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The Silver Gryphon
edited by Gary Turner and Marty Halpern
Golden Gryphon Press, 330 pages

The Silver Gryphon
Gary Turner
Gary Turner is the publisher at Golden Gryphon Press.

ISFDB Bibliography: Gary Turner

Marty Halpern
Marty Halpern is an editor at Golden Gryphon Press. He lives in San Jose, California.

ISFDB Bibliography: Marty Halpern

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rich Horton

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Golden Gryphon Press was founded by the late Jim Turner in 1997, and has been run by Jim's brother Gary and his wife since Jim's death in 1999. The press was founded with the goal of publishing, in Gary Turner's words, "handsome, quality books of short story collections", and it has succeeded admirably. The Silver Gryphon is the 25th "archival quality hardcover" the company has issued (they have also recently started to publish novella length chapbooks). It includes 20 original stories by the authors of the first 24 books (two of those authors have published 2 books each with Golden Gryphon, one book was an anthology, so only Tony Daniel does not have a story here). The collection is quite entertaining throughout, not perhaps a surprise as Golden Gryphon books have been by a quite noticeably excellent set of authors.

It would be fair to say that quite a few of the writers have contributed stories very characteristic of their work. For example, R. Garcia y Robertson's "Far Barbary" is a delightful adventure/romp set in a fantastical history, much like his Markovy stories (it may even be the same history). Sir Gareth Douglas is a Scottish mercenary working for the Tartar Khan, who leads the charge against a foolish Shah's palace. As a reward, he claims the beautiful, pregnant, English harem resident he has rescued, but the Khan doesn't want to leave any potential heirs (even if unborn) alive. So Gareth and the woman have to flee on the back of a roc... and Gareth soon finds that a woman who may bear the Shah's heir is a dangerous woman to be with. As with much of Garcia y Robertson's recent work, this is great fun but a bit thin.

Paul di Filippo's "What's Up, Tiger Lily" features the nerdy but rich inventor of smart paper ("proteopape") dealing with the revenge schemes of a beautiful former classmate, offended by his lack of appreciation of her art (which involves rewriting the dialogue of old films, as signaled by the story's title). It has plenty of ideas, a rapidly moving plot, and an engaging hero, but it doesn't quite catch fire. Still, fun stuff.

Lucius Shepard's "After Ildiko" is set, naturally, in Central America, as an idling American goes upriver in the company of a Swiss woman, and only realizes what he has lost after he loses her. Kage Baker's "A Night on the Barbary Coast" is set in a rather different Barbary than Garcia y Robertson's story -- this is a Company story set in Gold Rush era San Francisco, featuring his recurring characters Joseph and Mendoza, chasing a potentially valuable botanical discovery.

More highlights: Robert Reed returns to the Ship, setting of his novel Marrow, for "Night of Time", a fine SF story about a man trying to search the memories of one of the oldest species on the Ship. Kristine Kathryn Rusch offers a straight mystery story, "Cowboy Grace", about a 40ish accountant who chucks it all and leaves for Reno one day, only to find herself suspected of embezzling. Richard A. Lupoff's "The American Monarchy" is delightful, about a slightly alternate history/future, in which the Supreme Court decides to award the 2000 election to both Al Gore and George W. Bush, and by mysterious means this leads to a monarchy. But where in the US will we find a legitimate King? And Ian Watson offers perhaps the best story in the book, "Separate Lives", in which the law requires that people turn off their libido after a certain age. The protagonists defy this law, and when caught are harshly punished. It may not be entirely plausible, but it's sweetly moving.

There is also fine work from writers like James Patrick Kelly, Jeffrey Ford, Howard Waldrop, and more. I found this over all a satisfying anthology, but not quite exceptional. Many, indeed most, of the stories are good reading, but not a one really impressed me. There is lots of solid work here, but no outstanding stories. Still, there's enough good stuff here to make it work reading.

Copyright © 2003 Rich Horton

Rich Horton is an eclectic reader in and out of the SF and fantasy genres. He's been reading SF since before the Golden Age (that is, since before he was 13). Born in Naperville, IL, he lives and works (as a Software Engineer for the proverbial Major Aerospace Company) in St. Louis area and is a regular contributor to Tangent. Stop by his website at http://www.sff.net/people/richard.horton.


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