|Art by Benjamin Carre|
"As usual with s&s, none of these stories strain for deep meaning, and many have the gallows humor that has been an integral part of the subgenre since Leiber and Robert E. Howard -- so these stories may come across as frivolous and lacking in depth to readers weaned on a pure diet of portentous epic fantasy twaddle. That, though, is purely a defect in the reader rather than the material, and we can only hope that they grow out of it. For those of us who don't require that our heroes have a pearlescent glow, carry Weapons Of Destiny (and silly names), and anguish their way through eight long books of saving every last square inch of the map, Swords & Dark Magic is a fantastic breath of fresh air, and we can only hope that s&s will continue its miraculous comeback."
I also LOVE his definition of S&S: "Sword & sorcery is fantasy set in a secondary world -- except when it isn't -- focusing on tough, outcast sword-slingers -- except when they aren't -- in which the world is never in need of saving -- except when it is. Whizzer White would know it when he saw it, and Damon Knight would point at it and call it by its real name. And so can we."
|Art by Trevor Hairsine|
Meanwhile, My Favorite Books, describes Masked as "a geeky wet dream," and then provides a review of Mike Carey's story only. "I liked the 'The Non-Event' as Carey brings home the difficulty of being a superhuman with powers ....How one thing managed to escalate the action into a truly unpleasant event with a very unpleasant outcome. Sad, poignant and thoughtful, 'The Non Event' is summed up by this excellent phrase on page 81 of the anthology: 'Funny, huh? How you can be dead and buried and still keep right on walking, not knowing you took the hit.'"
And Superhero Novels calls Masked "outstanding" and says, "Without a doubt there have been great superhero novels in the past. Books by Robert Rodi, Austin Grossman, and Tom De Haven come to mind immediately. Rarely, however, does a book come out that defines a genre so thoroughly, setting it on an upward trajectory into the future. Congratulations to the men and women of Masked. Mission Accomplished."
Meanwhile, Stargate executive producer, Masked contributor, and all-around great guy Joseph Mallozzi continues his series of Masked-contributor guest posts on his blog. So far he's had Paul Cornell, Matthew Sturges, Yours Truly, Daryl Gregory, and Mark Chadbourn.