This thoughtfully produced anthology presents fantasy stories on American Indian themes by both Indian and non-Indian authors, five of whom make their debuts here. ... Stories are grouped into four sections that parallel a river's course, from "Headwaters" to "Destinations"--an apt metaphor that traces the trajectory of the Native experience. With a fluidity like that of the river itself, the volume ultimately takes on a force all its own. Fantasy fans will readily warm to this entertaining work, as will the growing audience for books about the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
From Library Journal
Native American legends provide the basis for the 29 stories in this collection. Native American authors Owl Goingback, Debra White Plume, and others join anthology regulars such as Esther Friesner and Jane Yolen to present a tribute to the wealth of pre-Columbian history and lore.
Perhaps because the co-editors live there, many stories focus on the Cherokee and other Indians of the Southeast. The narratives are split between ancient and modern tales, with the modern ones generally being better. The best stories include:
Rob's rating: 7.5 of 10. Check it out if you're interested in Native-themed stories with a fantasy or sci-fi twist.
This is hardly new or news (and is in fact obscure), but don't forget "Knee Deep in Thunder" by Sheila Moon, which is a juvenile fantasy novel (with two seqeuls) that has a background of Navajo-based mythology. Look it up and see the glowing reviews.
Writerfella here --
The volume is 13 years old, and there is a tale attached that involves writerfella. When writerfella saw the submissions request in LOCUS, he was overjoyed to find such a market so well-suited to his portion of the SF field. And "BeachHead" (posted elsewhere on this site in 2006)immediately went flying off in the mail to the address in Florida. Acknowledgment from Richard Gilliam soon followed, along with the info that the book would pay on publication. writerfella noted it in his prospectus and went about other business. Strangely, no notice nor other communication ever materialized. Then writerfella saw notice of the publication and quickly called a few book dealers to initiate searches for its availability. The volume arrived, and no writerfella story was therein contained. He wrote to Richard Gilliam, who wrote back to say that the story had become lost and so the book went to galleys without it. Why had the editors not notified writerfella, who would have sent a duplicate MS soonest? No answer...
In any case, writerfella read the book from cover to cover, and he found a particular set of words that made him glad he eventually did not grace those pages with his work. The volume was Richard Gilliam's brainchild and Piers Anthony was recruited supposedly to give the book a name, and thus a known quantity, on the title page. Read: a selling point. BUT --
Quoting from Piers Anthony's introduction: "..., what are my qualifications to participate (in TALES FROM THE GREAT TURTLE)? Mainly that I wrote the novel TATHAM MOUND, wherein I animated the bones found in a Tocobaga burial mound found near where I live in Florida, trying to show how it was with a vanished culture. This put me on record as a serious historical novelist with an interest in Native American history. I don't pretend to be an expert in the subject, just to have sympathy with those I believe the European invaders wronged. I would like to see their concerns get greater recognition. As we planned the anthology, there was a pow wow in the vicinity; Richard went, but I did not. I'm a workaholic who hates to lose a day from writing, but on reflection I realized that it was more than that. When I researched and wrote MOUND I developed a deep respect for the lost cultures, and the characters came to life for me in a special way. I simply did not care to see what has become of the descendants of their cousins who survived the destruction of their way of life. The notion of diluted, sanitized, or invented traditions does not appeal. I'm not interested in seeing a faked up 'Ghost Dance' or in buying 'native' trinkets produced for tourists -- or in a pow wow catering to white folk. Perhaps in my ignorance I wronged the event, but I preferred simply to stay clear. What I desire is gone beyond recovery: the original, untainted culture, fulfilled by the people who lived before the white man's plagues killed perhaps nineteen of every twenty. I wish I could go out, perhaps as a spirit, and visit the Peoples of the One Fire, so called because each year all their blazes were extinguished and then started anew from the one sacred fire. But their fires in my neighborhood were doused long before I existed. So I can visit them only in my imagination, whose most tangible expression is in my fiction and that of others -- as seen in this volume. It may not be physically real, but at least it hints at what is spiritually real."
Piers Anthony to that point had been an admired writer in writerfella's estimation and the many volumes of Piers Anthony books in The Bates Memorial Library attested to such a fact. The books still are there, along with TALES FROM THE GREAT TURTLE, but the admiration shrivelled and evaporated and blew away on the Oklahoma wind.
writerfella hereby nominates this man's arrogant blindnesses for the "Stereotype of the Month" award given on this website. Not only did he call as a liar every Native American now alive, he also chewed around the edges of effectively saying, "I had nothing to do with that, and so I will have nothing to do with it." He is content to be an inheritor of what his European ancestors brought to be but he doesn't even dare to look and see how much it reflects on himself.
For it is as Heraclitus sa, "How much is lost through disbelief?"
A Stereotype of the Month nominee has to occur in the present month. Otherwise I'd have to go back and add thousands of stereotypes to the rolls. But if I'd been running the contest in 1994, I might've included Piers Anthony.
I noted the same thing when I read his introduction. He was basically saying only traditional Indians are authentic Indians. Someone ought to alert him that cultures--even Indian cultures--change and evolve.
His thinking is the same thinking that inspires Indian wannabes and mascot lovers and toymakers. Namely, that the only real Indians wore headdresses, lived in teepees, and died a century ago. Someone ought to introduce him to Graham Greene, Billy Mills, Eloise Cobell, or Buffy Sainte-Marie--or any of the millions of modern-day Indians.
Writerfella here --
writerfella agrees. 'Nuff said...
I'm a big fan of Anthony, and have read most of his books. However, I agree that this statement is inexcusable.
One would hope that he is educatable.
Writerfella here --
Ahem! The word is 'educable'. And given that TALES FROM THE GREAT TURTLE mostly was ignored and therefore there will not be a sequel, the opportunity for such will not occur.
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