LEGENDS: SHORT NOVELS BY THE MASTERS OF MODERN FANTASY, edited and introduced by Robert Silverberg, presents "eleven rich, robust new stories by the best-known and most accomplished modern creators of fantasy fiction, each one set in the special universe of the imagination that made that writer famous throughout the word." Thus we have, for instance, a Wheel of Time story by Robert Jordan, an Earthsea story by Ursula K. Le Guin and, of course, a Discworld story by Terry Pratchett.
THE LITTLE SISTERS OF ELURIA is Stephen King's contribution, set in the world(s) of The Dark Tower. It describes how the last gunslinger, Roland of Gilead, encounters first a band of mutant humans and then the not-so-benevolent sisterhood of the title.
THE SEA AND LITTLE FISHES features Pratchett's Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg, set at the time of an annual competition to see who's the best at witching. Granny's inevitable victory shakes up the whole kingdom as she shows how she's bad at being nice but good at being right.
DEBT OF BONES is a story by Terry Goodkind, set prior to the events of his Sword of Truth books. Abigail come to plead with the First Wizard to save her family from an early invasion of the D'Harans, but her mission does not go quite as she intends...
GRINNING MAN presents Davy Crockett as he never was, in Orson Scott Card's alternate America of the Tales of Alvin Maker. Crockett causes trouble for Alvin who, thanks to the young Arthur Stuart, learns an important lesson in distinguishing truly good acts from the disguises taken by evil acts like revenge.
THE SEVENTH SHRINE describes an event on Silverberg's own Majipoor, late in the reign of Valentine as Pontifex, the senior ruler of the giant planet. A strangely ritualistic murder during an archeological dig of an ancient alien city prompts Valentine to investigate.
DRAGONFLY revisits the wizards (and witches) of Earthsea in Le Guin's contribution. A local witch has detected some unidentified power in the girl Dragonfly but refuses to teach her any magic. Years later, the grown woman concocts a scheme with a visiting wizard to pass herself off as a man and study on Roke.
THE BURNING MAN is a story from Tad Williams' lands of Osten Ard, the setting of his Memory, Sorrow and Thorn books. It is told by Breda, orphaned by one king and then adopted by another, and concerns first love, an occult rite and a difficult choice, all of which will burn in her mind forever.
THE HEDGE KNIGHT is an entertaining tale from the Seven Kingdoms of George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Squire Dunk finds himself with a knighthood when his master dies, and decides to enter a local tourney to prove himself a champion.
THE RUNNER OF PERN is set, of course, on Anne McCaffrey's world. Tenna is the daughter of a long line of runners, message carriers for those who cannot use dragons to send their letters, and her story provides insights into yet another way of life on Pern.
THE WOOD BOY is a short tale from Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga and concerns Dirk, two dead bodies and a Lord's gold. Dirk's life is changed forever when his Lord's estate is occupied by the invading Tsurani, and changed again by treason, murder and revenge.
NEW SPRING describes how Lan met Moiraine as a prelude to Jordan's books of The Wheel of Time, answering the question of how he came to throw her into the freezing waters of a lake, and then become her Warder and join her twenty year quest to find the Dragon Reborn.
Before reading the collection, I had read books set in five of the eleven worlds presented, and I'm looking forward to further exploration of the other six. While writing good short fiction is difficult, writing good short fiction in a setting that's previously been described in the course of a number of novels must be even more difficult. Such a short story can't be treated merely as a chapter extracted from a novel, where storylines can be set up in earlier chapters and then concluded in later chapters, but I think that all of the authors met the challenge very well. Of course, many of them make their task a little easier by moving to a time before the events of any of their books, or to a setting that has not already been used, but the stories are still entertaining nonetheless. Possibly the only author to fall into the trap of providing too much background was Silverberg himself, though I'm still looking forward to reading the Majipoor books. Even those authors noted for writing huge individual works --- such as Robert Jordan, whose seven Wheel of Time books total over 4500 pages, constituting a single, continuous story --- managed complete pieces in eighty pages or less.
Coming at this from the point of view of a Pratchett fan, I can also recommend AFTER THE KING: STORIES IN HONOR OF J. R. R. TOLKIEN (Tor) and THE WIZARDS OF ODD (Ace).