“Speculative fiction” is a term often attributed to Robert A. Heinlein. This term includes all writing about worlds that are unlike ours, including such genres as science fiction, fantasy, utopian and dystopian fiction, and apocalyptic fiction.
In “Firebirds Soaring” readers will find a variety of stories ranging in length from a few pages to almost one hundred pages. The stories also range in subject matter, covering all manner of fantasy worlds from all manners of time, from tens of thousands of years in the past, to far in the future. Contributers are some of the finest fantasy and science fiction writers on the market: Christopher Barzak, Clare Bell, Kara Dalkey, Candas Jane Dorsey, Mike Dringenberg, Carol Emshwiller, Nancy Farmer, Nina Keriki Hoffman, Ellen Klages, Marco Lanagan, Louise Marley, Nick O’Donohoe, Chris Roberson, Sherwood Smith, Nancy Springer, Jo Walton, Elizabeth E. Wein, Laurel Winter, Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple, and Marly Youmans.
Throughout “Firebirds Soaring” the individual stories are decorated by beautiful vignettes. My personal favorite was the very last story entitled “Something Worth Doing.” In this amazing creation writer Elizabeth E. Wein develops a strong a brave girl named Kim. When Kim’s older brother is killed in a tragic accident, she is irate at the way everyone remembers him as never applying himself to anything. Before his death Kim has been planning to stop his escapades and get serious by joining the Royal Air Force. He only lived long enough for his application to be accepted. By posing as her brother she joins the RAF and manages to make it through flight school. Soon she finds herself flying single pilot Spitfires over England defending the island from the invading Germans. All along Kim is motivated by a drive to make sure her brother is not remembered merely as a boy who wasted his life.
The entire effect of “Firebirds Soaring” is simply amazing. The stories have a scope and feeling behind them that gives the anthology as a whole great depth of expression. This worthy anthology is a must read for every fantasy lover.
Inkweaver Book Rating: