A Wizard's Dozen

Edited by Michael Stearns. Illustrated by Michael Hussar.

Harcourt Brace and Company. $16.95
(paper $3.99)

A wizard is "a person who injects a jolt of the marvelous into the everyday" says Michael Stearns is his introduction.

He adds that "today's wizards wield paint brushes or pens or typewriters or computers ..." and that the real magic of fantasy fiction -- or of any story -- is the imagination.

And imaginative these 13 stories for young adults are, where a computer can open the way to the Faerie realm; a king's curse turns people into werewolves; a midget owns a magic marble; or a dog talks because a girl believes it can.

The anthology's weak point is the tendency for some authors to preach at the expense of the story. Although the introduction acknowledges that we can learn from any of these stories, the weaker tales struggle under the weight of their messages, while the stronger ones put the story first.

This is a gentle foray into the field of fantasy fiction, with such authors as Charles deLint, Patricia C. Wrede, and Jane Yolen for tour guides. It's a good read for anyone interested in a new breed of fairy tale. And mind that you note which story the wizard on the book's cover is reading.

Editor Michael Stearns obtained his M.A. at Hollins College.


This review originally appeared in the May 15, 1994 edition of The Roanoke Times and World-News.


Also edited by Michael Stearns:

A Starfarer's Dozen. Harcourt Brace, 1995
A Nightmare's Dozen. Harcourt Brace, 1996


This review copyright 1994 by Wendy Morris
Information last updated March 22, 1998

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