Imaginary Lands - Robin McKinley, ed.
I expected to like this anthology a lot more than I did. Many of the authors are ones that I greatly like and respect; and a couple of the entries were excellent - but others fell a bit flat, to me.
James P. Blaylock. Paper Dragons. 1985
This story had a bit too much of the classic 'tall tale' to it for my taste. Those who enjoy that sort of thing may love it, but it just wasn't for me.
Patricia A. McKillip. The Old Woman and the Storm. 1985
This was a beautiful story with the feel of an authentic legend. Brought tears to my eyes, I must admit!
Robert Westall. The Big Rock Candy Mountain. 1985
This story was notable for its vivid evocation of its location - a town built over salt mines, gradually sinking due to subsidence. (A real place, the author tells us). However, its sense of place took precedence over the actual events portrayed.
Peter Dickinson. Flight. 1985
Some great ideas here, and I liked it for about the first third of the piece. However, after that the gimmick began to wear thin - it's written as an intentionally dull and dry 'historical' account of events long past, in an academic style. It got tiresome to read, event though the world and events portrayed were intriguing.
Jane Yolen. Evian Steel. 1985
I usually love Jane Yolen - however, the 'power' of menstrual blood is not an idea that resonates with me, even when mixed in with Arthurian legends of Avalon.
P. C. Hodgell. Stranger Blood. 1985
I always feel like I would like to like Hodgell's writing more than I do. I mean, it's high fantasy mixed with a nice gothic aesthetic. But her writing style just doesn't do it for me,.
Michael de Larrabeiti. The Curse of Igamor. 1985
A well-crafted fairy tale, with shades of Celtic legends and a bit of the Pied Piper...
Joan D. Vinge. Tam Lin. 1985
Another retelling of a much-retold story. I liked its nod to the fact that the questing is so often more exciting than the getting...
Robin McKinley. The Stone Fey. 1985
A wonderful story, set in McKinley's Damar, but far from the dramatic events and aristocratic doings of the two novels set in that land. Telling the story of a young shepherdess' encounter with the eerie, it achieves something which is very rare. It convincingly portrays a realistic person making a choice to follow a 'normal' life, and succeeds in showing that she has gained, not lost, by making that choice. The book is worthwhile, just for this story.
An exciting anthology of fantasy stories, all set in particularly vivid imaginary places and specially commissioned for this volume.