The short story anthology Legends edited by Margaret Weis, the first collection of the Tales from the Eternal Archives, contains almost twenty stories of near above average quality loosing connected to one another through a mystical library, titular Eternal Archives. Although the majority of the nineteen stories were fantasy, historical fiction and science fiction were also featured.
The two best stories of the collection were “Wisdom” by Richard Lee Byers, which was followed an alternate interpretation of The Iliad and The Odyssey as Odysseus ventures to save the world from chaos. The second was “Silver Tread, Hammer Ring” by Gary A. Braunbeck features an alternate world in which mythical and folkloric figures exist side-by-side as John Henry faces down a steam drill run by a minotaur. Other excellent stories were the two opening stories, “Why There Are White Tigers” by Jane M. Lindskold and “The Theft of Destiny” by Josepha Sherman, as well many more such as “The Last Suitor”, “King’s Quest”, “Ninety-Four”, “Precursor”, and “Dearest Kitty”.
The two worst stories of the collection were “The Wind at Tres Castillos” by Robyn Fielder which featured historical individuals who didn’t interact with one another at the titular location and the fantastical elements just didn’t make sense creating a waste of paper. The second worst story was “Final Conquest” by Dennis L. McKiernan, while short this story featuring Genghis Khan was a headscratcher though a nicely written one. Although overall not bad, the preface and short introductions loosely linked all the stories with the mystical library between worlds though some were better than others.
The nineteen stories that make up Legends feature—more than not—very good short stories across fantasy, historical fiction, and science fiction. Yet like all anthologies, it is a mixed bag of quality but only a few stories were completely subpar thus presenting the reader with a lot of good reading.
Individual Story Ratings
Why There Are White Tigers by Jane M. Lindskold (4/5)
The Theft of Destiny by Josepha Sherman (4/5)
Final Conquest by Dennis L. McKiernan (2/5)
The Wisdom of Solomon by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (2.5/5)
Bast’s Talon by Janet Pack (3/5)
Wisdom by Richard Lee Byers (5/5)
The Last Suitor by Kristin Schwengal (4/5)
Two-Fisted Tales of St. Nick by Kevin T. Stein and Robert Weinberg (3/5)
King’s Quest by Mickey Zucker Reichert (4/5)
Silver Thread, Hammer Ring by Gary A. Braunbeck (4.5/5)
Memnon Revived by Peter Schweighofer (2.5/5)
The Ballad of Jesse James by Margaret Weis (2.5/5)
Legends by Ed Gorman (3.5/5)
The Wind at Tres Castillos by Robyn Fielder (1.5/5)
Ninety-Four by Jean Rabe (4/5)
Hunters Hunted by John Helfers (3.5/5)
Precursor by Matthew Woodring Stover (4/5)
“Dearest Kitty” by Brian M. Thomsen (4/5)
Last Kingdom by Deborah Turner Harris and Robert J. Harris (3.5/5)