Over at Adventures Fantastic Keith West, who wrote an open letter to Bud Webster in response to Bud’s first Who? column in BG 15, has reviewed the Warrior Women section of our latest issue:
The stunning cover by Donato Giancola kinda makes the point. Eight of the twenty-one stories (not counting the excerpt from The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones) are part of this theme and have their own separate table of contents… Some of the stories relating to the issue’s theme stretch the definition of warrior woman pretty far. Still, it’s not often that I can find eight stories by eight different authors (four men and four women if anyone’s counting) in a single venue that I enjoyed this much. Usually there’s at least one or two that don’t click with me. Not here. Every selection was a winner.
He starts with “The Shuttered Temple” by Jonathan L. Howard:
Featuring the return of his thief for hire, Kyth, who made her first appearance in “The Beautiful Corridor” in BG 13… a clever tale well worth your time, even if it is somewhat darker in tone. In both stories Kyth is required to survive by her wits, rather than her brawn or skill with a sword…. Mr. Howard has an inventive imagination, and I enjoyed trying to figure out the puzzle of the temple in this one.
And “The War of the Wheat Berry Year” by Sarah Avery:
This has a traditional warrior woman, who is leading an army in revolt against her former kingdom… Ms. Avery did a much better job than many writers would have done with this subject. The heroine, Stisele, has to face her old mentor on the battlefield, making this a story of greater than expected emotional depth. I look forward to Stisele’s further adventures.
He has words of praise for “Roundelay” by Paula R. Stiles:
Paula R. Stiles tells the tale of a sorceress who challenges the Queen of Hell for the soul of her husband in “Roundelay”. It seems the woman’s son died of fever and her husband went in pursuit of the boy’s soul only to end up trapped himself. The story takes place on a flying ship over an ocean. There are a couple of supporting characters, and Ms. Stiles does a great job of fleshing them out so that they are more than just stock characters from central casting.
And especially “Cursing the Weather” by Maria V. Snyder:
Nysa… is probably as far from the sterotypical warrior woman as you can get. She’s a young girl working in a tavern, trying to earn enough money to buy the medicine needed to keep her dying mother alive. Then a weather wizard moves in across the street… I wouldn’t have considered this one to really fit the theme of warrior woman. In spite of that, I think I enjoyed it the most. I’m going to be checking out more of Ms. Snyder’s work.