"The Silver Gryphon is not an introduction to the genres of science fiction and fantasy; it is an advanced textbook, showing the range and stylistic skill of today's writers when they are given free rein. It's definitely an anthology to add to one's shelves."
— SFRevu, May 2003
The Silver Gryphon Anthology — A Celebration of Diversity
The 25th archival-quality hardcover from Golden Gryphon Press
Edited by Gary Turner and Marty Halpern, this anthology comprises twenty new, previously unpublished stories from the authors whose work we showcased in our first twenty-four books.
From the Introduction:
What makes a story engaging and entertaining? Is it one in which the author has portrayed a vibrant and living storyline, one that the reader can visualize and experience? Or perhaps the delight that arises from the work of a clever wordsmith, who dazzles and bemuses with his style? Or cutting humor, where sacred perceptions are torn asunder and revealed to be mere fluff? Or fabulous fantasy or hard science fiction or mystery or horror. . . .
Humor and pathos, optimism and despair, light and dark. This anthology, unlike most, does not have a common theme or particular focus — rather, in celebration of Golden Gryphon Press's twenty-fifth book, we asked those who contributed to the first twenty-four to write a story that best defines them as a writer. Given such a criterion, it hardly surprises that the stories are varied.
Some authors do not limit themselves to a single genre, but jump genres at whim, and with a wild and wacky flair. Only Neal Barrett, Jr. could pen a story about disguised alien bovines picking up astrophysicists at a science convention, and have the central scientist named Bobby Lee Spock. Richard A. Lupoff satirizes the Election of 2000, and in his world, George W. Bush and Al Gore are named co-presidents, which results in the fall of American democracy.
Many of these writers have established niches from which they provide thought-provoking and horrifying tales. Michael Bishop, using his customary skill at literary SF, spins the sad and violent tale of a dead Vietnam War soldier who won't die, and continues to lay down his undead life to help others. Raconteur Joe R. Lansdale tells of a man who lives high on the hog as a firehouse dog, but then has to deal with doggie retirement — what do people do with old, unwanted dogs?
Alternate history and fantasy have been, and will without a doubt continue to be, fertile sources of fiction. Historian R. Garcia y Robertson takes us on an adventure involving a Scottish mercenary fighting for the Tartars, a blonde, blue-eyed English harem girl carrying the Persian heir, vessels that fly, rocs, lust, love — were only History 101 so enjoyable to read! Warren Rochelle stays closer to home: his Twentieth Century portrays a struggle between magical and normal humans, with the associated hate, fear, and distrust of anyone being "different."
Since H. G. Wells wrote The Time Machine in 1895, time travel stories have become a subgenre in their own right. Philosopher George Zebrowski plumbs the question of what to do when you are thrust two and a half years into the past. How do you reclaim your life as you wait for the past to catch up with the present? Geoffrey A. Landis mixes humor with geekness, with greed, and with murder to highlight a peril of time travel between parallel universes.
In what can only be called a weird tale, Andy Duncan combines his literary style with folk tales and his Southern heritage in a very strange tale of courtship on a ghost trolley car.
While Walt Disney, in his 1964 World's Fair exposition, thought that "It's a great big beautiful tomorrow," many see the future as not automatically being better, and to some the future is downright bleak. In the future Earth of James Patrick Kelly, a homeless misfit attempts her best to stem the disappearance of humankind — one psychopathic woman against aliens and almost everyone else. The future envisioned by Richard Paul Russo is even bleaker, with the distance between the "haves" and "have-nots" impossibly wide — the planet is poisoned, poverty abounds, and the rich don't care as long as they have what they want and can do as they wish. Yet there are sparks of hope embedded in both of these stories.
Imperfections in the human condition are also explored. Lucius Shepard uses the setting of a Central American river barge to demonstrate how each man — and woman — is an island. Howard Waldrop takes a movie star, seen by millions in the cinema yet now forgotten and alone in a nursing home, and walks us though his last decade of life.
All stories are autobiographical to some extent, and one of the most difficult stories to write is of a loved one dying, the aftermath and associated memories. Jeffrey Ford tackles this in such a manner that it seems to be familiar to anyone who has walked this path, but with his own special flair.
Who else could pen a tale of a woman escaping the rat race, finding peace, and then having to fight again to retain what she has, better than Kristine Kathryn Rusch?
Paul Di Filippo frequently explores the conflict between men and women and technology, and in this story he pits the inventor of the next-generation worldwide web against a vindictive classmate. Will the latter destroy all that the former created, and bring civilization crashing down as well?
In the "worlds" that these writers have previously created, some are revisited herein. Kage Baker gives us another "Company" adventure, with two familiar immortal cyborgs on a mission to gold-rush-era San Francisco. Kevin J. Anderson returns to the timeline prospectors of Alternitech, with an agent who has a personal vendetta that she pursues through multiple alternate universes. Robert Reed treats us to another Marrow adventure, involving one of the oldest living beings in the universe.
Sometimes the future, while basically good, can be sad and strange, as Ian Watson dramatizes in his tale of elder lovers, one of whom is banished to an alternate universe for their "crime" of fornication over forty.
For those of you familiar with some of these writers' other works, we hope that reading their stories in this anthology will be like reacquainting yourself with some old friends — sitting and chatting for a spell on the porch on a nice spring afternoon, or in the drawing room as you serve herbal tea, or merlot, or even break out a few cold ones. For others we hope these stories engender new friendships and acquaintances — writers you'll want to remain in touch with, to look up again and again.
Whether by old friends or new friends, these tales provide readers with a smorgasbord of writing styles, tone, and content — a diverse spectrum of short fiction from some of today's best writers. Read their stories, and hear their voices.
Cover art by Thomas Canty.
"Given [the authors'] calibre, its no surprise that the stories have such a consistently high standard. As an introduction to these writers, this book is also an excellent starting point. It's an impressive anthology and a worthy tribute to the Golden Gryphon Press."
— Interzone #193, Spring 2004
Cloth, ISBN: 1-930846-15-0
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