Aside from Martin’s name on the cover and despite his introduction going on about the wire spinner rack and the diversity of genres inside, Warriors I is like most anthologies. Gardner Dozois, the man who helped push Science Fiction deeper into the same inbred pseudo-literary ghetto, being on the cover is the tip off. Warriors I utilizes some historical fiction stories, but that’s not exactly unheard of. And it would be more objectionable if they didn’t look good compared to the genre entries.
Warriors I has several vaguely science fiction stories from top drawer authors, another Dunk and Egg tale from Martin and a few historical fiction entries. The latter are the only stories in the book that don’t suffer from abortive endings. While Martin gets to fill the collection with a novella, most of the other stories feel like novellas abruptly cut down to story size.
Forever Bound by Joe Haldeman, the opening story, is yet another recapitulation of his most famous book, with co-eds drafted into a senseless war, this time to merge their minds together into a gestalt that controls virtual robot soldiers. It’s interesting enough until the abrupt ending cuts off just as the story was on the verge of showing us how this might work in actual combat. The ending to Tad Williams’ Ministers of Grace isn’t that abrupt, but the story is slick, shiny and dumb enough that it really doesn’t matter. And Williams hasn’t bothered to learn the definitions of things like Pagan and Zionism while writing a story about religion. Defenders of the Frontier by Robert Silverberg features another aborted ending, but the story is too inert and has few places to go so it’s a mercy killing.
The only thing half worth reading in Warriors I, except for Martin’s Mystery Knight, is Saylor’s The Eagle and the Rabbit, a piece of historical fiction that has enough fantasy to almost qualify and is a complete and detailed story within a minimalist setting. It contains a lesson for all the other contributors, but it’s not likely that they’ll learn from it.