Comparable to the recent blockbuster fantasy collection Legends (edited by Robert Silverberg), Wizards: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy is an impressive all-star anthology that contains never-before-published stories about magic practitioners from some of the biggest names in the genre -- Neil Gaiman, Tad Williams, Orson Scott Card, Gene Wolfe, Patricia A. McKillip, Kage Baker, and Tanith Lee, to name a few.
Noteworthy selections include Card's "Stonefather," about the unremarkable 15th child of a poor farmwife who, after leaving his home in search of his place in the world, discovers that he possesses extraordinary, world-changing abilities, and Gaiman's "The Witch's Headstone," a haunting and lyrical tale (strongly reminiscent of Ray Bradbury's 1946 classic "The Homecoming") about an eight-year-old boy being raised by the spirits in a graveyard who decides to help out one of the undead. Terry Bisson's "Billy and the Wizard" pits a young boy against the Devil himself, and Jeffrey Ford's "The Manticore Spell" follows a wizard's apprentice as he glimpses eternity in the form of a mythical creature.
Editors Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois write in the collection's preface: "The figure of the wizard is still a deeply significant one, an archetype that haunts art, advertising, literature, folklore, cartoons, movies, and even our very dreams." That magically empowered archetype, which has the ability to communicate with and call upon the supernatural world, is brilliantly represented in varying forms in the 18 diverse stories included within -- easily one of the strongest fantasy collections of the year. Paul Goat Allen