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Chimerascope Paperback – November 15, 2012

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A chimerascope is an instrument for viewing fantasies. In Smith’s hands, it certainly delivers some interesting ones. The collection-opener, “Scream Angel,” is about an ex-soldier running a circus of aliens saved from death or slavery at the hands of the military and what happens when special forces catch up to him and reveal his secret. At the opposite end of the book, “Memories of the Dead Man” presents a woman recalling her time with Bishop, known as the Dead Man, in a post-apocalyptic scenario in which he’s bent on revenge, and she’s trying to survive with her young son. In between, there’s “The Dancer at the Red Door,” in which a man desperate to escape his life gets more than he bargained for when he follows the dancer and her song into a strange, hidden club. There are also fantasies of ex-goddesses, interstellar explorers, alien artifacts, and others in this engaging and entertaining volume, pieces of whose content resonate after the book is finished. --Regina Schroeder

Review

"A massively enjoyable trek through the far-fetched, the horrifying, and the flat-out weird, all filtered through Smith's remarkable imagination and equally notable talent."
--Quill and Quire (*Starred Review*)

"The stories in this collection showcase the inventive mind and immense storytelling talent of one of Canada's most original writers of speculative fiction."
--Library Journal

"Smith's second collection delivers an entertaining selection of stories that deftly span multiple genres."
--Publishers Weekly

"An engaging and entertaining volume, pieces of whose content resonate after the book is finished."
--Booklist

"Chimerascope confirms for me what Impossibilia affirmed, namely that Douglas Smith is an extraordinary author whom every lover of quality speculative fiction should read. Rating: A+"
--The Fantasy Book Critic

"A massively enjoyable trek through the far-fetched, the horrifying, and the flat-out weird, all filtered through Smith's remarkable imagination and equally notable talent. --Quill and Quire (*Starred Review*) (added by author)
The stories in this collection showcase the inventive mind and immense storytelling talent of one of Canada's most original writers of speculative fiction. --Library Journal (added by author)
Smith's second collection delivers an entertaining selection of stories that deftly span multiple genres. --Publishers Weekly (added by author)
An engaging and entertaining volume, pieces of whose content resonate after the book is finished.--Booklist (added by author)
Chimerascope confirms for me what Impossibilia affirmed, namely that Douglas Smith is an extraordinary author whom every lover of quality speculative fiction should read. Rating: A+ --The Fantasy Book Critic (added by author)
Doug Smith is, quite simply, the finest short story writer Canada has ever produced in the science fiction and fantasy genres. His stories are a treasure trove of riches that will touch your heart while making you think. -----Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo Award-winning author of HOMINIDS
An ambitious and adventurous new writer. --- --Gardner Dozois, author and editor

An ambitious and adventurous new writer. -----Gardner Dozois, author and editor
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 332 pages
  • Publisher: ChiZine Publications; First edition (November 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0981297854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0981297859
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,739,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I had intended the read the first story, get a feel for the collection, and then book a time that I would read it all. No way. This collection was impossible to put down. This contains one of the best collections of speculative fiction I have ever read. There is a reason that the majority of these stories have won awards and nominations. Smith is absolutely brilliant as he proves SF is every bit as intelligent and thought-provoking as any literary work out there.

My favourite in the collection was "Scream Angel," with my new favourite first line: They stopped beating Trelayne when they saw that he enjoyed it. I surprisingly also liked "By Her Hand, She Draws You Down." I generally don't like horror, so it was a surprise to have enjoyed this one as much as I did.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't know where Douglas Smith gets his ideas or how he manages to wrap those ideas inside such real characters, but I'm happy he does. Each of his stories stands on its own as a great read. But taken together, they add up to a way of seeing the world that I find fascinating. His imagination is a place I could explore for years.
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Format: Paperback
Douglas Smith is an outstanding writer. Then again, Roy Halladay is a Cy Young Award-winning pitcher, but he can’t throw a change-up.

The Chimerascope collection highlights Smith’s prodigious strengths, but by exposing weaknesses that I wouldn’t have known about no less bring up here if only his best works had been included. This doesn’t happen very often, but the flaws in this book have more to do with the editing than the writing.

This anthology is my first exposure to Smith, so here’s what I take away: He is a fundamentally strong author who commands sparse yet evocative description and presents characters who are unique enough to be believable yet archetypal enough to shoehorn into the short-story format. The most amazing thing about his craft is the way he takes an experimental, ignore-all-the-rules approach to selecting a POV, then executes it flawlessly.

What takes me out of his stories, though, is trope. Smith does SF a whole lot better than he does fantasy. The first and last stories are absolutely Chimerascope’s best — and that at least should accrue to editor Julie Czerneda’s credit.

Let’s look at the last one first. “Memories of the Dead Man” is a retelling of Mad Max. That’s not a slam; it’s a compliment. The lone, damaged hero riding to the rescue was already a moneymaker to the eighth-century scop who wrote Beowulf. The main issue I had with “Dead Man” is that the main character, Bishop, had what were in essence supernatural powers — which weren’t really necessary and we don’t know the extent of them until the climax. (My nit is that a character who calls himself Bishop is chasing after a bad guy who’s referred to as Pope — an intentional choice, and a bad one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Chimerascope, a collection of speculative fiction short stories, enchants, horrifies, enlightens, and mesmerizes. Through each tale, no matter the tone or subject, Smith connects the reader instantly with his characters and they are as unforgettable as they are diverse. From the broken and twisted (Jason Trelayne of "Scream Angel", John Bishop of "Memories of the Dead Man") to the ethereal and innocent (Asai "The Red Bird, Big G "Going Harvey in the Big House"), these characters step off the pages and become real.

Another of Smith's strengths is structure. I'm in awe of his ability to choose just the right voice, POV, and timelines for his stories. He includes enough details to show the reader the depth of each world without bogging down the story in description. No matter how short the story, their worlds feel fully formed. Best of all, Smith's stories have endings! I realize how funny that might sound but there seems to be this disturbing trend now of short stories that have no real conclusion. The last page arrives and the reader is left with ...no resolution, good or bad. This drives me batty and, in my opinion, is a mark of lazy storytelling. Smith's stories may not always end happily but there is always a resolution.

It's difficult for me to choose a single favourite out of the collection but because I like dark protagonists "Scream Angel" and "Memories of the Dead Man" probably top my list. "State of Disorder" ranks a close third for its deliciously nasty villain, complex plot, and lovely twist.

Many of these stories were award winners and rightfully so. If you love speculative fiction, short stories, and masterful storytelling, Chimerascope needs to be on your bookshelf.
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