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Apprentice Fantastic Mass Market Paperback – 5 Nov 2002


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 319 pages
  • Publisher: Daw Books (5 Nov. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756400937
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756400934
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 2 x 17.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,583,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mostly well done; the others are noted as I come to them.
Bischoff, David: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice's Apprentice" Coarse, elderly Vincemole Whiteviper, apprentice to the dishonest adventurer Sir Harry Springraff, is narrating his memoirs to his own much-abused apprentice: how he lost what little fourteen-year-old innocence he had on a quest for a suspect wizard's treasury. The plan was for Vincey to seduce Relfalyn, the wizard's beautiful 18-year-old apprentice. Funny how things work out...The physical setting reminds me of an AD&D-based computer game.
de Lint, Charles: "Sign Here" Unusual style: entirely dialogue, without even "he/she said", 4 characters (2 appear only once), only 2 characters per scene. A stranger in a bar offered Peter enlightenment regarding the structure of the world - magic - if he'll sign over his soul. Peter's friend Robert employs unusual tactics to try to free him. The dialogue suffers from *too* much realism.
Friesner, Esther: "Homework" Parody by someone who's read the Evil Overlord checklist. Prince Gallantine is having trouble with his captor Morbidius, who's finally wised up. Then Morby's nine-year-old nephew Andy, seeking to avoid his villain apprenticeship homework, turns up. :)
Helfers, John: "Blood and Scale" A wizard's apprentice, offered only death as an alternative, agrees to become the apprentice of the dragon who wiped out the rest of his party.
Hoyt, Sarah A.: "The Muses' Darling" Shakespeare, as a young struggling playwright, is an apprentice to the meteoric brilliance of Kit Marlowe. This story takes Marlowe's treatment of Faust as having a personal application. I also recommend Neil Gaiman's quite different treatment of Marlowe and Shakespeare in SANDMAN, a subplot starting with "Men of Good Fortune" in THE DOLL'S HOUSE.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
13 tales - only some involve magicians' apprentices 28 Jan. 2003
By Michele L. Worley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mostly well done; the others are noted as I come to them.

Bischoff, David: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice's Apprentice" Coarse, elderly Vincemole Whiteviper, apprentice to the dishonest adventurer Sir Harry Springraff, is narrating his memoirs to his own much-abused apprentice: how he lost what little fourteen-year-old innocence he had on a quest for a suspect wizard's treasury. The plan was for Vincey to seduce Relfalyn, the wizard's beautiful 18-year-old apprentice. Funny how things work out...The physical setting reminds me of an AD&D-based computer game.

de Lint, Charles: "Sign Here" Unusual style: entirely dialogue, without even "he/she said", 4 characters (2 appear only once), only 2 characters per scene. A stranger in a bar offered Peter enlightenment regarding the structure of the world - magic - if he'll sign over his soul. Peter's friend Robert employs unusual tactics to try to free him. The dialogue suffers from *too* much realism.

Friesner, Esther: "Homework" Parody by someone who's read the Evil Overlord checklist. Prince Gallantine is having trouble with his captor Morbidius, who's finally wised up. Then Morby's nine-year-old nephew Andy, seeking to avoid his villain apprenticeship homework, turns up. :)

Helfers, John: "Blood and Scale" A wizard's apprentice, offered only death as an alternative, agrees to become the apprentice of the dragon who wiped out the rest of his party.

Hoyt, Sarah A.: "The Muses' Darling" Shakespeare, as a young struggling playwright, is an apprentice to the meteoric brilliance of Kit Marlowe. This story takes Marlowe's treatment of Faust as having a personal application. I also recommend Neil Gaiman's quite different treatment of Marlowe and Shakespeare in SANDMAN, a subplot starting with "Men of Good Fortune" in THE DOLL'S HOUSE.

Huff, Tanya: "When the Student Is Ready" Oddly enough, *this*, rather than de Lint's contribution, is an urban fantasy set in Canada (Toronto, not Ottawa, though). Sixteen-year-old Isabel has been encountering a mysterious street person a lot lately - but is it just poverty and homelessness that seems to cloak him in invisibility? (Even complete with smart-aleck talking crow.)

Levine, David D.: "Zauberschrift" is the complex, legalistic Latin in which spells are written, instructions for the immensely powerful but mindless daemons (spirits) forming the basis of a wizard's magic. (The author's note says he based this story on his first summer job; he must have been a programmer. The analogy between the magic system and programming is interesting without being heavy-handed.) The protagonist quit his wizard apprenticeship when he inherited the family dye business on the deaths of his father and older brothers, but his native village has asked for his help after his old master's death. The weather spells that have protected the village for years have been corrupted, and no affordable wizard can be brought in to fix the problem.

Lindskold, Jane: "Final Exam" Narrated by Danny Bancroft, whose Talent killed his mother to save his life at birth. When his family spoiled him as a child, he felt undeserving, because he could remember what happened. Since this manifested partly as bullying, he landed in counseling - with a Talented counselor who may ape Nero Wolfe's body language, but not the rest of his style. (After all, imagine Wolfe as a counselor.) But Danny's been coasting as an endless undergraduate, and with his dangerous abilities, if he fails the senior magicians' test, his magic will be sealed.

Patton, Fiona: "What Has to Be Done" After the events of "The Svedali Foundlings" (ASSASSIN FANTASTIC), Coll has begun his personal crusade to rid Cerchicava of the Trade (necromancy) in earnest, "apprenticing" himself to old Mona Masaccio, despite the fact that as a retired Death Mage, she considers him a traitorous fool, while she represents everything he hates. The latest series of mutilated corpses, however, interest them both, as they carry signs of non-standard organ collection - as though someone's trying something new.

Reichert, Mickey Zucker: "Flanking Maneuver" Amazingly unrealistic story of a young conscript - a blacksmith's apprentice - in a tribal war, and what happens after he meets the captured daughter of an enemy chieftain.

Smith, Dean Wesley: "The Last Garden in Time's Window" The narrator doesn't believe that his grandparents died from a gas stove leak in their trailer. Having just returned from their funeral, he doesn't care about the danger of using his half-learned magic. *Very* rushed.

Waggoner, Tim: "Till Voices Drown Us" Braided non-linear style, following Michael back to his childhood home to learn one last lesson from the great-aunt who taught him to bear his mediumistic powers, when one spirit shows him something disturbing he's never seen before.

West, Michelle: Camille, like all apprentices to "The Augustine Painters", is a foundling - one thread of the story follows her present, in which she faces her do-or-die test of mastery, her best friend apparently having come to grief only days before; the other follows the discovery of her talent. They aren't wizards, as such; in their art, they depict possible futures that, with hard work, may never happen. Not only is this cool - for instance, while they can work more quickly in pencil, they need color to identify strange people, places, and battle standards - but deeper mysteries are revealed even as the story unfolds.
Mostly unmemorable 18 Jun. 2006
By Richard R. Horton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The conceit of Apprentice Fantastic is that each of the 13 stories are told about apprentices. As the stories are all fantasies, and as the most traditional fantastic trade to emphasize teaching is sorcery, most of the stories feature sorcerer's apprentices of one variety or another, though as Russell Davis takes care to hint in his introduction, none of them is a retelling of the famous story. In principal, this seems a sound theme around which to build a collection: coming of age stories should be plentiful, young heroes and heroines also plentiful, and we should have a ready-made excuse to learn the foundations of whatever magic systems are on display. I suppose all that remains true, but I have to say that the stories collected here are rather disappointing.

Among the more interesting pieces is the opening story, Michelle West's "The Augustine Painters." The central conceit here is quite interesting: certain people are artists with the ability to paint probable futures. This can be used for such purposes as avoiding accidents, or for more weighty business such as planning war strategies. I thought that idea nice, and I liked the heroine, a talented apprentice named Camille who must face a danger that may have consumed her friend and senior apprentice. But the story didn't quite cohere for me: it's a long story but I think it would have benefited from even greater length. It's followed by probably the best story in the book, Charles de Lint's "Sign Here", a story all in dialogue that takes a different look at the bargains possible when dealing with the devil for a soul. Esther Friesner's "Homework" is silly and feather-light but rather fun, about a dark lord and his bratty nephew, and the noble Prince Gallantine who must oppose them. David D. Levine has published only a few stories, but a couple have been good enough to put his name on my list of young writers to watch. His "Zauberschrift" is interesting but a bit over-long, and not quite convincing, as a former apprentice returns to the town of his youth to try to clean up a mess left by his old master.

Most of the remaining stories were unmemorable, at best. The occasional nice idea or engaging character was overwhelmed by clumsy writing, or faltering plot logic, or an excess of sentimentality. This does not rank as one of the stronger original anthologies around.
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