Monday, January 7, 2008

Short Story Monday - Smoke and Mirrors Part IV

With Christmas and New Year's messing up my schedule, I skipped Short Story Monday the last few weeks. But I'm back today with another edition from Neil Gaiman's FABULOUS book, Smoke and Mirrors.

Only the End of the World Again was written for an anthology of stories set in H. P. Lovecraft's fictional town of Innsmouth. It's about a man named Larry Talbot, who just happens to be a werewolf. He moves around a lot, and just recently came to Innsmouth. Surprisingly enough, the townsfolk seem to know what he is because they are continually offering him ways to relieve himself of his condition. (I might add, there's an extremely unsettling image dealing with fingers that you are just going to have to read about yourself!) But what do the townsfolk really know and what do they want with Larry?

Bay Wolf is a story/poem that mixes a little bit of Beowulf with a little bit of Baywatch! Ok....that really sounds kind of cheesy, but somehow Gaiman makes it work!! And very well, I might add. Again, Larry Talbot joins us as he tries to find out what is killing people on Venice Beach.

We Can Get Them for You Wholesale is a story about a man who is looking for a little revenge. He finds out that his girlfriend/fiance is messing around with someone at work, so he starts to look for an assassin. And he finds what he is looking for in the yellow pages under "pest control". This is a story for all of you that really enjoy finding a bargain!!

One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock is the story of a young boy that is completely enamoured with the stories of Elric of Melnibone. (OK...I had to look this one up. I have never heard of Michael Moorcock or Elric the albino "White Wolf" and his sword Stormbringer).

Cold Colors is another poem/story dealing with computers, technology and basically, the devil himself. Would you sell your soul for a ten-pack of floppies?

Finally, The Sweeper of Dreams is a short, 2-page narrative that was written about one of Lisa Snellings statues. This one is of a man who is a janitor and is leaning on his broom. He is the "Sweeper of Dreams" and it really is a fantastic read!!

This week's stories were all over the place in terms of genre: werewolves, hired killers, computers and the enigmatic Sweeper. I have to say, I didn't really "get" the Moorcock story. But maybe that's just me. I absolutely adored Bay Wolf and The Sweeper of Dreams. And I had to laugh at the man trying to find a bargain as well as trying to knock off the competition. Who thinks this stuff up anyway? Oh yeah. Neil Gaiman!! So far, this collection is proving to be just as good as Fragile Things. I really didn't think it could get any better, but he just keeps cranking out some fascinating characters!!

Till next week. Only 2 more posts for Smoke and Mirrors, then I'll have to find some other author to occupy my short story Monday slot!!


Debi said...

Oh, I can't wait to start reading these! (Of course when I do, I'll have to look up Moorcock and Elric too.) I just love these short story posts, Stephanie!

Stephanie said...

Thanks Debi!! I've come to realize how much fun short stories can be. Just have to find the right author, I guess!! Yeah. NEVER heard of Moorcock. Didn't really like that one.

Chris said...

We Can Get Them for you Wholesale is REALLY one of my favorite Neil Gaiman shorts, lol...I know I say that all the time, but that one really is...I just love it. I loved One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock. I wasn't nuts about it at first, but as it sat in my head for a few days, it became one of my favorites. I think it's because it's partly autobiographical.

And if you're looking for another collection of short stories, might I suggest Orson Scott Card's Maps in a Mirror...cuz I don't push him on people enough, right? lol...It's chunky, so it would last you a few weeks! I haven't read the whole thing yet, just a few stories, but I've loved all of his shorts and I'm reading the whole collection this year!

Anonymous said...

oh dear... you have me shaking like a little kid who can't wait for christmas...! this sounds so good...!!

i just have to get through my tbr books, but when i have some space this is gonna be one of the first ones i get...!

great review!

that first story (you reviewed) also reminded me that i simply have to read some lovecraft sometime... (so many authors!!) have you read any lovecraft?

Stephanie said...

Chris - SURE it is!! No, really. I believe you THIS time!! I did read that the Moorcock story was slightly autobiographical. I can see that. It just didn't do it for me. OSC, hmmmm?? Well, I have to find someone new!! I think I have just about run the well of Gaiman dry!!

JP - It's a great collection, that's for sure. And I like being able to read them along with another book, since they are so short. Yes, I have Lovecraft on my list this year. I need to read some more.

Melody said...

Hey Stephanie! I can't wait to read this; I have it in my TBR pile! ;)

BTW, just to let you know you have won the book! ;D

Carl V. said...

We Can Get Them For You Wholesale is among my favorites in that collection. Such a great story. I really like Sweeper of Dreams as well.

I knew who Moorcock was when I read that but I have yet to read any of his works and so that story didn't do much for me either.

Now that I've read some Lovecraft I will no doubt appreciate those Lovecraftian stories even more the next time I read them.

Nicola said...

I absoultely can't wait to read these Gaiman short story books! Hopefully I can fit them in this year.

I read Michael Moorcock when I was a teenager and eagerly searched out as many of his books as I could. They would fall under the swords & sorcery genre. But it's so long ago I only have a hazy remembrance of them.

John Mutford said...

Gaiman'd better come up with a new short story collection soon. Where would Short Story Mondays be without him.

Nymeth said...

The Moorcock story is one of my favourites too, but I guess it reads more like one of his blog entry than a short story. I just loved reading about someone growing up immersed in's something I can relate to, even though the authors I read as a child were others. But I can see how that one wouldn't work for everyone.

We Can Get Them for you Wholesale is another one of my favourites...I just LOVE the ending :D

Ladytink_534 said...

Strange Candy by Laurell K. Hamilton is a great book of short stories!

Andi said...

So tempting! I've gotta get to this collection soon.

heather (errantdreams) said...

'We can get them for you wholesale' is, quite possibly, my favorite short story of all time.

That isn't hyperbole.

'All you had to do was ask...'

Carl V. said...

Wholesale is chilling, isn't it? Love it!