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A brand new series bringing you Fantasy stories from some of the biggest and most exciting names in the genre! The authors appearing in the launch volume include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick and KJ Parker. An amazing array of the m A brand new series bringing you Fantasy stories from some of the biggest and most exciting names in the genre! The authors appearing in the launch volume include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick and KJ Parker. An amazing array of the most popular and exciting names in Fantasy are set to appear in the first in a brand new series of Fantasy anthologies featuring original fiction, from the master editor Jonathan Strahan. The authors appearing in the launch volume include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick and KJ Parker. Content “The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats” by Scott Lynch “Amethyst, Shadow, and Light” by Saladin Ahmed “Camp Follower” by Trudi Canavan “The Dragonslayer of Merebarton” by K J Parker “Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine” by Kate Eliot “Spirits of Salt: A Tale of the Coral Heart” by Jeffrey Ford “Forever People” by Robert V S Redick “Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl” by Ellen Klages “Shaggy Dog Bridge: A Black Company Story” by Glen Cook “The Ghost Makers” by Elizabeth Bear “One Last, Great Adventure” by Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce “The High King Dreaming” by Daniel Abraham


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A brand new series bringing you Fantasy stories from some of the biggest and most exciting names in the genre! The authors appearing in the launch volume include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick and KJ Parker. An amazing array of the m A brand new series bringing you Fantasy stories from some of the biggest and most exciting names in the genre! The authors appearing in the launch volume include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick and KJ Parker. An amazing array of the most popular and exciting names in Fantasy are set to appear in the first in a brand new series of Fantasy anthologies featuring original fiction, from the master editor Jonathan Strahan. The authors appearing in the launch volume include Trudi Canavan, Elizabeth Bear, Daniel Abraham, Kate Elliott, Saladin Ahmed, Glen Cook, Scott Lynch, Ellen Klages, Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce, Jeffrey Ford, Robert Redick and KJ Parker. Content “The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats” by Scott Lynch “Amethyst, Shadow, and Light” by Saladin Ahmed “Camp Follower” by Trudi Canavan “The Dragonslayer of Merebarton” by K J Parker “Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine” by Kate Eliot “Spirits of Salt: A Tale of the Coral Heart” by Jeffrey Ford “Forever People” by Robert V S Redick “Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl” by Ellen Klages “Shaggy Dog Bridge: A Black Company Story” by Glen Cook “The Ghost Makers” by Elizabeth Bear “One Last, Great Adventure” by Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce “The High King Dreaming” by Daniel Abraham

30 review for Fearsome Journeys: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Evgeny

    Please note: this review will be updated as I read more stories from the anthology. So as I mentioned this is an anthology of short fantasy stories. The collection consists of the following: Amethyst, Shadow, and Light by Saladin Ahmed. An unusual pair of thieves was made an offer they could not refuse. They only needed to steal an artifact always guarded by powerful crazy sorcerers. Still, a choice between a certain death now and probable (very much) in the near future in the hands of said crazies Please note: this review will be updated as I read more stories from the anthology. So as I mentioned this is an anthology of short fantasy stories. The collection consists of the following: Amethyst, Shadow, and Light by Saladin Ahmed. An unusual pair of thieves was made an offer they could not refuse. They only needed to steal an artifact always guarded by powerful crazy sorcerers. Still, a choice between a certain death now and probable (very much) in the near future in the hands of said crazies is not really a choice. It was solid 3.5 stars read: solid but been there, done that affair. The last couple of scenes while not exactly original were still quite unusual for traditional fantasy and were enough for me to round the rating up. I need to add I am not a big fan of Saladin Ahmed, but this story deserved a good rating. Shaggy Dog Bridge: A Black Company Story by Glen Cook. The tale takes part between the second and the third books of the main series. A whole lot of familiar faces are back, including Darling, Lieutenant, Elmo, Silent, Otto, Hagop, Goblin, and One-Eye. The Company is on the run from their previous employers that are determined to obliterate the mercenaries from the face of the Earth. The expression "from frying pan into the fire" nicely describes the plot. This was the reason I got my hands on this anthology. People familiar with my reviews know I love the series. The only catch is you need to be already familiar with the characters to fully enjoy the story. It starts a little confusingly, but quickly becomes interesting in the sense that it adds one more intriguing detail to the world-building. The rating is firm 4 stars - if you have read at least the first two books of the main series. So the final rating for now is 4 stars which I will update later with review of more stories.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ✘✘ Sarah ✘✘ (former Nefarious Breeder of Murderous Crustaceans)

    ➽ March 31, 2019: picking this up again because I'm, um, you know, fearsome like that and stuff. Why thank you so much for the support, doggy-looking barnacles mine! P.S. Expect this review to be bumped to death as I read and crappily non-review stories in this collection and stuff. You're welcome and stuff. [ January 2019] Disclaimer: there are twelve short stories in this collection. I only read Glen Cook's. Because I'm revoltingly selective like that. And also because DUH. Friendly warning: the f ➽ March 31, 2019: picking this up again because I'm, um, you know, fearsome like that and stuff. Why thank you so much for the support, doggy-looking barnacles mine! P.S. Expect this review to be bumped to death as I read and crappily non-review stories in this collection and stuff. You're welcome and stuff. [ January 2019] Disclaimer: there are twelve short stories in this collection. I only read Glen Cook's. Because I'm revoltingly selective like that. And also because DUH. Friendly warning: the first three paragraphs of this review are a total waste of your time. You’re welcome. “Shaggy Dog Bridge” by Glen Cook: 4.5 stars and stuff. “Shit happens. Sometimes no matter how much you dog-gnaw the bone you don’t get it to make no sense, ‘specially the who done what why.” So I read this sentence (the very first in this lovely little tale full of fluffy bunnies and pastel-colored rainbows) and thought to myself: “why do I ever bother reading stuff NOT written by Glen Cook, anyway?” Okay, so you probably think that this is me slightly exaggerating again and that this sentence is nothing special. And it’s alright. I mean, you’re entitled to your ever-erroneous opinion and stuff. Besides, I was as clueless as you Barnacled Bunch once (view spoiler)[ hahahahaha, just kidding. Trying to make you feel better about your little selves, that is all (hide spoiler)] , and didn’t know who the fish Glen Cook was (my life had no meaning back then, just so you know), so I understand. Then again maybe not. Anyway, I kept reading, all giddy and slightly delirious as only a Moderately Unbalanced Glen Cook Shrimpgirl (MUGCS™) can be, and came across this: “Rusty was a FNG, with us only six months. He had no hope of becoming a Fucking Old Guy. He was an asshole and a bully. His type never prospers with us.” Which got me all, Because Glen Cook! Using acronyms! Just like me! You know what this means, right?! It means I must be the long lost daughter he had in secret with Lady! It all makes sense now! I got my Severe Nefariousness Disorder (SND™)—and ruthless world domination penchant—from her and Acute Acronymitis Syndrome (AAS™) from him! Ergo, my life is now utterly complete and stuff, and I can die most deliriously happy. So, now that we have so efficiently solved the fascinating mystery of my ancestry, let’s talk about Shaggy Dog Bridge, shall we? This story takes place between books 1 and 2 of the Most Scrumptious Fantasy Series that Ever Was and Ever Will Be (MSFStEWaEWB™) (view spoiler)[ asking me what the name of said series is is the surest way to get the murderous crustaceans unleashed on your miserable little derrieres post haste, just so you know (hide spoiler)] . And it’s kinda sorta pointless to read it if you are not already familiar with the MSFStEWaEWB™ and its delicious characters—aka my Yummilicious Mercenary Boyfriends (YMB™)—to be honest. But hey, it’s your life, so feel free to waste it as you like and stuff. Anyhoooo, this little tale finds my YMB™ on the run from their previous employers, namely my newfound mommy Lady (aka my girlfriend, aka my boyfriend Croaker’s girlfriend. One big happy family and all that). They come upon some kind of secret road. And some kind of secret bridge. And then spoiler spoiler spoiler stuff happens. There’s a most delicious Taken-like chick (Poof! Gone! Harem!) and the “evil versus evil sorcery duel of the decade.” The dialogues are hahahahahaha as ever, and most of the original Luscious Mercenaries are around. They're in rare form, too: One-Eye grumbles while Goblin giggles, Elmo is revealed not to be a complete dickhead (only that he is, part of the job description and all that) and Croaker shares deep, profound rejoinders “scintillating in their Croakeresqueness.” In other words, Pure Unadulterated Black Company Bliss (PUBCB™). How does it end, you ask? Well more or less something like this: Such brave, fearless, courageous men, my YMB™! No wonder I 💕lurves💕 them so bloody shrimping much! · Book 1: The Black Company ★★★★★ · Book 1.5: Port of Shadows ★ ← I have no idea where this book came from, or what it's about. Pretty sure I never read it. · Book 2: Shadows Linger ★★★★★ · Book 2.3 (short story): Bone Eaters ★★★★★ · Book 3: The White Rose ★★★★★ · Book 3.5: The Silver Spike ★★ ← pretending this one never happened. · Book 4: Shadow Games ★★★★★ · Book 5: Dreams of Steel ★★★★★ · Book 6: Bleak Seasons ★★★★★ · Book 7: She Is The Darkness ★★★★★ · Book 8: Water Sleeps ★★★★★ · Book 9: Soldiers Live ★★★★★ [Pre-review nonsense] My Yummilicious Mercenary Boyfriends (YMB™) strike again! ➽ Full review to magically appear post haste and stuff.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bob/Sally

    Before I get to my review, I want to offer a friendly public service message to those who are fortunate enough to be reading and voting on the various genre awards. Go ahead and pencil in Fearsome Journeys as this year's winner for best anthology, and Jonathan Strahan as winner for best editor. That's right, find your nomination form, jot the title down, put a huge asterisk beside it as the likely winner, and focus your reading efforts on those categories yet be decided. Okay, so maybe I am being Before I get to my review, I want to offer a friendly public service message to those who are fortunate enough to be reading and voting on the various genre awards. Go ahead and pencil in Fearsome Journeys as this year's winner for best anthology, and Jonathan Strahan as winner for best editor. That's right, find your nomination form, jot the title down, put a huge asterisk beside it as the likely winner, and focus your reading efforts on those categories yet be decided. Okay, so maybe I am being a bit facetious, but it really is that good! Short story collections are problematic for me. On the one hand, I like being able to sample authors in small doses, and to get a feel for their work, or to simply pay a brief visit with old favorites, no strings (or subsequent volumes) attached. On the other hand, I find them wildly uneven in terms of content and quality, with the weakest entries unfairly dragging down my overall impression of the collection as a whole. Much to my delight, Fearsome Journeys has proven to be the rare exception to that rule. There were a few stories here that didn't completely wow me, but I can honestly say I still enjoyed them all. While those few suffer by comparison against their companions here, they likely would have come across as some of the better entries in a different collection. There are several authors here who have just shot to the top of my TBR pile, based on the strength of their contributions, and a few others who've absolutely demanded I immediately rectify their absence from that same pile. The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats by Scott Lynch was a great choice to lead off the collection. It's fantastic in every sense of the world, with a world and characters I would gladly revisit. Amethyst, Shadow, and Light by Saladin Ahmed was another great story, reminiscent (to me) of the tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, with a surprise ending that left me with a satisfied smile. Camp Follower by Trudi Canavan was a really interesting story, with several twists that worked exceptionally well, and an ending that satisfied immensely. The Dragonslayer of Merebarton by K J Parker was, for me, probably the weakest entry in the collection. I simply didn't care for the telling, finding it too casual and removed, with no sense of urgency, but the story itself was decent. Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine by Kate Elliott more than redeemed that small literary stumble with a great tale, exceptionally well-told, some nice mythology, and characters I really want to read more about. Spirits of Salt: A Tale of the Coral Heart by Jeffrey Ford is one of the few I had issues with. As well-told as it was, I didn't care for the main character at all. The clever twist ending redeemed it somewhat, but not enough to rise above its peers. Forever People by Robert V S Redick is a story that I quite liked, finding myself very invested in seeing how it all developed, but I find myself feeling a little . . . well, ambiguous about the ambiguity of the ending. I didn't originally care for it, but found it better on a second read, although I find myself wavering again this morning. Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl by Ellen Klages is an oddly comic tale that almost felt out of place here, but had some really nice elements to it, and won me over with just how thoroughly the tables were turned by the end. Shaggy Dog Bridge: A Black Company Story by Glen Cook was a serviceable enough story, with some great moments of action and drama, but I found the narrative a bit flat, as if it assumed too much of the reader in terms of Black Company knowledge. Having said that, I can see why Cook is so often mentioned in the same breath as Steven Erikson. The Ghost Makers by Elizabeth Bear was an absolutely stellar tale, well-told, with a pair of intriguing protagonists, and a nice weaving of magic and mythology. It took me a while to warm up to it, but my appreciation continued to grow as each layer was revealed. One Last, Great Adventure by Ellen Kushner and Ysabeau S. Wilce was a story where I found the present-tense narrative a bit jarring at first, but eventually settled in to enjoy a decent tale. The High King Dreaming by Daniel Abraham is a deep, dark, introspective, tale told in snippets and scenes. While it may not have offered the strongest story in terms of plot, it was compelling from a narrative standpoint. For those of you who are curious, it's Lynch, Elliott, and Bear who are the three authors who've made the most significant climbs in my TBR pile, and Ahmed and Canavan who have won themselves a place. Overall, however, this just a great collection of tales, well-selected and well put together by a man who has an obvious feel for the genre. I cannot recommend Fearsome Journeys highly enough. Originally reviewed at Beauty in Ruins

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    The first few stories were great, the rest mediocre to plain bad. I abandoned two. That seems to be about par for the latest anthologies by Strahan, though. I like being able to sample authors' work, both when they're writing in their 'typical' world & out of it. I often wonder if some that have been around a long time & are popular are worth another go. Trudi Canavan's contribution, was a really pleasant surprise. She's an author I don't typically read, but "Camp Follower" was excellent, one of The first few stories were great, the rest mediocre to plain bad. I abandoned two. That seems to be about par for the latest anthologies by Strahan, though. I like being able to sample authors' work, both when they're writing in their 'typical' world & out of it. I often wonder if some that have been around a long time & are popular are worth another go. Trudi Canavan's contribution, was a really pleasant surprise. She's an author I don't typically read, but "Camp Follower" was excellent, one of the very best of the collection as was Saladin Ahmed's, an author new to me. Neither story by Cook or Bear changed my mind about their writing. I got through both stories, but I don't want to read any more by either. All the stories were well narrated, although there were irritating reminders to continue on the next CD. I hate that in an audiobook I downloaded.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nicky

    As usual with anthologies, this was a good mix of the sort of stories that interested me and ones that don't. I was decidedly "meh" about a few of them, but for the most part it's a solid collection, showcasing the current crop of SF/F talent. I think my favourite stories were Scott Lynch's 'The Effigy Engine', Trudi Canavan's 'Camp Follower', and Kate Elliott's 'Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine'; maybe also Elizabeth Bear's 'The Ghost Makers'. I think my problem with short stories is that they As usual with anthologies, this was a good mix of the sort of stories that interested me and ones that don't. I was decidedly "meh" about a few of them, but for the most part it's a solid collection, showcasing the current crop of SF/F talent. I think my favourite stories were Scott Lynch's 'The Effigy Engine', Trudi Canavan's 'Camp Follower', and Kate Elliott's 'Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine'; maybe also Elizabeth Bear's 'The Ghost Makers'. I think my problem with short stories is that they don't have enough time to develop the world and characters in the way I like from a fantasy story. Some people are very deft at it, but mostly it's a bit beyond people to write a good short story with the kind of twist I like from the form as well as the world/characters I like from the context. (Which is, if not my failing, at least a problem on my side, not theirs -- I'm not suggesting that everyone should write according to my rules!)

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bogdan

    The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats by Scott Lynch – I`m not a huge fan of the novels Lynch writes, but this is the second short story that I read from him and you know what, I liked the two a lot. Amethyst, Shadow, and Light by Saladin Ahmed - it`s not in the same world like the first novel of the writer, but it was another good surprise. Good story, good characters, great writing. Camp Follower by Trudi Canavan- It had a prety ok story. I haven`t read anything before by Trudi and I`m not The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats by Scott Lynch – I`m not a huge fan of the novels Lynch writes, but this is the second short story that I read from him and you know what, I liked the two a lot. Amethyst, Shadow, and Light by Saladin Ahmed - it`s not in the same world like the first novel of the writer, but it was another good surprise. Good story, good characters, great writing. Camp Follower by Trudi Canavan- It had a prety ok story. I haven`t read anything before by Trudi and I`m not really tempted to do so in the near future. The Dragonslayer of Merebarton by K J Parker - Not so great like the other storie Parker has written, but still it`s a Parker story. It lacks the twists the others had, but the humour and the same interesting storytelling it`s there. Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine by Kate Elliott – It`s not a bad one, but not in the same league with Lynch and Ahmed. Spirits of Salt: A Tale of the Coral Heart by Jeffrey Ford - It has a great storytelling, but the characters weren`t so humane after all. Forever People by Robert V S Redick – Another new writer for me. The ideea was interesting and exotic but, something didn`t quite worked well. Still it showed that the writer has the potential to do it right. Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl by Ellen Klages - This one was also a strange tale. In the beginning we have a main characters that transforms in a secondary one until the end. I really didn`t care about the story, still this former main character, a thief to be precisely, saves the day. Shaggy Dog Bridge: A Black Company Story by Glen Cook – Im not a fan of the writer and this story shows me why. I always wasn`t able to finish what I started from Cook ant this story it`s in the same league like the other texts. The Ghost Makers by Elizabeth Bear – Another great story, but it wasn`t the first time I read it. It was selected for another "Best of" so I knew it from there. Highyly Recommended. One Last, Great Adventure by Ellen Kushner and Ysabeau S. Wilce – I had to read it very carefuly to really understand the twist. It`s a story with good storytelling but it wasn`t quite such a good one like the rest. The High King Dreaming by Daniel Abraham - It` a story that makes me understand why I`m not impressed with the writing of Abraham. Still, the anthology was a good effort with stories that deserves to be read and authors to be discovered.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joseph

    An anthology, so there'll always be some you (or I) like better than others, but not a stinker in the bunch. Particular highlights for me included stories by Scott Lynch (in a vaguely Vancean mode), Elizabeth Bear (a welcome return to the world of the Shattered Sky, although not directly connected to any of the novels) and K.J. Parker (the least romantic, least chivalrous bit of dragon-slaying you're ever likely to come across). Plus strong contributions from Glen Cook, Ellen Kushner, Daniel Abr An anthology, so there'll always be some you (or I) like better than others, but not a stinker in the bunch. Particular highlights for me included stories by Scott Lynch (in a vaguely Vancean mode), Elizabeth Bear (a welcome return to the world of the Shattered Sky, although not directly connected to any of the novels) and K.J. Parker (the least romantic, least chivalrous bit of dragon-slaying you're ever likely to come across). Plus strong contributions from Glen Cook, Ellen Kushner, Daniel Abraham and Saladin Ahmed, amongst others.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Logan

    Engaging as usual, but not particularly outstanding. A dragon comes to town and the town's sole knight has the task of dispatching it. Engaging as usual, but not particularly outstanding. A dragon comes to town and the town's sole knight has the task of dispatching it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Darren

    I don't expect a lot from short story anthologies. I may well have been reading short story anthologies since before I started in on novels. At least in the "grownups" section of the library, and maybe before. I remember those old Alfred Hitchcock anthologies from my elementary school as well as I remember The Mouse & the Motorcycle. But, as I say, I don't expect much. Outside of a very small number of editors, I've become accustomed to enjoying an anthology if it has more than two stories I rea I don't expect a lot from short story anthologies. I may well have been reading short story anthologies since before I started in on novels. At least in the "grownups" section of the library, and maybe before. I remember those old Alfred Hitchcock anthologies from my elementary school as well as I remember The Mouse & the Motorcycle. But, as I say, I don't expect much. Outside of a very small number of editors, I've become accustomed to enjoying an anthology if it has more than two stories I really like. Money well spent; there are a whole lot which do not even chin that bar. Truth is, if there is ONE wonderful story in it, then I am happy. Good short fiction is hard to find, and I just don't have the time to scour the small presses to weed them out for myself. This book has three wonderful stories*. Each one alone would have been enough. The Effigy Engine, by Scott Lynch The Ghost Makers, by Elizabeth Bear Spirits of Salt: A Tale of the Coral Heart, by Jeffrey Ford It also has a few very good stories beside these. As there are only twelve stories* in the entire book, that's a high ratio. The Dragonslayer of Merebarton, by K.J. Parker, and One Last, Great Adventure, by Ellen Kushner were the ones that really stood out for me. This is the second anthology edited by Jonathan Strahan which I have really enjoyed, after Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword and Sorcery. He may well be one of those too-rare editors able to put together a truly compelling anthology. *I think each may qualify as a novelette. Kindle reading has skewed my ability to easily tell the difference there.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    There's nothing like an anthology claiming to offer a survey of a field to remind you why you hate that field. The cover calls this 'The New Solaris Book of Fantasy', but as the introduction makes semi-clear, what began as a plan for something wide-ranging soon degenerated into a collection of 'mainstream' fantasy. Which is to say, these stories all occur in pseudo-mediaeval secondary worlds. Some of the worlds, indeed, are so close to historical that it gets quite distracting, particularly when There's nothing like an anthology claiming to offer a survey of a field to remind you why you hate that field. The cover calls this 'The New Solaris Book of Fantasy', but as the introduction makes semi-clear, what began as a plan for something wide-ranging soon degenerated into a collection of 'mainstream' fantasy. Which is to say, these stories all occur in pseudo-mediaeval secondary worlds. Some of the worlds, indeed, are so close to historical that it gets quite distracting, particularly when terms like 'French' and 'Outremer' crop up. For me, they'd have worked far better as mythic takes on our own history. But no, enough extra details have to be tweaked to make sure it comes across as some half-arsed D&D simulacrum. Elsewhere, writers offer Crazy New Twists! (eg, the hero can't be arsed to undertake the grand quest) which were indeed funny - when I read them in one-page gag strip Thrud, a quarter of a century ago. The closest we get to slipstream is a story by Jeffrey Ford, one of the writers whose name convinced me to pick this up; he brings a strangeness too often absent from the other tales, which at best are generally held together by an engaging narrator rather than having anything novel in their substance. Compare the last (largely) fantasy anthology I read, George RR Martin and Gardner Dozois' Rogues. Now, by no means was every story therein a classic, but it had some writers whose absence is glaring in anything claiming to offer a general view of modern fantasy - Martin himself, Joe Abercrombie, Patrick Rothfuss. And even then you'd still be missing the weird, the urban fantasy, the strange historicals. Until I was convinced to give A Song of Ice and Fire a try, I had pretty much sworn off modern mainstream fantasy. This book is a good snapshot of why. Mercifully, matters do improve towards the end - Elizabeth Bear's offering has faint echoes of Clark Ashton Smith, Ellen Kushner co-writes something sweetly self-aware, and the reliably impressive Daniel Abraham wraps it up.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Dave Versace

    Fearsome Journeys is an anthology of fantasy short stories, most of which are quests or at least quest-adjacent. Though editor Jonathan Strahan intends it to encompass a wide spectrum of modern fantastika, I found the my favourites tended more towards the low-magic grit of Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser's end of the spectrum than elf-strewn high fantasy. It's a solid collection from some excellent fantasy writers. Military fantasy gets a good look in with Scott Lynch's opener "The Effigy Engine: A Ta Fearsome Journeys is an anthology of fantasy short stories, most of which are quests or at least quest-adjacent. Though editor Jonathan Strahan intends it to encompass a wide spectrum of modern fantastika, I found the my favourites tended more towards the low-magic grit of Fahfrd and the Gray Mouser's end of the spectrum than elf-strewn high fantasy. It's a solid collection from some excellent fantasy writers. Military fantasy gets a good look in with Scott Lynch's opener "The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats", which pits a band of highly competent mercenary wizards against an enemy with a battlefield super-weapon, and of course Glen Cook's contribution is another amusing and alarming tale in his long-running Black Company series "Shaggy Dog Bridge: A Black Company Story". Trudi Canavan's hard-edged "Camp Follower" ranges from gritty military fantasy to a high-magic showdown. Kate Elliott shows a bloody political skirmish from the point of view of civilians caught in the middle in "Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine". Saladin Ahmed's "Amethyst, Shadow and Light" was one of my favourites - a sword and sorcery heist in Fritz Leiber-ish tradition, featuring a rabbit warrior-woman and a barbarian named Zok. No, no, it's really good. Another favourite was K J Parker's "The Dragonslayer of Merebarton", featuring a retired knight whose social obligations unfortunately include dragonslaying. This one had a light if somewhat weary tone and may have been the pick of the collection. I also enjoyed the amusing "Sponda the Suet Girl and the Secret of the French Pearl", a screwball comedy about thieves and con artists. This is a fine cross-section of fantasy fiction that I would recommend to anyone looking to sample the genre.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    while this one has a stellar cast, I bought it first and foremost for Kj Parker's piece so it was the first I read The Dragonslayer of Merebarton - KJ parker - wry and subtly ironical tale about Dodinas le Cure Hardy, an aging knight of 56 who was mending his chamber pot to save money when he gets word that a dragon has been sighted in an area that he is responsible for protecting etc etc; in between reminiscences about his career as a fighting knight (not particularly enthusiastic but fighting i while this one has a stellar cast, I bought it first and foremost for Kj Parker's piece so it was the first I read The Dragonslayer of Merebarton - KJ parker - wry and subtly ironical tale about Dodinas le Cure Hardy, an aging knight of 56 who was mending his chamber pot to save money when he gets word that a dragon has been sighted in an area that he is responsible for protecting etc etc; in between reminiscences about his career as a fighting knight (not particularly enthusiastic but fighting is what a knight does, so that was that), family and estate life, the narrator decides to confront the dragon with a party from his estate and a helpful neighboring knight of similar age; stuff happens; very KJ Parker like tale and quite enjoyable if not as ground breaking as some of the author's recent stories like the Maps, the Paintings and the Music ones

  13. 4 out of 5

    Alytha

    Some good stuff in this one, and no real stinkers. And there is, I kid you not, a story about margarine. It's surprisingly fun too. I especially liked the Elizabeth Bear story. Does anybody know if she has written other things set in that world? The Scott Lynch one was really good too. Interesting magic system. Somebody seems to have forgotten to print the end of the Redick story though...it just ends totally without closure. Some good stuff in this one, and no real stinkers. And there is, I kid you not, a story about margarine. It's surprisingly fun too. I especially liked the Elizabeth Bear story. Does anybody know if she has written other things set in that world? The Scott Lynch one was really good too. Interesting magic system. Somebody seems to have forgotten to print the end of the Redick story though...it just ends totally without closure.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Fearsome Journeys is a fantasy anthology from Solaris, edited by the remarkably prolific Jonathan Strahan. I’ve enjoyed some of the other Solaris anthologies, and this one looked to have a good mix of authors I knew, and those I hadn’t previously heard of. As ever, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others – but I don’t think there was a bad one in the bunch. There were several standouts. “The Effigy Engine” from Scott Lynch, combined his sharply charming prose with a vivid world. There’s a Fearsome Journeys is a fantasy anthology from Solaris, edited by the remarkably prolific Jonathan Strahan. I’ve enjoyed some of the other Solaris anthologies, and this one looked to have a good mix of authors I knew, and those I hadn’t previously heard of. As ever, I enjoyed some of the stories more than others – but I don’t think there was a bad one in the bunch. There were several standouts. “The Effigy Engine” from Scott Lynch, combined his sharply charming prose with a vivid world. There’s a certain amount of humour here as well, as a small unit of wizards attempt to help win a seemingly unwinnable war. The banter is familiar for a close knit team, and their personalities are large enough that they step off the page. There’s pyrotechnic thaumaturgy, snark, and a whisper of something deeper. This is a space I’d quite happily explore more of. I also really enjoyed K.J. Parker’s entry, “The Dragonslayer of Merebarton”. This is probably no surprise to long term readers, who know I’m a massive fan of Parker’s work. Still, the tone here is pitch perfect – a pragmatic, tired knight, a man well past the point of his previous glories, dealing with something unusual. Admittedly, dealing with it with a sort of put upon disappointment, and a fairly deserved expectation that everything will go horribly wrong. There’s some heroics here, of a sort, and meditations on mortality and the virtues of duty. It’s a multi-layered piece, and one with something of a sting in the tail. Glen Cook’s Black Company short, “Shaggy Dog Bridge” is probably the other main event in this collection, and it’s really rather well done. This is Croaker and his gang of miscreants in their early days, on the run from the Lady and her Taken. It’s a grim story in some ways, with rogue wizards and otherworldy monstrosities. There’s the seeping tone of noir that infuses a lot of Cook’s work, and the troops-eye-view of epic events which has always been the Black Company trademark. It’s a good story, too – occasionally funny, often deadly serious, and always very compelling. I could go on – as I say, each of the stories inside of the collection is enjoyable. I will say that it feels like there’s something here for everyone. Low fantasy. High fantasy. Grimdark. If it’s got a label, you could probably apply it to one of the stories available here. The diversity of material on offer is impressive – from Kate Eliot’s insightful, nuanced, fairytale-esque story, through Daniel Abraham’s darker tale of an undying king, a narrative in vignettes where the subtext is as valuable as what’s on the page. Elizabeth Bear’s “The Ghost Makers” gives us character driven fantasy, driven by an automaton and a dead man – both of whom stroll off the page, large as life, in between hunting a killer. In any event, there’s something for everyone here – it’s a collection whose imaginative breadth is its soul. Every tale may not be for you, but they’re all interesting takes on imaginative worlds, and worth investing your time in.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Fiona Hurley

    Writing a fantasy short story is a tough challenge, because so much depends on the worldbuilding and that's hard to get right in so many words. There were no "dud" stories in this anthology, which is impressive, but there were some I liked better than others. Trudi Canavan and Ellen Klages are authors who I'll be looking out for. Writing a fantasy short story is a tough challenge, because so much depends on the worldbuilding and that's hard to get right in so many words. There were no "dud" stories in this anthology, which is impressive, but there were some I liked better than others. Trudi Canavan and Ellen Klages are authors who I'll be looking out for.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

    It's hard to review an anthology that you have been reading for seven years. That's the point of short story collections, you read them in between, let them lie for a year, then reread your favourite story and maybe continue with the rest one day. But, overall, the stories were good and none of them made me angry for no reason. It's hard to review an anthology that you have been reading for seven years. That's the point of short story collections, you read them in between, let them lie for a year, then reread your favourite story and maybe continue with the rest one day. But, overall, the stories were good and none of them made me angry for no reason.

  17. 4 out of 5

    R.A. Goli

    I feel like I should have enjoyed this more than I did. Not quite sure why I didn’t, it was well written and I enjoyed a few stories but I suppose most of them weren’t memorable to me. I quite like sone of the authors in the anthology; maybe I expected too much 🤔

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Surprisingly interesting and fun collection of fantasy stories. Some dark and some with a twist, not the usual fluff. Highly recommend.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Greg Benham

    An enjoyable anthology. The KJ Parker was great, as to be expected, but the Black Company tale disappointed.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Taylor Whitfield

    While the book’s introductory portion boast about its collection of stories by “new” writers, the context and circumstance of each story are either imitations of classic fantasy short stories or attempts to subvert them. Over all the anthology was a solid read as I didn’t find myself skipping any of the stories, though only a few really managed to catch my interest.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nighteye

    This is a really good novell-collection, I didn't knew or have read anything from the most of the authors and I was buying it because Trudi Canavan contributed with a novel and dinät had that high expectations. I liked the most of the novels, not everyone, but I'm impressed by the diversity and differences the authors interpretative their stories according to the "theme" and not like some other collections tells more or less the same stories. Every novel was wellwritten and I got some pleasant s This is a really good novell-collection, I didn't knew or have read anything from the most of the authors and I was buying it because Trudi Canavan contributed with a novel and dinät had that high expectations. I liked the most of the novels, not everyone, but I'm impressed by the diversity and differences the authors interpretative their stories according to the "theme" and not like some other collections tells more or less the same stories. Every novel was wellwritten and I got some pleasant surprises during my way true it. The ones I liked best was Saladin Ahmed's "Amythyst, Shadows and Light" were the end was really unexpected, "Camp Follower" by Trudi Canavan who was something compleatly different then I could have imagined! Kate Elliot's "Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine" was the one I liked the most, good and spellbinding story and an ability to create a trustworthy world in a few pages... "Forever People" by Robert V S Redick was special and got an unexpected twist in the middle of the story, The Ghost makers by Elizabeth Bear was also one of my absolute favorites: some stories of her I really like and some I just can't stand but this one's a masterpiece and spellbinding, I would like to be happy to see this world build up and that she created more stories around the element in this story! "One Last, Great Adventure" by Ellen Kushner and Ysabeau S. Wilce was more the funny type of story but I liked it and "The High King's Dreaming" by Daniel Abraham was fantastic and a bit mystic and haunting but good. Then there are five others that I wasen't that pleased it, the biggest disappointment was Scott Lynch's novel, his style of telling in this novel wasn't something that fell on my lips but maybe his books is different as I plan's to start to read one of his.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    So in my current quest to unearth new and different fantasy writers, I decided to explore this collection, which won a World Fantasy award for anthologies in 2014. (Yeah, I hadn't heard of this particular award either.) The stories are all very different from one another, but a handful stick out. The opener "The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats," by Scott Lynch is a quirky yarn about a band of mercenary wizards and reads with a clever comic-book tone. "The Dragonslayer of Merebarton," by K J So in my current quest to unearth new and different fantasy writers, I decided to explore this collection, which won a World Fantasy award for anthologies in 2014. (Yeah, I hadn't heard of this particular award either.) The stories are all very different from one another, but a handful stick out. The opener "The Effigy Engine: A Tale of the Red Hats," by Scott Lynch is a quirky yarn about a band of mercenary wizards and reads with a clever comic-book tone. "The Dragonslayer of Merebarton," by K J Parker is the best tale in the batch: a drool black comedy about a beleaguered minor lord who's bleeding money and would rather not have to defend his vassals from what is rumored to be a wondering dragon; and yet, be takes on the task with the air of a deadpan stand-up comic in a rusting suit of armor. Finally, "Shaggy Dog Bridge: A Black Company Story," by Glen Cook, was my first foray into the "military fantasy" subgenre, of which I was previously unaware. Imagine a cast of truly nasty mercenaries, who speak in clipped David Mamet dialogue, on a mission as strange and confusing as Captain Willard's voyage upriver in "Apocalypse Now." I can't think of a time when I read a fiction anthology like this cover to cover, and the experience of being surprised by each story was itself exciting. Ultimately, I'm not sure that I found that many authors whose other works I'll chase down, but what was most enlightening was seeing several very different takes on the fantasy genre--most of them very different from the high fantasy and YA fantasy fare of which I've made a steady diet.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gavin Gates

    Solaris anthologies have become a must have in recent history as far as I’m concerned. House of fear, Solaris rising etc all heading up the horror and sci fi genres to a gold medal standard, so, when a fantasy one lands in my pile, the cover displaying castles, dragons and maps I feel like it’s Christmas day all over again. I was not disappointed at all, given the fact that Trudi Canavan and Adrian Tchaikovsky both have a short in there should be enough to sell this to any fan of fantasy, casual Solaris anthologies have become a must have in recent history as far as I’m concerned. House of fear, Solaris rising etc all heading up the horror and sci fi genres to a gold medal standard, so, when a fantasy one lands in my pile, the cover displaying castles, dragons and maps I feel like it’s Christmas day all over again. I was not disappointed at all, given the fact that Trudi Canavan and Adrian Tchaikovsky both have a short in there should be enough to sell this to any fan of fantasy, casual or die hard. Both mentioned authors being very well known for large bodies of work (trilogies and much longer series’) having to deliver the same quality with a lot less paper to cover seems to have brought out the best in them, and with both authors being very high up on my favourites, this sings their praises in abundance. The great thing this anthology also does for me is introduce me to authors I haven’t heard of or read any previous works from before. The quality does dip a little from time to time, but, not to the point of any efforts being worth skipping past at all, more a case of with so many being of some of the best quality high fantasy I’ve got hold of in a long time, it was bound to happen. The styles vary widely from light and humorous in places through to suspense and mystery worthy of Victorian cerial killers. The Solaris ‘S’ for quite a while now has been a guarantee of top quality writing and again with this one the proof of why is on every page.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tom Loock

    Like (almost) every anthology, Fearsome Journeys: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy is a mixed bag: The K.J. Parker-story about a dragon-slayer told from an odd perspective was the reason I bought the book and it is (together with Lynch's) the best story here. Interesting to see how other reviewers disagree about Parker ... Unless I am mistaken, Parker never uses magic, monsters or even any fantasy races in his - yes, his! - novels that all take place in the same world, but most of his recent stori Like (almost) every anthology, Fearsome Journeys: The New Solaris Book of Fantasy is a mixed bag: The K.J. Parker-story about a dragon-slayer told from an odd perspective was the reason I bought the book and it is (together with Lynch's) the best story here. Interesting to see how other reviewers disagree about Parker ... Unless I am mistaken, Parker never uses magic, monsters or even any fantasy races in his - yes, his! - novels that all take place in the same world, but most of his recent stories involve magic and now a dragon. Scott Lynch's story about the red hat magicians - the first of many, I hope - was the other standout, largely due to the humour. Ellen Klages and Saladin Ahmed are two authors I was unfamiliar with, but will now check out, because I really enjoyed EK's story about a thief who gets his comeuppance and how well SA managed to squeeze a novel into a story. Honourable mentions go (in random order) to Kate Elliott and her story about a brave widowed peasant woman, Robert VS Redick and his story about immortality, as well as to Daniel Abraham and Ellen Kushner & Ysabeau Wilce. The other four stories were either not to my liking or I could not get into them. Overall, very much recommendable like the other Solaris Books of Fantasy.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Doug

    I'll be honest; as a whole, I felt the anthology sort of flopped--especially considering the all-star lineup it sported. I was ready to be blown away. At least it did end pretty strongly, thankfully. Elizabeth Bear's and Daniel Abraham's contributions kept me from giving it a two star-rating all by themselves. Their two stories alone make it worth the price of admission in my opinion. If Bear's "Ghost Makers" is in any way indicative of the quality of her Eternal Sky trilogy, then I can't wait f I'll be honest; as a whole, I felt the anthology sort of flopped--especially considering the all-star lineup it sported. I was ready to be blown away. At least it did end pretty strongly, thankfully. Elizabeth Bear's and Daniel Abraham's contributions kept me from giving it a two star-rating all by themselves. Their two stories alone make it worth the price of admission in my opinion. If Bear's "Ghost Makers" is in any way indicative of the quality of her Eternal Sky trilogy, then I can't wait for it to be complete so I can get started. Abraham's "The High King Dreaming" was just achingly gorgeous. Kate Elliot's "Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine" deserves an honorable mention--as does Parker's the Dragonslayer of Merebarton (though it admittedly probably wouldn't rank very highly in my estimation of Parker's other shorts). I thought Jeffrey Ford's entry was solid, if not great: another Coral Heart story that readers of his Crackpot Palace collection might already be familiar with (I could certainly see that story as being a bit of a prerequisite for full appreciation of this story in Fearsome Journeys). But ultimately, I feel Ford's strengths lie in other non-epic(ish) fantasy directions. The rest I found quite forgettable, actually. A real shame, seeing as how the authors of some of them have written things in the past that I've absolutely loved.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    I haven't really enjoyed many anthologies, and I had pretty much decided to not bother with them anymore, but with 2 of them written by 2 of my favourite authors (I have a lot of favourite authors!) Daniel Abraham and Scott Lynch, plus some by authors I've wanted to try eg Elizabeth Bear, Judi Canavan and Glen Cook I just had to buy it. Well I'm glad I did as now I will start reading Judi Canavan for sure - her short story Camp Follower I really enjoyed. Daniel Abraham didn't disappoint either. I haven't really enjoyed many anthologies, and I had pretty much decided to not bother with them anymore, but with 2 of them written by 2 of my favourite authors (I have a lot of favourite authors!) Daniel Abraham and Scott Lynch, plus some by authors I've wanted to try eg Elizabeth Bear, Judi Canavan and Glen Cook I just had to buy it. Well I'm glad I did as now I will start reading Judi Canavan for sure - her short story Camp Follower I really enjoyed. Daniel Abraham didn't disappoint either. Sadly I can't say the same for Scott Lynch's 'Effergy Engine - A Tale of the Red Hats' - I couldn't get into that one, and with the others vying for my attention it was easy to skip through. I think I'd like to have another try later. I did enjoy'Leaf and Branch and Grass and Vine' by Kate Elliot and will look out for her books in future. I was totally confused by Glen Cook's ' Shaggy Dog Bridge' and The Black Company! I have been wanting to start the Black Company series and maybe if I had I wouldn't have been confused by this short story. Maybe? I don't know but I'm going to have to try the series anyway and hope it makes more sense! All in all a good anthology for me - glad I bought it!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Abrahm

    This may be my favorite collection of short stories. There were quite a few stand out stories. Scott Lynch's "Effigy Engine" was a fun tale. You could just hear the resonances between his Gentleman Bastard's world and Glen Cook's Black Company. Delightful war story of a quirky troupe of musketeers and sorcerers. Elizabeth Bear's "The Ghost Makers" is another peak into the amazing world of her Eternal Sky trilogy. She quickly develops two great and interesting characters. Trudi Canavan's "Camp Fo This may be my favorite collection of short stories. There were quite a few stand out stories. Scott Lynch's "Effigy Engine" was a fun tale. You could just hear the resonances between his Gentleman Bastard's world and Glen Cook's Black Company. Delightful war story of a quirky troupe of musketeers and sorcerers. Elizabeth Bear's "The Ghost Makers" is another peak into the amazing world of her Eternal Sky trilogy. She quickly develops two great and interesting characters. Trudi Canavan's "Camp Follower" was another great tale with subtle world building that defied the shorter length of the prose. My final favorite was Daniel Abraham's "The High King Dreaming." To me this read as a spin on the Fisher King that was gorgeously written and reimagined. I didn't think there were any dead weights in this collection bit I did find KJ Parker's "The Dragonslayer of Merebarton" to be a letdown to myself. While still good it's decidedly tongue-in-cheek dryness was a bit off putting.

  28. 4 out of 5

    James

    This book represents a good sample of some of the best writers in the SF&F field. I'm a big fan of fantasy of years gone by, and I'm interested in several of the new authors in the field such as Saladin Ahmed. So I was interested in reading this book. As with any anthology, some stories are better than others. In my opinion, a couple of the stories seem to fall flat. Jeffrey Ford and Robert Reddick's individual stories seem to end too abruptly and K. J. Parker's story was something of a downer or This book represents a good sample of some of the best writers in the SF&F field. I'm a big fan of fantasy of years gone by, and I'm interested in several of the new authors in the field such as Saladin Ahmed. So I was interested in reading this book. As with any anthology, some stories are better than others. In my opinion, a couple of the stories seem to fall flat. Jeffrey Ford and Robert Reddick's individual stories seem to end too abruptly and K. J. Parker's story was something of a downer or slacker version of the traditional dragon slayer. Though many of these stories contain typical fantasy tropes: magic, dragons, etc. Many of these tales are somewhat experimental and suggest other interpretations of what should be acceptable fantasy. For example, Kate Elliot's story had an interestingly different hero that reminded me a lot of Robin Hobb's story "Homecoming." However, I can say without any reservation, all of stories contained within are extremely well-written. There's no doubt that these are some of the best writers in the field today.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Singleton

    I bought this antho solely because it contains a new Black Company story by Glen Cook, who is one of my favorite writers. So far, the BC story is the only one I've read, but I plan to read all of them eventually. So, the four stars are for the BC story and NOT the entire collection. I will update my rating(if needed) once I read the rest of it. If you are a fan of the Black Company series, then this story alone is worth the price of the book. The story is called "Shaggy Dog Bridge". It is actual I bought this antho solely because it contains a new Black Company story by Glen Cook, who is one of my favorite writers. So far, the BC story is the only one I've read, but I plan to read all of them eventually. So, the four stars are for the BC story and NOT the entire collection. I will update my rating(if needed) once I read the rest of it. If you are a fan of the Black Company series, then this story alone is worth the price of the book. The story is called "Shaggy Dog Bridge". It is actually a chapter from the upcoming Black Company book, A Port of Shadows. This story, like the others Glen has published in the past three years or so, takes place in between Shadows Linger and The White Rose. He has captured the feel of the original trilogy here and I am now super excited for A Port of Shadows. Verdict: I recommend the story, but haven't read the entire antho yet... I will update once I have finished it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Iain

    Somewhat variable collection with a few gems and no real stinkers. Best contribution is the stellar Scott Lynch ('The Effigy Engine'). KJ Parker's 'The Dragonslayer of Merebarton' is also a highlight, despite the fact that I'm somewhat less than a fan of Parker generally. Glen Cook delivers a solid, if unspectacular, tale of the Black Company, well up to his usual standards. I wasn't a huge fan of the Daniel Abraham story, which is more or less a first for me, but it's well written even if it le Somewhat variable collection with a few gems and no real stinkers. Best contribution is the stellar Scott Lynch ('The Effigy Engine'). KJ Parker's 'The Dragonslayer of Merebarton' is also a highlight, despite the fact that I'm somewhat less than a fan of Parker generally. Glen Cook delivers a solid, if unspectacular, tale of the Black Company, well up to his usual standards. I wasn't a huge fan of the Daniel Abraham story, which is more or less a first for me, but it's well written even if it left me somewhat unstirred. I haven't read Saladin Ahmed before, but I've heard good things: his story here is OK, but doesn't really stand out. Jeff Ford's 'Spirits of Salt' also merits a mention. Overall the selection is sound and the collection well put together.

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