Monday, September 17, 2007

Short Story Sunday.....on Monday


For the RIP challenge at Stainless Steel Droppings, Carl added a "Peril" that is called Short Story Sunday. The goal is to read a Short Story that falls under the RIP category of books on Sundays during the challenge. Another "peril" includes reading the book Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. So I'm combining both perils by reading Fragile Things on Sundays!!

A Study in Emerald is the first story. Fantastic!! In the introduction, Gaiman says he wrote this story for an anthology in which he was requested to write a "story in which Sherlock Holmes meets H. P. Lovecraft." Our "hero" returns home from Afghanistan and meets a man that will soon be his roommate. His roommate, he finds out later, is a consulting detective and is called upon by many police officers to help solve mysteries. Taking a page from the Sherlock Holmes tale, A Study in Scarlett, our detectives are asked to look into a case in which a member of the Royal Family was brutally murdered and found in blood on the wall was the word "Rache". This is where the H.P. Lovecraft twist sets in. The Royal family isn't actually human. They are creatures that defeated humanity in a bloody war seven hundred years earlier. The "Great Old Ones" have ruled ever since.


From the moment this story started, I was completely turned around. The "twist" in the end, proved just that!! And while I was completely off on the actual characters, Gaiman writes a very compelling story that was well deserving of the Hugo Award it received in 2004.

Since I couldn't stop at just one, I went on to read October in the Chair. This story was dedicated to Ray Bradbury. It begins as the 12 months of the year are congregated together for a meeting. October is the leader this time around, and stories are told by the months. October's story is about a boy called The Runt by his family. He feels unwanted at home and decides to run away. He comes upon the ghost of a boy called Dearly, and finds with him the acceptance he never received from his own family. Again....this story was wonderful, if a little creepy. And it deserved the 2003 Locus Award for Best Short Story.

In between each story were poems entitled The Fairy Reel and The Hidden Chamber. One was fantastical and one was dreary and Gothic.

Last week I tried to read Poe, and just couldn't get into it. Short stories have never been my thing! I like sinking my teeth into plot and character development, and the short story just doesn't have the time to provide either. But Neil Gaiman is another creature all together!! Even though I spent most of my day watching football (Da Bears!), I picked up this book and didn't think I would be able to put it down! I don't think I can say this enough times.....I LOVE Neil Gaiman!! His writing is simple and fantastic. And I can't wait to read more of his stories!!

11 comments:

kookiejar said...

Gaiman is just terrific. I've yet to be disappointed by anything he's written. "Fragile Things" has been on my wish list for quite some time.

Trish said...

Sounds fabulous - I love stories that have a great twist. I tried to read a few Poe stories yesterday but didn't fare too well. I didn't realize they were much much longer than the ones I read last week. OH well!

Chris said...

I can't wait to get to this one! It's on my RIP list and is coming up soon. I read Smoke and Mirrors (his other short story collection) a couple of months ago and loved it! I always love his stuff. I'm slacking again on Short Story Sunday...Slacking has been a theme these days, lol

Stephanie said...

Kookie - Nope. I haven't been disappointed yet by Gaiman.

Trish - Yeah...tried Poe last weekend. Just couldn't get into it. These stories were just short enough to breeze through, and yet were really good!

Chris - You HAVE to read this one!! I've been slacking a lot lately too, but picked this up from ILL last week. Figured I might be able to get a story in on Sunday...and couldn't stop! Like I said, I've never been a big fan of short stories, but I'm really impressed with Gaiman's! By the way...what happened to those Saints???

Darla D said...

Stephanie, I feel just the way you do about short stories. But between your review of this one, and Chris's review of Smoke and Mirrors, I know I need to give these books a try. Thanks for the review!

Stephanie said...

Darla - So far so good with this one!! But I love Gaiman anyway. Kind of like I love Stephen King and will read his short stories. Normally, I have a very hard time reading and enjoying them. Not with this one though!! You should try it!

raidergirl3 said...

I'm doing Everything's Eventual on Sundays. It's been a while since I've read any King, and I'm remembering how fantastic he is.
I'm planning to get Fragile Things when it comes out in paperback so I didn't read your review very close, but skimmed it to get the gist. I'm looking forward to it.

Chris said...

I don't want to talk about it :p I really don't know, The Saints have been horrible!! I really can't take 14 more weeks of this!

J.S. Peyton said...

Oh you've gotten me so excited to read this book! It's on my R.I.P. list too and as soon as I get my hands on it, I'm reading it. I generally feel the same way you do about short stories. It's odd because reading short stories always makes me impatient in the way a novel doesn't. But, occasionally I do come across a short story writer who can keep my attention. It sounds like Gaiman might be it! I have got to start reading this one.

Kristy said...

I have got to get back to Stardust!

jean pierre said...

oh, they sound very good! i've heard a lot of good things about "fragile things" and although i don't need any further encouragement to read it, i'm definitely looking even more forward to it now!