Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Mammoth Book of Sorcerers' tales

I'm a sucker for a collection of short stories. The Mammoth Book of Sorcerers' Tales, edited by Mike Ashley, has a huge selection of material in it. It's another one of my Half-Priced books scores.

One of the early stories, Villaggio Sogno, has a lot of unique flavor to it in the language the author, Richard A. Lupoff, uses. Gives it a nice feel. But it also brings up some interesting possibilities for a fantasy setting where literacy is the default...

Next to Three Voyages in Distant Lands Margherita found a copy of a book she already knew, Claudia Belluzzo's Tunes and Rhymes for Litle Ones. she had loved that book, with its colourful pictures of tiny animals, birds, tortoises, and bears. Each picture was accompanied by a little poem and a simple musical lesson. Margherita had played those meodies on a miniature child's flute - this was before she was old enough to play Aleco's silver flute - and the creatures in the book had danced to her tune. pg. 20

In a setting where magic is part of the standard, one of the many uses it would fill, would be educational. It might cost more, but the fantasy economics of most settings are so screwy, that they don't hold up to inspection, less alone close inspection.

The next time a wizard, sorcerer or bard is talking about their child hood, remind them of when they read Three Voyages in Distant Lands and how they enjoyed hearing the writer speak to them, literally, through the book, telling them how history went. Remind them of how the maps would point out places of interest and the things that happened there. The magical, in a setting where literacy is the standard, should replace the mundane.