BY THIS AXE, I REVIEW
Imaro by Charles Saunders
Well! It has been a while, hasn't it? I have no excuses to offer, and expect none to be given on my behalf. Just remember that Deep One attacks and Serpent Men mauling incidents are always noticeably fewer in number in between these reviews coming up. Just remember that!
Anyway, the time around it's a novel that started as a collection of short stories in the 1970s in Gene Day's fanzine Dark Fantasy, named after the titular character, Imaro. The version I read and will be reviewing is the second edition from Night Shade Books. I'm making the distinction because the first edition of this book is different. The chapter where Tanisha, Imaro's love interest, is introduced was changed. The original story, "Slaves of the Giant Kings", was deemed by Saunders to be too close, regardless of his intent, to the real-life tragedy of the Rwandan Genocide, despite his story (again, first published in the 70s) predating the event by nearly 20 years.
In seeking out my copy of Imaro and learning of the change in stories and its reason, I saw, and still see, no need to find that original short story, and will respect Saunder's wishes to let it remain buried in history. And, honestly, the new chapter of Tanisha's origin is so flawlessly integrated into the rest of the earlier stories that I saw no reason to complain. And speaking of not complaining because the book was great, let's move on the the meat of this thing.
Imaro (the book and the character) is friggin' great. Saunders wrote, and continues to write, the adventures of his Imaro character based on a perceived (correctly, I might add) lack of fantasy fiction based in a non-Western European milieu.