- Hardcover: 384 pages
- Publisher: Headline Review (June 15, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0755336607
- ISBN-13: 978-0755336609
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 9.4 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,695,807 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Stories Hardcover – Import, June 15, 2010
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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.Read more ›
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.
"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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Weights and Measures stuck with me. Full spectrum of sci fi and fantasy and pulp and love stories and adventures. Worth having to share.Published 5 months ago by jonezy
If you want strange stories to entertain and to make you think, this collection is what you are looking for. Short stories by some top-notch (sometimes surprising) authors! Read morePublished 10 months ago by kelleen thaxton
I definitely like Gaiman the author a lot more than I like Gaiman the anthologist. This collection includes lots of slipstream, magical realism, and non-speculative fiction. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Fenrix
If you're sensitive of violence towards women then don't read this. At least three stories in this anthology reference raping dead women. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Alex A
This collection of short stories is not my style. Some of the stories were good but I am glad I checked it out from the local library - did not purchase it.Published 16 months ago by James T. Barratt
I've made it about half way through the book and can't say that I really liked any of the stories so far. Guess I'm just not into off-beat fiction. Read morePublished 17 months ago by LK
One two three four five six seven eight nine ten eleven twelve thirteen fourteen fifteen sixteen seventeen eighteen nineteen twenty.Published 17 months ago by Kevin Tobin
The book promises to be a genre-defying page-turner, but for the most part it consistently failed to hold my interest. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Robert S. Costic