Customer Reviews: Tarot Fantastic
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on April 26, 2005
Delaplace, Barbara: "In the Cards", George Wilson has found a purpose sadly lacking in his day job (a lab technician running tests of impressive appearance and little value for a pointy-haired boss) and family (a brother perpetually plunging into get-rich-quick schemes). George's real talent for guidance lets him help serious clients: a teacher concerned about a child's problems, a stressed-out CEO. But when George's brother makes a colossal blunder, George must choose between violating his card-reading principles and abandoning his brother to loan sharks.

de Lint, Charles: "Wild Horses" opens in Newford with the viewpoint of Dan, dreaming of horses running free while enmeshed in the chains of heroin addiction. The rest of the story (in 3rd person) follows Cassie, a card reader in the open-air market of the Pier, beginning on the day Dan's sister Laura asked Cassie to help find him. Cassie has two decks of cards: a Tarot deck, and a beat-up deck of more unusual cards with a strange history. In her view, "magic" is a word with two meanings: one for those who don't want to think, and one for those who seek tools to deeper understanding. The story is non-linear, one thread tracing Cassie's search for Dan, another her own past - how she came to read cards through her own search for a missing friend. Excellent story of overlapping worlds, and not just the spirit world and the material world. Perception, after all, is the heart of magic.

Edgerton, Teresa: The "Tower of Brass" contains only two living things: the magician Magnus and his daughter, brought with him long ago upon fleeing persecution (or criminal charges, as the case may be). Rosamund longs for a companion other than the clockwork servants, but has no experience of consideration for living things. Then a magical accident - is it? - brings Nick to the otherwise lifeless island, with a nagging memory of having heard of these inhabitants before...(Apparently not set in the Goblin universe.)

Edghill, Rosemary: "The Intersection of Anastasia Yeoman and Light", like that of light and a prism, makes visible that which wasn't visible without those things. The narrator's reading for Anastasia at a party turns up two 5 of Cups, marking her *own* life's turning point: writing or editing? (Ironically, this story is itself poorly edited.) She thinks of conventions as a kind of Elf Hill, visited frequently, in which she sees the last author she ever expected: herself.

Effinger, George Alec: "Solo in the Spotlight" Sick, sick, sick. :) For his first official reading, the President's psychic adviser must use the First Daughter's Tarot cards - a Barbie Tarot deck. (Told from the President's viewpoint, whose significator is the King of Shoes - err, Swords...)

Elliott, Kate: "The Gates of Joriun" One of the strongest stories herein, though like the Hanged Man, it embodies in a state of suspension. The narrator, sister of the rightful heir, has always been her brother's great strength, and the usurper swore to hang her - and has found a way to fulfil his oath without making her a martyr.

Garland, Mark A.: "New Beginner's Luck" starts with a Tarot deck missing 3 minor Arcana cards, and a woman starting over after her husband's death. Of course, *bad* luck is luck too...

Hoffman, Nina Kiriki: "Articles of Faith" Brooke's family is falling apart: her sister drifting away into drugs, her parents drifting apart. But her mother holds a legacy from *her* mother: the box of cards Grandma used to use to make rather than tell fortunes.

Huff, Tanya: Cynthia, hauled away from the office for R&R by her partner, finds that "Symbols Are a Percussion Instrument". Until she acknowledges deeper meanings to things, Tarot creatures will keep appearing in her life. (The funny side of Delaplace's Tarot twist.)

Mosiman, Billie Sue: The narrator, obsessed with interpreting "The Court of the Invisible", lets her companion and caregiver go without a goodbye, so obsessed is she: why does every spread yield the Wheel of Fortune?

Springer, Nancy: "Elvis Lives" The narrator, having just left an abusive husband, is rescued by an Elvis impersonator, who carries a good luck charm: a Tarot deck in which. Gladys sees legends of rock'n'roll. But why is her friend so desperate to find Elvis? (Gladys is particularly well characterized.)

Taylor, Lucy: "Chattel" spent the war as Thorne's slave, at last seeking sanctuary among a witch's tarot cards, but she deliberately leaves him a path to follow. (Somewhat reminiscent of Bradley's NIGHT'S DAUGHTER or MacDonald's THE WISE WOMAN, but without a sound rationale for either Thorne's second chance or the tests he fails to pass.)

Wade, Susan: 24 years ago "The Sixteenth Card" shattered Miranda's life as a sniper numbered her mother among his victims. Returning to Austin to research a book on paintings of the Tarot, Miranda begins seeing alternate versions of her childhood self in her old haunts; a "Randy" who apparently never lost her mother, her younger brother, or herself, continuing the life lost at the turning point of her mother's death. But can Miranda change her own past - and what will happen if she does? (A stronger story than "Anastasia Yeoman".)

Webb, Don: The narrator often delivered packages to kindly old Rosa's "House of Cards" (an occult shop) until ex-employee Juno began siphoning off the shop's lifeblood to start up a competing store. But just how far has Juno gone?

West, Michelle Sagara: Shelagh Brentwood's husband withdrew into catatonia when their child died in a car crash for which he was responsible. Now a "Turn of the Card" - a deck she made for him in happier times - offers the hope for his return, his only connection to the world. (Alternates between his viewpoint, hers, and a caregiver's.)

Yolen, Jane: "Song of the Cards" As for several Greenberg anthologies of this period, Yolen's contribution is a poem.
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on October 25, 1998
the first several stories are much more traditionalistic and common, though they do have some originality to them.. that is, the ideas are wattered down, and the plots are a tad cliche.. soon though, very soon in it, some the third or fourth story, it delves into the delightful realm of mystic horror and nostalgic drama.. fairly recent as well, so you can expect that much of what we find in everyday culture is also present in the present-day tales.. a great deal of fun to read.. personal favorites: chattel, the intersection of anastaisia yeoman (sp) and light, and the tower.. seriously recommended
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on October 1, 2003
Included in this book: INTRODUCTION/Lawrence Schimel: SONG OF THE CARDS/Jane Yolen (poetry); SYMBOLS ARE A PERCUSSION INSTRUMENT/Tanya Huff; THE COURT OF THE INVISIBLE/Billie Sue Mosiman; NEW BEGINNER'S LUCK/Mark A Garland; HOUSE OF CARDS/Don Webb; ARTICLES OF FAITH/Nina Kirki Hoffman; WILD HORSES/Charles de Lint; THE INTERSECTION OF ANASTASIA YEOMAN AND LIGHT/Rosemary Edghill; CHATTEL/Lucy Taylor; ELVIS LIVES/Nancy Springer; IN THE CARDS/Michelle Sagara West; SOLO IN THE SOPTLIGHT/George Alec Effinger; THE GATES OF JORIUN/Kate Elliott; TOWER OF BRASS/Teresa Edgerton; THE SIXTEENTH CARD/Susan Wade.
15 stories, 1 poetry and an intro. It was a struggle to finish this book. Five stories were OK. There was only one I really liked of those five. I don't know what I expected this collection to be, but it wasn't this strange assortment. See if you can get this used, or from the library.
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on June 24, 2015
As an anthology, it's great! I love some of the stories and like some others and a few are merely decently written. Marty Greenberg did his usual fantastic editorial job of assuring that the flow of stories within the anthology is good, and that at least some of the story elements remain consistent from author to author to tie the works together. The only reason I'm not giving this five stars is that there are a couple of sub-par stories which stretch my suspension of disbelief too far (and I'm NOT a critical reader, at least not when reading for recreation); I can only think that there just aren't enough better stories to put together a sufficiently sized anthology on the topic otherwise. Overall, well worth the investment and well worth the reading time; enjoy!
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