Stories: All-New Tales
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About the Author
Neil Gaiman has written award-winning books for children and adults, including the Newbery Medal-winning novel The Graveyard Book and Coraline, Stardust, and Odd and the Frost Giants. His picture books include Instructions and Blueberry Girl, illustrated by Charles Vess; The Wolves in the Walls, The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish, and Crazy Hair, illustrated by Dave McKean; and The Dangerous Alphabet, illustrated by Gris Grimly. A baby giant panda once sat on his lap and ate bamboo in Chengdu, China.--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Without dissecting the introductions for over analysis, I can say that it is what it is: 27 short fictions from some of the most celebrated contemporary writers. While for me, some stories failed to hit the mark, some of them I enjoyed enough to purchase the book for myself (after having first borrowed it from my local library) and to buy it as a gift for a friend.
What you look for in a short story - or any story really - is some sort of an escape into another world. Something that makes you want to keep reading more. This book has that in spades.
One word of warning for it; a few of the stories are pretty damned gruesome. I knew the majority would be dark and stark, bleak or bloody. Even me, a regular Gaiman fan, a few were hard to read. But, if you can stomach them, it's worth it. And even if you can't, there are so many good stories that skipping the few rougher moments won't make you feel cheated.
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Well, not strictly true, as some of them just leave you feeling pensive, uneasy, or even just plain "warm", such as "The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon", which is one of the most beautiful stories I think I've ever read.
Start at the beginning and work your way through, or pluck out a story to fit the time you have in your busy life.
P.S.: This review and rating is NOT based on the contents of the book.
But this in comparison is frankly rather average. Was expecting better given Neil Gaiman's name was on the cover.
Gaiman's own story is superb; Michael Moorcock's "Stories" is a moving eulogy for the late Thomas Disch (and his partner, Charley Naylor); Jonathan Carroll's story is eerie but its ending was not quite satisfying. Kurt Andersen presents a droll story and Elizabeth Hand a simply magnificent new novella (but she's Elizabeth hand, so you'd expect nothing less).
Some stories were well written but, for me, led nowhere. Ford's story was not up to par with other stories of his I've read. I was a bit annoyed by the "experimental" form of Joe Hill's otherwise very good "The Devil on the Staircase". And there were even a few stinkers, like Palahniuk's story about a frat kid on acid in a game show.
All in all, it was very good read, and it made me hunt down the books of authors I hadn't heard of so far, or had heard of but never read.
You read the reviews to decide on whether or not you should buy the book? Look no further. Buy it.
Not all stories will match your taste, not all are good, but that is the nature of anthologies. For very little money you get a big book with a lot of stories that are brilliantly arranged to form a chain of linked tales. Despite the broad variety, each story shares a theme, topic, element or idea with the stories before and after. Looking for those links made the few stories that I didn't like more fun.
Conclusion: One can't go wrong with this book.