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About the Author
John Joseph Adams is the bestselling editor of many anthologies, including Wastelands, The Living Dead, and The Way of the Wizard. A six-time Hugo finalist and five-time World Fantasy Award nominee, he is also the editor and publisher of the magazines Lightspeed and Nightmare as well as the cohost of the Geek's Guide to the Galaxy podcast.
*This anthology is full of stories of military, war, battles, and the people who are caught up in them. Not every story is set in modern time. The stories range in time and space from the Paksenarrion fantasy world to the trenches of WW1 to today's downtown Kabul. Not every story is set right during the battle, either.
As with most anthologies, they were not all the same pace or crafted with the same skill. I'm not a Glen Cook fan, and Django Wexler takes too long to get anywhere. On the other hand, Jonathan Mayberry had just the right tone for me, and Weston Ochse definitely gave me something new to contemplate. Additionally, the anthology was arranged well. The first stories rode waves of emotion, while the last story refused to give any answer at the end, though it finished with a bang.
It's worth noting that I took a few weeks to read the entire anthology. The stories were so well-contained that I didn't want to overeat at the buffet, so I spaced out my consumption.
I recommend it to... People who want to understand hopelessness, bravery, and humanity all in little windows on a thousand worlds
This collection did not disappoint. The writers did a fine job in creating new worlds. I hope the editor puts another collection together in the near future. I will look for these writers in their individual work. Certainly worth your time.
Well I gave John Joseph Adams a second chance and bought Operation Arcana edited by John Joseph Adams. Well there will be no third chance for a JJ Adams edited books. I liked about half the stories and disliked 25% of the stories. Here's some of the stories I dislike. Pathfinder by T. C. McCarthy about a magical story set in N. Korea during the Korean war with US being the bad guys. Sealskin about a half merman/human that's just a wandering story about a guy finding out his past.Then there is Myke Cole's story about primitive goblins being attacked. Then there's Weston Ochse's American Golem which is totally depressing about the creation of a American Golem(Indian) who travels to the middle east for revenge. As I said I did enjoy some of the stories Huff's and Cook's but they were short stories set in long known series.
Well, after Shattered Shields, I decided to try a Baen anthology again. At least this one opened with an actual Tolkien quote, not one from the movies. On the other hand, the title of the book wasn't taken from LOTR - at least, I assume not, but even without a text-searchable version of Lord of the Rings, I'm pretty confident about that statement.
There was more good stuff in here than in Shields, all around a military fantasy theme. Surprisingly, there was even a good wereseal story in the book! Of course, there were two wereseal stories in total, but a 50% strike rate for wereseal stuff is above average.
Glen Cook's Black Company was the best in the book, back in the days of the early Company, giving us a feel for the changing complement and dynamics of the Company. “The Damned One Hundred” by Mayberry was more horror than anything else, but a great read nonetheless.
"Bombers Moon" and "Steel Ships" were also pretty good - showing us fantasy battles in sky and sea rather than merely on land. And, speaking of the earth, "American Golem" was also enjoyable.
Still, there is something for everyone here, and mostly it fits (except the Peter Pan stuff - Pan is actually ruthless enough without the extra layers of gilding applied here, and it seemed out of place in the collection).