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May 2003
2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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The Silver Gryphon by Gary Turner and Marty Halpern
Golden Gryphon Press Hardcover: ISBN1930846150 PubDate: April 1, 2003
Review by Victoria McManus

330 pages List price 27.95
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The Silver Gryphon, the twenty-fifth book from Golden Gryphon Press, is a celebration of what has come before, but it looks to the future. Each contributor is the author of one of Golden Gryphon's previous twenty-four books; the anthology thus gives a good overview of the press' output and showcases some really fine writing, as well. This cutting-edge anthology contains a mix of genres, some within the same story. Add a Tom Canty cover, and the anthology will no doubt become a collector's item.

An anthology without theme lends itself to experimentation and boundary-stretching, particularly when one is working with excellent writers such as those presented here. "After Ildiko" is essentially a character study written in Lucius Shepard's inimitable style. Jeffrey Ford's melancholy "Present from the Past" reads like a mainstream story about a mother's death until the subtle strange symbolism of the ending. Michael Bishop's "The Door Gunner" blends gritty Vietnam War historicism with zombies. Andy Duncan presents a tall tale that seems straight out of American folklore, "The Haw River Trolley." "The American Monarchy" by Richard A. Lupoff unites alternate history and political satire. Science fiction meets Hollywood in Paul Di Filippo's "What's Up Tiger Lily?" Ian Watson takes a science fictional look at romance in "Separate Lives." Joe R. Lansdale's "Fire Dog" is satire with a science-fictional twist. Howard Waldrop's "Why Then Ile Fit You" can barely be classified at all; this reader is still compulsively trying to decipher its many layers.

Time travel is a recurring theme. Kage Baker explores Gold Rush-era San Francisco in "A Night on the Barbary Coast," in which she revisits her immortal cyborg characters Joseph and Mendoza, this time looking through Joseph's eyes. Geoffrey A. Landis presents "The Time Travel Heart," a short and punchy idea story. George Zebrowski's profound "Takes You Back" explores character relationships as much as it extrapolates, and is one of my favorites.

The anthology also contains more straightforward genre tales, such as Kevin J. Anderson's workmanlike take on parallel universes and serial killers, "An Innocent Presumption." Richard Paul Russo's "Tropical Nights at the Natatorium" and Robert Reed's "Night of Time" are intriguing science fiction, one set in the near future and the other an exploration of an alien species. James Patrick Kelly's dab hand with character leaves readers hungry for more about an alien invasion and its consequences in "Mother." R. Garcia y Robertson's "Far Barbary" is rich historical fantasy. With rocs! Warren Rochelle's "The Golden Boy" shows prejudice and bigotry through an urban fantasy lens. Neal Barrett, Jr., contributes the humorous "Kwantum Babes," featuring Bobby Lee Spock. Kristine Kathryn Rusch takes a look at the relationships between men and women in her suspenseful and involving story "Cowboy Grace," another favorite of mine.

The Silver Gryphon is not an introduction to the genres of science fiction and fantasy; it is an advanced textbook, showing the range and stylistic skill of today's writers when they are given free rein. It's definitely an anthology to add to one's shelves. Here's hoping that some day I'll be reviewing The Golden Gryphon as well.

sfr3d.gif (19860 bytes) 2003 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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