Before Martin H. Greenburg died in 2011, Gardner Dozois had a tradition of dismissing his anthologies (usually filled with major genre writers) as “pleasant but minor”. In general terms, I disagree with Mr. Dozois because I found Greenbergs antho’s to be both entertaining and solid. Whenever I gought one, I knew that great writers were going to take me on a fun ride.
However, I’ve got to give the nod to Dozois if he happened to make any snide remarks about the book Olympus, edited by Greenberg and Bruce D. Arthurs.
This one is pleasant enough, and a reasonably entertaining read, too, but it truly is minor in the most Dozoisian use of the word, and it isn’t 100% the fault of the anthologists. Greenberg and Arthurs got together a stronglineup of writers–Friesner, Watt-Evans, De Lint, Huff, Michelle West–and asked for tales based on Greek mythology.
The writers, I feel, fell on their faces. Sitting here looking over the stories, I think what may have gone wrong is that the book was published in 1998, when the fantasy genre was in the midst of the urban-fantasy doldrums. Stoies about Greek gods set in 1980s-style cities with late 90s morality are just unmemorable. Comptently written by a raft of professional writers, but not very noteworthy.
The best, in my opinion was “To Hades and Back” by Karen Haber, mainly because it goes the full 80s rockstar route.
Anyway, there are better Greenberg anthos out there. Perhaps finding one of those is the best bet.
About the blogger: Gustavo Bondoni, apart from reading everything he can get his hands on, is also a novelist. His latest book, The Malakiad, is a hugely entertaining take on the Greek heroic era. He doesn’t want to say it’s better than the book reviewed above, but… Paperback here, Kindle edition here.