Monday, December 10, 2007

Short Story Monday - Smoke and Mirrors Part III


I know. You are waiting anxiously for this week's edition of Short Story Monday. It is week III of Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman. It's a wonder that I can actually put this book down each Monday morning, and not pick it up again until Sunday night. But that is the way of the short story, isn't it? Reading short stories isn't like reading a novel.....I don't have to keep reading till late in the night to find out what happens at the end. Because the end shows up much quicker. I can get the beginning, the middle, AND the end all taken care of in one sitting. Actually a few stories in one sitting. Maybe I will become a short story aficionado yet!!

Changes is a really strange little story. It's about a man named Rajit who invents a cure for cancer. Sounds like a wonderful thing, doesn't it?? But as with most "cures" these days, there always seem to be side effects. And Reboot certainly has side effects. So much so, that a black market is out there for people that want the side effect as much as the cure.

The Daughter of Owls is a tale? fable? legend? written in Olde English, as if by John Aubrey, a 17th-Century Historian and writer. It's about a baby girl that was left on the steps of the convent. In her hand was the pellet of a Hoot Owl. Or so the story goes....

Shoggoth's Old Peculiar is a rather comic tale of a young American boy taking a hiking tour of the British Coastline, all the while following a rather meaningless written guide. He happens upon a town called Innsmouth and finds a little pub called The Book of Dead Names. In this pub, he befriends a couple of locals (who look amazingly like frogs!) and learns the story of Great Cthulhu.

Virus is a poem about computer games....and how they get under your skin. And in your brain. And are all-consuming.

Looking for the Girl is one of the first short stories Gaiman ever wrote (for publication). A young man buys his first Penthouse magazine and falls in love with one of the models. She was nineteen at the time (the same as the boy) and her name was Charlotte. As the years went by, this boy never forgot about Charlotte. And then, he sees her picture again. In Penthouse. And she was still only nineteen.....

I know this is going to sound like a broken record, but I am just amazed at the way Gaiman writes!! Each story is different than the previous one. And I haven't read one yet that has failed to entertain me!! Some I like more than others (and this week I think it was Shoggoth's Old Peculiar), but I always enjoy them. It's like having a box of Belgium chocolates. Each one is different, but they are all meant to be savored!!

Until next week.......

13 comments:

Chris said...

OK, so much like you just said in your post I was about to say that all of these were some of my favorite short stories of his, but that statement starts to become pretty invalid when I say that in every single post that you do :p But I really fell in love with Looking for the Girl and Shoggoth's Old Peculiar. Those are both awesome stories! Changes was really cool too.

Stephanie said...

Chris - Exactly my point!! Each week, I write how fabulous the stories are....and how much I love them. It seems a little repetitive after a while, doesn't it??

Melody said...

I haven't read this book yet, Stephanie, but I definitely will. I have a few of his books in my TBR pile, and am still looking for his earlier works, including the children books, hehe... He's one AMAZING writer not to be missed!

Carl V. said...

I need to read Shoggoth's again now that I have some Lovecraft under my belt. I remember enjoying it, but I would probably get so much more out of it now.

Nymeth said...

Carl is totally right - the first time I read Shoggoth's Old Peculiar I had not read any Lovecraft yet. Returning to it after I had was an immense joy!

Debi said...

Oh, I just loved your comparison to the Belgian chocolates...another wonderful review, Stephanie!

Stephen said...

I guess I don't need to add how good Gaiman's short stories are. "Smoke and Mirrors" is very good, but I think I prefer "Fragile Things" even more. It's one of my favourite reads of the last year.

kookiejar said...

You still don't consider yourself a short story aficionado?

Carl V. said...

Stephen, I think you're the first person I've ever heard say that. For me they have become a tie as far as which I like better. Smoke and Mirrors has such fantastic stories in it that I just love and will always have a special place for it. Fragile Things has gotten better each time I've read/listened to it and for some reason there are fewer stories in it that I find don't work than in Smoke and Mirrors, but that is just my opinion. Suffice it to say I love them both!

I found that I enjoyed A Study in Emerald more listening to it after I had read some Lovecraft!

Stephanie said...

Melody - You should definitely read this one. It's really great!

Carl and Nymeth - I think that might be why I really liked Shoggoth's so much. When I was a little younger, I had a total Lovecraft fetish!! I may have to go back and read them again!

Debi - Thanks!! There was a guy in my office that used to go to Belgium 2X a year on business. He'd always come back with these huge boxes of Leonides Chocolates. Yummy. It didn't matter which one you picked up, they were all amazing!

Stephen - You know....I may have to agree with you. I don't know whether it's because I read Fragile Things first....or some of the stories were just so CREEPY. But I might have to say I liked it a little bit better. Then again...I haven't finished this one.

A Study in Emerald and Forbidden Brides of the Faceless Slaves in the Secret House of the Night of Dread Desires both knocked my socks off!

Stephanie said...

Kookie - I don't think I'm there yet. But getting close!!

Carl - I fell in love with Fragile Things from the opening story. We'll see how I feel when I finish Smoke and Mirrors!!

John Mutford said...

What are you going to do when you run out of Gaiman short stories?

Interesting that he has another story involving Cthulhu.

Stephanie said...

John - I'm hoping I never run out of Gaiman short stories!! Actually, in another couple of weeks, I will have to find some other author to praise!!