Edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Bantam Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9780345537263
Date: 17 June 2014 List Price $30.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Not everyone is a good guy. There is something to be said for the protagonist that isnít clean cut and proper. In this collection, Rogues, Martin and Dozois bring forth 21 tales of the dishonest. The collection contains stories by many top selling authors set in the worlds for which they are known. This is both a good and bad thing. It is great when you know the characters and world, but it can be a struggle when you aren't familiar with the author's world.
In the introduction Martin discusses the theory of the Rogue and what they mean to him. He notes that rogues are in all parts of science fiction and fantasy. There are rogues as protagonists in many popular series. This has been a part of the genre since its inception. Conan the Barbarian was a thief, even though he also saved people's lives.
With so many stories collected, it doesn't make sense to go through each one. That said there are a couple worth note. 'The Rogue Prince, or A King's Brother" is another partial history of Westeros. It tells of the life and times of Daemon Targaryen. The story is told as a history spreading both fact and fiction as some information is known only through questionable sources. It does pass over some interesting events fairly quickly, but does a good job of setting the scene for Dance with Dragons that leads to the decimation of the Targaryen dragons.
"Bad Brass" by Bradley Denton is set in small town Texas. There are several rogues in this tale of musical horns going astray. As is often the case, the rogues steal from each other. This is also a guy down on his luck tale, as he hopes for a score that will bring him back around.
Joe Abercrombie's "Tough Times All Over" reminded me of a single camera shot that carries all of the action forward. This is one of the stories where I wasn't familiar with the world, but it was well written and the format held my interest.
Many genres are covered. One of my true favorites featured Gordinius the Finder. Set during the time of Gordinius' tour of the Seven Wonders of the world, "Ill Seen at Tyre" , is a story that brings in another author's characters. Fafred and the Gray Mouser are from the works of Fritz Leiber. Having read all of Saylorís Rosa Sub Rosa historical mysteries, I enjoyed seeing another tale of the ancient world.
There are many other interesting takes on the theme. Connie Willis' futuristic piece is interesting as she creates a world where some things are just too big. It all falls apart when one woman is willing to do anything to see a movie.
My biggest complaint was that it was missing a story I was looking forward to reading. I hadnít looked closely at the table of contents, but after reading Warriors and Dangerous Women, I expected a theme twisting tale by Lawrence Bloch. His stories in the other two anthologies pushed the limits of the theme and I hoped to see how he would challenge the rogue theme. Sadly, there wasnít one. Maybe in the next anthology.
If you like any of the authors, this is worth picking up. It is a good introduction to some authors that you may not be familiar with. This continues the tradition of Martin and Dozoisí anthologies, bring in the best writers, no matter their genre, and let them share their stories.