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Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress XXII Paperback – November 15, 2007
Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
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About the Author
Elisabeth Waters sold her first story in 1980 to Marion Zimmer Bradley for The Keeper’s Price, the first of the Darkover anthologies. She went on to sell dozens of short stories to a variety of anthologies. Her first novel, a fantasy called Changing Fate, was awarded the 1989 Gryphon Award. She is working on a sequel to it, in addition to her short-story writing and editing the Sword and Sorceress anthology series. She has also worked as a supernumerary with the San Francisco Opera, where she appeared in La Gioconda, Manon Lescaut, Madama Butterfly, Khovanshchina, Das Rheingold, Werther, and Idomeneo. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
For anyone unfamiliar with the series, the book collects sword & sorcery tales with strong female protagonists, a broad enough theme to encompass a variety of good stories from authors both experienced and new. I settled down, cracked open the book ... and found myself vaguely disappointed. The first few stories didn't satisfy me. Had I romanticized the series so much that nothing could live up to my expectations?
But no, as I read further, I found stories that drew me in. Stories where the struggles felt real, and the heroines fought toward endings both satisfying and believable. I even ended up recommending one (Bearing Shadows, by Dave Smeds) for the Nebula.
After a rocky start, I enjoyed somewhere around half to 2/3 of the stories, which makes for a pretty good collection.
Sword & Sorceress XXII continues the legacy Marion Zimmer Bradley began, presenting stories of strong women (stories that don't bash the reader over the head with "message") by both experienced and new authors. The trade paperback format still feels a little weird, but I can get used to that.
All in all, I'd say this one's worth buying, both for some strong stories, and to support one of the oldest anthology series in the genre.
(Bonus trivia: Norilana Books, the publisher behind Volume XXII, is run by Vera Nazarian, one of the writers Marion Zimmer Bradley mentored years ago.)
Most of the short stories in this volume do follow this formula. The heroines are typically likable (and mostly somewhat interchangeable, in my opinion). The stories are typically extremely task-oriented, which often makes them feel like a chapter in someone's novel rather than the kind of short story that takes your breath away as it stands on its own. The endings are almost all essentially happy-- everything wraps up with a nice, pat finish (the kind where the heroine secretly smiles to herself and sets off for her next adventure). The stories do not especially challenge, disturb, or intrigue the reader, and some are hopelessly predictable if you have read enough of this kind of fiction.
I did think very highly of two of the stories-- Fairy Debt (by T. Borregaard) was creative and fun, and Bearing Shadows (by Dave Smeds) was excellent. However, if you are looking for short fiction that will do more than play out the same kind of story over and over again, I'd suggest looking elsewhere.
I am very glad to hear that the series will be continuing; I look forward to reading volume XXIII.