JACK VANCE • RON GOULART • LARRY NIVEN • L. SPRAGUE DE CAMP • URSULA K. LE GUIN • JOHN JAKES • GREG BEAR • MANLY WADE WELLMAN • THEODORE COGSWELL • ROBERT E. HOWARD
From Atlantis to California, from the Orient to far-distant worlds, come classic tales of wizardry used for evil and for good. From a sorcerous battle where a warlock’s only ally is his werewolf, to demons thirsting for the souls of victims and masters alike, to Conan the Barbarian in a danger-filled contest with the forces of darkness, these are spellbinding journeys into—
MAGICAL WORLD OF FANTASY
After the success of several “theme” anthologies, Greenberg, Asimov, and Charles G. Waugh got Signet to agree two two series of theme anthologies—“Isaac Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction” which ran through eleven volumes and “Isaac Asimov’s Magical Worlds of Fantasy” which ran through twelve. (One of the books in the former is not co-edited by Asimov, however. I don’t know why.) These books have all the strengths and weaknesses of theme anthologies—the overexposure of stories which fit into more than one theme, and the inclusion of subpar stories which also fit the theme—and add to them the strengths and weaknesses of series—the continuity and the willingness to slack off because you have a built-in core audience.
This book is the first series in “Isaac Asimov’s Magical Worlds of Fantasy” as Intergalactic Empires is in “Isaac Asimov’s Wonderful Worlds of Science Fiction,” and it’s OK, I guess. The problem is that I generally don’t like fantasy as much as sf, and frankly the stories here aren’t terribly impressive. The only two stories I like, in fact, both have a distinct science fictional tinge, Larry Niven’s “What Good is a Glass Dagger” and Theodore Cogswell’s “The Wall Around the World.” What’s worse, it ends with a long (and frankly boring) Conan the Barbarian story, “The People of the Black Circle” by Robert E. Howard. And there’s nothing here by Asimov.
Fantasy fans will probably like this book. Personally, I don’t.