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July 26, 2011

Book Review - Wings of Fire

Wings of FireDo you like dragons?

Who doesn't? Huge, beautiful creatures that can breathe jets of flame from their mouths, lined with glistening, sharp teeth?

Ok, that can be horrifying if you're standing in front of one, but they can have a certain beauty as they fly away as well.

Wings of Fire is an anthology of dragon short stories through the last fifty-five years, including one of the most famous (Gordon R. Dickson's "St. Dragon and the George) from 1957. There are also more modern stories in it as well, including at least one that's original for the book (or at least was published in 2010, anyway).

It's edited by Jonathan Strahan, and I have to say that I love reading his anthologies. I read his "Best SF & Fantasy of the Year" anthologies every year, liking at least 75% of the stories he chooses. In fact, I'm posting the link to my review of this year's edition tomorrow.

Wings of Fire is excellent, and here's the link to my review.

From the review:
Now they have been. Wings of Fire, edited by Jonathan Strahan and Marianne S. Jablon, is full of dragon stories spanning the years, ranging from the classic “St. Dragon and the George” (Gordon Dickson, 1957) to “The Miracle Aquilina” (Margo Lanagan, 2010). Many of the greats are represented here, from Anne McCaffrey (“Weyr Search”), Roger Zelazny (“The George Business”), and more modern favorites like Naomi Novik.

The collection is excellent, with a broad variety of styles and genres, even a bit of urban fantasy from Charles de Lint ("Berlin"). Readers can see the genesis of classic series such as McCaffrey's "Pern," and get a feel for why the classics truly are classic. I had never read Dickson's story before, though it’s always been brought up in dragon discussions as a great entry in the field. Now that I have read it, I must confirm its status as one of the best of the genre. It's funny, but also poignant.
There are a couple of iffy stories in the collection, at least to my taste. But others' tastes may differ, so you might like them.

If you like dragons, this is a must-read anthology.


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