Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Legends II
edited by Robert Silverberg
HarperCollins Voyager, 645 pages

Robert Silverberg
Robert Silverberg was born in New York City in 1935. In 1949 he started a science fiction fanzine called Spaceship and made his first professional sale to Science Fiction Adventures, a non-fiction piece called "Fanmag," in the December 1953 issue. His first professional fiction publication was "Gorgon Planet," in the February 1954 issue of the British magazine Nebula Science Fiction. His first novel, Revolt on Alpha C, was published in 1955.

In 1956 he graduated from Columbia University, with a major in Comparative Literature, and married Barbara Brown. After many sales, he earned a Hugo Award for his promise (the youngest person ever to do so). In the summer of 1955, he had moved into an apartment in New York where Randall Garrett, an established science fiction writer, lived next door; Harlan Ellison, another promising young novice, also lived in the building. Garrett introduced Silverberg to many of the prominent editors of the day, and the two collaborated on many projects, often using the name Robert Randall. He divorced his first wife in 1986 and married writer Karen Haber the following year. He now lives in the San Francisco area.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Science Fiction, The Best of 2002
SF Site Review: The Longest Way Home
SF Site Review: Nebula Awards Showcase 2001
SF Site Review: The Book Of Skulls
SF Site Review: Lord Prestimion
SF Site Review: Sorcerers of Majipoor
SF Site Review: The Fantasy Hall of Fame
SF Site Review: The Alien Years
SF Site Review: Legends: Stories by the Masters of Modern Fantasy
SF Site Review: The Avram Davidson Treasury
SF Site Review: Sorcerers of Majipoor
Robert Silverberg Tribute Site
Interview with Robert Silverberg

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Steven H Silver

Advertisement
Legends II Robert Silverberg's Legends II anthology brings together aliens and dragons, magic and time travel, all within the framework of the modern fantasy novel. Legends II, as its 1998 precursor, is an invitation to some of the biggest names in fantasy literature to write novellas in their most famous worlds with an eye to introducing new readers to their works and giving a gift of a new tale to their dedicated readers.

Several of the authors in Legends II also romped through the first anthology, but Silverberg has also invited new authors, sometimes including those who have only appeared on the scene in the last few years, such as Elizabeth Haydon, authors whose fantasy worlds are new, such as Neil Gaiman, or authors who are not known primarily within the fantasy genre, such as Diana Gabaldon.

Many of the fantasy stories also contain elements of science fiction, and so Raymond Feist has the alien Tsurani in "The Messenger," although they play only a minor role, while Anne McCaffrey, who has long maintained that Pern is a science fiction series, introduces that world's first supernatural elements in a tale which is a continuation of her novel Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern. Whether time travel (Gabaldon), alternate history (Orson Scott Card), or aliens (Feist), all the science fictional tropes tend to be window dressing for the fantastic elements which appear in the stories.

Feist and Silverberg both introduce new concepts to their worlds, which allows them to provide a good introduction to their works. Feist examines the role of an earl's messenger in the Riftwar while Silverberg travels to the distant past of Majipoor to explore previously only legendary times. Orson Scott Card, on the other hand, has elected to publish "The Yazoo Queen," which is less an introduction to his world as it is specifically a prologue to his novel, The Crystal City.

In much the same way, Gabaldon's story "Lord John and the Succubus" serves not only as an introduction to new readers, but as a link between her long-running Outlander series and her new series which focuses on Lord John Grey. Her story is more successful as an introduction to her world than Card's, however. Silverberg has given his authors the length needed to develop their characters and stories as well as present their background worlds. Although far short of the often bulky novels many of these authors are known for, the stories are long enough for the reader to get immersed in their rich history and enjoy the strangeness and familiarity of their worlds.

While Legends II may not be quite the breakthrough that its predecessor was, it provides introductions to several fantastic worlds and the styles of some of the most important writers in modern fantasy. With luck, readers will discover new worlds to explore and Silverberg will, one day, come out with a third anthology with more worlds to explore.

Copyright © 2003 Steven H Silver

Steven H Silver is a four-time Hugo Nominee for Best Fan Writer and the editor of the anthologies Wondrous Beginnings, Magical Beginnings, and Horrible Beginnings (DAW Books, January, February and March, 2003). In addition to maintaining several bibliographies and the Harry Turtledove website, Steven is heavily involved in convention running and publishes the fanzine Argentus.


SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or other stuff worth mentioning, please send it to editor@sfsite.com.
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide