Worlds of Their Own (Trade Paperback)

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Editor: James Lowder

Adventure without limits!

For the last twenty years, shared world book lines have launched or furthered the careers of some of the most recognizable names in fantasy and science fiction, introducing these talented writers to millions of readers around the world. But telling tales set in a franchise means an author must often play by someone else’s rules. What types of stories are allowed, how an epic plot impacts a setting, even whether a beloved character lives or dies—in a shared world, the author does not get the final word on any of these decisions.

But what happens when those same writers break out and create stories in settings entirely under their control? In Worlds of Their Own, bestselling author and award-winning editor James Lowder (The Book of All Flesh, Prince of Lies) brings together some of the heaviest hitters in fantasy and science fiction—from New York Times bestsellers R. A. Salvatore, Michael A. Stackpole, and Elaine Cunningham to master world-builders Gary Gygax and Ed Greenwood—and turns them loose, collecting stories that showcase just what these remarkably inventive minds can create when they’re given free reign over every word on every page...

  • Introduction: "The Last Word Matters" by James Lowder
  • "Mather’s Blood" by R.A. Salvatore
  • "Keeping Score" by Michael A. Stackpole
  • "The Oaths of Gods" by Nancy Virginia Varian
  • "The Doom of Swords" by Greg Stolze
  • "Catch of the Day" by Jeff Grubb
  • "Ghosts of Love" by Steven Savile
  • "The Wisdom of Nightingales" by Richard E. Dansky
  • "The Guardian of the Dawn" by William King
  • "How Fear Came to Ornath" by Ed Greenwood
  • "The Admiral’s Reckoning" by J. Robert King
  • "Memories and Ghosts" by Monte Cook
  • "Three Impossible Things" by Lisa Smedman
  • "Near the End of the World" by Greg Stafford
  • "Confession" by Paul S. Kemp
  • "Lorelei" by Elaine Cunningham
  • "The Unquiet Dreams of Cingris the Stout" by James Lowder
  • "On the Off-Ramp of the Intergalactic Superhighway" by Will McDermott
  • "Twistbuck’s Game" by Gary Gygax

368-page softcover trade paperback
ISBN-13: 978-1-60125-118-3

Editor James Lowder recently sat down with Flames Rising to discuss the creation of this book. You can read his interview here.

About the Editor

James Lowder has worked extensively on both sides of the editorial blotter, with both shared world and creator-owned projects. He’s authored several bestselling novels, including Prince of Lies (1993) and Knight of the Black Rose (1991), published short fiction in such anthologies as Truth Until Paradox (1995) and Shadows Over Baker Street (2003), and written comic book scripts for DC, Devil’s Due, Moonstone, and the city of Boston. He’s written hundreds of feature articles and book, film, and game reviews for such diverse magazines as Dragon, Sci-Fi Universe, and The New England Journal of History, and published roleplaying game material for AD&D, Call of Cthulhu, Marvel Super Heroes, and the World of Darkness. As an editor, he’s directed book lines or series for TSR, Green Knight Publishing, and CDS Books, and has helmed a dozen critically acclaimed anthologies, including The Book of All Flesh (2001), Path of the Bold (2004), and Hobby Games: The 100 Best (2007). He’s been a finalist for the International Horror Guild Award and the Stoker Award, and is a multiple Origins Award winner. While he cannot claim to have written the book on shared world fiction, he can at least say that he penned the entry on the subject for The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy (2005).

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Average product rating:

****( ) (based on 3 ratings)

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****( )

Some of the authors were new to me, several weren't - but they were often written in different 'voices' than I was used to -- I didn't love all the stories, but each one was a new adventure, and most of them were ones I look forward to rereading. A book I highly recommend - even if you don't think you care for an author represented. I don't care for one and yet the different voice enthralled me and it turned out to be one of the more memorable stories.

An RPG Resource Review


This is fascinating: a collection of stories set in their own worlds by people who are possibly better known for writing for shared worlds (often RPG-based fiction). Each author has their own distinctive voice, and sweeps you through their adventures with a sure touch. Most are fantasy, apart from the pieces from Will McDermott and J.Robert King, but nearly all are readable and entertaining.

Whether you are seeing a familiar author in a new setting, or meeting one for the first time, it's a good read!


***( )( )

I wasn't sure what to expect with this collection. A lot of rpg authors I can take em or leave em. However, I'm glad to say this antho was chock full of (mostly) pleasant surprises. There's a lot of variety running the gamut of SF and fantasy.
Standout tales were certainly Cunningham's Lorelei, Lowder's Unquiet Dreams, Kemp's Confession, Varen's Oaths of the Gods and the short but very enjoyable Three Impossible Things by Smedman. There were several others as well.
There are a few duds thrown in there. The Salvatore story isn't particularly noteworthy as are a few others but the good clearly outweighs the so-so.
Also as writers from the rpg field these stories are some great inspiration for adventures.
Overall I'd like to see more antho books in the Planet Stories line as this was a promising first.

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