In light of the recent (ongoing?) guffaw-faw over the Hugo Awards, I was a little surprised and immensely pleased to pick up Shattered Shields and see the list of authors it includes. Without assigning people to sides, and at the risk of oversimplifying or falsely characterizing (is that enough weasel words?), an antho that includes Cat Rambo, Seanan McGuire, Larry Correia, and Sarah Hoyt, for starters, is solidly ecumenical in outlook.
I actually picked up the book for the editor. I’ve had the privilege of having Bryan Thomas Schmidt work on a few of my books with WordFire Press, and the hope that he’ll work on more. Moreover, he’s a charming and intelligent guy who, like me, doesn’t seem interested in getting crossways with anyone over ideology and who, like me, really isn’t enjoying the brouhaha.
Bryan has really extracted good stuff from these writers, and has moreover worked them into a high polish. Some readers will want to read this anthology for short stories set in existing universes (e.g., David Farland’s entry, a Runelords story, and Seanan McGuire’s, an October Daye prequel). Some readers will just see one of their favorite names (Larry Correia!) and get a copy for their necessary dose of sword and sorcery butt-kicking. Anyone who enjoys adventurous fantasy ought to be able to sit down with this book and pass a couple of really entertaining hours.
And, in a small way, Shattered Shields says to me that there’s light at the end of the Hugo tunnel. We’ll keep having this conversation for a while, and it won’t always be pleasant, and the trolls will get their pound of flesh. But at the end of the day, I think it’s true that (h/t Lou Berger) we are all SF. And we can get there together. Through stories.