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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
The words of the opening of the fantasy TV series Xena is something all contributors to the anthology Xena: Their Courage Changed Our World by Ausxip and Mary D. Brooks know by heart. They talk about a time of ancient gods, warlords and kings - and a warrior princess with the name of Xena. The first episode of this show, filmed in New Zealand with the charming and beautiful Lucy Lawless acting as the main character, was shown on TV just over 25 years ago. This anniversary is a great time to publish a 25th-anniversary version of a book full of stories for fans by fans. It is not just a collection of stories from fans who simply love the show though. These are stories about lives that have been changed, how people found their true calling and started on a certain career path because they were inspired by a warrior princess and her loyal friend, the battling bard Gabrielle.
I enjoyed the variety of stories/essays in Xena and have to admit that some of them came as a surprise to me, probably because I've always been quite alone in being a Xena fan. Unfortunately, there are so many people who don't even know about this great show and it's so hard to believe it's been 25 years since my journey with Xena began. Reading the stories in this collection made me feel a bit better understood because some of these stories are written by people very similar to myself. Then there are stories by more famous people like Steven L. Sears, who is known and loved for writing and co-executive producing Xena. The book covers all topics you could possibly think of when it comes to Xena and the fandom: from how the fandom developed to where fans meet (e.g. conventions), what fans do and how the series was a big step for the queer community. It's a great collection and well-edited. While a lot of the content is written by normal, ordinary people, many of whom are not professional writers, it doesn't feel like an amateur book as it's obvious a lot of care was put into editing and designing the content. It's a lovely book for all Xena fans and people who would like to understand the community better.