Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy Paperback – May 6, 2008
Attention Science Fiction Fans
Man vs. machine, humans vs. aliens, paranormal activities – discover the best of science fiction with these collectible books. Learn More.
From Publishers Weekly
Veteran fantasists weave a variety of imaginative spells in this fine anthology of 18 original wizardry-themed tales. Neil Gaiman's charming opener, "The Witch's Headstone," introduces a boy raised by the dead and offers a sneak peek at a novel-in-progress. An Icelandic bride in modern Maine makes magic in Elizabeth Hand's outstanding "Winter's Wife." Mary Rosenblum, Patricia A. McKillip, Nancy Kress, Terry Dowling and Gene Wolfe notably conjure up diverse and indelible, coming-of-age stories featuring contemporary teens discovering their true natures. Garth Nix successfully mixes English legends in "Holly and Iron." The prophet Elijah appears as the "wizard" of Jane Yolen's "Slipping Sideways Through Eternity." What goes around comes around, even for wizards and monsters in Jeffrey Ford's "The Manticore Spell." Tad Williams, Peter S. Beagle and Orson Scott Card contribute indifferent stories, but overall this magical brew will enchant young adult readers and their elders as well. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Wizards have been popular in fantasy at least from Oz to Earthsea, occupying venerated positions as shamans and medicine men in aboriginal cultures stretching back to the Stone Age and forward to fin de siecle Kansas and beyond. In this collection of first-published tales, wizards are the puppet masters of schemes ranging from the amusing to the diabolical. Contributors include such venerable masters as Jane Yolen, Peter S. Beagle, and Gene Wolfe as well as such relative newcomers as Andy Duncan and Jeffrey Ford. Neil Gaiman offers the story of a boy able to communicate with the dead, who assigns himself the obligation of securing a headstone for a deceased witch. In Eoin Colfer's whimsical "A Fowl Tale," a talking dove begs for its next meal by explaining how Merlin gave him a con-artist's sensibilities. Terry Bisson's "Billy and the Wizard" describes an eight-year-old's encounter with a wizard sandwiched between the pages of a magazine. A creative spectrum of tantalizing themes makes the volume versatile and compelling reading for all fantasy fans. Carl Hays
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
Some parts are a bit scary so if you are buying for a scary cat or a younger child maybe read them together and skip some parts or stories that could bother them.
But, there are some stories in this collection that I felt deviated from the title. Some were not even about sorcerers, but made a vague reference to them in the story. Not that the stories were not good, I just don’t think that they belong in this collection. However, there were a few in here that were, frankly, bad. Poorly written, childish and simple plots that were not enjoyable. But they were precious few, and for a short story collection, I think that speaks to the overall talent of the authors presented.
For me, the most outstanding piece in the whole collection was the very last, called Stonefather. It detailed the journey of a boy named Runnel, who runs away from a family that he feels will not miss him and geos to the neighboring city to seek a better life, a city ruled by Watermages, who fear the powerful Stonemage that Runnel is employed by and others like him. Throughout, we see Runnel discover his hidden talents and help to bring harmony to the city he lives in.
I would love to gush about every detail of this story, I sadly must move on. Although it was my favorite, the progression of events throughout was a little fast paced. I would love to see this turned into a novel. You could theoretically spend several chapters talking about Runnel’s home life.
Some of these stories were not great, for various reasons. This was sadly the case with Holly and Iron, by Garth Nix. I really hate to say that about Nix, because I loved the Abhorsen series he wrote, is one of the best fantasy series that I have come across. But this would have been better as a novel. There was not enough substance, and the epic plot he presented did not fit on thirty-five pages. It needed a whole book to be effectively told.
It details, somewhat like Stonefather, the battle of two warring factions of sorcerers, who have different abilities. Its main character is the princess of the losing side, who is destined to unite her people. What I really like is that the story bears a strong resemblance to the tale of King Arthur pulling the sword from the stone.
There was another outstanding story in this collection, The Strangers Hands, by Tad Williams. In my opinion, it leaned more towards fable than story. It details the account of small town that receives a new visitor who performs miracles by touch, somewhat reminiscent of The Green Mile, but that was as far as the similarities went. A wizard comes into town to counsel the local priest about the matter, and discovers that the stranger is one of the darkest wizards of their time, a Voldemort-like figure. He is mortal enemies to a powerful sorcerer, who is summoned to deal with the matter. The plot seesm predictable, but it does not go where you expect it to.
In one of the stories that caught my attention, the author wrote a strong friendship between a Christian priest and powerful Wizard. The relationship in the story is a normal one. I thought nothing of it, at first. But in a time of great division, it’s important to talk about unity. I may be wrong, but by writing these two characters as friends, I think the author may have had another message to the story. Many faiths around the world demonize or fear a religion that is not theirs. They deem them heretics, and sinners. This has been seen in many wars and conflicts throughout history, but it’s also true in day to day interactions for many people. I’m a great believer in the phrase, “people often fear what they don’t understand.” That applies to everything, whether it be a person’s religion, nationality, or the color of their skin. But by making these two interact like they do, may be a subtle message of acceptance and tolerance, which is something that we could all use more of, even when our representatives don’t reflect that.
Finally, there was a story that really got on my nerves, The Fowl’s Tale, by Eoin Colfer. It was the story of a bird that claims he is the lost prince of a prominent kingdom. I just really felt that this did not belong here. The only mention of sorcery was that a magic ring supposedly turned the prince into a bird, but even this to me was reaching a bit too far to be classified as a tale of wizardry. I don’t know if this was a matter of lazy editing, or a thoughtless attempt at adding diversity to the collection, but it did not work.
In summary, I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Overall, I found most of the stories to be thoughtful and engaging. Some, of course, were a miss but I think that’s sort of normal for a collection of stories. Very rarely will you find one where you love every single installment. I hope to read more collections in the future.
The Silver Elves authors of The Elves of Lyndarys: A Magical Tale of Modern Faerie Folk.
Sadly, I must say that I was disappointed. Don't get me wrong, many of these short stories are quite interesting and entertaining. Naming Day by Patricia A. McKillip was an entertaining young adult story, as was Sliding Sideways Through Eternity by Jane Yolen. And Winter's Wife by Elizabeth Hand was somewhat scary. For the most part, though, the stories were pretty light-weight, and rather forgettable. The only real gem in the book is Stonefather by Orson Scott Card - a story of a young man who is surprised to find that he has great powers and great responsibilities.
So, overall I found it to be an OK book, but not much more than that. I give this book a very guarded recommendation.
Most recent customer reviews
Fantasy stories ignite the imagination in ways that realistic fiction can not. Characters are larger than life.Read more