I’ve read a lot of Simon R. Green’s contemporary fantasy novels (Nightside, Secret Histories) and more traditional fantasy novels (Hawk and Fisher), but this short story collection displays the breadth of his work in the field — from zombies to SF soldiers, from pirates and sorcery to Jack Drood. A few of the stories toward the beginning of the book (especially “Question of Solace,” but also “Death Is a Lady,” “Dorothy Dreams,” and “Down and Out in Deadtown”) had a very strong end-of-the-line vibe, and I couldn’t help feeling Green was compiling a farewell opus, looking back on his career in the same way that Jack Drood does in “Question of Solace.”
From there, though, Green segues into hope, into happy endings and unexpected beginnings, with “It’s All About the Rendering” (one of my favorite stories in the book, even if not a lot happens and in some way the resolution seems too simple and pat) and “Find Heaven and Hell in the Smallest Things.”
I really enjoyed Green’s more sword-and-sorcery offerings, including “Cascade,” “Manslayer,” “Awake, Awake, Ye Northern Winds,” and “In the Labyrinth.” (I also want to include “Soulhunter” in this group, both because of where it’s placed in the collection and because it has the same adventure feel to it, even if it’s supposed to be a psy-based SF story.) The last two in the book, in particular, put me in mind of Fritz Leiber’s writing, although Green’s writing felt fresher to me.
All in all, an enjoyable collection that covers a range of moods and just as wide a range of sub-genres.
Disclosure: I received an advance review copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This review was originally posted at GoodReads.