A Stark and Wormy Knight
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A Stark and Wormy Knight

by Tad Williams
Release date: December 23, 2011
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction, fantasy, short stories

Tad Williams is an acknowledged master of the multi-volume epic. Through such popular series as Memory, Sorrow and Thorn and Otherland, he has acquired a huge and devoted body of readers who eagerly await each new publication. A Stark and Wormy Knight offers those readers something both special and surprising: a virtuoso demonstration of Williams’s mastery of a variety of shorter forms.

The range of tone, theme, style, and content reflected in this generous volume is nothing short of amazing. The title story is a tale within a tale of dragons and knights and is notable for its wit and verbal inventiveness. “The Storm Door” uses The Tibetan Book of the Dead to forge a singular new approach to the traditional zombie story. “The Terrible Conflagration at the Quiller’s Mint” offers a brief, independent glimpse into the background of Williams’s Shadowmarch series. “Ants” provides an ironic account of what can happen when a marriage goes irrevocably wrong.

Two of the longer entries show Williams working, with great facility, within the fictional creations of other writers. “The Thursday Men” is a hugely entertaining foray into the world of Mike Mignolla’s Hellboy comics. The wonderfully titled “The Lamentably Comical Tragedy (or the Laughably Tragic Comedy) of Lixal Laqavee” is both a first-rate fantasy and a deeply felt homage to Jack Vance’s immortal Dying Earth. Two other pieces offer rare and hard-to-find glimpses into other facets of Williams’s talent. “Bad Guy Factory” is the script for a proposed series of DC Comics that never came to fruition. “Black Sunshine” is the immensely readable screenplay for a movie that remains, at least for the moment, unproduced. One can only hope.

These and other stories and novellas comprise a stellar collection that really does contain something for everyone. For longtime Williams readers, and for anyone with a taste for literate imaginative fiction, A Stark and Wormy Knight is a welcome — and indispensable — volume.

Contents:

  • Introduction
  • And Ministers of Grace
  • A Stark and Wormy Knight
  • The Storm Door
  • The Stranger’s Hands
  • Bad Guy Factory
  • The Thursday Men
  • The Tenth Muse
  • The Lamentably Comical Tragedy (or the Laughably Tragic Comedy) of Lixal Laqavee
  • The Terrible Conflagration at the Quiller’s Mint
  • Black Sunshine
  • Ants
(updated 2017-01-16)

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