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Dancing Through the Fire

Tanith Lee

Publication Date: 19 September 2015.

ISBN: 978-1-62755-645-3 (hardcover)

224 pages, $24.99

       

ISBN: 978-1-62755-646-0 (trade paperback)

224 pages, $14.99

       

Also available as an ebook, $7.99

       

   

Finalist for the 2016 WSFA Small Press Award

Cover Copy:

Life, death, love, and truth: major themes that frequently appear in Grandmaster Tanith Lee's fiction, are all represented in Dancing Through the Fire, one of the last collections she put together before her untimely death. The stories in this book have never before been collected, and four of them have never before been published. These tales will transport you from mystical lands to mystical worlds, corporeal manifestations of myth, and mythical interpretations of life, into realms you've never visited (and in some cases, could never have imagined visiting).

Among the reprinted stories are:

* "Comfort and Despair", which Publishers Weekly called "eloquent."

* "Fold," which editor Mike Allen called "surreal and haunting."

* "That Glisters Is," which, according to Voya, "leaves a disturbing aftertaste."

* "The Death of Death," which Colleen Anderson said is "rich with personality and style."

The four new stories include:

* "My Lovely," a chilling little tale of a house where people drop in.

* "Last Dancer," which tells of an annual commemoration that just may be the social ticket of the year.

* "Lora," the story of a god gazing lovingly upon one of her subjects.

* "Burn Her," which may be a semi-autobiographical telling of the life (and afterlife) of an artist.

In her obituary, the Guardian called Tanith Lee "one of the most influential revisionist and feminist voices in contemporary fantasy writing," and said her work has a "sensibility in which the relentless pursuit of personal autonomy and sensual fulfilment leads her characters to the brink of delirium, as well as to a fierce integrity that can co-habit with self-sacrificing empathy." The Village Voice called her "the Princess Royal of Fantasy," and enotes says she is "an accomplished technician and stylist. Her sophisticated presentations carry the reader along breathlessly, yet her style invites reading aloud."

Biography:

Tanith Lee was born in the UK in 1947. Though she couldn't read until she was eight, she began writing at nine, and never stopped. She wrote over ninety novels and more than three hundred short stories. She wrote for television (Blake's 7) and various BBC radio plays. She won the World Fantasy Award for her novel Death's Master (1980). Endless awards followed, and she was made a Grand Master of Horror and honored with the World Fantasy Convention Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013. Tanith died peacefully at home in 2015. She was married to the artist/writer John Kaiine, who will continue to keep her work in print via numerous short story collections and much more.

Table of Contents:
Prologue: Dancing Through the Fire
Move One: Life and Death
     Death Dances
     The Death of Death
     That Glisters Is
     My Lovely (previously unpublished short story)
Move Two: The Power of Will
     The Flame
     Fold
     Last Dancer (previously unpublished short story)
Move Three: Chancing It
     In the City of Dead Night
     Sold
     The World Well Lost
Move Four: Love Stories?
     Lora (previously unpublished short story)
     Medra
     Unnalash
     Comfort and Despair
Move Five: Inner Truth
     Burn Her (previously unpublished novelette)
     The Sequence of Swords and Hearts
Epilogue: Riddle

Recognition:

"Burn Her" (which was first published in Dancing Through the Fire) is currently a finalist for the 2016 WSFA Small Press Award.

Dancing Through the Fire was a finalist for the 2016 Locus Award for Best Collection.

Reviews of the Book:

Lee's decadent, Gothic-inflected pieces range from delicate fantasias about the whims of a personified death to straightforward, suspenseful sword-and-sorcery featuring resourceful but outmatched thieves.… The collection's most emotional and most recent pieces are meditations on the power of art.… But it's difficult to read the stunning new piece "Burn Her," in which a dead painter's right arm refuses to either stop painting or succumb to fire, as anything other than Lee's graceful acknowledgement and defiance of her own mortality, a very high point in this uneven swan song. —Publishers Weekly

Dancing Through the Fire, subtitled "A Collection of Stories in Five Moves", is no random gathering. Tanith Lee selected, introduced, and arranged these works before she died in May, also writing the prologue that gives the book its title, plus three new pieces suited to its symphony of shifting moods. The novelette "Burn Her" seems particularly bold.… The tales themselves can be eloquent, inspiring, wry—skewed takes on famous Lovers(?)—often, marvelously, all of the above.… "Burn Her" dances through the flame to glimpse a beauty that can only be suggested—not revealed or understood, while we still live. —Locus (October 2015)

Named to Locus Magazine's 2015 Recommended Reading List.

Reviews and Comments on Tanith Lee:

The "Princess Royal of Fantasy" —The Village Voice

"…one of the most influential revisionist and feminist voices in contemporary fantasy writing.… Yet all her work shares a tone—Lee captured like few other modern writers a gothic, not to say goth, sensibility in which the relentless pursuit of personal autonomy and sensual fulfilment leads her characters to the brink of delirium, as well as to a fierce integrity that can co-habit with self-sacrificing empathy." —The Guardian

"Tanith Lee is also an accomplished technician and stylist. Her sophisticated presentations carry the reader along breathlessly, yet her style invites reading aloud." —enotes

"Lee's 'The Death of Death' is about a woman who hones herself till she can see and follow death throughout the world. She is on the ultimate hunt and this tale is rich with personality and style." —Colleen Anderson

"Another story that leaves a disturbing aftertaste is 'That Glisters Is' by Tanith Lee, in which a man is haunted his whole life by a golden face from an alternate universe." —Voya

"For Clockwork Phoenix 3, Tanith wrote the surreal and haunting 'Fold' at my request, and it became the last story in the book." —Mike Allen

"Tanith Lee's 'Fold' is a story of a man who wrote love letters to the people he saw passing beneath his window, and only left his apartment once." —Booklist

"Tanith Lee's eloquent 'Comfort and Despair'." —Publishers Weekly review of Lace and Blade 2