Masters of Fantasy has a star-studded cast of popular fantasy writers, each offering a brand new adventure set in his or her most popular series. Among the stellar cast are David Weber, Mercedes Lackey (with a new Valdemar story), Mickey Zucker Reichert, Andre Norton, Elizabeth Moon, David Drake, Robert Asprin and Jody Lynn Nye (collaborating on a story in which their separate series collide with hilarious results), Margaret Weis, Alan Dean Foster, Michael Resnick, Christopher Stasheff, and more. A feast of fantasy adventure that will be a must-buy for all fans of the field
About the Author
David Weber's New York Times best-selling Honor Harrington series is the hottest in science fiction today, and he has proven himself to be equally a master of fantasy with his popular novels in the Bahzell series, Oath of Swords, The War God's Own, and the just-released Windrider's Oath.
Mercedes Lackey is among the most popular of today's fantasy writers and her Valdemar novels are best sellers.
Mickey Zucker Reichert is the author of such best-selling fantasy series as The Bifrost Guardians and the Books of Barakhai series.
David Drake is author of the best-selling Hammer's Slammers series for Baen and the equally popular Lord of the Isles fantasy series for Tor.
Andre Norton is known both for her science fiction and for her fantasy, including the Witch World novels, which have been enthralling readers for four decades.
Elizabeth Moon's Paksenarrion series have been among Baen's top-selling titles for the past decade.
Alan Dean Foster is known for his top-selling space adventures, his movie novelizations, and his fantasy adventure novels.
Robert Asprin is a New York Times best-selling author, known in fantasy for his popular Myth series.
Margaret Weis is known for her popular dragon novels.
Michael Resnick is author of the Hugo and Nebula Award winning Kirinyaga series.
Christopher Stasheff is author of the popular Warlock series.
Read an Excerpt
Masters of Fantasy
By Bill Fawcett Brian Thomsen
Baen BooksCopyright © 2004 Bill Fawcett and Associates
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFrom Category to Genre in a Bookselling Sense Or When Sales and Popularity Begin to Command Respect
We all have friends who might look at our reading tastes as being a bit eccentric.
You know who I mean-those who call it "sword and sorcery stuff" and seem to think that every fantasy needs a Frazetta or Boris cover that will appeal primarily to adolescent boys in search of cheap thrills. There was a time when their point of view was in the majority and fantasy titles were relegated to the same level of respect afforded to other "category" fiction titles.
"Category" is a pejorative. For example, in category terms, westerns were "horse operas" or "shoot 'em ups," romances were "bodice rippers," and fantasies were "that Conan stuff." And the principal venues for sales were drugstore and gas station wire racks next to this month's issue of Good Housekeeping, Popular Mechanics, or Playboy. Category books were sold at the bottom of the list and engendered little respect from either the publisher or the bookseller.
Then, a funny thing happened.
Category books began to break out and sell like hotcakes, and not just at the truck stops but in the book stores as well.
Louis L'Amour became a topselling author of western fiction (notice "western fiction"; that's a genre designation, not just a category), romances became either "historical romances," "regency romances" or "contemporary romances" (again, with genre-specific designations) and fantasies, well... let me tell you what happened.
First, the powers that be began to split hairs.
Tolkien wasn't really fantasy; it was fiction, just like Richard Adams's talking rabbit novel, Watership Down, and John Gardner's Grendel. Any new book that commanded an equal amount of respect like, say, The Mists of Avalon, was also obviously fiction, and therefore not like those category fantasy titles that appeared in paperback and usually were part of some large series like Conan (you know, just like Mack Bolan except without the guns and gadgets).
They were considered a flavor-of-the-month sort of thing where the authors didn't really matter except to a small but rabid fandom.
The truth was, however, that the fandom wasn't that small, and in no time at all their buying power became more noticeable.
In 1982, Ogre, Ogre by Piers Anthony made the New York Times paperback bestseller list, something category books were not expected to do.
Now, Ogre, Ogre was a paperback original (no hardcover edition), part of an ongoing series, with no special movie tie-in (à la Star Wars) or critical prestige.
It made the list solely because it sold or, more specifically, because enough people wanted to purchase it as soon as it was available-and subsequent books in the series followed the same pattern.
Soon, other authors' works followed suit with successful paperback series making the list, such as Foster's Spellsinger books, Weis and Hickman's Dragonlance and Dark Sword series and Lackey's Valdemar books. And in no time at all every publishing house realized that a commercially successful fantasy series was every bit as significant as a bestselling mystery or historical romance. Such books no longer received a "category" treatment because there was the potential for even greater sales.
Such books became treated like "fiction" titles and, from a bookselling standpoint, fantasy went from being a category to a genre.
As a result of these new sales and the attention they engendered in-house, science fiction and fantasy lines sprang up everywhere, with independent new publishers specializing in the genre beginning to command respect. Books that were formerly paperback originals became hardcovers.
Fantasy had become a force to be reckoned with.
It had gained the respect of booksellers and publishers alike, the same respect that its fans had had for years.
This book contains brand new stories set in some of the series that were part of the bestselling phenomenon that brought this about, written by the authors who earned their now well-deserved respect.
Excerpted from Masters of Fantasy by Bill Fawcett Brian Thomsen Copyright © 2004 by Bill Fawcett and Associates. Excerpted by permission.
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