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A Century of Fantasy, 1980-1989 Hardcover – February 1, 1997
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A collection of eighteen fantasy stories, from some very distinguished and well known authors.
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Top Customer Reviews
Still, there are some noteworthy tales here. While there are a few fantasy-fantasy stories (knights and dragons and minor magic) most of the stories are contemporary tales that, not fitting into the general "fiction" category, ended up as "fantasy." Many times such tales get classified under the "science fiction" category. Many in fact I do recognize from "Analog", "Science Fiction and Fantasy", and "Asimov's" magazines.
Included tales that struck my fancy are "The Edge of the World" (Michael Stanwick), about three bored contemporary teens who decide to descend the abyss at the edge of town. Good sense of wonder in this one (it really does seem to be the Edge of the World since there is an endless stairway that winds its way down, and down, and down endlessly), and the protagonists are real and believable with lots of angst, and confusion about life (and not the Edge itself). "Wong's Lost and Found Emporium" (William Wu) is about a strange shop where you can find things that you have lost; and not just that charm bracelet you lost at the beach but perhaps lost hopes and dreams as well. Not as cliche as it sounds.
The authors participating are (last name only for space): Zelazny, Haldeman, de Lint, Bishop, Martin, Kushner, Foster, Silverberg, Tiptree, Wu, Ellison, Bear, Springer, Le Guin, Norton, Stanwick, Card, Niven.
A Minus: the publishing rights/agency credits are given, but not the sources/bibliography. Each story here came from somewhere else; Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Asimov's, Locus, Interzone, etc. Not a mention of any resource. Some of us like to know this stuff.
It's clear that the publishers of this book elected Silverberg to cough up a fantasy anthology, and he wasn't quite up to the task. Usually he makes better selections when he edits such a book. In fairness I will say that most of the stories here have won, or have been nominated for, the various yearly awards (World Fantasy, Hugo, Nebula, etc.)
If you have three or more contemporary fantasy anthologies, chances are you already have all of the stories in this book. If you do not, and are looking for sword and sorcery, this book isn't it. If you are looking for "contemporary" style fantasy, this may suit your taste.