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Stories: All-New Tales Paperback – June 21, 2011

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (June 21, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061230936
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061230936
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,427 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This collection of 27 never-before published stories from an impressive cast—Roddy Doyle, Joyce Carol Oates, and Stuart O'Nan, among others—sets out to shift genre paradigms. The overarching theme is fantastic fiction, or fiction of the imagination, with fantasy being used in the most broad-sweeping sense rather than signaling the familiar commercial staples of elves, ghouls, and robots. Consequently, the collection's offerings run a wide gamut. In Joe Hill's Devil on the Staircase, an Italian boy commits a crime of passion and subsequently meets an emissary of Satan. In Jodi Picoult's Weights and Measures, a young couple who have just lost their daughter struggle to hold their marriage together as they both start noticing strange changes taking place. Chuck Palahniuk's The Loser features a college kid on acid as a contestant on a game show, and in Kurt Andersen's Human Intelligence, a geologist meets an explorer from another planet who has been studying humans for the past 1,600 years. The range of voices and subjects practically guarantees something for any reader, but the overall quality is frustratingly variable: most stories are good, some aren't, and few are exceptional. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

The editorial collaboration of fantasy superstar Gaiman and brilliant anthologist Sarrantonio seemingly ensures a most distinguished sf-fantasy-horror collection. Mainstream and mystery stars (Roddy Doyle, Jodi Picoult, Carolyn Parkhurst, Jeffery Deaver, Walter Mosley, Chuck Palahniuk) as well as big sf-fantasy-horror names, including all-ages luminaries Diana Wynne Jones and Richard Adams, all contribute. Yet most of these stories are tepid; a few are unreadably bad. Joe R. Lansdale's “The Stars Are Falling” proves absorbing, though (and because) its characters, plot, and setting strongly recall those of Robinson Jeffers' searing antiwar poem, “The Double Axe.” Gene Wolfe's space-exploration tale “Leif in the Wind” is a tersely worded treat, Joe Hill's “Devil on the Staircase” is cleverly shaped (literally: the paragraphs look like flights of stairs), and Michael Moorcock's memoirlike “Stories,” while neither sf, fantasy, or horror, is wonderfully affecting. And Elizabeth Hand's awe-inspiring “The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon,” in which three men and two teen boys replicate the flight of a pre–Wright brothers airplane, is as magical and beautiful a light fantasy as anyone has ever written. --Ray Olson --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

The print edition isn't in italics.
Amazon Customer
I didn't really understand exactly what was going on, but the story was well-written and the author captured what it feels like to loose someone very well.
K. Eckert
I was excited when I read that the stories in this book would make me look at the world in new ways.
Cicada Nymph

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

99 of 112 people found the following review helpful By K. Bunker VINE VOICE on June 7, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In the introduction to this volume of short stories, co-editor Neil Gaiman laments the narrowness of "commercial fantasy", which "tends to drag itself through already existing furrows, furrows dug by J.R.R. Tolkien or Robert E. Howard". So the goal (as I read Gaiman's rather vague introduction) was to gather together a collection of original short stories that explore the possibilities of the fantastic outside these well-plowed furrows.

This is, of course, not a new idea. There are legions of stories and novels that have traveled the realms of fantasy without the help of hobbits or barbarians. And indeed, many of the stories here fit fairly neatly into some existing sub-genre: ghost story, vampire story, etc. A few stories have no element of fantasy, but confine themselves to bad or weird real-world goings on.

The question of whether this volume breaks new ground aside, it's a strong collection, whose hits easily outweigh its misses. The stories are mostly by well-established authors, with awards and best-sellers to their credit. The stories are described as "all-new", so presumably they appear here for the first time.

"Blood" by Roddy Doyle: A sorta-kinda vampire story. Pretty good, but I was annoyed by the pointless affectation of not using quote marks. You ain't Cormac McCarthy, Roddy, and it's a pointless affectation when Cormac McCarthy does it, anyway.
"Fossil-Figures" by Joyce Carol Oates: An evil twin story. A well written, respectable piece of work of the sort Oates is known for.
"Wildfire In Manhattan" by Joanne Harris: A 'the old gods are still among us' story. Nice; had me smiling over the artistic turns of phrase at several points.
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38 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 11, 2010
Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In his introduction, Neil Gaiman says that he feels that fiction has become too constrained by genre and types, and he wanted to offer authors free reign in crafting "stories" (thus the title of the book). The only thing he demanded is that they were well-written, and had the ability to grasp the reader in a way that the reader is hanging on each page, uttering those magical four words "And then what happened?" As a reader, I was pretty excited by that introduction; because that is a feeling I absolutely love. I love it when I am so engrossed in a story that I sacrifice some hours sleep and being tired at work the next day because I simply can't put a book down. And I especially love short stories, so I was looking forward to something original and engrossing.

"Stories" doesn't really deliver on Gaiman's intentions. Oh, there are some great stories here, but they are far too few, maybe four or five out of twenty-eight in total. The rest range from "so-so" to downright bad. If this is the best that a famous man of letters like Gaiman could gather, than I worry that the captivating short story might be a lost art.

Gaiman himself delivered one of my favorites of the collection, "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains," full of jacobites and cursed gold in the Scottish highlands. The other standout was "The Stars are Falling" by Joe R. Lansdale, a haunting tale of a returning WWI vet. "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellpheron" by Elizabeth Hand was a lovely little tale, and could easily have been the plot for an episode of The Twilight Zone, my all-time favorite TV show. I liked the story of "The Devil on the Stairs" by Joe Hill, although the conceit of spacing the letters so it looked like a staircase was distracting and unnecessary.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Susan Tunis TOP 500 REVIEWER on September 22, 2010
Above are the four words that Neil Gaiman writes about in his introduction to the collection edited by himself and Al Sarrantonio. "And then what happened."--the four words that every storyteller longs to hear. That child-like impulse is the essence of what he and Sarrantonio wanted to evoke with this collection. On that basis, they were largely successful. These diverse stories, written by an impressive array of writers, kept me turning the pages and, yes, wondering what would happen next.

In some cases, I didn't have to wonder long. The stories range in length from a mere three pages to an impressive 48. Despite his name appearing in 72-point font on the book's cover, Mr. Gaiman contributes only one story in addition to his introduction. So, die-hard Gaiman fans, don't be disappointed. Instead, revel in the embarrassment of riches that have been brought together. This story collection features contributors who are among the best in genre fiction (Gene Wolfe, Joe R. Lansdale, Michael Swanwick, Peter Straub), literary fiction (Stuart O'Nan, Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, Roddy Doyle), and popular fiction (Jeffrey Deaver, Jodi Picoult, Joe Hill, Chuck Palahniuk). Honestly, I barely brushed the surface of all the big-name contributors, so very many of whom are long-time favorites of mine.

I'll be honest, not every single story is a slam dunk, but not one was a stinker. The one I liked best (possibly Carolyn Parkhurst's featuring an unreliable narrator) might be the one you liked least. These things are so subjective. The overall quality of contributions is high. Whether you're looking for quick palate cleansers between longer works, or you're looking forward to reading this collection cover to cover, I feel confident in asserting that there's something for everyone to be found within these pages.
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