Issue 10, Volume 1, Number 10
December 2002

Editor: Fraser Ronald
Cover Illustration: Detail of Battle of San Roma by Paolo Uccello (1397 - 1475)
Design by Fraser Ronald.
Swords Edge Logo designed by Bob Childers.


Table of Contents

Best of Fiction for 2002

Issue 1
Issue 1 was pretty much an E-Book issue. It was fitting, then, that this short story would be included. Guardian Angle comes from an e-published short story collection. The collection itself is quite enjoyable, and I reviewed it here.
Guardian Angle
A short story by Patrick Welch.
You've got to know all the angles to make it as a thief. One apprentice, Brendell, gets an offer he can't refuse, though maybe he should have.

Issue 2
Issue 2 was a relatively thin affair. However, it has one of my personal favourites. This story introduced me to Howard Andrew Jones, who has supplied consistently excellent, exciting stories. This one doesn't feature his popular character Elise, instead it has an Arabian tone. I was floored when I read this one. I'm really happy to present it again for those of you who may have missed it originally.
An Audience With The King
A short story by Howard Andrew Jones.
A beautiful singing girl sets Dabir ibn Khalil and his servant Asim el Abbas against the religion of the White-Robed King in this Arabian-flavoured swashbuckler of the ancient far east, in the days of the Abbasid Caliphate.

Issue 3
By Issue 3, Sword's Edge was starting to get rolling. This story helped that. E. E. Knight is the author of Way of the Wolf, an e-novel I reviewed in the first issue. That e-novel got E. E. Knight a three book deal with Roc. That should tell you how good of a writer he is. If you still aren't sure, check out this science fiction short with a dash of fantasy and a whole heap of swashbuckling.
The Keepers
A short story by E. E. Knight.
E. E. Knight, author of Way of the Wolf offers a tale of Mars, not the Mars we know but the Mars in the tradition of Edgar Rice Burroughs, when it was a place called Barsoom and just another wasteland East of Suez.

Issue 4
It's difficult to choose my favourite story from Issue 4 because it was a very strong issue for fiction. I've chosen this story because it stood out for me. It's an interesting story that is also very technically adept. It's a great read and I didn't need to tweak it at all as an editor. Still, if you like it, go check out issue 4 and see some of the other stories available.
The Queen Is Not Amused
A short story by Kenneth C. Goldman.
In learning a trick to ensnare the Queen's interest, Fizzbain the Jester snares something else entirely. It dangerous to trifle with a queen, though, as dangerous as trifling with a woman's heart. This jester soon learns just that.

Issue 5
Issue 5 proved that Sword's Edge had hit its stride. I was so pleased with the level of fiction I was able to showcase. And here's an example of one of the finest. In all fairness, Howard Andrew Jones could have his own "Best Of" issue, considering all the quality fiction he's sent my way. This is one of the Elise stories. Elise has proved to be very popular, both with readers and reviewers, and I think you'll see why.
On the Hoof
A short story by Howard Andrew Jones.
Another Elise story (we had the pleasure of presenting "A Stone's Throw" in Issue 3), as the mercenary officer faces off against a quick-witted foe.

Issue 6
The whole point of creating Sword's Edge was to have a place for good old-fashioned heroic fiction, sword and sorcery style. An excellent example of a good, straight-forward action tale came in Issue 6. This is another story that helped the E-Zine get noticed by reviewers. It's unpretentious, sword-slinging fun.
Race into Blood
A short story by Peter J Welmerink.
Sometimes fighting the good fight isn't all it's supposed to be. Sometimes you don't even know which is the good fight. And if the spirit of your dead father is around taunting you, sometimes you just don't care.

Issue 7
Issue 7 was a big issue, in many ways. It marked the advent of our new address (http://www.swordsedge.net/) which kind of offered a sense of arrival. It was also a double issue (I had a nice, long vacation in August, so the issue became an August/September issue), and it was chock full of fictiony goodness. It's a tough one to choose a favourite from, since all the stories are so good, but this one has an innocent, late 60s, early 70s heroic fantasy feel to it. It's fun and it's action packed. What more do you want?
Rogues' Night Out
A short story by Jennifer L. Oberlander.
Ellianora Bladedancer thought it would be a simple job. She thought she could make a few coins and disappear. She should have listened to her first instinct and avoided becoming involved in the affairs of priests. An adventure from the world Iamoore.

Issue 8
Issue 8 was another big issue, not in size but in powerhouse fiction. With so many strong stories, ranging from heroic fantasy, to science fiction, this issue pretty much embodied everything I had created Sword's Edge for. As it stands, I have to go with this story as the best of a very strong bunch.
Chances
A short story by Eric S. Brown and C. G. Davis.
One never knows how useful one might be to oneself. Or perhaps, the opposite.

Issue 9
Issue 9 pretty much had everything I could want in my own E-Zine. It had strong stories, a couple of reviews, a Gamer's Table article, and another of my writers' workshop articles. I'm very happy with how everything has turned out, especially when I can offer up stories like this.
Retinal Man
A short story by Robert F. Bremmer.
It isn't just beauty in the eye of the beholder, there's plenty more. And it doesn't necessarily disappear when one closes one's eyes.

So it's been a pretty good year. Most E-Zines don't even make it that far, so I'm pretty proud of my little baby. I need your help to keep it going, though. I need good, strong fiction, interesting articles, and word-of-mouth. I'll keep trying to offer up quality fiction if you'll keep coming back for it.

Best 3 Movies for 2002

These are my picks for the best movies of the ones I reviewed in 2002. I doubt you will all agree with me on these, but please remember, Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings was in 2001, and Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers hasn't been released yet.

So, without further ado, the envelope please . . .

#3 Best Movie Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, reviewed in Issue 4
From Issue 4: "This movie is based on the mythology of the Inuit and offers an experience unlike many others in film. With a desolate setting and a culture alien to most of us, Atanarjuat is both education and entertainment."
This movie really blew me away when I watched it. It was both quite alien and quite appealing. It was absolutely beautiful to watch, even though the background was the stark and desolate Arctic. This movie is also the complete antithesis of a Hollywood movie.

#2 Best Movie Spider-man, reviewed in Issue 5
From Issue 5: "A review of the new Sam Raimi movie based on the Spider-Man comic book. There's been a lot of hype and anticipation. Was it worth the wait?"
You knew this had to show up. I think this is one of the purest comic book adaptions ever made. Perhaps X-Men was more action packed and charged with primal energy, but this movie is so much the comic book, it's astounding. What an achievement!

#1 Best Movie Brotherhood of the Wolf, reviewed in Issue 3
From Issue 3: "This French movie relates the story of the Beast, a monstrous wolf that haunted a remote area of pre-Revolutionary France. But don't let that single sentence synopsis faze you, there is so much more to this movie than a monster."
I can hear the jeers and catcalls now. Yes, I do prefer this movie to Spider-man. I love what Christophe Gans created here. It is certainly not the perfect movie, but it's so darn close. I can easily overlook its many flaws for those moments of sheer brilliance. I love that this movie is different (so damn different!), I love that it doesn't take itself seriously, and I love the concept of a historical drama-romance-horror-fantasy-martial arts epic.

Best 3 Books for 2002

This was so much tougher than choosing the three best movies. I've reviewed so many books, so many good books, in the last year. To narrow it down to three is almost impossible. And the thing is, tomorrow I'll probably change my mind and want to change one or two or maybe even all three. However, for now, here are three that certainly deserve to be rated in the tops.

And these are in no particular order. That would just be too tough.

Vincalis The Agitator, reviewed in Issue 4
This book really didn't fit into my concept of fantasy. At first, it seemed like science fantasy. Whatever the genre, it's an excellent a book, a good read with plenty of action, tension, characterization and ideas that really struck me as fresh. This was a book that refused to be put down.

Soldiers Live, reviewed in Issue 6
I'd love to just include all of Glen Cook's "Black Company" series. I'm a huge fan of the series and of Mr. Cook. As it stands, I'll restrain myself and just offer up the last book in the series. Here's a sprawling, epic and vicious series that's actually finished! Imagine that?

Across The Nightingale Floor, reviewed in Issue 7
I love Akira Kurosawa movies and I devoured Shogun, so I was understandably excited to read a Japanese-style fantasy. I expected something interesting but I got so much more. This is an excellent read, with a thrilling story, and very sympathetic characters all in a fully-realized fantasy Japan. A must read.

Thanks for checking out this "Best Of" issue. If you've enjoyed what you've read, have a look at some of the previous issues for more great stories. I could only choose one story per issue, but you can read as many as you like.

Thanks and take care. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

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NOTE: Unless otherwise indicated, all material presented here are copyright and property of the indicated authors. And that's about the extent of my legal knowledge. So sue me! Er, . . . maybe not.