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Emerald Magic: Great Tales of Irish Fantasy

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Author: Andrew M. Greeley

Published: February 1st 2004 by Tor Books (first published December 31st 2000)

Format: Hardcover , 368 pages

Isbn: 9780765305046

Language: English


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Mythology and magic come alive in this collection of Irish fantasy stories by some of today's finest authors. Ireland is a nation that holds fast to its history and heritage, and nowhere is that more true than in its folktales and legends. From the great Celtic myths featuring the bard Taliesin, the terrible Morrigan, the heroic Cuchulain, or the noble and cunning Sidhe to Mythology and magic come alive in this collection of Irish fantasy stories by some of today's finest authors. Ireland is a nation that holds fast to its history and heritage, and nowhere is that more true than in its folktales and legends. From the great Celtic myths featuring the bard Taliesin, the terrible Morrigan, the heroic Cuchulain, or the noble and cunning Sidhe to strange and mysterious tales of today, the stories and traditions of the Emerald Isle hold a strong attraction for many. Stories are told in cottage hearths from Galway to Dublin, and from the windblown rocky Cliffs of Mohr to the seaside villages where fishing boats still roam the oceans. Tall tales and town stories are as much a way of life as a pint and good conversation at the local pub. Emerald Magic brings together today's best fantasy authors to explore the myths of the Irish, telling their own versions of these ancient tales of luck, love, and honor, or drawing upon centuries of Irish myths and folktales and updating them into brand-new stories. Edited and with an introduction by bestselling author Father Andrew M. Greeley, Emerald Magic contains fourteen wonderful stories of legend and lore, including: "A Woman Is a Fast Moving Picnic" by Ray Bradbury. A group of pub regulars set out to discover the truth behind a local song and answer that age-old question: Just how fast does a person sink in a bog? "The Isle of Women" by Jacqueline Carey. In an age long ago, a warrior sailing for vengeance happens upon an island ruled by a woman like no other. But if he is to continue his quest, he must choose between her and his duty. "Speir-Bhan" by Tanith Lee. A woman who finds and reads her grandfather's diary unleashes the specter of an old debt that, even in today's modern age, must be paid---one way or the other. "A Drop of Something Special in the Blood" by Fred Saberhagen. In the late eighteenth century, an Irish author encounters a being that he will turn into his greatest literary creation. "The Cat with No Name" by Morgan Llywelyn. A lonely girl neglected by her parents finds an unexpected friend in the alley behind her home---one that may be more than it first seems. "The Butter-Spirit's Tithe" by Charles de Lint. Even in twenty-first-century America, it is still not wise to anger the spirits of the world, as a young musician discovers when a butter-spirit who had cursed him nine years earlier comes to claim his soul. "Land of Heart's Desire" by Elizabeth Haydon. A young man discovers the magical truth about his parents' marriage, and sets a chain of events in motion that will force him to choose between the life he has always known---and another life he could have. "The Swan Pilot" by L. E. Modesitt, Jr. In the far future, spaceship pilots travel through interdimensional portals from planet to planet---and the only thing more important than knowing how to fly is knowing how to handle the strange hallucinations that appear during the journey. Filled with the spirit and magic of the stories of Ireland, Emerald Magic is a collection of fantasy stories that will delight and captivate from the first page to the last.  

30 review for Emerald Magic: Great Tales of Irish Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

    I've finally finished this wonderful collection of Irish Fantasy, edited by Andrew M. Greeley. This book includes stories by Ray Bradbury (one of my lifelong favorite authors), Tanith Lee, Charles DeLint, and many others. The topics range from space travel to tales based on actual Irish folklore. I was going to try and name some favorites, but, truth be told, I liked them all pretty equally. Fred Saberhagen's story, "A Drop of Something Special in the Blood," was great, being one of his many vam I've finally finished this wonderful collection of Irish Fantasy, edited by Andrew M. Greeley. This book includes stories by Ray Bradbury (one of my lifelong favorite authors), Tanith Lee, Charles DeLint, and many others. The topics range from space travel to tales based on actual Irish folklore. I was going to try and name some favorites, but, truth be told, I liked them all pretty equally. Fred Saberhagen's story, "A Drop of Something Special in the Blood," was great, being one of his many vampire stories (I've read a few of Saberhagen's ventures into the "Dracula" mythology), and has a nice twist at the end. "The Cat With No Name" by Morgan Llywelyn is a wonderful tale about a little girl and her very special cat. "Speir-Bhan" by Tanith Lee is based on authentic Irish folklore and was another wonderful story. Like I said, they are all good, and all held my interest very well. Truly a "Good Read."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    Of the two sections this book was broken into, I prefered the first. Most of the stories there were a little more...traditional...if that's really the word I want and they focussed on creatures like the leprechaun, banshee, Grey Man, and the Sidhe among others. The second portion had a few things in common with the first set of tales, but felt different. Still, it was a fun read, and I may come back to my favorite tales later on.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nora

    I really enjoyed the variety of stories in this book. I hadn't realized how much Laurell Hamilton pulls from Irish folklore in her stories--especially the Merry series.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie Howard

    Each of these stories, based on the mythology and lore of Ireland, is beautifully crafted by the masters of storytelling. I appreciated all of them, even though some more accurately belong in the horror genre. My favorites were "The Merrow," (set during the Irish Potato Familne and woven around the themes of love and sacrifice) by Elizabeth Haydon; "Long the Clouds are Over Me Tonight," (a true fantasy tale based on the old myths of Ireland) by Cecilia Dart-Thornton; "The Swan Pilot," (set in th Each of these stories, based on the mythology and lore of Ireland, is beautifully crafted by the masters of storytelling. I appreciated all of them, even though some more accurately belong in the horror genre. My favorites were "The Merrow," (set during the Irish Potato Familne and woven around the themes of love and sacrifice) by Elizabeth Haydon; "Long the Clouds are Over Me Tonight," (a true fantasy tale based on the old myths of Ireland) by Cecilia Dart-Thornton; "The Swan Pilot," (set in the space-travelling future) by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.; and, most of all, "The Cat with No Name," (a story of a child in trouble and the cat who cared for her) by Jacqueline Carey. I also enjoyed "The Butter Spirit's Tithe" by Charles de Lint, although the language, spoken by musicians in an Irish pub, tended to be coarser that I would like.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kaion

    Another book I'm clearing for my upcoming move. A lot of name writers doesn't really amount to much in this collection, in which the stories suffer from unimaginative plots (Elizabeth Haydon's "Long the Clouds are Over Me Tonight", "A Drop of Something Special in the Blood" by Fred Saberhagen), staid execution (Diane Duane's "Herself"), or the biggest curse of novel writers tasked to writing short stories: half-baked-ness (“The Swan Pilot” by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.,"Speir-Bhan" by Tanith Lee). The ex Another book I'm clearing for my upcoming move. A lot of name writers doesn't really amount to much in this collection, in which the stories suffer from unimaginative plots (Elizabeth Haydon's "Long the Clouds are Over Me Tonight", "A Drop of Something Special in the Blood" by Fred Saberhagen), staid execution (Diane Duane's "Herself"), or the biggest curse of novel writers tasked to writing short stories: half-baked-ness (“The Swan Pilot” by L.E. Modesitt, Jr.,"Speir-Bhan" by Tanith Lee). The execeptions are: "Banshee" by Ray Bradbury- a tight, chilling piece about a put-upon screenwriter which uses an unreliable narrator to blend the lines between supernatural and human darkness. "The Butter Spirit's Tithe" by Charles de Lint- an update of your usual fairy hex that brings New World charm and comteporary charm to an old plot. Rating: 2 stars

  6. 4 out of 5

    Travis

    Emerald Magic edited by Andrew M. Greeley- This anthology was released in February of 2004 and published by Tor. This anthology covers all things fantastical about Irish history and stories. There are fifteen short stories written by Diane Duane, Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple, Judith Tarr, Elizabeth Haydon, Charles de Lint, Ray Bradbury, Andrew M. Greeley, Jane Lindskold, Fred Saberhagen, Peter Tremayne, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Jacqueline Cary, and Morgan Llywelyn. Emerald Magic edited by Andrew M. Greeley- This anthology was released in February of 2004 and published by Tor. This anthology covers all things fantastical about Irish history and stories. There are fifteen short stories written by Diane Duane, Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple, Judith Tarr, Elizabeth Haydon, Charles de Lint, Ray Bradbury, Andrew M. Greeley, Jane Lindskold, Fred Saberhagen, Peter Tremayne, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Jacqueline Cary, and Morgan Llywelyn. The anthology is broken up into two parts, “The Little People” and “Literary Fantastics”. The stories within have something to do with Irish fantasy and horror. “Introduction” by Andrew M. Greeley- This is pretty much just a basic introduction with hyping up the upcoming stories and gives some basic background on the anthology. However, it contains some background on some of the myths and legends that the Irish people have. It is also a little confusing at times, mostly due to me having little to know background in such things. “Herself” by Diane Duane- This story is about a leprechaun found murdered and discovering what did the act. Criticisms: 1) Huh? The story started out interesting enough. A mortal having a friendly conversation with a leprechaun, then finding out he was murdered the next day. That would have been a great idea. However, the story soon turned into a confusing, fast paced mess of references and actions. I was lost and still scratching my head. 2) Political Messages. I'm not fond of anything political, at all. So when things like jobs, O-Zone problems, and others come up I'm almost instantly turned off by it. I don't have a problem with it being a 'hidden message' but blatant messages I find extremely annoying, no matter what they are. Praises: 1) Interaction. I really likes how the mythical creatures like leprechaun's and banshee's evolved into the present day. Just reading about how a Leprechaun hates Nike just brought a smile to my face. It was really interesting to say the least. 2) Murder Mystery. Although the plot did get a little fuzzy and hard to follow, I still really enjoyed the idea. Finding out what was causing a series of Leprechaun murders was surprisingly fun. Overall: 3/5 Thoughts: While not the best story, it does have its moments. Aside from my personal issue with issues, I did have a good time reading it up until it got confusing and rushed. “Speir-Bhan” by Tanith Lee- This story is about a woman fulfilling her great grandfather's quest to kill three human-fox like beings. Criticisms: 1) Awkward. This story just felt awkward to me. It could have been the idea of the main characters great grandfather's scenes and the dream sequences with him in it or it could have been the awkward beginning. But something felt odd and weird. Praises: 1) Speir-Bhan. I did like this character. The Speir-Bhan is a muse-like being and her appearance to the main character was kind of interesting and fun. I would say that this is another case of how interesting it is to see fantasy beings interacting with present day reality. Overall: 3/5 Thoughts: I really have nothing to say about this story other than a shoulder shrug. It was just okay. It has a few interesting moments but other than those, everything else was just okay. Not to mention that for some reason the story just felt awkward at times. Not really sure why, but something was just odd. “Troubles” by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple- This story is about a deal gone wrong between two creatures. Criticisms: 1) What? This story is very hard to follow. Everything that is going on is explained, but the way it's explained left me scratching my head. Also, it would have helped if there was some context to everything that was happening. 2) Short. It's too short. Some stories can pull off short lengths, but this one just suffers from it. There wasn't enough time to build up the characters and the plot. Instead we just are given blurbs about what's going on. Praises: 1) Descriptions. The descriptions seemed to be what this story focuses on and for the most part they are good. Overall: 1/5 Thoughts: This story is just a mess of things. The characters weren't developed enough to like them and the plot was just confusing. A little snippet of context of what is going on would have been nice. Leaving a short story clouded in mystery that never will be explained is not a good idea. The main problem has to be how short it is. If it was longer, it may have been more enjoyable. “The Hermit and the Sidhe” by Judith Tarr- This story is about a religious crusade against the folklore and rituals that the Irish people have. Criticisms: 1) Jumping. There isn't a better way to explain this issue. The problem is that during a few scenes, things jumped around and were hard to follow. However, it wasn't a huge issue. Praises: 1) Idea. I really liked the idea behind this story. Having a religious crusade against old-world beliefs was an interesting and engaging idea. 2) Characters. I really enjoyed the two main characters of the Hermit and Father Timothy. With the Hermit you have this man who is on the borderline of becoming a devote Catholic, but has doubts. It was an interesting look into his psyche. With Father Timothy you have a man who sees evil in everything that isn't covered in Catholic doctrine. It was interesting to see how far can someone fall into their beliefs. Overall: 4/5 Thoughts: I really enjoyed this story. Aside from the 'jumping' scenes, everything was great. I liked the war between the two 'faiths', the characters wonderful, and it was easy to understand. “The Merrow” by Elizabeth Haydon- This story is about a family coping with a blight. After the son finds a cap his father has hidden in the woods, he learns something about his mother. Something he's not sure if he should tell her. Criticisms: None Praises: 1) Interesting. Everything about this story held my interest. The characters were great, the plot was simple, and the pacing was perfect. 2) Simple. This is what makes a good story, simplicity. It was easy to read, easy to understand, and easy to follow. Overall: 5/5 Thoughts: I really liked this story mostly due to it being so easy to understand and follow. The characters were wonderful and the plot had a lot of heart. It just was very enjoyable. “The Butter Spirit's Tithe” by Charles de Lint- This story is about a traveling musician and his past run in of a butter spirit. After a curse is laid upon the musician, Conn, is friend Miki decides to make a plan to free him of it. Criticism: 1) The End. I did not care for the ending at all. The explanation of what Miki's plan was to free Conn of this curse just didn't feel right. Then it ended on a sappy note. Praises: 1) Dark. The story had a fairly dark tone to it, darker than I would have expected. Having Conn's soul being forfeit to this Grey Man and seeing what it does was good in all the right ways. 2) Simple. Another simple story. It was fairly easy to follow and understand, and because of this, it was very enjoyable. Overall: 4/5 Thoughts: This was a fairly good story, with not much going against it. Sure I felt that the ending didn't work, but other than that it was enjoyable. The tone took a dark turn that I didn't really expect and I'm glad that it worked so well. “Banshee” by Ray Bradbury- This story is about a screenwriter taking a screenplay to his friend to go over it. However, they start hearing wails and moans in the wind and the screenwriter goes out to check what it was. Criticisms: 1) Spastic. Things happen at a rapid, frantic pace. The dialogue goes by way too fast and because of this, it was hard to follow what is going on. 2) Confusing. This ties in with the spastic pacing. Due to the breakneck speed of dialogue, actions, and everything, the story became a confusing and frustrating mess. Praises: 1) Idea. The idea was very interesting. However for whatever reason, the spastic, breakneck pace of the story didn't allow for enough time to really develop the story. But what I've seen, it would have been very good. Overall: 2/5 Thoughts: The best way to describe this story is one word, spastic. Everything as this 'boom, boom, boom' feel to it. Things happen one right after another with no time to breath. Because if this, the interesting premise really suffers. “Peace in Heaven?” by Andrew M. Greeley- This story is about two couples talking of a past war in Heaven and how the two parties should reconcile. Criticisms: 1) Exposition. This is an odd problem with the story. At times there seems to be too much being told, but in the next paragraph things are so vague and distant that there needs to be some exposition. 2) Perspective. The way this story was told was just weird. It had an almost first-person perspective during half of the scenes, but changed into third-person right after. What exactly is the perspective of this story? A hybrid between the two or something else? But realistically, it does not work. Praises: 1) Short. At least this story was short. Overall: 1/5 Thoughts: I honestly could not find anything worth talking about that was stand-out good. Sure the story wasn't all bad, there were moments of mediocrity and semi-interest, but nothing stood-out enough to mention. But otherwise, this story was bad. The perspective issue becomes annoying quickly with the third-person actions having a first-person view is awkward. Then you have the need for less and more exposition However, there is more issues with this story. The characters are annoying and I couldn't get into their mindsets. I just didn't enjoy this story at all. “The Lady in Grey” by Jane Lindskold- This story is about an Irish revolutionary who is fearless until the death of someone close to her. Then all her fears and past mistakes come flooding back. Criticisms: 1) Boring. This story is incredibly boring and slow. However, it never seems like it until you put the story down. There is one main reason this story is so boring and that's the: 2) Characters. Maud and Willie are just bland and uninteresting. While they did feel real and three-dimensional, they never really clicked with me. They were just uninteresting and everything they did bored me to tears. Also, this story is built around their relationship, a relationship that I could not (and did not) by for one second. Praises: 1) Premise. Even though the story was a little boring and the characters bland, the premise of having this woman's past troubling her was interesting. But due to the poorness of the characters, the promising premise suffers. Overall: 2/5 Thoughts: “The Lady in Grey” was just a promising premise that failed due to the lackluster characters and a slow, plodding plot. “A Drop of Something Special in the Blood” by Fred Saberhagen- This story is a fictional inspiration behind Bram Stoker's Dracula. Criticisms: 1) Plot Progression. I don't know how else to say this other than the way the story moved forward seemed odd. When you first start reading, Stoker is visiting a doctor in Paris to find out what is wrong with him and these delusions he is having. However, when Stoker meets this doctor, the story kind of forgets that in place of this girl, the same girl Stoker is seeing in his 'dreams'. It just felt weird seeing how the one plot thread was pretty much dropped, and another taken up for the middle part, only to be replaced with the starting thread. 2) Ending. The ending was very anti-climactic and sudden. It just comes out of no where with no real build up except for Stoker having repeat visits by the girl. But I wouldn't call that build up, more like quick little character development scenes. Praises: 1) Inspiration. While I am not a huge fan of fictional inspiration stories, this one seemed to work. It had a bit of the same feel of Dracula, except on a smaller scale. Also, you see little snippets of things that are in Dracula that are replicated, which was interesting. 2) Pace. The pacing was just right. Fast enough that the story didn't get bogged down in useless exposition and slow enough that you can appreciate and understand what is happening. Overall: 3/5 Thoughts: This story was just average. Nothing really stood out and what did only barely stood out. It's a fairly good fictional inspiration story behind Dracula but the sudden ending and odd plot shifting really just bring it back down to the mediocre level. “For the Blood is the Life” by Peter Tremayne- This story is about a doctor being hired on to an entertainment company to make insurance checks on potential stars. After one patient dies and the body turns up missing, things start to get a little frightening for the doctor. Criticisms: 1) Beginning. I don't know why, but the beginning of the story bothered me. For one thing, it was utterly predictable, yet that's not the reason. It could have been that the pacing was slow, but that wasn't it either. The reason the beginning was so poor is probably a combination of the two along with it just playing the story straight. Something just didn't work. 2) Predictable. While it was easy to see where the story was going to go in the beginning, as the story continued you knew exactly where it was going. As soon as the dead girl goes missing, the doctor's sister getting a check up, and the sister's past medical condition (which was never explicitly mentioned what it was until the end) were all mentioned, it was easy to connect the dots. A little mystery would have been nice. Praises: 1) Premise. Yet another story with an interesting premise. I did like the whole idea behind why the company had to hire a doctor and some of the other things that happen late in the story. However, it become too predictable and the whole idea and premise suffered. 2) The Ending. While it was predictable, the ending still was a little creepy. It had a nice twist on the whole myth behind the story and there was some interesting imagery described. The last nine or ten pages should just have been the story in a nutshell. Overall: 3/5 Thoughts: Yet another mediocre and average story. It wasn't terrible, just really predictable. “Long the Clouds Are Over Me Tonight” by Cecilia Dart-Thornton- This story is about Oisin, the last of the Fianna returning to Ireland from the Land of Youth called Tír na Nóg. Criticisms: 1) Dialogue. For the most part, the dialogue was hard to understand. It was easy to comprehend what was happening, but hard to understand what was being said. This is due to a lot of references and an 'old-time-like' way to say things. Praises: 1) Descriptions. The descriptions of the landscape were really vivid. You could easily picture some of these places in your mind, without much thought. 2) Myth. I really liked how this story actually felt like it was a myth. While some of the dialogue was hard to understand, it does fit well with the overall feel. Overall: 4/5 Thoughts: The story was pretty good. Aside from the odd dialogue, the story had a nice mythological feel to it. “The Swan Pilot” by L. E. Modesitt, Jr.- This story is about a spaceship captain on his way to some space-station, only to be waylaid by images called interludes which can kill the pilot. Criticisms: 1) Techno-Babble. I absolutely hate techno-babble that isn't explained. I hate it mostly due to being utterly and totally lost most of the time. This story is full of it, thus causing me to be as confused as never before. 2) Confusing. This does tie into the techno-babble problem, the story is confusing. Towards the last three pages, I just then started to understand what was happening and I have to say, it was interesting. Too bad that nothing was explained thus hurting the overall appeal of the story. Praises: 1) Premise. Yet another story was an interesting premise. The only problem is how confusing the whole techno-babble aspect is. If there was slightly less, the story would have been more than excellent. 2) Interludes. After I figured out what was going on towards the end, I really liked the idea of the interludes. The dream-like world that a pilot sees was just plain interesting. Also, how the Irish myths and tales are included into these dream-like worlds was an interesting and fascinating way to include the folklore. Overall: 3/5 Thoughts: This is more of a biased review. I loathe techno-babble, however I can stand having a little. But here there is just so much to take in and understand what is happening that it really ruins the story. However, if you're a fan of science-fiction, this would be a fun story. “The Isle of Women” by Jacqueline Carey- This story is about an island of women who, after a ship of seventeen men land, possess the men into falling in love with them. Criticisms: 1) Long. This story was definitely longer than it should have been. There were times when things just dragged on. 2) Ending. The last actions of the story were a little hard to follow. In fact, I had to re-read a certain paragraph to figure out who grabs the thread. It just wasn't very clear at first. Praises: 1) Mythological Feel. Yet another story with a mythological feel to it. I really enjoy these types of stories and this one was an enjoyable story that you could find in Greek or Roman mythology. 2) Cébha. She was a pretty interesting character. You could see the beginnings of a war within herself between her love for her Queen and her love for Diurán, Overall: 3/5 Thoughts: Yet another average story. While I did like this a little better, it was way too long. For the most part the characters were fairly shallow, Cébha being just a little more bearable. Other than that, nothing else stood out, and it was just another average and okay story. “The Cat With No Name” by Morgan Llywelyn- This story is about a lonely little girl who befriends a cat. Criticisms: None. Praises: 1) Emotional. This story was emotionally driven, and it hit in all the right ways. It's sad, it's really sad. The relationship between the girl and the cat is just so good that you see every emotion between them. Also, the girl's family life is sad and depressing, but everything works. 2) Unpredictable. When I started reading this story I thought something was about to happen with the cat, and I was right. But not in the way something was going to happen. Instead the story went in a different, unexpected direction. Overall: 5/5 Thoughts: This was probably the best story in this whole anthology for one reason and one reason alone, it has an emotional impact. This was the only story to really elicit an emotional response from me and I just loved every second of it. OVERALL AVERAGE ANTHOLOGY: 3/5 Final Thoughts: Emerald Magic was a pretty good anthology. It had a wonderful mix of stories. With some being just great and others being unbearable, this is the kind of anthology you want. Different kinds of people will like different kinds of stories, and this is where Emerald Magic succeeds. It has something for everyone. However, I do have to say that a lot of the stories were just average at best. While average is still a good read, there is just too many that I found average to be worrisome. I still did find this anthology well worth a read, but I found myself frustrated with how mediocre and okay a lot of these stories were. However, I will recommend picking it up because there is something for everyone. Stories Worth Reading: 1) “The Merrow” by Elizabeth Haydon 2) “The Cat With No Name” by Morgan Llywelyn Stories Best Avoided: 1) “Peace in Heaven?” by Andrew M. Greeley 2) “Troubles” by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

  7. 4 out of 5

    Elentarri

    I read this book several years ago. I found it rather bland and the stories rather similar.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Tammie Painter

    Like any short story collection, some of these tales are absolute page-turners while others fall completely flat. Unfortunately, I'd say more are "just mediocre." My favorites were the Irish twists on the vampire legends (Bram Stoker makes an unforgettable appearance). Overall, if you come across it, it's worth reading a few of the stories if you pick and choose wisely.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Amber Wooddell

    I found this book full of romance, adventure, and best of all the stories all took place in Ireland, which is a land full of fantasy, romance, and adventure any way. If you enjoy reading Irish lore you may enjoy this book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wetdryvac Wetdryvac

    In truth, I've only read Herself from this book - it was free from Diane Duane's site - and it rocked socks. So, tagging this book because I can't find a source anywhere else, and am unclear if adding a new record for the story would be ideal.

  11. 4 out of 5

    John O'Keefe

    A Lot Of fun Stories from various authors cover the board from surreal to standard, sci fi to fantasy. Really good mix and a lot of fun.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nicholas Whyte

    http://nhw.livejournal.com/347467.html[return][return]Collection of fifteen fantasy stories set in Ireland, thirteen of them published here for the first time. [return][return]The authors are a stellar array: Diane Duane, Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple, Judith Tarr, Elizabeth Haydon, Charles de Lint, Ray Bradbury, Andrew M. Greeley himself, Jane Lindskold, Fred Saberhagen, Peter Tremayne, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Jacqueline Carey and Morgan Llywelyn.[return][return]All http://nhw.livejournal.com/347467.html[return][return]Collection of fifteen fantasy stories set in Ireland, thirteen of them published here for the first time. [return][return]The authors are a stellar array: Diane Duane, Tanith Lee, Jane Yolen & Adam Stemple, Judith Tarr, Elizabeth Haydon, Charles de Lint, Ray Bradbury, Andrew M. Greeley himself, Jane Lindskold, Fred Saberhagen, Peter Tremayne, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, L. E. Modesitt, Jr., Jacqueline Carey and Morgan Llywelyn.[return][return]All of these are competent enough, but few really grabbed me. Most of them are either cut-n-paste from Celtic mist themes (merrows; the wee folk; a rather pedestrian retelling of the Oisin legend) or else simply transplant well-worn fantasy tropes into an Irish setting (a couple of vampire stories, one including Bram Stoker; a little girl with a ghost kitten).[return][return]My expectations may be too high. Being Irish myself, I hoped this collection might be of stories that didn't drip too much of Celtic mist, and didn't equate being Irish with being funny. I tend to sympathise with the heroine of Charles de Lint's "The Butter-Spirit's Tithe", who is chided for her lack of fervent Celtiosity by the narrator:[return][return]I shrugged. "I don't know. It just seems that for a woman born in Ireland, who makes her living playing Celtic music, you don't care much for your own traditions."[return][return]"What traditions? I like a good Guinness and play the dance tunes on my box - those are traditions I can appreciate. I can even enjoy a good game of football, if I'm in the mood, which isn't bloody often. What I don't like is hen people get into all that mystical shite." She laughed, but without a lot of humour. "And I don't know which is worse, the wanna-be Celts or those who think they were born to pass on the great Secret Traditions." [return][return]Of course, this being a Charles de Lint story in this particular anthology, she is in fact drawn into the "mystical shite" in one of the three particularly grabbing stories of the anthology. And of course, I too am susceptible to well-told stories in this genre; it's just that my demands of the authors are probably higher than the book's target readership.[return][return]On of the two other standout stories for me was Jacqueline Carey's "The Isle of Women", an episode from the Mael Duin saga, but told for a change from the point of view of the women, in Carey's typically sexy prose (though she tones it down here compared with her novels). I'll pretty much buy anything with her name on it these days.[return][return]The other great story was the very first, "Herself", by Diane Duane. I happened to catch the end of the story when the author read it at P-Con back in 2003, and was delighted to recognise it immediately. Rooted very much in the reality of 21st century Dublin, but the leprechauns etc are still trying to eke out a living in today's world; threatened, quite literally, by the Celtic Tiger. A hilarious bit of satire, which will have completely mystified those readers who only know Ireland from folk music and cinema.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    This is another of those books that don’t beg to be read. As a rule, I’m not very fond of short stories unless there is an overlying theme tying them all together. The majority of these offerings are finely crafted little tales…but there were two I just couldn’t get into (“Herself” by Diane Duane and “The Swan Pilot” by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. if anyone’s interested) and ended up skipping over. My two favorites were “The Cat With No Name” by Morgan Llywelyn and “The Hermit and the Sidhe” by Judith Ta This is another of those books that don’t beg to be read. As a rule, I’m not very fond of short stories unless there is an overlying theme tying them all together. The majority of these offerings are finely crafted little tales…but there were two I just couldn’t get into (“Herself” by Diane Duane and “The Swan Pilot” by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. if anyone’s interested) and ended up skipping over. My two favorites were “The Cat With No Name” by Morgan Llywelyn and “The Hermit and the Sidhe” by Judith Tarr. Llwelyn’s account of a lonely little girl and a mysterious cat is simply sweet, and Tarr’s tale reminds us that it is not necessary to believe in “the little people” to help them.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

    I don't get super excited about short stories as a rule, but this one had one I'd loved before in another collection and the promise of lots of other goodies. With fourteen wildly different stories -- some only barely holding to the thread of 'Irish fantasy' -- there was a lot to enjoy, as well as a nice way of broadening my horizons beyond Diane Duane... A warning, though, her "Cat with no name" is absolutely the tearjerker of the book. But there's lots of rich romance, epics, call outs to W.B. I don't get super excited about short stories as a rule, but this one had one I'd loved before in another collection and the promise of lots of other goodies. With fourteen wildly different stories -- some only barely holding to the thread of 'Irish fantasy' -- there was a lot to enjoy, as well as a nice way of broadening my horizons beyond Diane Duane... A warning, though, her "Cat with no name" is absolutely the tearjerker of the book. But there's lots of rich romance, epics, call outs to W.B. Yeats... one sci-fi story with an Irish lilt... and Fr. Andrew Greeley's own story, which is really something else. Church + fey... why not?

  15. 4 out of 5

    Adele

    this is an anthology of Irish fantasy short stories. *A Woman Is a Fast Moving Picnic by Ray Bradbury. *The Isle of Women by Jacqueline Carey.. *Speir-Bhan by Tanith Lee. *A Drop of Something Special in the Blood by Fred Saberhagen. *The Cat with No Name by Morgan Llywelyn. *The Butter-Spirit's Tithe by Charles de Lint. *Land of Heart's Desire by Elizabeth Haydon. *The Swan Pilot by L. E. Modesitt i'm not big on reviewing short stories. but i will say about these ones is that it was a refreshing chan this is an anthology of Irish fantasy short stories. *A Woman Is a Fast Moving Picnic by Ray Bradbury. *The Isle of Women by Jacqueline Carey.. *Speir-Bhan by Tanith Lee. *A Drop of Something Special in the Blood by Fred Saberhagen. *The Cat with No Name by Morgan Llywelyn. *The Butter-Spirit's Tithe by Charles de Lint. *Land of Heart's Desire by Elizabeth Haydon. *The Swan Pilot by L. E. Modesitt i'm not big on reviewing short stories. but i will say about these ones is that it was a refreshing change from the normal vampire/wereor shifter stories i usually read. some of the can pass as one of those scary stories that you told around the campfire.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Echo

    I love Ireland, and this collection of short stories had contributions from some authors I really like, so I thought I probably couldn't go wrong by reading it. I'd say I was right. I really enjoyed most of the stories. Some of my favorites were "Herself" by Diane Duane, "Speir-Bhan" by Tanith Lee, "The Merrow" by Elizabeth Haydon, "The Butter Spirit's Tithe" by Charles de Lint, and "The Lady in Gray" by Jane Lindskold. The only story that really fell flat for me was "The Swan Pilot" by L.E. Mod I love Ireland, and this collection of short stories had contributions from some authors I really like, so I thought I probably couldn't go wrong by reading it. I'd say I was right. I really enjoyed most of the stories. Some of my favorites were "Herself" by Diane Duane, "Speir-Bhan" by Tanith Lee, "The Merrow" by Elizabeth Haydon, "The Butter Spirit's Tithe" by Charles de Lint, and "The Lady in Gray" by Jane Lindskold. The only story that really fell flat for me was "The Swan Pilot" by L.E. Modesitt Jr. But sci-fi has never appealed to me even a little, so I'm prejudiced there.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Theresa

    Emerald Magic is a collection of 15 short Irish stories – eight about the little people and seven about Irish fantasy. All of the stories are well-written and told. If ever a disservice was done to the little people – it was done by Disney when he made the leprechaun a fun little wish granter. These stories bring you the real stories of the little people – a not so nice group of scaly wags. A lovely collection of stories to be savored.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Rouslan Saduov

    Do you know that you can put a spell by writing a story? Well, if not, try Speir-Bhan by Tanith Lee in Emerald Magic. The way she weaves her story – sentence by sentence – is just charming. It is the mood and atmosphere, the music of words and dance of syntax that matter here. It is the green-eyed Ireland herself that is staring at you through the lines. Have you ever got drowned in green eyes? Go ahead, if you dare. It is a feeling, and it is a feeling like no other.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Angie Lisle

    I expected more from this book, with all the big names featured in it (Ray Bradbury, Jacqueline Carey, Charles De Lint, Peter Tremayne, and so forth). I was slightly disappointed. I couldn't get into a few of the stories - they were simply rehashes of stories that most fairy-fans already know. Only a couple were original enough to separate from the fairy tales of old.

  20. 5 out of 5

    SA

    I read this for Jaqueline Carey's contribution, but stayed because the collection was well curated with some truly lovely works in here. For a Celtophile such as myself it's a treat. I read this for Jaqueline Carey's contribution, but stayed because the collection was well curated with some truly lovely works in here. For a Celtophile such as myself it's a treat.

  21. 5 out of 5

    S.S.

    I greatly enjoyed this anthology of Irish fantasy stories. I love anything fantasy-based anyway, so it was nice to see some different takes on banshees, leprechauns and the like. There were even a couple of vampire tales in here, which I think were amongst my favourites (I absolutely love vampires.) This is another book which I know I will enjoy greatly when I re-read it in the future.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    I'm not really a short story person, so I haven't been reading every story... mostly those by authors I know and like. Herself by Diane Duane - 3/5 stars Speir-Bahn by Tanith Lee - 4/5 Isle of Women by Jacqueline Carey - 3/5

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jade

    My first anthology in a long time, and definitely worth the wait. It had several of my favorite fantasy authors (including Jane Yolen) and a surprise story from Ray Bradbury. It included a fantasy story set in space, which was really just awesome.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Good compilation of stories. I really enjoyed "The Butter Spirit's Tithe" by De Lint, "Banshee" by Bradbury and "A Drop of Something in the Blood" by Saberhagen. They were all good, but these were my particular favorites. Definitely worth the read. :)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Sandy (WI girl at heart)

    Just finished "Emerald Magic: Great Tales of Irish Fantasy" by Andrew M. Greeley. Book was just ok nothing great but a nice read. Would I recommend it to others: yes. Would I read it again: Maybe.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sam Colloff

    nothing awful, but only a couple of enjoyable stories, and nothing new to me in respect of myth or folklore. i will pay respect to charles de lint who appears in this one, it was excellent as always, but i have read it before, and can't rate the whole volume on just one short story.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    There is a gem of a Bradbury story in this collection, and the other stories are alright. But nothing besides the bradbury story stands out as remarkable.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris Carter

    I enjoyed most of the stories.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelli

    I loved the stories in this book! Great for snowy days...I re-read many of the stories. If you like Celtic supernatural tales this is a great read.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Larisa

    read only Carey & Bradbury's tales. read only Carey & Bradbury's tales.

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