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Mass Market Paperback Sword and Sorceress III Book

ISBN: 0886771412

ISBN13: 9780886771416

Sword and Sorceress III

(Book #3 in the Sword and Sorceress Series)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback

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Maintaining momentum

In the third volume of this annual themed anthology series, editor MZB sometimes seems to have gotten a little confused, but she still managed to score, out of 20 stories, 14 or 15 that I found personally enjoyable. I say confused because sometimes her prefatory notes don't seem to match the stories. She describes Millea Kenin's "Scarlet Eyes" as "a splendid blend of adventure fantasy in the sword and sorcery vein and science fiction," yet I could find nothing science-fictional about it, while Patricia B. Cirone's "S.A.R.," though it *might* be said to have a science-fictional twist, doesn't show any evidence of the technology that ordinarily defines that genre. She explicitly states that these collections are sword-and-sorcery, yet Jennifer Roberson's "Valley of the Shadow" and Melissa Carpenter's "A Tale From Hendry's Mill," while clearly fantasy, don't seem to be, and Anodea Judith's "The River of Tears" is apparently set in modern times. J. Edwin Andrews's "Talla" is described as "a bit gruesome," yet I didn't find it so at all. On the other hand, there's plenty to like in this volume, including the first story of Mercedes Lackey's Tarma and Kethry (who later appeared in a series of novels beginning with The Oathbound (Vows and Honor, Book 1)), Deborah Wheeler's "Dragon-Amber" (in which a nature-sorceress aids an amnesiac bound to a very protective dragon), "Enter the Wolf" by A. D. Overstreet (which ought to have been expanded into a full-length book), Mary Frances Zambreno's "Orpheus" (a female warrior and her she-werewolf partner contract to bring a dead man back from the Afterworld), Polly B. Johnson's fascinating "Fresh Blood" (set in what seems to be an alternate Mexico where an analogue of the Aztecs rules--and has horses!), Diana L. Paxson's "The Mist on the Moor" (a new adventure of her warrior-princes Shanna, with a hint of Fritz Leiber about it), Elizabeth Moon's "Bargains" (a brief tale of swindlers swindled by a warrior and her magic-user sidekick), "A Woman's Privilege" by Elizabeth Waters (a sorceress-princess and her twin brother must stand against a rival lord), and "Marwe's Forest" (a new adventure of Charles R. Saunders's Dahomean warrior-woman Dossouye). I personally think that Dana Kramer-Rolls's "Journeytime" could have used better editing--I find her society lacking in expository detail, even for one confined to short-story length--but that's just my opinion; others may be able to glean more from the author's prose than I was. Bradley was a notoriously tough editor and had no patience with whiners and other nonprofessional types, and her tastes don't always match mine, but in her earliest efforts in this series, at least, she succeeds in entertaining me more times than not.

Putting Women in their Place-As Heroes of the Fantasy genre

This is Marion Zimmer Bradley's third anthology of sword and sorcery fiction devoted to stories where women are the protagonists. They come in many forms, warriors, thieves, mages, healers, wise-women, adventurers and wanderers. MZB sticks to her guns throughout-these are not romances, nor are they stories where women are the sidekicks, or simply women to be overcome by a more powerful male. Instead, this anthology holds a wide range of stories, and an infinitely wide range of heroines. Since the first Sword and Sorceress anthology, these stories became increasingly popular, so that MZB had received rampant submissions for this third anthology from hopeful writers. Most of her intro delves into her editing methods, and what she expects from a story. Readers get to see a bit of the process behind selection, as well as MZB's sharp and humorous personality that I personally found delightful.MZB once more serves up a range of voices; from familiar returning favorites, to brand new first sales. Probably one of the most noteworthy new authors, in my opinion, is Mercedes Lackey. "Sword Sworn" is, I believe, Misty's debut as a published author, and is certainly the first introduction to her unforgettable mercenary heroines, Tarma and Kethry who are the protagonists of Lackey's later novels; OATHBOUND and OATHBREAKERS. Lackey has gone on to quite a career since then, but even this first short story showcases her talents as a writer. As to returning favorites, MZB has included an interesting tale of a dragon and a young nature-wizard "Dragon Amber" by Deborah Wheeler (noteworthy, in part because Bradley tends to dislike any sort of `cliché' dragon story), "Valley of Shadow" by Jennifer Roberson, "Journeytime" by Dana Kramer-Rolls, "Marwe's Forest" by Charles Saunders, and "The Mist on the Moor" by Diana L. Paxson. "Journeytime" by Dana Kramer-Rolls, "The River of Tears" by Anodea Judith, and "Sword Sworn" by Mercedes Lackey are more serious ventures, dealing with the transformation of character and the journey, both physical and spiritual, these characters make. Unlike her first two anthologies, number three has a greater number of serious stories, the balance of humor is not as prevalent, still there are one or two that lighten the mood. "Orpheus" by Mary Frances Zambreno is about an unusual pair of women adventurers sent to retrieve a soul from the underworld, and "Bargains" by Elizabeth Moon where the bargains in question, may be no bargain at all. Among my favorites is "A Tale From Hendry's Mill" by Melisa Carpenter, an interesting take on the `rape and revenge' theme, and one very likable heroine. "More's the Pity" by L. D. Woeltjen is a haunting tale that works its spell very effectively in a few short pages. As mentioned above, "Sword Sworn" by Mercedes Lackey is her introduction to two female mercenaries, and a powerful story of both sword and sorcery-and vengeance. Perhaps the most intriguing story is Jennifer Roberson's "Valle


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