San Francisco Chronicle Review

Edited by Gary Turner and Marty Halpern, The Silver Gryphon (Golden Gryphon; 330 pages; $27.95) marks the 25th offering from this small press since its inception in 1996. It includes new stories by such science fiction and fantasy luminaries as Howard Waldrop, James Patrick Kelly, Jeffrey Ford and Ian Watson.

The contributors have all published single-author anthologies or novels with Golden Gryphon.

Michael Bishop's "The Door Gunner" features a soldier in Vietnam who continues to accept missions even after he has been shot to death. Kage Baker presents another tale about Mendoza, the immortal cyborg botanist, as she spends "A Night on the Barbary Coast." Richard Lupoff imagines the consequences of a shared Bush-Gore victory for the 2000 election in "The American Monarchy."

Without a unifying theme, the selections display a wide range of subjects and styles, though there seems to be a preponderance of stories about time travel and/or parallel worlds. Some of the tales don't even fall within the boundaries of science fiction or fantasy but deal with more mainstream concerns. Kristine Kathryn Rusch's "Cowboy Grace," the story of a woman looking to erase her past, and "After Ildiko," Lucius Shepherd's dank tale of tropical betrayal, are two splendid examples.

At a time when single-author collections are deemed too risky by most major publishers of science fiction, Golden Gryphon is performing a valuable service in collecting the recent short work of some of the genre's most influential practitioners. The Silver Gryphon is a fitting tribute to that enterprise, full of tales that showcase the talents of their individual authors. Be warned, however, that the volume's introduction gives away a couple of key plot points. Better to come to it after enjoying the stories.

— Michael Berry, San Francisco Chronicle, Sunday, July 27, 2003

© 2003 San Francisco Chronicle


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