Amazons! (DAW, 1979). Cover by Michael Whelan
Every once in a while I get asked to recommend other sites out there for readers who enjoy Black Gate. There are some top-notch book blogs, of course — like Rich Horton’s excellent Strange at Ecbatan, and Mark R. Kelly’s overlooked Views from Crestmont Drive — and the usual publisher sites, like Tor.com and Locus Online. But recently I’ve been spending a lot of time at James Nicoll Reviews, partly because of the wide range of content. In just the last week he’s reviewed Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea, a collection by Han Song, a superhero RPG from Green Ronin, and (a man after my own heart!) the July 1979 issues of Charles C. Ryan’s Galileo magazine — which of course lured Rich Horton out of his secluded library to comment enthusiastically.
But the real reason I hang out so much at James’ blog is that he regularly covers classic SF and fantasy — insightfully and thoroughly. Here’s his thoughts on Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s World Fantasy Award winning anthology Amazons!, from 1979.
Jessica Amanda Salmonson’s 1979 Amazons! is an anthology of fantasy stories. Special ones. Each story features a woman protagonist who is not support staff or arm candy for the hero. Almost but not all of the stories are by women….
For the most part these are sword and sorcery stories. Their scope is limited. individual fates may depend on the outcome; sometimes the fates of small kingdoms do; but none of these stories are of the “we must win or the world will be destroyed” variety. There are some fairly slight stories — every reader will see the twist in Lee’s story coming for miles, and there is not much to “The Rape Patrol.” These are more than balanced by stories like “Agbewe’s Sword,” “The Sorrows of Witches,” and [CJ] Cherryh’s “The Dreamstone” (which reminds me that I’ve never read the novel length expansion, or the sequel, although I think I own both). “Sorrows of Witches” is a little odd because that it seems to accept the premise that witches are by definition bad people who deserve what they get. Or in this case, do not get.
Of particular interest to me is the reading list at the end, which has suggestions unfamiliar to me. Because of course I needed a longer TBR list….
Amazons! is long out of print (as I will also remind you at the end of the review). Anyone who happened to own a publishing firm could do a lot worse than reprinting this anthology. Not to mention the sequel.
Yes, there was a sequel, released three years later in 1982.
Amazons II (DAW, 1982). Cover by Michael Whelan
See the complete review at James Nicoll Reviews.
Our previous coverage of Amazons! includes:
The Golden Age of Science Fiction: Amazons!, edited by Jessica Amanda Salmonson, reviewed by Steven H Silver
The Golden Age of Science Fiction: “The Woman Who Loved the Moon,” by Elizabeth A. Lynn, reviewed by Steven H Silver
See all our recent coverage of classic SF and Fantasy here.