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Down These Strange Streets Hardcover – October 4, 2011

4 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Some of the top names in urban fantasy are joined by some of today’s best historical mystery writers in this top-notch anthology.”—Publishers Weekly

“Urban fantasy in a nourish vein…This is a pretty strong collection.”—Locus

“There’s lots [of stories], some in the past, some in the future, and all entertaining as you get to read old favorite characters or are introduced to new ones. I always enjoy anthologies for the variety in the stories and this one provides plenty, but all with a paranormal detective bent.”—News and Sentinel

About the Author

George R.R. Martin's books have been on bestseller lists around the world. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Gardner Dozois has won fifteen Hugo Awards and twenty-eight Locus Awards for editing, plus two Nebula Awards for writing. He lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; 1 edition (October 4, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441020747
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441020744
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.3 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #919,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently realized one thing I've been liking about multiple-author short-story collections: Most of the contents stand alone. I always appreciate new fantasy and SF set in worlds I've come to love. However, I find it increasingly exhausting to embark on authors who are new to me. I can't just pick up a book any more. When I look up potential purchases on the basis of a review or ad, almost all turn out to be part of some interminable series, so that I'd have to buy umpteen additional books to fully comprehend one. Because I want to read an ongoing story line all at once, I end up setting aside books for years till the author finally completes the series.

Unfortunately, many of the 16 stories in Down These Strange Streets are outtakes from different huge series that I've never heard of. And many of these spend so much room introducing whiz-bang characters and concepts from their world, and feeding new readers bits of backstory, that little room is left for actually telling this story. Plots tend to be thin and character development nonexistent. You can't sympathize with any character when you're constantly trying to get up to speed on exactly how many kinds of supernatural entities exist in this world and what magical gizmos they use. The worst offender is Glen Cook's "Shadow Thieves."

Notable exceptions are: First, Joe Lansdale's "The Bleeding Shadow," a harrowing tale of a Depression-era blues musician seeking supernatural aid for his art. The difficult relationship between the musician's sister and her sometime boyfriend (who have teamed to intervene) has real emotional depth. "Styx and Stones" is an overly cute title that has little to do with the story. It's a competent and well-researched historical mystery by Steven Saylor, set in ancient Rome.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book that grew on me as I read. I initially ordered it (Kindle) just because there were several authors I know and read. A couple of those (S. M. Stirling and Diana Gabaldon) were not quite what I would have expected in this book, but as it turned out, they were both enjoyable reads. Those two individuals have an unfortunate habit of writing very long novels that can drone on and on - a short story format precluded that. Some of the stories did seem more like samples/snippets from a longer book - that is; the ending was abrupt and unresolved. Another reviewer mentioned that some of these are outtakes of longer series - it's a challenge to write a short story that can stand on its own and still be meaningful to followers of the series. It CAN be done; one such story in another book drew me into Kat Richardson's Greywalker series. Unfortunately that was not always the case in the stories contained here.

But even those less than satisfying attempts were, overall, better than I was expecting. Some of the worlds introduced were enjoyable enough for a short story but not ones that I would be interested in reading a series about. And some of the story twists were unexpected, veering away from the all-to-common vampire/werewolf "formula." I'll give this book high marks for that.
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By Samdog on October 16, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this for the Diane Gabaldon story, but thoroughly enjoyed the whole book. The stories don't have a linking theme other than their otherwordly-ness, and yet all were enjoyable.
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Format: Hardcover
Sixteen approximately 25 page urban fantasy that Martin defines in the introduction as requiring a sort of detective in each short story. (I disagree with that definition. The novels and short stories of de Lint, Bull, Black and Kushner and others require no detectives, for they don't typically write mysteries.) I also didn't read all the stories in collection, if it didn't grab me in its first few pages I went on to the next story.

"Death by Dahlia" by Charlaine Harris is a house or cozy mystery I think it's called, where all the suspects and the murder take place in the same house, in this case for the ascension of the vampire king of Rhodes. "The Bleeding Shadow" by Joe R. Landsdale has a black PI in 1947 investigating what a blues musician recorded. "Pain and Suffering" by S.M. Stirling is about Eric Salvador a Santa Fe cop. He describes Santa Fe as "The town where 10,000 people can buy the state and 50,000 can't afford lunch." (107) "It's Still the Same Old Story" by Carrie Vaughn is about Rick the vampire remembering a woman he met bartending in Denver in 1947. "The Lady is a Screamer" by Conn Iggulden is about a ghost buster, who is helped in his work by three ghosts.

"Hellbender" by Laurie R. King posits a world where there are SalaMen or human/ non-human crossbreeding experiments, who are now adults. "No Mystery, No Miracle" by Melinda R. Snodgrass didn't work for me. It's main character is an alien masquerading as a Sam Spade/ Philip Marlowe PI in the early 30's in Oklahoma was too far a reach for too little payoff. "The Difference Between a Puzzle and a Mystery" by MLN Hanover, I enjoyed, but I didn't get. Who or what was Scarrey?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I follow the work of one of the author's who contributed, and have been really enjoying most of the short stories. Some of the stories I have enjoyed so much I was disappointed when they finished, I wanted to know what happened next, which is the mark of a good tale.

Another thing I have enjoyed about this book is that it has got me reading a style of book(fantasy) that I don't generally read unless they are blockbusters such as Tolkien, the Harry Potter series or Twilight.

There were some stories I felt was missing some information because things were happening and there was no lead up to the event. Like taking a loo break while watching watching a movie, such as "Inception", and getting back to find you are totally lost.

Also sometimes there was background information I was missing because I hadn't been following the series - which I didn't mind because it really annoys me when authors of sequels feel the need to bring the reader up to speed on the histories of each and every characters and event based on the assumption the reader hasn't read any previous books in the series.

Why can't novels have footnotes or references with all these facts that readers would know if they had been following the story from the beginning (or for the perennial forgetful)? This would be really easy with the advent of electronic books - click on something to take you to the history, it could even reference which chapter of which novel so the reader could go back and have a refresher - if they WANTED to, and then click back to the story.

Overall, an enjoyable mixed bag.
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