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Sword and Sorceress XV cover Sword and Sorceress XV by Marion Zimmer Bradley (ed).

Published by Daw Books

Reviewed by Leigh Kimmel

Sword and Sorceress XV is the latest in the long-running series of anthologies edited by Marion Zimmer Bradley. As usual, it's full of top-notch stories, which has made the competition tougher all the time (I sent a story which subsequently was one of nine finalists in the LoneStarCon2 fiction contest and it was rejected with a commentless form letter, so it's very tough out there.

Among the outstanding stories in this volume were "A Matter of Names," by Cynthia Ward, which dealt with a very modern problem of truth and deception in a world of magic, and "Unbinding Spell" by Andrea Chodan, which was about the problems and advantages of the magic of the title.

In addition to the one-shot stories, there were several which bring back continuing characters from earlier volumes. "The Sick Rose" by Dorothy J. Heydt concerned her continuing character Cynthia, a magic-user from ancient Greece who has now gotten herself involved with the problems of a pious Jewish family who are returning to Jerusalem after exile in Alexandria. With "Skin-Deep," Heather Rose Jones returns us to her world of skin-singers and the peril of having the power to take animal form in a world where the talent is misunderstood.

Most poignant was the final story in the book, "Seal Woman's Power" by the late Paul Edwin Zimmer, brother of the editor. It gives us yet another glimpse of the world of his Dark Border novels, and unless he had more unpublished works hidden away before his sudden death at last year's Albacon, it's likely that this will be our last look at that fascinating world, unless other unpublished stories are found among his papers.

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This review posted September 8, 2000

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