Saturday, May 28, 2011

Short Review of Goats of Glory–Steven Erikson

Military and Epic Fantasy meet in the prolific pen of Steven Erikson. Here we see an example of his short fiction skills, found in the motley collection Swords and Dark Magic, edited by anthologist Lou Anders:

The riders rode battered, beaten-down horses.  The beasts’ heads drooped with exhaustion, theirs chests speckled and streaked with dried lather.  The two men and three women did not look any better.  Armor in tatters, blood-splashed, and all roughly bandaged here and there to mark a battle somewhere behind them.  Each wore a silver brooch clasping their charcoal-gray cloaks over their hearts, a ram’s head in profile.

Erikson is known and loved for his complex plots and rich world-building, neither of which can be effectively displayed in the short story medium.  The story is one of foreboding doom hanging over the heads of tired mercenaries who stumble on a creepy hamlet far off the beaten track.

This seems the sort of story a writer would create to fill in storyline gaps between major events covered in greater detail in their novel milieu.  There is a sense that we should know more about these characters, though their gray distance adds atmosphere to this story when read by someone unfamiliar with them.

The tale is entertaining enough to recommend to gamers and lovers of military fantasy.

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