Sunday, February 23, 2014

Tales of High Hallack Vol. 1: The Collected Short Stories of Andre Norton

Author:  Andre Norton

First Publication:  2014

Source:  Netgalley

From Goodreads:
For the first time, the Grand Dame of science fiction—Andre Norton—has her short stories gathered for her fans’ reading pleasure. Tales reach back to the 1930s, as fresh and relevant today as they were when she wrote them . . . such was Andre’s skill. High fantasy, fables, science fiction, coming of age stories, and more fill three volumes. This impressive, must-have collection includes stories of Witch World. There are cats sprinkled here and there, as Andre treasured them so. And there is magic in the writing, unequaled prose to delight readers of all ages.

Andre Norton quickly became a favorite of mine when i first discovered science fiction and fantasy.  Many of her books were available in our school library.  Her novels were fascinating glimpses into what it would be like to live "out there".  At the same time I was reading the Heinlein juveniles and her work was every bit as good as those classics.  Over time, her science fiction seemed to fade into obscurity but in recent years it seems like many bloggers have started talking about them.  Unfortunately, I never seemed to read her short fiction.  I believe the only one I read appeared in "The DAW SF Reader" edited by Donald A. Wollheim.  The announcement of this series of collections was good news for me.  It gives me the chance to go back and experience many new adventures with this author.

Of the many good stories in this book, I found that "The Last Spell" captured my imagination.  It is a different look at Merlin and Nimue.  Any stories I read with these characters will be impacted by Norton's interpretation.  She makes you think about events from Nimue's point of view.  

"Eastborn:  A Witch World Story" was a fun trip back to the Witch World series.  It is similar to meeting someone who grew up in your home town but that you never knew.

For fans of the Crystal Gryphon books, "Sword of Unbelief" is a pleasant surprise.

The rest of the stories range from science fiction to reworkings of legends.

Overall, I would rate this as a very good collection and a good introduction to the writing of Andre Norton.  I know that I will be looking forward to the next two volumes in this series.

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