Out of Avalon

Written by Jennifer Roberson ed.
Review by Suzanne Sprague

This collection of Arthurian-themed works consists of fourteen short stories, one poem, and an introduction by the editor, who is no stranger to historical fantasy fiction. The stories draw upon the many Arthurian traditions, nicely balancing those that adhere to traditional legend with tales featuring a modern twist.

Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana L. Paxson’s “The Heart of the Hill” leads off the collection with an elderly Morgaine reminiscing about an event of her youth. “The Secret Leaves” by Tricia Sullivan and “The Mooncalfe” by David Farland employ the same style and defend Nimue, another misunderstood female in Arthurian legend. Other stories seek to explain Merlin’s actions regarding Uther and Igraine, share King Arthur’s dying thoughts as he is transported to Avalon, and toy with time travel. “The Mouses Song,” a poem by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, and “The Castellan” by Diana Gabaldon and Samuel Watkins are fantasies set in the Arthurian era.

Although one does not need to be an Arthurian scholar to enjoy the tales, familiarity with Arthurian romance is useful. Out of Avalon is recommended for anyone wishing to further explore Arthurian legend in short doses.