THE BEST OF STEPHEN R. DONALDSON by Stephen R. Donaldson, edited by Bill Sheehan. Burton, MI; Subterranean Press; 2011. 1st trade hardcover edition.
Length: 440 pages.
Although best known for such epic accomplishments as the ongoing Chronicles of Thomas Covenant and the multi-volume Gap Cycle, Stephen R. Donaldson has also written some of the most distinctive short fiction of recent decades. This generous collection brings together much of the best of that shorter work and provides an ideal showcase for its author’s depth, versatility, and consummate literary artistry.
Included here are eleven stories and novellas that run the gamut from horror (“The Conqueror Worm”) to high fantasy (“Daughter of Regals”), from contemporary spiritual drama (“Unworthy of the Angel”) to action-oriented SF (“Animal Lover”), together with such uncategorizable gems as “The Killing Stroke,” with its unique combination of magic and martial arts, and “The Woman Who Loved Pigs,” an astonishing account of personal transformation and long-delayed revenge.
In settings that range from the deeply familiar to the wholly imagined, The Best of Stephen R. Donaldson offers a gallery of tales that have the resonance and moral complexity of compact novels. Beneath their often-gaudy surfaces, they show us very real people who confront, and sometimes overcome, extreme adversity, who struggle to find balance and harmony in an inherently chaotic universe. Each story is the clear product of a master storyteller. Each demands—and rewards—repeated readings. Together, they form one of the cornerstone volumes of modern fantasy, a book that will be read—and treasured—by Donaldson’s many fans, and by anyone who values imaginative literature at its finest.
Trade: 1500 fully cloth bound hardcover copies.
Table of Contents:
The Daughter of Regals,
Unworthy of the Ange,
The Conqueror Worm,
Ser Visal’s Tale,
Reave the Just,
The Woman Who Loved Pigs,
The Kings of Tarshish Shall Bring Gifts,
The Killing Stroke.
“Donaldson is best known for his long, though finely wrought, novels. This collection proves he is a master of shorter lengths.”
From Publishers Weekly:
“…on the whole the restrictions of length force Donaldson to adopt appealingly disciplined prose while exploring intriguing ideas.”
Fine in fine dj.