
"Showlogo", Nnedi Okorafor: I don't know if the lack of a clear beginning-middle-end structure is an imitation of African storytelling or just being a trendy literary fantasy writer, but in either case I didn't enjoy it all that much. The content of the piece I enjoyed more (apart from some minor copy editing errors); the title character is interesting, but ultimately needs a plot he isn't given.
"The Bluest Hour", Jaye Wells: The homophone errors discrete/discreet and Channel/Chanel and the occasional slips into past out of present tense, plus occasional missing words and the double use of the same simile ("pain like an aneurism") left me feeling that this needed more editorial attention than it received. The story itself was one of those alienated-loser-finds-a-kind-of-redemption tales that leave me fairly cold.
"Pandal Food", Samit Basu: It's OK to have a twist, but it's not fair to deliberately mislead the audience away from the twist. Also, rather a nasty ending. The odd copy edit wouldn't have gone amiss.
"Loincloth", Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta: This is an odd one in terms of time period. The technology says it's present-day, but the kind of movie being made is pretty much a thing of the 1950s or earlier. As, indeed, are the gender politics.
"Man of Water", Kyle Aisteach: The mythical beast here appears to be the semi-honest former Congressman. All joking apart, though, it's a good story, with tension and action and a resolution at the end.
"Bones of a Righteous Man", Michael Ezell: Very clearly inspired by King's Dark Tower. A couple of times, the tense is off (should be past perfect rather than simple past), but overall, a successful story, with some redemption in among the tragedy.
"Time's Mistress", Steven Savile: The only story I didn't read all the way through. Tell, tell, tell, tell, tell, tell, tell, tell, comma splice, tell, tell, tell, tell, tell, sentence fragment, tell, tell, tell, missing commas, tell, tell, tell, sentence fragment, tell, tell, tell, and then I skipped to the end, bored and not caring what happened (from my glance at the ending, nothing much).
"Little Pig, Berry Brown and the Hard Moon", Jay Lake: Jay Lake, like Roger Zelazny, died of colon cancer, so his inclusion here makes sense. I wasn't sure I liked this story at first. It has the feel of a Native American tale, very formal, but by the end it had become a powerful story about death and passing on the baton to the next generation and giving up childhood, all the more poignant given his own family's situation.
"The Grenade Garden", Michael Moorcock: I've never got into Michael Moorcock's work, and this story certainly isn't the one to change my mind. It's possible that if I knew the Jerry Cornelius mythos it might make some kind of sense, but I doubt it. Full of unsignalled shifts of place and time, multiple related characters, unlikely events, and complete non sequiteurs, it seemed like random nonsense to me. The frequently missing closing quotation marks didn't help any. At least he knows what a horde is.
"Sand and Teeth", Carmen Tudor: I have to admit I didn't completely follow this one either, though it was a model of lucidity compared to the previous story. There seems to be a little subgenre of Egyptianish temple priests/priestesses, and this is an example.
"The Seas of Heaven", David Parish-Whittaker: This is one of those stories where you're not sure whether the events are actually taking place or if the narrator is mad. On balance, I tend to go for the latter. The events, and the narrator, are nasty and I didn't enjoy it greatly.
When I started this review I thought I'd enjoyed most of the stories, but that appears to have been selective memory. If you have a greater appetite for darkness than I do, and are less inclined to notice a lack of copy editing, you may well enjoy it much more.
As all anthologies tend to be, a bit of a mixed bag (here the stories range from "amazing" to "WTF just happened?" and "what's with the condescending sexism?"). The good ones outnumber the bad, but there were a couple for me that were just ugh, which brought my rating down.
Fantasy for Good: A Charitable Anthology, edited by Jordan Ellinger and Richard Salter, is a volume of mostly original short stories, the proceeds of which are earmarked for research into colon cancer, a disease that has taken many fantasy writers from us, among them Roger Zelazny and Jay Lake. There are a number of stories by the biggest names in fantasy of today (including George R. R. Martin and Neil Gaiman) and yesterday (including the aforementioned Roger Zelazny and Jay Lake) that are reprints from earlier collections, but aside from that handful of stories, the 29 tales in this book were written for this publication specifically. As with any such anthology, each reader will have favourites and those less good; I liked stories by James Enge, Katherine Kerr, Carrie Vaughn, Michael Ezell, Samit Basu and Kelley Armstrong in particular, but almost all the stories here are quite good. The book is divided into sections, including "Sword and Sorcery," "Fairy Tales," "The Paranormal," "Urban Fantasy," and "Weird Fantasy"; it concludes with an informational essay on "Colon Cancer - Signs and Warnings," for readers to learn about this terrible disease. Even if I didn't have a good friend battling colon cancer at the time of this writing, I would have bought the anthology because of the high quality of writing contained therein; the fact that it does have a charitable focus is an added bonus. Recommended!
Fantasy For Good: A Charitable Anthology is live in both trade paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon right now!!! Remember folks, sure this book is utterly packed with some of the best names in the fantasy genre, sure this book is just under 400 pages thick, sure it includes stories from sword and sorcery, paranormal romance, weird fiction, urban fantasy, and fairy tales, but most important of all, remember this! All proceeds from this anthology go directly to the Colon Cancer Alliance! Every time Amazon cuts a royalty check for this book that check will go directly to the CCA to help them fight the good fight they battle every day against the third most commonly diagnosed form of cancer in the United States! So, enjoy the book, and help us help out an amazing charity.
Some great stories here, from big names as well as lesser-known authors. Lots of non-white / non-male voices and perspectives, yay! The collection tends toward the dark/weird: urban fantasy, fairytales with a modern twist, nods to Lovecraft and Stephen King.
Favorites: In the Lost Lands (George R. R. Martin), Moon Glass (Megan N. Moore), Lenora of the Low (Marina J. Lostetter), Undying Love (Jackie Kessler), The Grenade Garden (Michael Moorcock), Sand and Teeth (Carmen Tudor), The Seas of Heaven (David Parish-Whittaker)
Duds: Green They Were, and Golden-Eyed (Alan Dean Foster), Mountain Spirit (Piers Anthony), Dancing with the Mouse King (Carrie Vaughn), Loincloth (Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta)
In honor of Roger Zelazny who passed away from colon cancer, this anthology is filled with 30 stories to benefit charity. Some of my favorite stories were: In The Lost Lands by George RR Martin, Worms Rising from the Dirt by David Farland (Which I have to say is a great name for a fantasy author as well! :))
Absolutely loved Knight's Errand by Jane Lindskold with its wonderful twists. and Under Fairy Tale re-tellings section - a wonderful story by Alan Dean Foster featuring frogs that save Christmas. Totally entertaining.
There is a Funny Knight/Dragon story reminiscent of Dragonheart with Sean Connery and Kevin Costner.
Others I enjoyed are Pandal Food by Samit Basu and Man of Water by Kyle Aisteach.
It's been a long time since I've read an anthology, and I had forgotten how much fun short stories can be. This collection was wonderfully selected. The opening story, about a woman who learns to be a witch and then battles her husband for her daughter, was intriguing and pulled me in. I wanted more! The next story also compelled me to move forward while still wishing there were an entire book of it. I admire the ability of these authors to create an entire world in the pages of a short story.
The only section I didn't enjoy was the last one. I usually love "Weird Fantasy," but the stories in this one weren't my cup of tea. I did enjoy "Bones of a Righteous Man," which was interesting and beautifully told. But that was about the only one I felt compelled by. Also, I'm not sure if it was just the Kindle edition that I have, but in the story "Time's Mistress," there seemed to be a mix-up of characters' names. The main character is named Suli, and one of his former loves was Sati, but after she is introduced, every time her name is intended Suli's name is there instead. So the story says that Suli did something to Suli, or Suli hurt Suli, and it was extremely confusing. I had to figure out which one the story meant to name at that moment. Hopefully it's just the Kindle edition, and the print edition has the correct names.
As this collection was compiled to raise money for colon cancer awareness, I highly recommend buying a copy instead of just trying to get it from a library. It is a great collection, and if you enjoy fantasy, there will definitely be a good chunk of stories in here that you will love.
I paid £3.78 for this book and it has proven to be amazing value. It offers a huge selection of stories helpfully broken up into sections so you can pick whatever suits your mood, be it sword & sorcery, fairy tales, paranormal, urban fantasy etc. Whilst I am a huge Neil Gaiman fan, my favourite in this compilation has to be In the Lost Lands by George R.R. Martin. Perfect in terms of character, plot, atmosphere and language, I have read it many times. It seems such a small amount of money for what you get and it is all for charity. A must for all fantasy fans.
As with any anthology, there will be good and bad.
This collection was curated to raise money for colon cancer research, touching on a disease that is personal to one of the editors and to several of the contributors.
Most of the stories within this volume were, to me, a little above average, with a couple of absolute gems thrown infor good measure. Of course, there were also the "stories" that do not deserve the name, only one of which was so unintelligible as to find itself abandoned; the other was merely a disappointment.
I got this to read the short pre-quell story by Kelley Armstrong in it. I really enjoyed it and it was worth buying the whole anthology as it's for a good cause. I will eventually return to read over some mor of the stories in it!
I had this anthology on my kindle for ages and don't even remember why I bought it - but I'm glad I did, because it's filled with delightful stories that linger. I especially liked the first half, as I prefer dragons to horror but that's just personal taste. Thumbs up to this anthology.
Annual Dues • shortstory by Ken Scholes ♦The Kitsune's Nine Tales by Kelley Armstrong read 8/11/2015 Elroy Wooden Sword • shortstory by S. C. Hayden In the Lost Lands • (1982) • shortstory by George R. R. Martin Worms Rising From the Dirt • shortstory by David Farland Snow Wolf and Evening Wolf • shortstory by James Enge Knight's Errand • shortstory by Jane Lindskold Languid in Rose • shortstory by Frances Silversmith Green They Were, and Golden-Eyed • shortstory by Alan Dean Foster Golden • shortstory by Todd McCaffrey Mountain Spirit • shortstory by Piers Anthony Moon Glass • shortstory by Megan Moore The George Business • (1980) • shortstory by Roger Zelazny ♦Only the End of the World Again • (1994) • shortstory by Neil Gaiman Lenora of the Low • shortstory by Marina J. Lostetter Trufan Fever • shortstory by Katharine Kerr Undying Love • shortstory by Jackie Kessler Dancing With the Mouse King • shortstory by Carrie Vaughn Showlogo • shortstory by Nnedi Okorafor The Bluest Hour • shortstory by Jaye Wells Pandal Food • shortstory by Samit Basu Loincloth • (2007) • shortstory by Kevin J. Anderson and Rebecca Moesta Man of Water • shortstory by Kyle Aisteach Bones of a Righteous Man • shortstory by Michael Ezell Time's Mistress • shortstory by Steven Savile Little Pig, Berry Brown, and the Hard Moon • shortstory by Jay Lake The Grenade Garden • [Jerry Cornelius] • shortstory by Michael Moorcock Sand and Teeth • shortstory by Carmen Tudor The Seas of Heaven • shortstory by David Parish-Whittaker
Fantasy for good does not equal good fantasy. Not by a long shot.
I got this book because several of my favorite authors wrote stories for it. And as I read, I kept racking my brain to figure out what they could possibly have been asked to write, that turned out so universally wrong. I read the first 225 pages, tried a couple other stories, and quit. Of those pages there was one story - "Trufan fever" by Katharine Kerr - that I would recommend to others. You may keep the rest, including the ones I didn't read.
There are a number of really good authors included in this book but only five stories I can actually imagine reading again. Some were just too weird and confusing. Others seemed more horror than the type of fantasy I enjoy. If I hadn't bought this book for a worthwhile cause, I'd regret not simply checking it out from the library.