Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Tales Of Majipoor - Robert SIlverberg




Tales Of Majipoor
Robert Silverberg
Roc
 
Fantasy/Short Fiction

Confession: I have never read Silverberg’s Majipoor books.  I know that Majipoor is a huge planet and that its history (the history of the people who colonized it) covers many thousands of years.  That’s about it.  And even those tidbits are more than I actually needed to know to read and enjoy these stories.  That’s what makes this collection perfect for someone who’s just dipping into the world, and, I would think, enjoyable for a longtime fan, too.
 
There are seven stories here, arranged chronologically from Majipoor’s historical standpoint.  The first story concerns a man called Stiamot who, as a court functionary, travels to far-flung places to ready accommodations for the ruling Coronal’s periodic progresses.  During the course of the story, he sees a Metamorph (the indigenous population, capable of shape-shifting) for the first time.  The trip changes his life in several ways.  Obviously, fans of the novels will understand this immediately – and probably more deeply – than a newcomer like me.  But I found that arranging the stories in this sort of timeline fashion was a perfect introduction to the world and its history.
 
The stories continue through a struggling poet called Aithin Furvain, a man whose mission in life it is to collect and curate all information about the Coronal Dvoran, and finally ends with a sort of murder mystery set in the ruins of a Metamorph city and investigated by Valentine.  There are a couple of stories that are crafted as mysteries, and they work quite well.  Each story is vastly entertaining in its own right, and I enjoyed following the connections among them.  For longtime fans of the series, it’s worth noting that this is the first time that all of Silverberg’s short fiction concerning Majipoor has been collected in one place.  After reading these stories, I find I’ve developed a taste for Majipoor and I don’t need a trip to the Midnight Market to foresee the novels in my future.
 
Rating: 8 ½
May 2013
ISBN# 978-0-451-46498-9 (trade paperback)

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