The Empress of Dreams

Sunday , 16, May 2021 5 Comments

Almost six years ago, I wrote about Tanith Lee when she died, as a sword & sorcery writer. She was not at the blood and thunder end of the spectrum but at the other more fantastic end. Her stories were dark fairy tales. They were fables presented as modern fantasy. Tanith Lee could be more like Jack Vance in her lighter moments. I think her stories harkened back to Lord Dunsany rather than H. Rider Haggard.

DMR Books has published a new collection, The Empress of Dreams. Stories of very unique sword & sorcery with the emphasis on the sorcery.

Contents:

“Odds Against the Gods”              Swords Against Darkness II (Zebra Books, 1977)

“Sleeping Tiger”                                                Dragonbane #1, Spring 1978

“The Demoness”                              Year’s Best Fantasy Stories: 2 (D.A.W. Books, 1976)

“The Sombrous Tower”                 Weird Tales #2, (Zebra Books, 1980)

“Winter White”                                 Year’s Best Horror: Series VI (D.A.W. Books, 1982)

“Mirage and Magia”                        Hecate’s Cauldron (D.A.W Books, 1982)

“Northern Chess”                            Amazon! (D.A.W. Books, 1979)

“Southern Lights”                             Amazons II (D.A.W Books, 1982)

“In the Balance”                                Swords Against Darkness III (Zebra Books, 1978)

“The Three Brides of Hamad-Dar” Arabesques 2 (Avon Books, 1989)

“The Pain of Glass”                          Clockwork Phoenix 2 (Norilana Books, 2009)

“These Beasts”                                  Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction (June 1995)

“Two Lions, a Witch, and a War-Robe” Swords & Dark Magic (Harper Collins 2010)

“A Tower of Arkrondurl”               Legends: Stories in Honor of David Gemmell (NewCon Press, 2013)

“The Woman in Scarlet”                Realms of Fantasy  (April 2000)

“Evillo the Cunning”                        Songs of the Dying Earth (Subterranean Press, 2009)

This is an incredible collection. It will probably be the most important reprint fantasy collection of 2021. I read most of the stories in this book over the years in their original appearances. There are a few stories new to me. It was great to revisit these stories as part of a greater whole. The inclusion of a Tanith Lee story always elevated the quality of the anthology. She was the best in our time for writing this sort of dark fantasy. Nobody  in the past fifty years did what Tanith Lee did with such style and delivery.

The Empress of Dreams is a trade paperback with 286 pages. Cost is $19.99 hardcopy or $4.99 digital. There was a golden age of fantasy in the late 1970s-early 1980s. Tanith Lee was a big reason for that golden age. Get this book, read a couple stories a week. Then track down Cyrion, which makes a perfect companion volume.

5 Comments
  • Nice review, Morgan. Was there ever more than the one DRAGON AND issue?

    • Morgan says:

      There was one issue of DRAGONBANE (edited by Charles Saunders). It was combined with BEYOND THE FIELDS WE KNOW (edited by Charles de Lint) to become DRAGONFIELDS, which lasted for two issues. There was another Tanith Lee story (“Blue Vase of Ghosts”) in issue #4 from 1983.

  • Stupid autocorrect: DRAGONBANE

  • Thanks! Is that single issue of DRAGONBANE worth getting for $65?

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