Inspired by McKinley's fascination with fiction with a strong sense of place, stories by nine authors well-known for science fiction and fantasy. Three take on the demanding task of creating a wholly imaginary world. Most satisfying is McKinley's own contribution, in which she returns to Damar (site of the Newbery-winning Hero and the Crown) and creates another strong heroine. Maddy, herder of sheep, is bewitched by a mountain spirit, but her own good sense and the love of her mortal ties extricate her from what was perhaps the analog of an adolescent fantasy world. Embellished with one of literature's more delightful dogs, "Stone Fey" is distinguished by its clarity and freedom from cliche. "Flight," by Peter Dickinson, is a piercingly satirical look at the gory history of an empire. Least successful, P.C. Hodgell's "Stranger Blood" is in the dungeons-and, dragons vein. The remainder of the stories are set in legendary time with mythical or fantastic characters. The best of this group gain strength from their basis in British legend. In Jane Yolen's "Evian Steel," a sword is forged by a band of women and delivered to Merlin, who prophesies that because the virgin whose task it was to dip the sword in blood and water has deviated from the ritual, she shall be barren. Joan de Vinze's "Tam Lin" is a lyrical retelling of an old Scottish tale. Also included are Robert Westall's "Big Rock Candy Mountain"; James Blaylock's "Paper Dragons"; Michael de Larrabeiti's "Curse of Igamor"; and Patricia Mc-Killip's "Old Woman and the Storm." An intermittently rewarding collection for fantasy buffs.