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AFTER THE KING by Martin H. Greenberg

AFTER THE KING

Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien

By Martin H. Greenberg

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-312-85175-8
Publisher: Tor

 Yet another Festschrift anthology by Greenberg, who has recently edited or coedited tributes to Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and H.P. Lovecraft, this time to honor the much-imitated author of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The difficulty with these projects is that the writers must retain the essential flavor of their own work while evoking somehow the style or subject or tone of the revered predecessor, and here--as in the Asimov, Bradbury, and Lovecraft volumes--the quality of the stories varies tremendously. The book leads off with an exceptionally good story by Stephen R. Donaldson, ``Reave the Just,'' in which a legendary hero saves the day in a most unusual fashion. Emma Bull's ``Silver or Gold,'' Peter S. Beagle's ``The Naga,'' Judith Tarr's ``Death and the Lady,'' and Patricia A. McKillip's ``The Fellowship of the Dragon'' likewise evoke something of the spirit of Tolkien while offering wonderful, original tales in their authors' own strong voices. Meanwhile, John Brunner, Barry N. Malzberg, and Gregory Benford provide solid stories, but their connection to Tolkien is slight. Much that's unfortunately mediocre, and a few stories (such as Dennis L. McKiernan's ``The Halfling House,'' egregious at 29 pages) that would have made Tolkien himself wince--but, still, the strongest tales here are among the best short-length fantasy of the year.