Story Origins

I had hoped to finish this book yesterday, to add to the number of anthologies I’d read that day.  But, that didn’t happen, and so we’re back here again.  This is, however, a different book than any I’ve read before.

Let’s back up a bit.  Back when I had gotten completely caught up on all the Valdemar books in existence at the time, I met a number of other people who were as big fans of Lackey as I, or even bigger.  And they told me that she wrote filk songs.  Folk-type songs that were about books or movies or tv shows or games.  And those lyrics in the back of several of the Valdemar books?  There were actual recordings of those songs.

So I went over to the Firebird Arts website and got myself a CD or two.  One of those was Magic, Moondust & Melancholy. I think I bought that one mostly because it had Kerowyn’s Ride on it, probably my favorite song I’d seen written.  But this particular CD was different because most of the songs were unrelated to the series, including a number of fan songs for other authors’ works.  I won’t complain, since it’s what got me to pick those books up in the first place.

One of my least favorite songs on the disc is Lammas Night, a haunting mystery.  It’s a simple story: a wandering wizard is asked to stay permanently in a village that no longer has one.  She agrees, and then discovers that the dead wizard is still bound to the house.  His spirit begins courting her.  She looks up a spell to banish him, and he shows her another spell, different by a single word, that would allow him to live again.  Both spells have to be cast on Lammas Night, and the listener is left wondering which spell she chose.  Here is a link to the song, with text, if you’d like to listen for yourself.

Anyway, apparently a number of people were intrigued by this unresolved story and wanted to offer up their own version of what she chose, and how it all came about.  And so we have In Celebration of Lammas Night, eighteen stories, including one by Lackey herself, exploring that very song.  Lackey’s tale, of course, has no resolution, which means that there is still no “right” answer.

There are a number of talented authors here, including Ru Emerson, Jody Lynn Nye, Josepha Sherman, S.M. Stirling, and Diana L. Paxson, to name a few.  And I liked a number of these stories.  However I find it fairly wearing to read the same premise over and over again, which is probably why I failed to finish this book yesterday.  It got so that any time we had a notable deviation from the formula, I took immediate note and paid more attention to that variant.

I’m not saying any of these stories were bad just because they followed the trend.  I’m just saying that repetition is not your friend in this case.

I do also want to note that this particular volume was a gift from a friend, who is as much a fan as I am.  She invited me to go to World Fantasy this year, where Mercedes Lackey was a guest, but unfortunately too close to the date for me to really find it feasible, what with that trip to Florida already planned.  Even so, she had a couple spare books that she got signed and offered to me.  So my Lammas Night is signed by one of my very favorite authors!  I hope to be able to meet her myself one day…and bring the rest of my collection to be likewise adorned.  For the time being, I’ll just poorly shelve this one.  I am really starting to run out of space.


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