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Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card Paperback – January 1, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This hefty, definitive collection contains all of Card's short fiction except for those in his common-theme book ( The Folk of the Fringe ) and those few he says he wants to bury. Which still leaves 46 tales of horror, fantasy, SF, philosophy and Mormon life. "Dogwalker" throws an electronic nod to the cyberpunk genre, while "I Put My Blue Genes On" is an early precursor to newly emerging biopunk. "Lost Boys" is a straightforward, most terrifying horror tale. The five stories with Mormon settings form a pastoral still-life contrasting with the justified cruelty of the rescued humans in the SF entry "Kingsmeat." Available only in this hardcover edition (not due to be included in the later paperback version) are the pre-novel versions of the Nebula- and Hugo Award-winning author's Songmaster , Ender's Game and Prentice Alvin. A series of introductions and afterwords offering Card's thoughts on his life and his writing are as absorbing as the stories. BOMC and QPB selections.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The award-winning author of Ender's Game ( LJ 2/15/85), Speaker for the Dead ( LJ 2/15/86), and the "Alvin Maker" series demonstrates his talent for shorter fiction in this collection of 46 stories that range from fantasy and sf to horror and theological speculation. Included are stories written for a Mormon readership as well as rarely published titles and early versions of stories that later became novels. Detailed introductions and afterwords reveal insights into the thought processes of one of the genre's most convincing storytellers. An important volume; for most libraries.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Maps in a Mirror (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 688 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; Reprint edition (January 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765308401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765308405
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #419,525 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A must for Card fans and highly recommended to those attempting to understand the appeal and celebrity of this prizewinning and acclaimed American author of science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism.
Card's short fiction has always exceeded in power, beauty, and universalism the long fiction which he produces at such a prolific rate. This is mainly due to his tendency to explain nuances of his characters in his longer works literally, rather than allowing the reader to understand them through diligent observation. In his short fiction, however, he routinely abandons this "lowest common denominator" method, much to the empowerment of his prose.
The appeal of Card's work is similar to that of film wunderkind Steven Spielberg. At his worst, he is unflinchingly manipulative, such as in the story "Lost Boys," the original source for his later popular novel (cf. "The Color Purple"); at his best, his narration remains remote enough not to overpower with sentimentalism, as in "Unaccompanied Sonata" (cf. "Schindler's List"). A few works seem to be unnecessary literary exercises taken to extremes ("Damn Fine Novel") but, as is Card's trademark, a constant theme of sin/redemption runs through most of the stories. While drawing upon the Mormon experience, Card is unafraid to avoid simple moral chiaroscuro in favor of the gray areas for which good fantastic fiction is so well tailored.
The perfection of some of these tales lies in the simplicity of the telling. Card seems to have adhered to the ethic that informs Native American and Far Eastern oral traditions, wherein the narrator becomes only an instrument for the audience, and never intrudes as either arbitrator or alibi.
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Format: Hardcover
It was a crime to let this book go out of print! Fortunately, one of my friends, also an OSC fan, lent his copy to me "for a short while." Because I am an honest person, I returned it. Eventually. And only after seriously considering changing my name and moving to Alaska, all to avoid losing these stories.
The book is divided into sections, each with a unifying theme: horror, classic science fiction, fantasy, parables, religion & ethics, and a mix of miscellaneous works. "The Changed Man," "Flux," "Maps in a Mirror," "Monkey Sonatas," and "Cruel Miracles" were also published as individual paperbacks, but "Lost Songs," which contains, among other things, the original short version of "Ender's Game," is only available in the comprehensive hardcover edition.
Every facet of OSC's brilliance is displayed in this collection. His longer works, while also brilliant, have an unfortunate tendency to lag at points, but in short form he shines. Though not all the stories are of equal quality (hey, everyone has bad days), none are bad, and many are things of beauty and power. My personal favorites include "A Thousand Deaths," "Freeway Games," "Saving Grace," "Kingsmeat," "The Porcelain Salamander," "The Best Day," "I Think Mom and Dad Are Going Crazy, Jerry," and, of course, "Unaccompanied Sonata."
Be aware: some of these stories contain graphic and disturbing images. They also contain disturbing ideas. But no one writes speculative literature better than OSC at his best, and this book has a lot of his best.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always loved collections of short stories, especially when the author includes introductions and afterwords to his works. It really gives the reader a chance to see into the mind of the writer, and to understand what he is all about. Maps in a Mirror succeeds admirably in bringing together the huge spectrum of Orson Scott Card's short stories. For the most part, the stories are thought-provoking and fun. Card's commentaries provide extra insight into how the stories came about.

Some of the stories tend toward long-winded philosophy and moral arguing, which certainly isn't bad, but can become a bit tedious. Still, all of Card's gems are here, as well as many other less famous stories. There's nothing more enjoyable than being able to sit down and delve into a short story that you know you'll be finishing in one sitting. The short story is a world apart from the novel, and Card certainly does the style justice.
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Format: Paperback
There are only about five major novelists I've encountered the short fiction of and actually enjoyed the work in both areas. I ran across several of these stories in a shorter collection a few years back and read the book to pieces.

"Eye for Eye" and "Kingsmeat" are among the best pieces of short fiction I've ever read the two of them alone are worth the price of the whole collection.
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Format: Paperback
Card's short stories frequently differ thematically from his longer work. While his longer work revolves around free will and human interaction, his short stories are often written for one main point. It's fair, I think, to judge his short stories by how well and interestingly he gets that point across. Actually, I don't always agree with Card himself when he describes his reasons for writing a story. Sometimes I think he's not being completely candid, but mostly I just take a different point from the story than perhaps he concentrated on. These reviews are only for some of his short stories -- the ones in "Maps in a Mirror Vol. 2," which is half of this fine book here.

"Unaccompanied Sonata." The point: suffering for your vision will be recognized, and the suffering is worth it. This is the first piece of work I read by Card, when it came out in Omni in 1979. I didn't even remember his name, and it wasn't until ten years or so later, and after I had read Ender's Game and many of his other works, that I made the connection. Even as a young teenager in 1979, this writing spoke to me like few I had ever read. Maybe the writing plays to the secret beliefs we all have that we're misunderstood geniuses; I don't know. I just know I loved it. Rating: Outstanding.

"Cross-County Road Trip..." The point: the country, in the form of Siggy, needed catharsis and understanding of Nixon, and would be able to achieve it. I take Card at his word that this is the main point of the story. It's interesting to read, but not worth too much as a prism for introspection or even as social commentary. Rating: Good.

"The Porcelain Salamander." The point: love sometimes calls for the ultimate sacrifice, and we should always remember that sacrifice.
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