Rogues, edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois reads like an ask.com answer for “what is a rogue?”. Spanning the genre gamut from fantasy and sci-fi, to historical fiction and hard-boiled detectives, Rogues has something for everyone, assuming everyone likes a good mischief tale. It is precisely this assumption that is addressed by Martin in his introductory essay, “Everybody loves a Rogue”.
With a wit and humour not normally seen in his now infamous series, Martin’s introduction pulls the reader into an archetype usually left in the half-light. Citing characters such as Indiana Jones, Dirty Harry Rhett Butler, and Conan of Cimmeria as his inspiration, Martin touts the power of the trickster as the charmer and the thief that we all wish we could be – provided we get away with it. He neatly introduces the collected tales as organized on a spinner rack from the candy shops of his youth. There you would find romance novels cozied up against a mystery that was slumped over a science fiction adventure.
Rogues reads the same way, and more surprisingly, it works. Martin and Dozois’ disregard for genre only heightens the similarity between the stories by leaving the thieves, spies, and rascals as the only common thread. What we find, as we near the end of the collection, is that the thread seems to widen considerably forcing the reader to reconsider their understanding of genre altogether. Pushing boundaries while eliciting a giggle or a smirk? Sounds like Martin and Dozois may have learned a trick or two from the sneaks and knaves in their book.