The Keeper's Price (Darkover Series)

The Keeper's Price - Marion Zimmer Bradley, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, Jean Lorrah, Diana L. Paxson, Kathleen Williams, Elisabeth Waters, Linda Frankel, Susan M. Schwartz, Linda MacKendrick, Patricia Shaw Mathews, Cynthia McQuillin, Penny Ziegler, Paula Crunk, Eileen Ledbetter No one will mistake this for great literature or great science fiction, so why rate it so high? Well, I was surprised at how well these held up. I haven't reread this for years--maybe decades. Yet I remember all the stories, some just from the title, others just a few paragraphs in, and that's rare for me with a short story anthology after so much time. Three of the 16 short stories are written or co-written by Marion Zimmer Bradley herself. My favorites were Elizabeth Water's "The Alton Gift" (a gut-punch of a story, one of those I remembered just from the title) and the one she co-authored with MZB, "The Keeper's Price," which gave the name to the anthology, two paired stories, Penny Ziegler's "A Simple Dream" and a sequel "Paloma Blanca" by Patricia Matthews and the concluding humor piece, Paula Crunk's "A View from the Reconstruction." Sure, if you don't already know and love Marion Zimmer Bradley's Darkover stories there really is no reason to read this--that would be a given. But if you do love Darkover, I can't imagine not loving these stories. Fan fiction or not, the stories in this anthology combine the loving eye of the fan and all the skillful hand of the professional writer--which is exactly what many of these authors were or would become.