Review: After the King: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien

After the King edited by Martin H. GreenbergTitle: After the King: Stories in Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien
Editor: Martin H. Greenberg
Published: December 1992
Editor‘s Website: Wikipedia on Martin H. Greenberg
Genre: Fantasy, Science-Fiction, Short Stories

Review: A collection of 19 short stories written back in 1991 in honor of the 100th anniversary of J.R.R. Tolkien’s birth.  The list of authors includes some of the biggest names in fantasy since Tolkien introduced the world to Bilbo and Gandalf, Frodo and Sam, Legolas and Gimli, Aragorn, the Nazgûl, Sauron, Gollum, and The One Ring…and the many other characters and lands of Middle Earth, considered by many to be the real birth if high fantasy.

The authors were asked to write Tolkienesque stories and the genres and settings of these stories include fantasy, sci-fi, modern day, and the future.  As with most collections, my opinion of the stories ranges from liking very much to liking very little and some in-between.

This is my list of the ones I like quite a bit (not in any particular order):

I participate in a “Teaser Tuesday”, on the blog A Daily Rhythm, in which we take two sentences from the book we’re reading and submit them as a teaser.  The following are the teasers I submitted over the month or so it took me to read through this collection.

from Reave the Just by Stephen R. Donaldson
Well, Jillet had no need of anyone's forgiveness; but he felt a natural preference for men with amiable reputations.  From the honest alchemist, he went in search of an amiable usurer.
from In the Season of the Dressing of the Wells by John Brunner
It wasn't a question.  The tangled state of the bedclothes was evidence.
from The Halfling House by Dennis L. McKiernan
How the inn arrives, none that I had spoken to knew.  Rudd and Meech, a couple of barn Bwca--cousins of mine, you might say--tell that it materializes out of thin air...but then, they had been drinking when they claimed they had witnessed its appearance, and who can believe anything seen through the eyes of drunken Bwca?.
from Down the River Road by Gregory Benford
Never before had he done more than gaze in reverence and abject self-abasement at one of the induction ships as it parted the river with its razor-sharp prow.  Now Mr. Preston greeted him with a curt nod, quite circumspect compared to the sprawl of the man's conversation at breakfast.

Bottom Line:  While I’m not really sure what Tolkienesque means, maybe you can figure it out and decide if the stories in this collection meet that standard.  Other than that, I really liked 8 out of the 19 stories, another two or three almost made my list above, and only disliked about a handful, so I’ll say that makes a successful collection for me.




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