While I am familiar with the name Tad Williams and have seen his books in bookstores for as long as I can remember, I don’t believe I’ve ever read any of his books. There’s no particular reason for this other than – too many books, too little time. Also, I tend to think of his books as ‘dragon fantasies’ because I always picture his covers as featuring dragons (quite like the cover depicted here) and despite an appreciation of the fantasy genre, I’ve never been particularly drawn to stories with dragons.
But I thought it was time to get familiar with Williams’ work and what better way than to read his ‘very best’?!
Overall, I really liked this collection. It definitely showed a lot or variety and versatility for Williams.
The collection starts off with a dragon story (“The Old Scale Game”) and I cringed a bit, hoping it wasn’t going to be all dragon stories, but the next is a horror story (“The Storm Door”). This might be my least favorite story in the collection – though, while not technically a ‘story’, “Black Sunshine”, which is an unproduced screenplay, might also qualify for least favorite.
Among my favorites, “Three Duets for Virgin and Nosehorn” ranks quite highly – but I’d probably give this high marks just based on the title alone! I also really liked “Monsieur Vergalant´s Canard” and “The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of.”
There are a couple of dragon stories here, which is probably expected by his dedicated fans, and my favorite of those was “A Stark and Wormy Knight” – a humorous story told from the point of view of the dragon, with a mother dragon telling a bedtime story to her little ones. This reminded my of the writings of Spider Robinson (whom I often think of as someone who writes short stories around puns).
“And Ministers of Grace” closes the book and it might be one of the strongest stories in the collection. There’s a lot more philosophy here, giving the reader something to think about. This was not something I had gotten a feel for with the other stories in this volume.
This book contains the following:
“The Old Scale Game”
“The Storm Door”
“The Stranger’s Hands”
“Child of an Ancient City”
“The Boy Detective of Oz: An Otherland Story”
“Three Duets for Virgin and Nosehorn”
“Not with a Whimper, Either”
“Some Thoughts Re: DARK DESTRUCTOR”
“Z is for… ”
“Monsieur Vergalant’s Canard”
“The Stuff that Dreams Are Made Of”
“A Fish Between Three Friends”
“Every Fuzzy Beast of the Earth, Every Pink Fowl of the Air”
“A Stark and Wormy Knight”
“Omnitron, What Ho!”
“And Ministers of Grace”
Looking for a good book? The Very Best of Tad Williams is a collection of the author’s short fiction. All the stories are quite well written with a few standing out as more enjoyable reads, and the volume shows the authors versatility.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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The Very Best of Tad Williams
author: Tad Williams
publisher: Tachyon Publications
paperback, 432 pages