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Legends II, Volume One and Two
Edited by Robert Silverberg

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Legends II, Volumes One

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Legends II, Volumes One and Two
New Short Novels by the Masters of Modern Fantasy
Edited by Robert Silverberg
Random House Audio, (2004)
Vol. One ISBN: 0-7393-1082-8
Vol. Two ISBN: 0-7393-1084-4
Genre: Fantasy

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - October 18, 2004

Legends II is an outstanding collection of short novels by some of today's best fantasy writers. Compiled and edited by Robert Silverberg, most of the stories in this collection were written specially at the request of Silverberg for inclusion in this collection. Like its predecessor, Legends, this collection of stories serves as an excellent introduction to modern fantasy and as a stage for the authors to practice their craft.

Legends II was initially published as a single volume book, and it contained eleven stories. In translating this collection into an audio edition, Random House has elected to issued the book in stages. Each audio volume of this book includes a couple of unabridged novels from the book, each read by a different reader. This method of publication is ideal for fans who are only interested in the works of one or two authors. It also offers listeners who are not yet familiar with the genre to make a foray into this compelling world without first making a large monetary outlay.

To date, two volumes in the Legends II series have been released, each containing two stories from the anthology.

Volume one is comprised of, A Song of Ice and Fire: The Sworn Sword by George R. R. Martin, and Pern: Beyond Between by Anne McCaffrey. These novelets are read by Graeme Malcolm and Alyssa Bresnahan.

Volume two includes, Lord John and the Succubus by Diana Gabaldon, and Indomitable by Terry Brooks. Volume 2 is read by Simon Prebble and Charles Keating.

These stories help to illustrate the breadth of the fantasy genre, and they help to illustrate just how fantasy stories differ from the realm of science fiction. One of the main tenets of fantasy writing is world building. The authors creates a world, complete with its own geography, religions, peoples, myths, and history. The world they build acts a backdrop before which their stories are staged. The authors who contributed to this collection are all know for their world building skills, and each story takes place in the 'world' that each author is best know for.

For example, Anne McCaffrey is best known for her stories set in Pern, a world filled with dragons, thread (spores that fall from the sky and destroy the land), and humans that work with the dragons to destroy the thread. In the story she wrote for this collection, she provides a glimpse of live on Pern when the residents have forgotten the danger presented by thread due to the length of time since the last attack. As the fear of thread has faded, so has the number of people, and dragons, who are trained to defend the world against it. In this story she focuses on what happens when the threat of thread has once again reared its head, and how the people of Pern deal with the menace - a task that involves time travel!

For the other writers, Martins' story is set in the world he created in A Song of Ice and Fire, Gabaldon's story is set in the world created for her famed Outlander saga, and Brooks story is set in the mystical world of his Shannara series.

It is important to note that even if you know nothing about the worlds in which these stories are set, you will enjoy and understand the stories as each is a self-contained story with enough back-story included to fill in any important gaps in the readers the knowledge about the story line. Legends II is a excellent anthology of modern fantasy stories that is a must have for anyone interested in listening to entertaining, well-written and well-plotted stories - whether or not they are (yet) fantasy fans.

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