Sunday, February 14, 2010

Review - Warriors edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

Book Description:
Included are a long novella from the world of Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin, a new tale of Lord John by Diana Gabaldon, and an epic of humanity at bay by David Weber. Also present are original tales by David Ball, Peter S. Beagle, Lawrence Block, Gardner Dozois, Joe Haldeman, Robin Hobb, Cecelia Holland, Joe R. Lansdale, David Morrell, Naomi Novik, James Rollins, Steven Saylor, Robert Silverberg, S.M. Stirling, Carrie Vaughn, Howard Waldrop, and Tad Williams.

Many of these writers are bestsellers. All of them are storytellers of the highest quality. Together they make a volume of unforgettable reading.
I received a copy of Warriors very recently and even though I have only read a couple of the stories in this anthology so far, I wanted to get the word out that based on the two stories I have read to date, The Girls from Avenger by Carrie Vaughn and Seven Years from Home by Naomi Novik, this is going to be an incredible collection.

Editor George R.R. Martin prefaces the anthology with a powerful Introduction called Stories from the Spinner Rack where he reminisces about the old style paperback wire spinners you would find in shops of all kinds. The racks were jammed with books in all genres from classics and westerns to science fiction and mysteries and more. He reminded me again why I love to read and why genre is not the defining motivation. George says  and I agree -
I never cared about such differences. It seemed, to me, then as now, that there were good stories and bad stories, and that was the only distinction that truly mattered.
It was with this philosophy that he approached and solicited the stories in this collection -
"Our contributors make up an all-star lineup of award-winning and bestselling writers, representing a dozen different publishers and as many genres. We asked each of them for the same thing—a story about a warrior. Some chose to write in the genre they’re best known for. Some decided to try something different. You will find warriors of every shape, size, and color in these pages, warriors from every epoch of human history, from yesterday and today and tomorrow, and from worlds that never were. Some of the stories will make you sad, some will make you laugh, and many will keep you on the edge of your seat.”
Carrie Vaughn's story is a WWII tale and Naomi Novik's contribution is science fiction.

The Girls from Avenger by Carrie Vaughn
This was the first story that I read in the collection because I love Vaughn's Kitty Norville tales. The Girls from Avenger tells the story of Emily (Em) Anderson, a civilan aviator working at army fields in the US ferrrying planes around the country to where they are needed for the war effort.  The death of a fellow flyer and close friend in a crash sends Em seeking the truth of the circumstances surrounding the event. Pitted against the many gender obstacles faced by women at that time Em is determined to understand the why and make meaning of her friends death. The Girls from Avenger is incredibly vivid; it dropped me into the time and place effortlessly, the period details seemlessly blended and authentic. But most importantly was the emotional impact this story had for me, the poignancy and especially the depth of Em's courage, not defined by battle, but by her perseverance, her sense of duty and optimism. A gem of a story.

Seven Years from Home by Naomi Novik
Told in flashback, journal style, Seven Years from Home is the personal story of Ruth Patrona, a diplomat  assigned by the ruling Confederacy to a planet with two vying factions. The factions are genetically different and philosphically apposed culturally and otherwise. Ultimately it is Ruth's job to get her assigned faction to negotitate and join the Confederacy through any means necessary. Instead, following a "Dances with Wolves" motif, Ruth falls for and joins the alien culture, but still doesn't abandon her primary mission.  Ultimately the colonialistic maneuvers of the Confederacy result in terrible and ugly consequences for the planetary cultures and Ruth in particular. The story is full of twists and turns and the denoument shows the horrible price paid by Ruth. Again I found the story emotianally satisfying and compelling. Highly recommended.

As I suggested earlier, based on the two stories I have had time to read so for, Warriors has the potential to be one of the strongest anthologies in or out of genre published this year. Warriors releases March 16, 2010 from Tor Books. Fans of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series will be particularly interested in the new "Dunk and Egg" novella that is included.

Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC (Tor Books )
Published: March 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 736

ISBN #: 9780765320483

7 comments:

  1. I do like Novik, she is so fun so would love to read at least her piece

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  2. This looks superb. Thanks for the cranium's up.

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  3. I'll have to get this for George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire story alone. The rest is all gravy :)

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  4. This novella sounds really interesting. Do you know if the stories in here are based on the books the authors already have out? Or are the new stories? There are many authors I have not yet had the opportunity to get to reading yet and I don't want to be lost in the stories.

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  5. Blodeuedd Novik's story was amazing and so completely different from her fantasy.

    So far its excellent Vickie.

    Abigail I suspect a lot of folks will buy this on that strength alone, but there is indeed lots of gravy.

    Melissa they are nearly all totally new and original stories not based on any ongoing series. As far as I can tell only the Gabladon story and the Martin story come from their previous work and I suspect they don't really require familiarity with the other books to enjoy them.

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  6. Thanks Doug. This makes me want the book even more. These sound like some great stories.

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  7. Thanks for your review, I look forward to the release of this anthology soon.

    www.trularin.wordpress.com

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