George R. R. Martin’s Rogues is a mixed bag
In his newest anthology offering, the Game of Thrones author is banking on the appeal of the bad boy. Just as in previously edited anthologies based around the concepts of warriors and dangerous women, each story in Rogues explores the titular concept of “dashing, devious, unstrustworthy scalawags.”
With Rogues we get fictional offerings from luminaries like Joe Abercrombie, Daniel Abraham, David W. Ball, Paul Cornell, Bradley Denton, Phyllis Eisenstein, Gillian Flynn, Neil Gaiman, Matthew Hughes, Joe R. Lansdale, Scott Lynch, Garth Nix, Cherie Priest, Patrick Rothfuss, Steven Saylor, Michael Swanwick, Lisa Tuttle, Carrie Vaughn, Walter Jon Williams, and Connie Willis.
Although the book will probably end up being shelved in the fantasy section, in the introduction Martin makes a point of mentioning that the stories do, in fact, run the gamut of genres. However, as several of the authors chose to centre their stories around well-known characters and worlds, reading Rogues felt rather like being dropped into the middle of an unfamiliar city.
That isn’t to say that there isn’t inventive, original content here. One of the standouts (for me at least) was Gillian Flynn’s short story “What Do You Do?”, which details the adventure of a hand-job-giving psychic who stumbles into a twisted family straight out of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
But the clear draw, at least for Game of Thrones fans, is a short story from Martin himself detailing the adventures of prince Daemon Targaryen during the period of civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. Neil Gaiman’s story about the Marquis de Carabas (a popular character in Gaiman’s novel Neverwhere) also deserves an honourable mention.
So go ahead and indulge in some literary skullduggery. However, as the introduction cautions, “do be careful. Some of the gentlemen and lovely ladies in these pages are not entirely to be trusted.”
Rogues will be published on June 24.