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Songs of Love & Death by Gardner Dozois
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Songs of Love & Death

by Gardner Dozois (Editor), George R. R. Martin (Editor)

Other authors: Peter S. Beagle (Contributor), Jo Beverley (Contributor), Jim Butcher (Contributor), Jacqueline Carey (Contributor), Diana Gabaldon (Contributor)12 more, Neil Gaiman (Contributor), Yasmine Galenorn (Contributor), M. L. N. Hanover (Contributor), Robin Hobb (Contributor), Cecelia Holland (Contributor), Tanith Lee (Contributor), Marjorie M. Liu (Contributor), Mary Jo Putney (Contributor), Linnea Sinclair (Contributor), Melinda M. Snodgrass (Contributor), Lisa Tuttle (Contributor), Carrie Vaughn (Contributor)

Series: The Dresden Files (Short story "Love Hurts", 11.2), Kushiel's Legacy (Short story "You and You Alone"), Outlander ("Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows" 8.1), Realm of the Elderlings (Short story "Blue Boots")

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ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois have collected a nice batch of all-new stories from an all-star cast in Songs of Love and Death. The theme is "star-crossed lovers," and as you might guess from the title, each tale is a love story, and many are death stories, too. Some are sad, some are sexy, and one or two are slightly sappy. Overall, I enjoyed the collection. Here's what you'll find in Songs of Love and Death:

-- "Love Hurts" by Jim Butcher may be the story Harry Dresden's fans have been waiting for because it looks like Harry and Murphy will finally get together... or will they?
-- In "The Marrying Maid," historical romance author Jo Beverley provides a Regency romance in which a court fop tries to seduce a practical spinster, but this time there's a fairy legend that's spurring him on.
-- In "Rooftops" by Carrie Vaughn, a young playwright who's nervous about her opening night is rescued by a mysterious masked superhero. She has a boyfriend, but she just can't get that masked stranger off her mind.
-- "Hurt Me" by M.L.N. Hanover is an excellently eerie haunted house story. One of the best in this collection.
-- "Demon Lover" by historical fiction writer Cecelia Holland is an erotic fairy tale. Though it was obvious where this one was going, it was still entertaining.
-- In "The Wayfarer's Advice" by Melinda M. Snodgrass, the captain of an illicit spaceship rescues the heiress of an empire.
-- I'm always a fan of Robin Hobb, so it's not surprising that "Blue Boots" was one of my favorites in this collection. It takes place in Buck Town and tells the story of a kitchen maid who falls in love with a wandering minstrel.
-- "The Thing About Cassandra" by Neil Gaiman is a strange story about a man who meets his imaginary girlfriend. This one was kind of mind-blowing, which means I liked it.
-- "After the Blood" by Marjorie M. Liu involves a vampire trying to survive in a zombie-infested backwater Amish farm community. I couldn't finish it.
-- Jacqueline Carey fans will not want to miss "You, and You Alone" which takes place during that tragic scene in Kushiel's Dart when Anafiel Delaunay is assassinated. As he lies dying, he reminisces about Edm??e, Rolande, Isabel, and Alcuin and gives us a lot of backstory that has only been hinted at until now.
-- In "His Wolf" by Lisa Tuttle, a new college professor falls in love with a drug dealer and his pet wolf. I had a hard time believing in that romance.
-- Linnea Sinclair's "Courting Trouble" is a fun space romp. The sweet romance in this story particularly touched me, but if I told you why, I'd be spoiling the plot.
-- "The Demon Dancer" by Mary Jo Putney is about a Guardian who needs to stop a succubus who's running wild in New York City. I didn't like this one. The romance was icky, and some parts of the plot required a degree of suspension of disbelief that I couldn't muster.
-- "Under/Above the Water" by Tanith Lee is a beautiful mysterious legend about an ancient king's unfaithful wife and their underwater kingdom.
-- In "Kaskia" by Peter S. Beagle, an unhappy middle-aged man makes first contact with a beautiful alien on his new laptop computer. This story was fascinating and excellently written and reminds me why I keep thinking "I must read more Peter S. Beagle!"
-- "Man in the Mirror" by Yasmine Galenorn is another haunted house story. I liked the premise, but the romance was hard to swallow.
-- "A Leaf in the Wind of All Hallows" by Diana Gabaldon is a heart-wrenching story that her fans are sure to love since it's linked to her popular OUTLANDER series. I really can't wait to read that.

Brilliance Audio has a very good production of Songs of Love and Death which is read by a small cast of narrators. My only complaint is that Phil Gigante has only one female voice and it's not suitable for the wide variety of women he portrays. He does a great job with male voices, though.

There were a few weak stories in Songs of Love and Death, but some excellent ones, too. Don't miss the stories by M.L.N. Hanover, Robin Hobb, Neil Gaiman, Jacqueline Carey, Tanith Lee, Peter S. Beagle, and Diana Gabaldon. Fans of the DRESDEN FILES should not miss Butcher's story. ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
The 4 star rating is based solely upon the short story “A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows” written by Diana Gabaldon!

When I read on Diana's website that not only did she have a short story published in "Songs of Love and Death: All-Original Tales of Star-Crossed Love" but that it was a story about Roger! In "An Echo in the Bone" Diana Gabaldon generated yet another mystery that had to do with Roger's parents.

I really enjoyed this even though it only made me want more... it did answer the question to the mystery though! Recommended for any Outlander fans who need something to tide them over till the next book. (Don't expect it to satisfy you for long though!) ( )
  bonniemarjorie | May 7, 2013 |
Abigail's review at All Things Urban Fantasy makes me anxious to read this one.
  Capnrandm | Apr 15, 2013 |
This book is definitely one of my favorite anthologies. There are so many good stories in here and all of them capture my imagination and make me want to check out all the authors I was introduced to. ( )
  avidreader_6 | Apr 15, 2013 |
I only read selected stories from Songs of Love and Death, because some of the authors or the first pages didn't appeal. (For example, me and Jim Butcher don't get on very well. Everyone else says the misogyny is just Harry Dresden and is part of his character and it doesn't come from Jim Butcher: it still makes me feel profoundly uncomfortable.)

So, of the ones I read, the first was Jo Beverley's 'The Marrying Maid'. I liked the idea, especially the link to the Robin Hood legend. It could've been a whole novel, really. It felt like it wanted to be a sort of bodice ripper where the courtier seduces the reluctant churchman's daughter, but it didn't quite go there -- and was too rushed to be that in the first place, since she only refused him two or three times! Also, not terribly comfortable with the whole 'there is one woman out there for you, and she will want you, and if she refuses you, well, just rape her, she'll understand' bit.

I skipped over Carrie Vaughan to M. L. N. Hanover's 'Hurt Me'. I found it interesting, but not very creepy, and sort of expected it to work out differently. I don't know that either of these stories really fit my definition of 'star crossed lovers'. There's nothing romantic about a guy who beats his girlfriend, or about the girl who kills him and then moves back into that house with her new boyfriend to torment his ghost. I guess the introduction part is a bit misleading.

Cecelia Holland's offering, 'Demon Lover', is quite like 'The Marrying Maid' in the sense that it's based vaguely on folklore. Both reminded me a little of Tam Lin, though Holland has the man rescuing the woman through his true love.

Robin Hobb's 'Blue Boots' is a simple enough little story. It made me crave a reread of the Farseer trilogy, actually, since it's set in her Six Duchies. It was nice, but not amazing... I suspect I am overly hard to please, with short stories. They're a delicate art, though.

Neil Gaiman's story, 'The Thing About Cassandra', was very interesting. Sort of what I expected from Gaiman, but the twist ending was pretty good.

Marjorie M. Liu's story, 'After the Blood', was... confusing. I wasn't entirely sure what was happening. Henry, I mostly got, but the rest, less so. Hm.

The main reason I read this anthology at all was for Jacqueline Carey's story, 'You and You Alone'. This was what I'd hoped it would be -- except that I might've hoped it was a bit longer. It's the doomed love story of Anafiel Delaunay and Rolande de la Courcel, which lies unspoken behind the first Kushiel trilogy.

'Under/Above the Water' by Tanith Lee... I liked it. I think it was well structured, and not everything was explained away.

Peter S. Beagle's 'Kaskia', not a great fan.

Yasmine Galenorn's story, 'Man in the Mirror', was quite nice. I liked that it really was star-crossed, this time, that it didn't end perfectly. ( )
  shanaqui | Apr 9, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dozois, GardnerEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martin, George R. R.Editormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Beagle, Peter S.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Beverley, JoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Butcher, JimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carey, JacquelineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gabaldon, DianaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Galenorn, YasmineContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hanover, M. L. N.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hobb, RobinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Holland, CeceliaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, TanithContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Liu, Marjorie M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Putney, Mary JoContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sinclair, LinneaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Snodgrass, Melinda M.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Tuttle, LisaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vaughn, CarrieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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The earliest reference we can find for the phrase "star-crossed lovers" traces it to 1595, attributing it to Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, a tragedy about the doomed romance that blossoms between a young man and a young woman on the brawling streets of Verona, a romance that is destined to fail because the families they come from are locked in a deadly feud: "From forth the fatal loins of these two foes, / a pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life."
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Book description
Anthology of 17 short stories by different authors.

Contains:

Love Hurts by Jim Butcher
The Marrying Maid by Jo Beverly
Rooftops by Carrie Vaughn
Hurt Me by M. L. N. Hanover
Demon Lover by Cecelia Holland
The Wayfarer's Advice by Melinda M. Snodgrass
Blue Boots by Robin Hobb
The Thing about Cassandra by Neil Gaiman
After the Blood by Marjorie M. Liu
You, and You Alone by Jacqueline Carey
His Wolf by Lisa Tuttle
Courting Trouble by Linnea Sinclair
The Demon Dancer by Mary Jo Putney
Under/Above the Water by Tanith Lee
Kaskia by Peter S. Beagle
Man in the Mirror by Yasmine Galenorn
A Leaf on the Wind of All Hallows by Diana Gabaldon
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Presents a collection of original tales that explores crossover themes of romance, fantasy, and science fiction, with contributions by such genre authors as Tanith Lee, Jo Beverly, Jim Butcher, and Neil Gaiman.

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