51. Viewpoints Critical by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. 350 p. Published March 2008.
Viewpoints Critical is the first collection of short stories by L.E. Modesitt. Modesitt, who is known for his work in both fantasy and science fiction, penned one of my favorite series, The Saga of Recluse.
This collection begins with five stories from Modesitt’s early career as a writer. Covering topics like global warming, justice, the economy, and religious belief, each story illustrates Modesitt’s ability to grasp issues critical to the future. These are followed by more short stories, many of which feed from Modesitt’s experiences in Vietnam. “The Swan Pilot,” for example, attempts to combine Modesitt’s fighter-pilot experience with futuristic mythology.
Standing distinct among the other stories are three which connect to Modesitt’s novels. Both “Black Ordermage” and “Sisters of Sarronnyn, Sisters of Westwind” tie into The Saga of Recluse while “Beyond the Obvious Wind” was the original story to inspire the Corean Chronicles.
Spanning over almost 40 years of Modesitt’s career, Viewpoints Critical provides a glimpse of this author’s gift. However, as Modesitt himself admits in the foreword, his true talents lie in novels. While many of these stories proved interesting, I found all but a few lacking that inefible depth that comes from an author’s devotion to the story and the world being created. Now, I’m not saying the Modesitt put out inferior work. Rather, the work I usually associate with Modesitt – namely Recluse and the Spellsong Cycle – is so rich in detail and character that these stories pale in comparrison. Still, Viewpoints Critical is a decent compilation and worthwhile reading for any Modesitt fan.
Rating: 2 out of 5