on July 26, 2011
If you're looking for George R.R. Martin's "The Hedge Knight" story, DO NOT buy the paperback version of this book. As one other reviewer noted, the paperback only includes 4 out of the 11 stories. Very disappointing.
on August 17, 2012
There seems to be a lot of confusion over editions of LEGENDS. The complete eleven-story collection is available in the $14.95 trade paperback, a large-size book. The stories are also available as three smaller-size mass-market paperbacks, with the eleven stories divided over the three volumes. It costs more to buy the three smaller volumes than it does to buy the one-volume edition, so if you are looking for all the stories in the collection, the one-volume book is the way to go.
on October 4, 1998
LEGENDS: SHORT NOVELS BY THE MASTERS OF MODERN FANTASY, edited and introduced by Robert Silverberg, presents "eleven rich, robust new stories by the best-known and most accomplished modern creators of fantasy fiction, each one set in the special universe of the imagination that made that writer famous throughout the word." Thus we have, for instance, a Wheel of Time story by Robert Jordan, an Earthsea story by Ursula K. Le Guin and, of course, a Discworld story by Terry Pratchett.
THE LITTLE SISTERS OF ELURIA is Stephen King's contribution, set in the world(s) of The Dark Tower. It describes how the last gunslinger, Roland of Gilead, encounters first a band of mutant humans and then the not-so-benevolent sisterhood of the title.
THE SEA AND LITTLE FISHES features Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, set at the time of an annual competition to see who's the best at witching. Granny's inevitable victory shakes up the whole kingdom as she shows how she's bad at being nice but good at being right.
DEBT OF BONES is a story by Terry Goodkind, set prior to the events of his Sword of Truth books. Abigail come to plead with the First Wizard to save her family from an early invasion of the D'Harans, but her mission does not go quite as she intends...
GRINNING MAN presents Davy Crockett as he never was, in Orson Scott Card's alternate America of the Tales of Alvin Maker. Crockett causes trouble for Alvin who, thanks to the young Arthur Stuart, learns an important lesson in distinguishing truly good acts from the disguises taken by evil acts like revenge.
THE SEVENTH SHRINE describes an event on Silverberg's own Majipoor, late in the reign of Valentine as Pontifex, the senior ruler of the giant planet. A strangely ritualistic murder during an archeological dig of an ancient alien city prompts Valentine to investigate.
DRAGONFLY revisits the wizards (and witches) of Earthsea in Le Guin's contribution. A local witch has detected some unidentified power in the girl Dragonfly but refuses to teach her any magic. Years later, the grown woman concocts a scheme with a visiting wizard to pass herself off as a man and study on Roke.
THE BURNING MAN is a story from Tad Williams' lands of Osten Ard, the setting of his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn books. It is told by Breda, orphaned by one king and then adopted by another, and concerns first love, an occult rite and a difficult choice, all of which will burn in her mind forever.
THE HEDGE KNIGHT is an entertaining tale from the Seven Kingdoms of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Squire Dunk finds himself with a knighthood when his master dies, and decides to enter a local tourney to prove himself a champion.
THE RUNNER OF PERN is set, of course, on Anne McCaffrey's world. Tenna is the daughter of a long line of runners, message carriers for those who cannot use dragons to send their letters, and her story provides insights into yet another way of life on Pern.
THE WOOD BOY is a short tale from Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga and concerns Dirk, two dead bodies and a Lord's gold. Dirk's life is changed forever when his Lord's estate is occupied by the invading Tsurani, and changed again by treason, murder and revenge.
NEW SPRING describes how Lan met Moiraine as a prelude to Jordan's books of The Wheel of Time, answering the question of how he came to throw her into the freezing waters of a lake, and then become her Warder and join her twenty year quest to find the Dragon Reborn.
Before reading the collection, I had read books set in five of the eleven worlds presented, and I'm looking forward to further exploration of the other six. While writing good short fiction is difficult, writing good short fiction in a setting that's previously been described in the course of a number of novels must be even more difficult. Such a short story can't be treated merely as a chapter extracted from a novel, where storylines can be set up in earlier chapters and then concluded in later chapters, but I think that all of the authors met the challenge very well. Of course, many of them make their task a little easier by moving to a time before the events of any of their books, or to a setting that has not already been used, but the stories are still entertaining nonetheless. Possibly the only author to fall into the trap of providing too much background was Silverberg himself, though I'm still looking forward to reading the Majipoor books. Even those authors noted for writing huge individual works --- such as Robert Jordan, whose seven Wheel of Time books total over 4500 pages, constituting a single, continuous story --- managed complete pieces in eighty pages or less.
Coming at this from the point of view of a Pratchett fan, I can also recommend AFTER THE KING: STORIES IN HONOR OF J. R. R. TOLKIEN (Tor) and THE WIZARDS OF ODD (Ace).
on February 12, 2003
Robert Silverberg's idea to collect short stories and novellas from some of this era's most notable and talented Fantasy authors is pure cream-filled joy for fans of the Genre. Despite having read the pertinent series by Stephen King, Robert Jordan, Tad Williams, Terry Goodkind, and Orson Scott Card, this book opened up new worlds to explore and new chapters in some of my favorite series.
My favorites were the ones by King, Williams, Silverberg, Feist, and McCaffrey. I have lost all interest in Terry Goodkind mostly because I find his characters to be wooden and uninteresting, and this story was no more compelling than the last book of his that I read. Goodkind also has a penchant for the "gotcha" ending, something that is frustrating to any reader who struggles to find logical connections between events and character motivation.
The best of this book, however, is The Hedge Knight by George R. R. Martin. I had never heard of Martin when I picked up Legends, and the first thing I did after finishing The Hedge Knight was to go pick up his novel "A Game of Thrones." Thanks to this book, I am now a fan of what may be the best epic fantasy series ever written, and yes, that includes Tolkien, Goodkind, and Jordan. The Hedge Knight is a simple tale of a young man recently knighted trying to make a name for himself in a tournament. The plain and honest style of Martin's prose hooks you in, and suddenly you care very deeply about this hedge knight, Dunk, and what is to become of him as he runs afoul of a vain and dangerous prince. Set approximately 100 years prior to the events that begin in "A Game of Thrones," this tale is a wonderful introduction to Martin's Westeros and the rich mythology and history he has built into it.
I was also intrigued by Feist's The Wood Boy, a tale that, for all it's positioning and setting as a chapter in a tale of strange alien invaders, is about nothing more complex than human nature and the compulsions that make us what we are as a species. Silverberg's Majipoor is also a very intriguing world, and I will be investigating it in the future.
Terry Pratchett's entry is also a key one, showing that not all fantasy need to be deadly serious or take itself very seriously at all. Pratchett almost recalls Douglas Adams' contributions to Science Fiction.
I think most Fantasy fans will be very happy with this book, largely becuase it is not a one-trick pony. There's something in here for every fan of the genre. Are you into fantastic worlds of extremes and mythology? Try Majipoor. Do you like to read tales that chill you and freeze your blood? The little sisters of Eluria are your ticket. Curious about an America that might have been? Orson Scott Card is yor man. Into knights and jousting, intrigue and politics? Martin and Jordan are for you. You can hardly go wrong buying this book, because if even one of the stories catches your interest, there's a new author for you to love. Thank you, Robert Silverberg.
on October 28, 1999
To be honest, I bought this book for Robert Jordan and Raymond E. Feist.
I do not care for the Dark Tower series, so I did not read that one.
Feist's tale of the Riftwar was exceedingly predictable, and could have been set in any fantasy world. He could have done something besides mention the Tsurani to make it seem unique to the Kingdom of the Isles.
George R. R. Martin's "The Hedge Knight" is by far the best story in the book, and his Song of Ice and Fire series might turn out to be the best fantasy series ever written. The first two books are incredible.
Terry Pratchett's story about Granny Weatherwax was so funny, I now own every Discworld book so far, and I've pre-ordered the next one from Amazon.co.uk .
Aside from skipping King's story, and the disappointment of Feist's (still decent) story, everything was wonderful. Definetly a must have.
on March 23, 2007
Inside this book you get to sample the writings and the worlds of eleven different fantasy authors. From high fantasy to alternative reality, there's something for every fantasy fan within the pages of this collection. Included are:
"The Hedge Knight" by George RR Martin. This story was why I read this book and it was worth it. Set before A Song of Ice and Fire, the main character was very sympathetic and the story was up to Martin's writing.
"The Little Sisters of Eluria" by Stephen King. I didn't know SK had written a fantasy novel and could picture it until I read this story. It is dark fantasy, to be sure, but it was interesting and had an unexpected twist at the end.
"The Sea and Little Fishes" by Terry Pratchett. I don't think I will ever read a Pratchett novel, and reading about witches isn't my thing, but I did laugh several times--out loud--while reading this short story. Entertaining.
"The Seventh Shrine" by Robert Silverberg. The world he's created sounds interesting, and the story pulled me straight through from start to finish; but when I got to the end, I was left hoping for more (of a climax).
"The Grinning Man" by Orson Scott Card. Okay...I had not read any other Alvin Maker stories and I'm not sure they're my thing. Maybe I prefer high fantasy. Anyway, I didn't enjoy this story, set in an alternative reality N. America, as much as the others but am curious to read a complete Card novel. Creative.
"The Wood Boy" by Raymond Feist. By showing us a glimpse of the conclusion at the beginning of the story, and then going back to tell it to us from the beginning, the author had me tearing through this story to find out what happened. Interesting enough to warrant a further look into his "world" via a complete novel.
"Debt of Bones" by Terry Goodkind. This was an incredible story and I will be looking into more Goodkind. As a mother, I found the heroine's plight heart wrenching and couldn't help liking her despite the secrets she was keeping. Compelling read.
"Runner of Pern" by Anne McCaffrey. What a sweet story. There was conflict and adventure and a hint of romance in McCaffrey's tale. Not integral to her Pern novels at all, but nevertheless, a story not to be missed. Enjoyed it thoroughly.
"New Spring" by Robert Jordan. Evidently, this short story was elaborated on to become a book of its own, but it was well written as is. I can see now how my husband got dragged into the Wheel of Time world as Jordan has written a fascinating story that gives background information on the relationship between two of his primary characters.
"Dragonfly" by Ursula LeGuin. A young woman knows she has the "gift" but women aren't allowed to learn it. She follows a young wizard, who is just trying to have s*x with her, to a school for only boys, and some of the wizards see in her the possibility of a fulfilled prophesy, so they teach her in non-traditional ways. This story needed to be filled out better, to be longer, to be a novel to itself.
"The Burning Man" by Tad Williams. I wanted more. I felt as if the story was going great and then--that's it? There was a huge build up and then the climax was a bit less than expected. The story was enough, however, to interest me in a giving a Williams novel a chance.
All in all, I was not disappointed that I took the time to read through this entire collection. It gave me a better idea of what type of fantasy I prefer and whose books I should look into next.
on February 19, 2014
let me say i am not a rabid fan of the short story. They are NOT the end all and be all of my library. I would rather have a good novel any day. I did not buy this book strictly for Martins the hedge knight. My stories that i wanted were kings little sisters of eluria and the master of any story Robert Jordan. Jordan got me hooked when the first wheel of time book i read was winters heart (9 in the lineup). King and Jordancan write 9000 pages of time honored crap and i would buy it. Its a shame i found Jordan after his death. All that being said i was pleasantly surprised when prachett made me laugh with discworld. Goodkind was well worth the effort. In fact all the stories had me hooked at some point. All except card and the grinning man. I hated this story because i generally hate alternate history stories. I didnt care about characters or plot. As for the rest of the book ten stars. I will read the books that all of these stories came from. Ive discovered ten authors that will become like old friends over time. Thank you silverberg for the background i needed that. A superb read i was sorry to see end
on November 16, 2013
I bought this strictly for George R.R. Martin's "The Hedge Knight."
I'm also a fan of Stephen King's Dark Tower series.
Legends has tons of great stories. I cannot wait to read them all.
FYI, this edition has ALL of the stories.
on August 16, 2015
The eleven stories with in this first "Legends" anthology are by some of the best writers of fantasy and science fiction, both in prose and sales. Edited by Robert Silverberg, who also contributed as well, the stories range within their established fictional worlds from stand alone either connect with the main series or in-between main series books or prequels with mixed results.
The best stories whether, stand alone or prequel, had the same things in common. First the reader did not need to know anything about the fictional setting from any previous location as the authors used the stories to introduce the audience to their written creations. Second, the story usually followed just one character, at most two if change of perspective was easily denoted, allowing the narrative to be tight given average 65 pages each story took. Those that were on the bottom end of the scale were the exact opposite as they relied too much on the reader already knowing the story's universe and too many characters or point-of-view changes to keep track of (or both!).
Unfortunately two of the weakest stories are at the very beginning and the end of the anthology, however of the nine stories in the middle of the anthology seven were at the least very good and make this fantastic purchase for anyone who gets it.
Individual Story Ratings
The Dark Tower: The Little Sisters of Eluria by Stephen King (3.5/5)
Discworld: The Sea and Little Fishes by Terry Pratchett (4.5/5)
The Sword of Truth: Debt of Bones by Terry Goodkind (3.5/5)
Tales of Alvin Maker: Grinning Man by Orson Scott Card (4/5)
Majipoor: The Seventh Shrine by Robert Silverberg (3.5/5)
Earthsea: Dragonfly by Ursula K. Le Guin (4/5)
Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn: The Burning Man by Tad Williams (5/5)
A Song of Ice and Fire: The Hedge Knight by George R.R. Martin (5/5)
Pern: Runner of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (4.5/5)
The Riftwar Saga: Wood Boy by Raymond E. Feist (5/5)
The Wheel of Time: New Spring by Robert Jordan (2.5/5)
on February 14, 2013
4 of 5 stars because I really don't care for the stories outside of aSoIaF by GRRM. If you're a fan of him and his work, and you've read all 5 volumes thus far of aSoIaF, then you're itching for more. So naturally, you're going to want to read the Dunk & Egg stories which would be the prequel. Duncan the Tall is a hedge night and Egg becomes his squire. I'm delighted with these stories and for that alone, I give 4 stars.