About the Author
Robert Aspring (1946-2008) was an American science fiction and fantasy author best known for his MythAdventure fantasy series, which he began in 1978 with Another Fine Myth. He continued writing until his death thirty years later. He is also known for his science fiction series Phule's Company.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I got this book because it includes a short story by Diane Duane, but I didn't like most of the stories in it, including hers. The only one I liked was the final story, A fish with feathers is out of his depth by Robert Lynn Asprin, which made me laugh.
I have such a love hate relationship with this series. After reading six of these books and with the seventh and eighth waiting for me, I think the pros and cons have crystallized firmly in my mind.Pros: The universe of Theives' World is an awesome one. The premise of concentrating the narrative on a single city, and a dark, sad city at that, creates a great sense of grounding that usually doesn't exist in big fantasy projects. This series was written in the 80s, but I've yet to see a fantasy concept that is similar. There's also a great stable of characters that return for every volume, but at the same time, every character is in a sense a peripheral character, which gives you a sense of this broader story being hinted at through the personal narratives in each chapter. Theives World is unique as far as I know in that the universe is cohesive but each chapter is written by a different contributing author. It's sort of like a long form RP session, which authors bring characters to the table and those characters interact or cameo between chapters. The fun part about these stories is piecing together the greater story through all these subplots. And there are some great subplots. I'm a particular fan of Lalo, the artist who is 'gifted' with the ability to see into the true nature of people. But he doesn't show up in this particular volume. In general, the fantasy concepts in the book, including its approach to magic, the racial and factional tension within the city, the treatment of gods and religion, and so on, are all dynamic and interesting. Cons: I pretty much read these books for the concepts. The writing ranges from okay to pretty bad, and for some reason almost all of the participating authors have adopted this voice that fails to properly describe action in a way that tells a reader what is actually going on. I have to reread sections constantly because of attempts to tell a straightforward thing in a slanted manner, and it's frustrating. The initial characters that got me into these books, Shadowspawn, Enas Yorl, The prince, and Tempus, have disappeared, only making quick appearances once and a while. They've been replaced with a legion of other characters, many of which are strong in their own right, but some, particularly the multitude of stepsons that have come and gone throughout the series, are hard to keep track of. The investment in them is therefore hard to summon up.This is not really a book where it is easy to sympathize with anyone, which is not something I consider to be a weakness. I like the gritty approach the series took, but at the same time, the downside to having so many plot lines and characters is that it can be difficult to establish a real sense of attachment, or risk, for any of them. I hesitate to recommend this series to anyone because the writing is below my standards for recommendation, but I like the world so much that I would still suggest that hard core fantasy fans who like violence, thievery, lawlessness, etc. give Theives' World a try, if they can find it.