Friday, July 17, 2009

Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction

I love reading novels, the long sprawling stories, getting to know the characters so well, I feel like I actually know them. But I hold a soft spot in my heart for short stories. Novels can be too wordy, getting bogged down in too much description and unnecessary scenes. A good short story, however, I’ve always thought of as a jewel. Precious, and small enough to hold in your cupped hands. One good anthology that I’ve found is Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction. There is no particular theme to this anthology, except for the fact that all the contributing authors write teen fiction that is published by Firebirds imprint. The stories range from a reworking of the legend of Medusa (Medusa), to the story of a baby left in the night deposit box of a library, who is then raised by the quirky librarians who live there (The Baby in the Night Deposit Box). Some of my favorite stories include Cotillion, the best retelling I’ve ever read of Tam Lin in short story format, and my absolute favorite from this collection, Little Dot. Cat lovers everywhere will adore this odd and enjoyable story from Diana Wynne Jones, about a cat who, with the help of her fellow furry friends, rids the countryside of a vicious beast, and in the process wins back the affection of her owner. One of the few stories I really didn’t like was Garth Nix’s Hope Chest, a creepy, unnecessarily gory old western story. Overall, a great read and a good introduction to the wonderful world of short stories! If, after reading this, you decide you like you like short stories, here are a few other anthologies you may want to check out… Hidden Turnings: A Collection of Stories Through Time and Space compiled by Diana Wynne Jones; Unexpected Magic: Collected Stories by Diana Wynne Jones; Twice Seven: Stories by Ben Bova; Book of Enchantments by Patricia C. Wrede; Firebirds Rising; Firebirds Soaring; The Green Man: Tales From the Mythic Forest; The Faery Reel: Tales from the Twilight Realm; and The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales.

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