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Athena's Daughters: Women in Science Fiction and Fantasy Vol. 1
Edited by Edited by Jean Rabe
Cover Artist: Cover: Tietjen Alvarez; Interior art by Autumn Frederickson, Kelli Neier, and Betsy Waddell
Review by Bill Lawhorn
Silence in the LIbrary Trade Paperback  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780989676830
Date: 01 July 2014

Links: Publisher's Book Page / Show Official Info /

Twenty-two stories explore the wisdom and strength of women. Based on the title, readers might expect a large collection of tales of ancient Greece and the gods. There is one story that tells of the gods and their powers, but not set in the past, and the powers aren't what you expect. The collection also avoids the cliché bashing of men. The males in the stories are not caricatures that only serve the purpose of showing how bad men can be.

The collection leads off with a strong time travel tale by Mary Robinette Kowal. In "First Flight", an old woman travels back in time to see an important historical event, one of the Wright Brothers' significant flights. Time travel never happens without a hitch, so when the inevitable happens, the main character must deal with the consequences.

I could give a little piece on each story, but I will just touch on a couple of my favorites. There are no bad stories, just some I enjoyed a little bit more.

My favorites were:

"Lunar Camp" by Maggie Allen tells a classic tale about a girl who doesn't want to go to summer camp, even one on the moon. But there is more to the moon than she realizes.

"Janera" by Jennifer Brozek is the opening chapter of a work in progress. It is a lost princess story. The heir to slain leaders is raised by a bodyguard and raised without knowledge of her heritage. Even though the idea isn't original, it is well set up, and will likely make an excellent YA novel.

This is a collection worth reading. Each story explores a different way a woman is strong or wise. The two aren't mutually exclusive, but they don't always go together. There are many kinds of strength, not all of them physical. Wisdom can also come in many forms. One of the wisest moves a person can make is accepting wisdom from any source. That can be one of the hardest things to do in life as well as stories.

The collection isn't as good as Dangerous Women, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozios, but then again few collections are that good. That said, people that enjoyed that collection will find a lot here to like as well. These women aren't purposely dangerous, but they are all capable of doing big things.

I like short stories. They are good to read while commuting. But somehow I always seem to be grabbing the next big fat novel. I also tend to pick up another novel after I finish one of the stories in a collection. That didn't happen this time. It may have been my reading cycle, or a statement on the quality of stories. There is plenty of short fiction being written and then published from a lot of sources. I'm glad I took the time to read this collection from Silence in the Library.

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