Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Rogues, edited by George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois

Today I'm looking at Rogues, a collection of short stories written by a variety of authors and edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois. The idea behind this anthology was that Martin and Dozois would ask famous writers from a variety of genres, not just science fiction and fantasy but horror, thriller, mystery, and romance, to write a short story about a rogue or scoundrel character. The result is a collection of stories ranging from Martin's Westeros and Gaiman's London Below, to somewhat ordinary adventures in Texas. Because I usually stick within the SFF genre this was a nice opportunity for me to break out of my genre constraints and see a couple of stories from authors I might not have otherwise heard about. And there are a couple of stories that leave me thinking maybe I'll want to check up on the authors when I get the chance.

Unfortunately, much like a lot of other short story anthologies which I've reviewed, there isn't a lot that I can say. I liked some of the stories. I thought some of the stories were really good. And some of the stories I didn't care for. But that's ultimately a matter of personal taste and with an anthology you're sometimes going to get things that just don't appeal to you. And that's okay. Although I will say the cunning plan to get back at your brother because he had the nicer sousaphone in high school by stealing the high school marching band he directs's sousaphones so you can then sell them on the black market to Mexican banda groups isn't exactly up there in the top levels of ''cunning criminal master plans''. But really it was just that one story.

Aside from that, I think my only criticism was a couple stories tried to push the rogue element a little too much. Like, ''Hey. Remember the title of this book? This is how it ties back to the theme!'' I especially remember a story about college kids going to a movie theater and having a debate over the definition of rogue and scoundrel and frankly it felt a little forced to me. Otherwise it's an anthology. There're some good stories and I think it's worth your time to check out. Even if, like me, you're not big on rogues in specific.

- Kalpar

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