After the King: Stories In Honor of J.R.R. Tolkien, is a Festschrift anthology published to celebrate the centenary of J.R.R. Tolkien's birth. The book contains nineteen short stories of fantasy and science fiction, and also includes an introduction on the role of Tolkien for the genre of fantasy.
Note: None of the short stories are set in, or directly related to, Tolkien's legendarium.
The verdict on this one seems rather mixed. - Myself, I find myself strangely drawn to this book, though, maybe because I had so much fun with "Songs of the Dying Earth", a Jack Vance tribute anthology.
So, before I spend some bucks on it, what are your experiences with this one? It itself would probably qualify as "oldschool" to many, by now, with a publication date of 1991...
I didn't buy it because it looked like it was a "Tolkien-like" anthology and not based on Middle-earth, if I recall correctly. I felt I didn't need random stories that were inspired by Tolkien without being actual Middle-earth.
Marv / Finarvyn DCC playtester (2011) S&W WhiteBox author (2009) C&C playtester (2003) Builder of the TrollBridge for T&T; Amber Diceless player since 1993 OD&D Player since 1975; Metamorphosis Alpha since 1976
"Don't ask me what you need to hit. Just roll the die and I will let you know!" - Dave Arneson
It was a pretty blatant attempt to get Tolkien fans interested in the writings of these authors. Which I knew, when I bought it in my teens, but, I appreciated the attempt. I had exhausted the well of Tolkien and was looking to branch out. Unfortunately, none of it was particularly Tolkienesque, and in many cases I suspected the stories were even anti-Tolkien. Oh well. Robert Silverberg’s “A Long Night’s Vigil at the Temple” and John Brunner’s “In the Season of the Dressing of the Wells” are the only two that really captured my imagination and that I really remember well. (Actually, I also remember well Poul and Karen Anderson’s “Faith,” but I’d rather forget it.) But for some reason I walked away thinking I’d really like to get into Harry Turtledove, despite the fact that I can not now remember his story.
Thanks, guys. - I have to confess that I remain somewhat interested in the book, but it's good to know what I'll be buying. Which seems to be, a lot of Tolkien on the cover, but not so much inside the book. The prizes for it on the usual internet marketplaces are fairly high, so I'll take care to buy it cheap, if at all.
I am also mostly interested in the Silverberg story. Gregory Benford's contribution, too, might be worth a look, maybe. - But I won't be holding my breath.
Bought the buck, after all. Spent little money on it, luckily - both because I was following Falconer's recommendation, and also because I like to buy stuff cheap.
My verdict, so far: A nice, 90s-style short story collection... That, without the Tolkien connection honestly would have done equally well, or better. Not terrible, but a waste of the brand name, because the stories are not recognizably connected to Tolkien. - That said, I *think* they might have been pretty modern for their time; 1991, after all, was around book #3 of "The Wheel of Time", before "Heir to the Empire", and before "Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves". That WAS some time ago.
Still, from today's perspective, not necessarily a purchase I'd recommend, at least not at the usual collector prizes. But if one would find it cheap, it makes for a decent "bus book".