11 July, 2011

Review - Songs of the Dying Earth Edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois (Part 2 of 3)

What, you haven't picked up Songs of the Dying Earth [US] [UK] yet? Are you kidding me? Didn't I tell you last time? Are you done with these asinine questions?

I am still thoroughly impressed with this anthology. While part two hasn't been as quite as good as part one, I am still blown away by this anthology.

The Green Bird by Kage Baker (5/5) Probably my favorite so far in this excellent collection. It's witty, interesting, and surprising. The idea of not only a giant pit that people are thrown into is great, but to add to that a colony of survivors developing at the bottom of this pit and I was sold. Cugel the Clever earns his name in this one (although he doesn't technically earn his name, he's just really clever).

The Last Golden Thread by Phyllis Eisenstein (3.5/5) Another good, but not great story. It was interesting, involved some things (and species) I'm becoming familiar with, but I didn't love it or especially the ending.

An Incident at Uskvosk by Elizabeth Moon (4/5) This was an enjoyable story about a race of Giant Cockroaches and a "young" man falsely accused.

Sylgarmo's Proclamation by Lucius Shepard (4/5) Shepard has a unique way with metaphors that really gelled with me. Here's an example:

...once they saw an ungainly white shape drop from the canopy and flap off into the gloom, dwindling and dwindling, becoming a point of whitenes, seeming to vanish ultimately into a distance impossible to achieve in so dense a wood, as if it had burrowed into the substance of the real and was making its way toward a destination that lay beyond the borders of the world.
I really liked the characters and action in this interesting tale that revolves around getting revenge on Cugel the Clever.

The Lamentably Comical Tragedy (or The Laughably Tragic Comedy) of Lixal Laqavee by Tad Williams (4/5) This story does everything the title suggests, but I think I still wanted a bit more. A presumptuous miscreant forces a wizard to "sell" him a few spells. This reminds me of the part in The Dark Knight where the accountant tries to extort Batman.

Lucius Fox: "Let me get this straight: You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands. And your plan is to blackmail this person? Good luck."

Guyal the Curator by John C. Wright (4/5) This was a surprisingly
good tale about a man with a case of amnesia and the last Effectuator, Manxolio Quinc, who uses his effectuating skills to find this man's identity. Many of the words used in this tale made me very glad I've read Erikson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series almost in preparation.

The Good Magician by Glen Cook (3.5/5) A lazy, self-centered
man stumbles across something that should not be in his persuit of something he should not be persuing...at least not in the way he was doing it. I liked Cook's style and humor, but the story wasn't my favorite.

Why Read Songs of the Dying Earth?

Because I said so. Do it already or no dessert. :)

5 out of 5 Stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher