Games Creatures Play
Like many anthologies, this collection of urban fantasy short stories is hit-or-miss. While head editor Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse vignette is enjoyable and Jan Burke’s employs impressive world-building in a small package, others are forgettable and some run rather clichéd, including a few in which the characters accept supernatural phenomena far too easily (whither the skepticism?) and one that presents a slightly altered version of the overused (and borderline offensive) revenge-driven “ancient Indian burial ground” trope.
Each tale in this book is centered around physical activities — sports and games — as varied as baseball, hide-and-seek, drag racing and fencing. Harris offers up a story of a local softball match attended by a mind-reading fairy and a vaguely psychic young man who cross paths. Burke tells of knights reincarnated as good-hearted schoolboys, who excel at dodgeball. Meanwhile, Ellen Kushner presents a ghostly exploration of fencing. (ACE, Apr., 368 pp., $26.95)