Stephen R. Donaldson Books

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Reave the Just and Other Tales by Stephen R. Donaldson

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Make no mistake about it… Donaldson is a dark, dark writer. In this collection of eight short stories, he covers topics ranging from demonic possession to unjust imprisonment to soulless machinery. Some of these stories have been published before, mostly in other science fiction anthologies. Most of them are set in the realm of fantasy; only one can truly be called science fiction. Despite their dark and sometimes disturbing themes, I thought these stories were interesting. This may have been due, in part, to the fact that they were not each a full-length novel. Extended doom and gloom may have been too much, but in short bursts, I found Donaldson to be manageable.

Quite a few of these stories have an Arabian Nights-type of feeling to them. Many are set in Mid-Eastern or medieval styled countries. I especially enjoyed "The Djinn Who Watches Over the Accursed" and "Penance." Few of Donaldson’s stories seem to have unqualified happy endings, but there is usually a lesson to be learned or a point to be made so the ending is usually appropriate, if not always the one the reader might wish for. Donaldson is definitely not the kind of writer who throws his main character into all sorts of trouble and then waves a magic wand to rescue him or her and make things completely better. Instead, there are issues to be worked through and flaws to be dealt with. The main character in Donaldson’s tales generally walks away a different person from the individual s/he was initially.

Reviewed by: Diane

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