In this celebratory anthology, the 25th Golden Gryphon book from editors Turner and Halpern, the 20 talented contributors tend to avoid the conventions of genre SF and emphasize heroism, win or loss. Some authors bring back favorite settings and characters, like Kage Baker in [her] tale of scavenging Company time-travelers, "A Night on the Barbary Coast." Others tell new tales in familiar voices, such as Andy Duncan's folkloric fantasy, "The Haw River Trolley," or George Zebrowski's character study of a time exile, "Takes You Back." Michael Bishop pays homage to Lucius Shepard in "The Door Gunner," a story of na´ve Americans in Vietnam finding how little they know about death and life. In "After Ildiko," Shepard himself focuses on not-so-innocent Americans bringing their own darkness abroad on a barge trip into the Guatemalan jungle. Making prejudice against "faeries" literal, Warren Rochelle's plea for understanding alternate life forms, "The Golden Boy," shows that fantasy can also comment powerfully on reality. Even when rooted in the routine tragedies of daily life (death of a parent, senility, midlife crisis), these stories clearly view the common through eyes trained to see the fantastic. (May)
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