I admit I'm not a horse fan. Yet when I saw Horse Fantastic in the used bookstore, I picked it up. I love science fiction and fantasy anthologies, especially when they have a theme. The ones edited by Martin H. Greenberg are generally quite good reads. That the theme of this anthology was horses was a strike against it, but I went ahead anyway.
Recommend this product?
This book has 17 fantasy and science fiction stories about horses. If you take the definition of horse a little loosely. The first story is by Mercedes Lackey and the world will be familiar to her fans. Some of her horses are intelligent, telepathic, and otherwise more skilled than normal horses. Another story has a horse who's the Devil. Another is about a ghost horse. And somehow a story about a unicorn made its way into this anthology.
What the stories have in common is a love for horses and authors who show how magical the horse can be. It's enough to make me not mind that it was a bunch of stories about horses. People who are actual fans of horses and horse stories should like this book quite a lot. And I know there's plenty of you out there.
The authors included in this anthology are: Mercedes Lackey, Mickey Zucker Reichert, Josepha Sherman, Charles Ingrid, Mary Stanton, Jennifer Roberson, Lee Barwood, Judith Tarr, Barry N. Malzberg, Laura Reznick, Constance Ash, Mike Resnick, Barbara Delaplace, Nancy Springer, Elizabeth Moon, and Janny Wurts. There's several names there I recognize, but only two I'm very familiar with.
I enjoyed most of the stories in this anthology. There's a good variety of stories. There's war horses, and race horses, and pet horses, and horses that can't be tamed. Fans of fantasy should find something they like in this anthology.
I was somewhat disappointed by the story about Noah and a unicorn. Hasn't that story been done before? And since? I didn't think it was done in any hugely unique or interesting way.
I read this book several weeks ago. I think what really stuck with me was the feel of the Mercedes Lackey piece. Even though a lot of her books read very similar to me, I find I enjoy them anyway.
Speculative fiction fans should enjoy this anthology. Horse fans should enjoy it even more. If you happen to be both, then why don't you have this anthology already? If you're a fan of any of the listed authors, then you should consider picking up this book as well.
I believe this book is only available in the paperback version that I have. ISBN 0886775043. The cover price is 4.50, because it was published over ten years ago. You'll need to find this used somewhere, but it shouldn't be too difficult to find it online. You may even find it for a very low price.
I'll leave you with a quote from the cover:
"Let them carry you off to adventure and enchantment as they race, swift as the wind, to the magic lands..."