Thursday, January 26, 2006

'Bardic Tales and Sage Advice: an anthology of speculative fiction' edited by Julie Ann Dawson

TITLE: Bardic Tales and Sage Advice: an anthology of speculative fiction
EDITORS: Julie Ann Dawson, Colleen Schonat, Julie Hedge, and Stijn Hommes
PRICE: book $12.99, download $5.74
ISBN: #1-4116-6029-3

It was very difficult to rate this anthology because at its best it is stunning. 'Reflexion' for example, is a narrative poem that tells a fascinating story with flashes of breath-taking imagery. This long poem on is an effortless 10/10. The other poems are more of a mixed bag.

The lead story 'Winter of the Gods' reads very much as a first chapter rather than a complete story, but if this tale should every be developed into novel I would definitely be buying a copy. The author, Elena Clark, plays on the strengths of high fantasy with deep magic and epic conflicts but steers clear of the clich├ęs by using a solid, unique mythos rather than the usual sword and sorcery trappings.

Amongst the other stories 'Through a Data Storm' is a fresh, if heavy handed dystopian tale, 'Netherlands Roulette' shows us an utterly convincing future where crime and violence are suppressed causing a new range of problems, and 'Them' is a wonderful science fiction story with a sly surprise ending.

All of the stories are well worth reading but tend to lack fully developed or resolved plot-lines which can have unsatisfying results. Overall ‘Bardic Tales and Sage Advice’ is a diamond in the rough, and perhaps future editions will more fully exploit the obvious potential for novice voices to use and transform the standard devices of speculative fiction.

RATING: 6.5/10

SEE ALSO: (ratings scaled to /10)
8/10 Amazon
10/10 Lulu
8/10 Gloomwing
9/10 Club Reading


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