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A collection selected by Lin Carter as the best fantasy stories, primarily from stories published in 1974. Contents: * "The Year in Fantasy" (Lin Carter) * "The Jewel of Arwen" (Marion Zimmer Bradley) * "The Sword Dyrnwyn" (Lloyd Alexander) * "The Temple of Abomination" (Robert E. Howard) * "The Double Tower" (Clark Ashton Smith and Lin Carter) * "Trapped in the Shadowland A collection selected by Lin Carter as the best fantasy stories, primarily from stories published in 1974. Contents: * "The Year in Fantasy" (Lin Carter) * "The Jewel of Arwen" (Marion Zimmer Bradley) * "The Sword Dyrnwyn" (Lloyd Alexander) * "The Temple of Abomination" (Robert E. Howard) * "The Double Tower" (Clark Ashton Smith and Lin Carter) * "Trapped in the Shadowland" (Fritz Leiber) * "Black Hawk of Valkarth" (Lin Carter) * "Jewel Quest" (Hannes Bok) * "The Emperor's Fan" (L. Sprague de Camp) * "Falcon's Mate" (Pat McIntosh) * "The City of Madness" (Charles R. Saunders) * "The Seventeen Virgins" (Jack Vance) * "The Year's Best Fantasy Books" (Lin Carter)


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A collection selected by Lin Carter as the best fantasy stories, primarily from stories published in 1974. Contents: * "The Year in Fantasy" (Lin Carter) * "The Jewel of Arwen" (Marion Zimmer Bradley) * "The Sword Dyrnwyn" (Lloyd Alexander) * "The Temple of Abomination" (Robert E. Howard) * "The Double Tower" (Clark Ashton Smith and Lin Carter) * "Trapped in the Shadowland A collection selected by Lin Carter as the best fantasy stories, primarily from stories published in 1974. Contents: * "The Year in Fantasy" (Lin Carter) * "The Jewel of Arwen" (Marion Zimmer Bradley) * "The Sword Dyrnwyn" (Lloyd Alexander) * "The Temple of Abomination" (Robert E. Howard) * "The Double Tower" (Clark Ashton Smith and Lin Carter) * "Trapped in the Shadowland" (Fritz Leiber) * "Black Hawk of Valkarth" (Lin Carter) * "Jewel Quest" (Hannes Bok) * "The Emperor's Fan" (L. Sprague de Camp) * "Falcon's Mate" (Pat McIntosh) * "The City of Madness" (Charles R. Saunders) * "The Seventeen Virgins" (Jack Vance) * "The Year's Best Fantasy Books" (Lin Carter)

30 review for The Year's Best Fantasy Stories 1

  1. 4 out of 5

    Karl

    DAW Collectors #166 Cover Artist: George Barr Name: Carter, Linwood Vrooman, Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, (09 June 1930- 07 February 1988 Alternate Names: H. P. Lowcraft, Grail Undwin Contents: 009 - The Year in Fantasy (The Year's Best Fantasy Stories) • essay by Lin Carter 015 - The Jewel of Arwen • [Arwen] • (1961) by Marion Zimmer Bradley 027 - The Sword Dyrnwyn • juvenile • [Prydain Stories] • (1973) Lloyd Alexander (variant of The Sword) 036 - The Temple of Abomination • [Cormac Mac DAW Collectors #166 Cover Artist: George Barr Name: Carter, Linwood Vrooman, Birthplace: St. Petersburg, Florida, USA, (09 June 1930- 07 February 1988 Alternate Names: H. P. Lowcraft, Grail Undwin Contents: 009 - The Year in Fantasy (The Year's Best Fantasy Stories) • essay by Lin Carter 015 - The Jewel of Arwen • [Arwen] • (1961) by Marion Zimmer Bradley 027 - The Sword Dyrnwyn • juvenile • [Prydain Stories] • (1973) Lloyd Alexander (variant of The Sword) 036 - The Temple of Abomination • [Cormac Mac Art] • (1974) by Robert E. Howard 049 - The Double Tower • (1973) Lin Carter and Clark Ashton Smith 056 - Trapped in the Shadowland • [Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser] • (1973) by Fritz Leiber 063 - Black Hawk of Valkarth • [Thongor] • (1974) by Lin Carter 075 - Jewel Quest • (1974) by Hannes Bok 087 - The Emperor's Fan • [Novaria] • (1973) by L. Sprague de Camp 105 - Falcon's Mate • [Thula] • (1974) by Pat McIntosh 120 - The City of Madness • [Imaro] • (1974) by Charles R. Saunders 145 - The Seventeen Virgins • [Dying Earth] • (1974) by Jack Vance 172 - The Year's Best Fantasy Books (The Year's Best Fantasy Stories) • essay by Lin Carter

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Jandrok

    The mid-1970s were the glory years for the DAW publishing imprint. Donald Wollheim had made a great decision to market exclusively to the science-fiction and fantasy niche, and his attention to detail and high-quality covers made the DAW paperbacks stand out in the racks. That little yellow box in the upper right-hand corner (DAW BOOKS = SF) was an invitation to adventure for thousands of geeks like me who drooled over the newest releases. Wollheim even numbered his editions, adding to the fun a The mid-1970s were the glory years for the DAW publishing imprint. Donald Wollheim had made a great decision to market exclusively to the science-fiction and fantasy niche, and his attention to detail and high-quality covers made the DAW paperbacks stand out in the racks. That little yellow box in the upper right-hand corner (DAW BOOKS = SF) was an invitation to adventure for thousands of geeks like me who drooled over the newest releases. Wollheim even numbered his editions, adding to the fun and collectibility of each purchase. And so it was that in 1974 DAW Books enlisted the venerable Lin Carter to put together what would be the first installment of a new, yearly anthology titled “The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories.” The idea was that Carter would pull together a number of tales from both established and new authors, all within the somewhat ambiguous “fantasy” genre. Those who have read my past reviews know that I have a real soft spot in my heart for Lin Carter. Carter was one of the first authors that I encountered when I first began diving headlong into fantasy and science-fiction, and he still occupies a place of high honor on my bookshelves. Carter’s legacy as an author is not typically highly regarded by most aficionados of speculative fiction. He is remembered mostly as a writer of pastiches, and none of his original works are particularly well remembered. His biggest strengths were as an editor and literary essayist. He edited a large number of anthologies and wrote one of the best ever concordances on “The Lord of the Rings” with his “Tolkien: A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings.” (Here’s a big tip: look for the fantastic companion volume that Carter did with illustrator David Wenzel, titled “Middle-Earth: The World of Tolkien.” It’s way worth your time and money.) Long story short (see what I did there?), Carter was the perfect guy to take on a nascent series such as “The Year’s Best Fantasy.” His knowledge of various genres and subgenres coupled with his contacts and friendships within the science-fiction and fantasy author circle made him a well-respected and more than competent anthologist. Volume One of “The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories” provides the reader with eleven tales of magic and swordplay, plus a bonus listing of Carter’s picks for the best original fiction, important reprints, and non-fiction within the world of publishing for the year 1974. The whole thing clocks in at an economical 175 pages. The fine cover art is credited to George Barr. I happen to own a DAW first printing from October 1975, and it has held up well over the course of years. I do highly recommend acid-free plastic sleeves for your old paperbacks. These old gems can last quite a while if you take proper care of them. Here is the essential breakdown for all eleven of the stories: “The Jewel of Arwen” - Marion Zimmer Bradley - Originally published as a brochure with a very limited printing, Bradley’s tale adds to the Tolkien legend by shedding some light on the background history of the gem that Arwen gifted to Frodo before he left Minas Tirith in “The Return of the King.” The gem was intended to make Frodo’s heart light in times of need, as when his memories and injuries of the Fellowship weighed heavy upon him. This is a beautifully told little tale, and entirely within the spectrum of what might be considered some of the earliest LOTR “fanfiction” ever released. “The Sword Dyrnwyn” - Lloyd Alexander - Alexander made his name with a series of books set in the fantasy land of Prydain. This particular story tells of an enchanted sword and the King who holds it. The monarch makes a hurried and ill-advised judgement that quite literally comes back to haunt him. The sword fulfills its eldritch destiny as the leader is slowly driven mad with fear and paranoia. A reminder that at the end of the a day the mightiest King is really no better of a man than the lowliest shepherd…… “The Temple of Abomination” - Robert E. Howard - One of Howard’s unfinished stories, dusted off and completed by Richard L. Tierney. A classic take on the old “haunted ruins” theme, a band of Gaelic warriors happen upon a stone monolith and a dying man in chains within. It isn’t too long before the denizens of the lost temple start to stir, and before you know it a bloody battle ensues. A decent sword & sorcery tale from one of the acknowledged masters of the art form. “The Double Tower” - Clark Ashton Smith - Much like the previous story, this was one of Smith’s unfinished manuscripts that Carter himself was permitted to finish. A dank tale involving one of the mysterious ancestors of the serpent-men who preceded mankind upon the Earth, it’s a tale of hideous magic gone awry. The ending made me smile, but then again I have a pretty sick sense of humor. “Trapped in the Shadowland” - Fritz Leiber - One of Leiber’s Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser series, which originally appeared in “Fantastic,” Ted White’s fantasy and sci-fi digest. It’s a good enough tale, although I will freely admit that Fafhrd and The Mouser are not really among my favorite fantasy characters. But it is a fun little jaunt, full of Leiber’s signature good humor. “Black Hawk of Valkarth” - Lin Carter - Some people find it annoying that Carter often included his own work in the various anthologies that he edited, but I have always found his attempts at self-promotion to be honest tomfoolery at the worst. He was certainly a capable enough writer of solid swords & sorcery, even more so when he wasn’t writing straight pastiche. This story serves a starting point “origin story” for his most famous barbarian character, Thongor. “Jewel Quest” - Hannes Bok - Bok gives us a tale with an Oriental twist. A greedy Emperor tries to match wits with a sorcerer and pays the ultimate price for his folly. A fun story written with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Hannes Bok had a beautifully florid writing style that accented his abilities as an artist, and his talent is on full display here. “The Emperor’s Fan” - L. Sprague de Camp - Another story with an Oriental theme (sequencing anyone? Bueller? Anyone?), de Camp tells the tragicomedy of an Emperor with a bad memory and a short temper who comes into possession of a magic fan that can make living creatures disappear and reappear at will. But his randy wife and his appointed Prime Minister have secretly been having an affair, and thus the scheming behind the scenes ensues. This is a fun adventure that ends just about as you might hope that it would. “Falcon’s Mate” - Pat McIntosh - A debut story about a female warrior who is hired as a bodyguard for a spoiled Princess who has been fated to an arranged marriage. The Princess has other ideas, of course, and the warrior must play a fateful game not only for her life, but for the Princess’s honor as well. This was the first adventure for Thula of the Order of the Moon, and she must use her smarts as well as her skill with a sword to solve this puzzle. One of the absolute stand out fables in the anthology. “The City of Madness” - Charles R. Saunders - A saga pulled from the pages of “Dark Fantasy.” Saunders delivers a fantastic narrative with a truly original hero, the hulking, ebon Imaro. This adventure reads like a mash-up of Conan, H.P. Lovecraft, and the jungle stories of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Those seemingly disparate elements work together way better than you might think, and this tale careens along at a breakneck pace, ending things up with a taste of sly humor. It was great to see black characters take a central role as heroes, especially coming right after Pat McIntosh’s feminist fantasy. ‘The Seventeen Virgins” - Jack Vance - Vance revisits his Dying Earth mythos with a new tale starring his titular character, Cugel the Clever. Ever the resourceful theif and con man, Cugel gets himself into a world of trouble, first as an unwelcome guest in a strange town, and then as an unlikely duellist with a demon. Another of the better stories in the book, this one is full of Vance’s signature twists and turns as Cugel works his sly gamesmanship. APPENDIX: The year’s best releases in the work of fantasy fiction. Notable as the first mentions of “Watership Down” before it became a literal classic in the field, as well as Andre Norton’s ninth installment in the Witch World series, “The Jargoon Pard.” The big reprint was Robert E. Howard’s “The People of the Black Circle.” All in all, “The Year’s Best Fantasy Stories” is a great debut volume in what would become one of DAW’s longest running anthology series. Even the weaker stories here are good, although I personally could have done without the Fafhrd and The Grey Mouser adventure. Maybe not quite a five star recommendation, but it’s a damn solid four star ride. Pulp fans could do way worse for their money.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Derek

    The curiosity of Carter's "Year's Best Fantasy" series is the snapshot it provides of the genre with regard to publications and events. Here he tantalizes with news of a supposed Tolkien sequel--The New Shadow--which as turned out was little more than a fragment. Like all of this series that I've read so far, this one nestles into a certain niche: a few new-ish stories by established authors (Vance, Leiber, and Alexander, in their well-known series, as well as de Camp and Bradley), a few story fr The curiosity of Carter's "Year's Best Fantasy" series is the snapshot it provides of the genre with regard to publications and events. Here he tantalizes with news of a supposed Tolkien sequel--The New Shadow--which as turned out was little more than a fragment. Like all of this series that I've read so far, this one nestles into a certain niche: a few new-ish stories by established authors (Vance, Leiber, and Alexander, in their well-known series, as well as de Camp and Bradley), a few story fragments by deceased greats of the genre as fleshed out by later and more dubious writers, and a few by emerging writers (Saunders and McIntosh). And sure enough, there's one by Lin Carter. Two, if you count whatever outline he took from Clark Ashton Smith and finished it. The established writers do their jobs, of course. I didn't realize that Lloyd Alexander wrote stories of Prydain other than the Bradley's odd "The Jewel of Arwen" is honest-to-goodness Tolkien fan fiction, filling in the backstory of something given from Arwen to Frodo during Lord of the Rings. It certainly couldn't have been published today without real legal wrangling. Bok's "Jewel Quest" and de Camp's "The Emperor's Fan" are an odd pair. They're next to each other, both undertake a lightly parodic tone, and both detail events at the royal court of lands styled after Imperial China. Bok comes off much worse in the comparison, with unsubtle and insensitive characterizations and the general sense that he was emulating the language or behavior without understanding the source. De Camp survives the task in much better shape. Carter calls Saunder's "The City of Madness" his first published story, which I believe. I remember a more crafted product in Imaro. This lays it on pretty thick, and seems eager to digress or over-explain. McIntosh's Thula stories have apparently never been collected together, which is a real shame. I'm not sure I understand "Falcon's Mate", but the game that Thula plays (literally: the story revolves around use of a board game) manages several levels of conflict and message, some of which are not targeted at the person she is actually playing at the time. Even if the depth of the story eludes me, this is something to read and appreciate. Carter compares Thula to Jirel of Joiry, which misses the mark. This is more like Alyx the Adventurer, whose motivations are more complex and whose thought processes are more authentic.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    Has some pretty good stuff in it, mostly from the usual suspects like Howard, Smith, Leiber, and Vance, but also has a Charles Saunders story and one by Lloyd Alexander.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Erika

    It was an interesting anthology. You could tell it was a first time effort, with most of the stories being brought in from other sources, but it was neat to see a book from the early days of DAW. I did enjoy a few of the stories a lot and it was a nice introduction to some old authors works.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    For the most part, an enjoyable collection of stories. There are a couple in here that were like crude dentistry though, such as the City of Madness by fanzine writer Charles R Saunders. But, when you have a book with Marion Zimmer Bradley (doing a piece in Tolkien's Middle Earth), Lloyd Alexander, Lin Carter, Clark Ashton Smith....? Read it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elvina Hanson

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ken Richards

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bob Wilkins

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jenny Schwartzberg

  11. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  12. 4 out of 5

    James

  13. 5 out of 5

    J.L. LaMastus

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brian

  15. 5 out of 5

    Scott Gillespie

  16. 4 out of 5

    jennet wheatstonelllsl Proc

  17. 5 out of 5

    Douglas

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rudy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Illusive

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  22. 5 out of 5

    James

  23. 5 out of 5

    BOB RUST

  24. 5 out of 5

    Chad Eaton

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jpsullivan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Gia

  27. 5 out of 5

    Fredrik Rantakyro

  28. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Lucas

  30. 5 out of 5

    J.

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