Short Fictions and Wonders
By Neil Gaiman
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From Publishers Weekly
Hot off the critical success of Anansi Boys, Gaiman offers this largely disappointing medley that feels like a collection of idea seeds that have yet to mature. Among the ground covered: an old woman eats her cat al Continue
From Publishers Weekly
Hot off the critical success of Anansi Boys, Gaiman offers this largely disappointing medley that feels like a collection of idea seeds that have yet to mature. Among the ground covered: an old woman eats her cat alive, slowly; two teenage boys fumble through a house party attended by preternaturally attractive aliens; a raven convinces a writer attempting realism to give way to fantastical inclinations. A few poems, heartfelt or playfully musical, pockmark the collection. At his best, Gaiman has a deft touch for surprise and inventiveness, and there are inspired moments, including one story that brings the months of the year to life and imagines them having a board meeting. (September is an "elegant creature of mock solicitude," while April is sensitive but cruel; they don't get along), but most of these stories rely too heavily on the stock-in-trade of horror, sci-fi and fantasy. Gaiman only once or twice gives himself the space necessary to lock the reader's attention.150,000 announced first printing.(Oct.)
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*Starred Review* Like the first and second, Gaiman's third collection of unillustrated short pieces (he has comics collections in his portfolio, too) showcases a particular facet of his talent. Smoke and Mirrors (1998) effervesced with his jovial parody of fairy tales, Raymond Carver, monster movies, Beowulf, and even Bay Watch. Adventures in the Dream Trade (2002) collects various kinds of memoirs on being a professional fantasist. Parody--in the alternate-world Sherlock Holmes pastiche, "A Study in Emerald," and an imaginary last book of the Bible--and memoir (two reprints from Adventures and at least one story, "Closing Time," that Gaiman admits is full of real persons and events) also figure in this book, but most of the contents, including the memory pieces, exude the romanticism, often erotic, that makes his first two novels, Neverwhere (1997) and Stardust(1998), for all their darkness and grit, so powerfully attractive. Many are love stories, ranging in tone from the lowering super-noir of "Keepsakes and Treasures," in which a multibillionaire, abetted by the genius-sociopath narrator, finds and loses his particular beau ideal; to the sf-tinged horror of "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," in which two randy teens crash the wrong bash; to the love-conquers-all rapture of the poem "The Day the Saucers Came"; to the movingly sad triumph over time in the flat-out sf entry, "Goliath." Less loverly but lovelier are such archromantic tidbits as 15 tiny stories for cards from "a vampire tarot," the council of the personified months in "October in the Chair," the bittersweet shape-shifting of the commedia dell'arte-derived "Harlequin Valentine," and all the other poems. One delight after another, 31 in all, with a thirty-second tucked into the author's introduction. Ray Olson
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- English Books
- Hardcover 400 Pages
- ISBN-10: 0060515228
- ISBN-13: 9780060515225
- Publisher: William Morrow & Company
- Publish date: 2006-09-26
- Dimensions: 231 mm x 162 mm x 33 mm Just how big is that?
- Also available as: Paperback , Audio CD , eBook
- In other languages: other languages 繁體書 , Livros em Português