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Owl Flight
Mercedes Lackey and Larry Dixon
DAW Books, 293 pages
Elf Magic
edited by Martin H. Greenberg
DAW Books, 314 pages

Owl Flight
Mercedes Lackey
Mercedes Lackey has written over 60 novel-length works of fantasy, edited 2 fantasy anthologies, and published over 30 short stories. She has co-authored novels with Anne McCaffrey, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Andre Norton, Piers Anthony, and others.

Mercedes Lackey Biobliography Summary
Mercedes Lackey Fan Tribute Page
Mercedes Lackey Bio

Elf Magic
Martin H. Greenberg
Martin H. Greenberg is the most prolific anthologist in publishing history. He has won the Milford Award for Lifetime Achievement in Science Fiction Editing and was Editor Guest of Honor at the 1992 World Science Fiction Convention. He lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Martin H. Greenberg anthologies - 1st of 4 pages

Past Feature Reviews
Two reviews by Thomas Myer

There is good news and bad news from DAW's latest fantasy selections. I'll give you the bad news first.

Owl Flight, a new novel by Mercedes Lackey (illustrated by husband Larry Dixon), returns us to the world of Valdemar, with its mage-storms, mysterious forests, and jerkwater hicks. And although the novel starts out well enough, describing an entire medieval village economy concisely and wonderfully, the book quickly bogs the reader down with back-story and flashback, errant introspection and old battle scars, teenage rebellion and fortysomething angst.

In a fantasy novel replete with low and high magic, battles, and medieval societies, the most striking feature is a troubled orphan boy, an erstwhile hero who spends more time up a tree thinking in late-twentieth-century kid-talk then actually doing anything constructive. If you can stomach the first 100-page bitch-and-moan circus, then maybe you'll get something out of Mercedes Lackey's world...

But if not, I have something else in my bag of tricks: Elf Magic, the newest theme anthology edited by Martin H. Greenberg. These anthologies promise good fun, a kaleidoscope of feelings, maybe a Houdini disappearing act of the mind, in which we forget about gardening and chores and bills, and sink into the deep currents of story.

And it's not hard to lose yourself, with the quality of writing in this anthology. Take, for instance the first sentence from Michelle West's "Under the Skin," which starts the anthology:

The rain that fell in the city was the color of her eyes, clear and gray where it blanketed the traffic-strewn streets with the persistence of its fall.
Jane Yolen, a World Fantasy Award winner, produced a punchy short story, "Belle Bloody Merciless Dame," which climaxes with the following rose-burst of marvelous prose:
It was past midnight and the sky still pearly, this being Scotland where summer days spin across the twenty-four hours with hardly any dark at all.
Excuse me, but I must go on sampling. How about this incredible sensual piece from Rosemary Edghill's "The Phaerie Bride":
Curtains of blood-red velvet were drawn back to reveal windowpanes like a mosaic of black ice. Beeswax candles, dyed and perfumed, blazed out across the expanse of gilded and painted Chinese paper that covered what few walls the ballroom windows did not. Music filled the air from the velvet-draped dais where the Prince's own private orchestra bowed and blew like maddened automatons -- and for those who did not dance, there were side rooms where cards, or punch, or even more hectic pleasures could be procured.

Auberon was bored.

I would give a random body part just to be able to write a paragraph like that.

And if this weren't enough, there's a tale of the last survivor of Ragnarok, "The Last Warrior," by Tim Waggoner. There are also stories by Connie Hirsch, who has won more awards than God, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, Paul Edwin Zimmer (brother of Marion Zimmer Bradley), John DeChancie, and oodles more.

A definite must-read.

Copyright © 1997 by Thomas Myer

Thomas Myer is a technical writer. He has been known to program in sed and awk.

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