Heroes From the Shadows edited by Gary Phillips and Christopher Chambers (Tor Books, $23.95) For the value-conscious readers who covet time or money or both, anthologies are a way to sample the latest work by a genre's canonical authors and consider fresh fiction by first-time or lesser-known writers. Given such breathing room, should heroes even be required to be good in the traditional monochromatic idea of the word? "Does a hero always have to be a do-gooder Ail-American quarterback or paranoid ex-drunk donning a cape or cowl or brandishing a shield?" Chambers and Phillips write in the book's introduction before noting that around the fire, when humanity was young and scared, the heroes were "plain old us-flawed and scared."
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