Friday, January 28, 2005

Apprentice Fantastic, edited by Greenberg and Davis

Apprentice Fantastic, edited by Greenberg and Davis

I was looking forward to this book when I picked it up; I’ve always liked tales about the not-so-perfect guy or the accidental hero and so a bunch of shorts about apprentices appealed to me. Virtually every story in this collection has magic in the story at some point (Flanking Maneuver by Mickey Zucker Reichert is the only one with no supernatural influences at all) which I found a bit disappointing—what about the squire that has to carry the equipment for the knight or the king’s advisors or the spaceship’s co-pilot—but still entertaining. When the Student is Ready by Tanya Huff was the most interesting to me: a girl discovers she is a wizard and is ramrodded into being apprenticed to a madman. Homework by Esther Friesner was easily my favorite with it’s peek behind the veil of the valiant hero versus the evil powermonger. All-in-all this was a pretty even group of stories; none were fantastic (despite the title) and none were awful.

First Sentence (from the Introduction):
This is a book of stories about apprentices, and I’m sure that somewhere in the Almost Unofficial Speculative Fiction Editor Handbook there is a rule that I don’t dare violate: any volume of stories pertaining to, dealing indirectly with, or touching on apprentices in any way, shape, or form must contain a reference to “that lovable mouse who knew enough to get the brooms started, but not how to get them to stop.”

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