6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
R. K. Smith
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
All in all, I call it ok. Not great, not bad, but ok.
There are some cute ones in this group of short stories. "Repro Man" is Merlin with a daughter driving him mad in contemporary London. In "Other Agendas," Merlin thwarts Nimue in an unexpected and funny way. "Mouse and the Magic Guy" is a spoof, with some simply awful puns that you cannot help but laugh at.
Then there are those that definitely fit my idea of Merlin. In "Cauldron of Light," Merlin helps guide those of many beliefs to reach a "grail," and finds one himself. "Touched by Moonlight and Sunshine" has an interesting take on Arthur's death. "The Wild Hunt" brings the Merlin into contact with beings from other planets, to a most interesting conclusion. "Central Park" has Merlin still teaching lessons to hard-headed warriors. In "Last Flight Over the Giant's Dance," Merlin temporarily takes over the body of a top bomber pilot in flight, probably saving the crew's lives (you decide for yourself, but that's what I thought).
But Merlin as a homeless nut? A drunken, clown of a "magician" for children's parties? A vicious woman hater? Not my idea of Merlin.
There's at least one story for most of us in here. Whether or not it's a keeper depends on how many you like. I'm thinking probably not. I'll stick with the Mary Stewart Merlin series for the keepers.
Michele L. Worley
- Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The tragic treatments generally fare better than the comic, though some are neither.
Bilgrey, Marc: Merlin, "Waiting for Tomorrow" and the return of his king and his duties, loses more of his heart on each rare occasion when he falls in love with a mortal woman who reminds him of lost Nimue.
Braunbeck, Gary A.: "The Ballad of the Side Street Wizard" An alcoholic stage-magician, who isn't sure whether he's the real Merlin, must get through a birthday gig, despite the 6-tier wedding cake in his car. (He'd planned to propose to his beloved, but she just became engaged to Arturo the mechanic).
de Lint, Charles: "Forest of Stone" appears in TAPPING THE DREAM TREE.
Davis, R.: Who, of all Arthur's court, had the greatest motive to bring about "The End of Summer" at Camlann? And Merlin, of all men, has the wit to understand the truth behind Arthur's fall.
Dungate, Pauline E.: "The Magic Roundabout" is in present-day Birmingham, inhabited by an unnamed old man who goes unnoticed; after all, who really *looks* at a roundabout, except the parks people who care for the plants - the old man himself? Interesting urban fantasy twist, matching modern names and characters - two of them *dogs* - to the figures of legend.
Friesner, Esther M. and Anne Elizabeth Stutzman: "Repro Man" Merlin is once more trying to civilize a teenager - only this time, it's not Arthur, but his daughter Maisie in the modern world. (Merlin's nostalgic about dealing with demons, who are at least adults who'll talk sense.) Maisie's become romantically involved with the son of a female free-range genie, who empathizes about what the young are coming to these days. :)
Helfers, John: "The Final Battle" isn't about Camlann, but Merlin's awakening after a millennium of sleep, and the unexpected appearance of a young man whose presence *destroys* Merlin's magic - and even after a thousand years, Merlin knows Mordred by sight. But how can this be, when the intruder apparently lacks magic himself?
Massie-Ferch, Kathleen M.: Merlin, "Touched by Moonlight and Sunshine", seeks power from his beloved Lady of the Lake for Arthur's sake.
McConchie, Lyn: "Other Agendas" Aging Nimue, preparing a spell that will transform her into the young Merlin, foolishly substitutes ingredients, more foolishly uses an incomplete copy of the spell, and won't give up upon the first failed attempt.
Norman, Lisanne: "The Wild Hunt" This version of Merlin - the name/title of the chief of the Druids - has reached the end of his tenure, when his memories will be transferred to the next unwitting youngster marked for the mantle, and the current Nimue's role will change from that of younger student/lover to that of elder mentor. But the 2nd-ranking druid has developed an evil-vizier complex, and dreams of rearranging the system...
Norton, Andre: "Root and Branch Shall Change" doesn't pick up MERLIN'S MIRROR's storyline.
Paxson, Diana L.: When the "Cauldron of Light" vanishes, Merlin comes out of retirement to join the hunt for what the Christian knights call the Grail - but in his own patient fashion. [Partway through, Merlin takes little notice of the Cauldron's reappearance - granted that his personal quest might not end there, the reappearance isn't well-integrated into the story.]
Peck, Brooks: "The Well-Made Knight", like TH White's THE ILL-MADE KNIGHT, is concerned with Lancelot, but here Merlin created him as a golem - part of a scheme to destroy Guenevere. But Lancelot is a better man than his creator...
Rabe, Jean: Merlin, using Stonehenge's magic to plumb the future for ideas to use against Arthur's enemies, finds himself in "Last Flight Over the Giant's Dance" - controlling the body of a 207th pilot training over Stonehenge in the Great War.
Rodgers, Alan: How "Merlin and Viviane" first became lovers: the then-young magician who'd already seen too much, and the Fairy Queen tied to the Woodland King's unloving possessiveness. Very rushed, some clumsy use of language.
Sinor, Bradley H.: This 1400th anniversary of Guinevere's death, Lancelot seeks out a small bridge in "Central Park"; while it's not Camelot, "it does sort of remind me of that little stream about 10 miles or so into the woods..." One thread pursues his present-day chance-meeting (ha!) with Merlin, while Lance broods on how he lost Ginnie and gained the burden of immortality. [For best results, read this before KNIGHT FANTASTIC's "And the Wind Sang", which occurs *after* Lance's flashbacks in this story.]
Thomsen, Brian M.: "Mouse and the Magic Guy" The narrator (a gumshoe in Avalon in the reign of Uther Pendragon) is hired by the Magic Guy himself to find Excalibur. This Merlin's memory works backward - a la TH White, as he says himself; he remembers that the Sword in the Stone *will happen* but not where it is now. [Yes, the mythology's mixed up. I enjoy hard-boiled aspects translated to a medieval setting, although I prefer Edghill's efforts (see KNIGHT FANTASTIC).]
Waggoner, Tim: "One Morning at the Stone", the old wizard sets out to persuade his pupil to draw the sword of his own free will - despite his fondness for the boy.
West, Michelle: "Return of the King" Very fine urban fantasy, as Merlin, awaiting his king, sees random murders, malls like blighted cathedrals, wasted youngsters who would once have pledged their faith to the king. But the one person who once touched his heart was a little girl, centuries ago - who plagued him with endless questions and tested even his ingenuity at keeping her out of danger.
Yolen, Jane: "Old Merlin Dancing on the Sands of Time" - short poem, with smooth transitions from change, to chance, "yet oddly counting no cards,/cardinal sins being his suit...", building up to some suggestive imagery of Merlin's memories.