Elizabeth R. Wollheim
& Sheila E. Gilbert, editors,
30th Anniversary DAW: Fantasy
(DAW, 2002)

This year marks the 30th anniversary of DAW books, founded by Donald A. Wollheim. Although the company actually saw its start in 1971, its first novel did not appear until the following year. (There are actually two 30th anniversary volumes; the other is devoted to science fiction.)

Looking over my bookshelves, I see a large number of spines with the DAW logo, many of which are the yellow characteristic of the older volumes. This is hardly suprising since many of my favorite authors have been published by DAW in the years since its founding.

And this is where I get to rave about this collection. It truly is wonderful. There isn't an unmemorable story in the lot. There are 18 stories by such authors as Andre Norton, Melanie Rawn, Mercedes Lackey, Jennifer Roberson, Tanya Huff, Tanith Lee -- and those are just the ones listed on the front cover! The stories appear in historical order by when each author was published by DAW. Since Andre Norton was their first author, her story appears first, and so on.

In Norton's story, "Sow's Ear - Silk Purse," a young woman learns that "be careful what you wish for" is not just a proverb when she seeks to make a change in her life.

Michelle West's contribution is closer in length to a novella than a short story. Titled "The Memory of Stone," it has a certain lyrical quality to it that brings Patricia McKillip's writing to mind. It concerns both the madness of the true artisan and what sacrifices must be made for both art and country.

Two stories vie for my favorite. The first is Lynn Abbey's "It's All About Squirrels," in which the main character's home and computer are strangely affected by the local squirrels -- who are more than they might at first seem. The second, Mercedes Lackey's "After Midnight," had me laughing out loud, as the author is confronted by her characters for all the terrible things that she has put them through in the course of their "lives."

All of the stories in this anthology are memorable -- some for humor, some for adventure, some for slight creepiness. Together, they make a marvelous celebration of DAW's 30 years. Here's hoping for 30 more.

- Rambles
written by Laurie Thayer
published 16 November 2002

Buy it from Amazon.com.