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Two Worlds and in Between

4.33 of 5 stars 4.33  ·  rating details  ·  152 ratings  ·  17 reviews
Caitlín R. Kiernan’s short fiction was first published in 1995. Over the intervening decade and a half, she has proven not only one of dark fantasy and science fiction’s most prolific and versatile authors, but, to quote Ramsey Campbell, “One of the most accomplished writers in the field, and very possibly the most lyrical.” S. T. Joshi has written, “Kiernan’s witchery of ...more
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published November 1st 2011 by Subterranean Press (first published August 31st 2011)
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Community Reviews

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Kat  Hooper
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Two Worlds and In Between: The Best of Caitlín R. Kiernan is a collection of Caitlín R. Kiernan’s works which span the years 1993-2004. In this collection there are 24 short stories, one poem, one novella, an introduction by the author, and a short afterword for each work. The stories are arranged in chronological order, letting the reader watch the progression of Kiernan’s style and the noticeable changes in her stories’ subject matter as she matures. Som
...more
Maria Kramer
This is a great anthology for fans of horror - full of Caitlin Kiernan's lush, disturbing work. She has a real way with words - glorious description so overgrown that at times it can be hard to figure out what's actually going on - but so immersive that you just sink into the stories. My one quibble is that her short works seem incomplete - she's great at setting up an atmosphere of dread, but her stories often shy away from delivering the final blow. Based on one of her post-story comments, I t ...more
Althea Ann
*** Emptiness Spoke Eloquent [1993]
Here's the drawback of a chronological organizational scheme: it doesn't always start with the strongest work. Kiernan admits in the notes that she feels it was overambitious. I'm also not personally partial to this sort of 'what happened after?' tale. This follows Dracula's Mina through the years.

**** Two Worlds; and In Between [1994]
Two words: Gothic Zombies.
And in between: I loved the contrast here between the specificity of the details of what was happening
...more
Steven
Mar 24, 2012 Steven rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: readers of dark fiction
Two Worlds and In Between is an absolutely massive collection, as befits the author. Kiernan is, in my opinion, one of the premier talents of modern dark fiction, and a career overview such as this is long overdue. Unfortunately, many of her previous collections are rather hard to find, so this definitely fills a need in the market.

The book is divided into two sections: early work (1993-1999) and later (2000-2004). It may go without saying that the second half of the book is the superior, but Ki
...more
Brendan
I saw her at a panel at Readercon (I did the "dip my toe in the water for free on Thursday night" plan), and was just really impressed with how she talked about art-- it's clearly a life or death thing for her. So I found this "Greatest Hits" collection at the library and checked it out. I really enjoyed it. She is insanely talented--so much so that I really liked the early stories, in which nothing really happens. To say that I am not usually a fan of such stories is an understatement. But Kier ...more
Josh
For those who are not already familiar with the author, these neatly arranged short stories allow the reader to follow Kiernan on her journey from being a gifted yet somewhat 'verbose writer' to one of the only living authors of dark fiction worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as arguably the greatest of the 20th century, H.P Lovecraft. Far from being a cheap imitation however, Kiernan weaves her equally beautiful and eloquent prose together with a more modern and character-driven struc ...more
David
A fantastic "weird fiction" and fantasy author. This is a great compendium. Not one story is bad, and many are brilliant. I tend to think her science fiction is the best, but her other tales that tend more toward gothic horror (an area that usually does not have much interest to me) are also great. A whole lot of weirdness and horror going on here. If you can get past the excess of the “bodily fluids” and the fact that many of the characters are really messed up, you will find stories that are d ...more
Therese
I’ve read Two Worlds and In Between twice now and I’m somewhat surprised at how underwhelmed I am by it. CRK is stone-cold brilliant, she really is. But I’ve discovered that I am less enamoured of her earlier work than I was when I was a teenager. Which is not to say that there aren’t stories that still have the capacity to sucker punch me in the best possible way. Oh Dancy.

The other thing that depresses the hell out of me about this one is the amount of typos and errors there are. I’ve spent a
...more
Alex
%%%% good one
Rob
This book is one of those that really makes me wish for a 10 star or 1/2 star rating ability, it's a good solid 9/10 book.

A lot of this I'd read before having already been in collected Kiernan works (I have everything she's published through Subterranean) but it was worth purchasing to read those again (I have a habit of very little re-reading) and to read the ones I haven't.

For those familiar with Kiernan's work then know to expect a dark and twisted world, that to many could easily be seen as
...more
Henrik
Received this today, Nov. 14, 2011. A beautiful hardcover. And since it's the "deluxe limited," signed edition (#440/600) it seems I got the booklet "C is For Crimson Alphabet (Another Primer)" thrown in as well. Coooooool:-D

I so look forward to delve into this one.

MAY 17, 2012:
"The Worm In My Mind's Eye":

Very short, but scintillating, story. Very dark, sci-fi like, without being restricted to sci-fi alone. Don't know if I "got it", though. Cool. I liked it.
Chraeloos
Kiernan is my favourite author. She mixes the real with the imaginable (and maybe real) so convincingly. Her characters are always believable, and absolutely solid. She pulls you into the story and doesn't spit you out until she's ready to let you go. As far as this collection goes, it's a great way to get into her work.
Angie
Fabulous set of stories! The first are a bit weak, but they were written when Kiernan was just starting out. (I'd say that of only the first three.) The rest have unique ideas and scare with the dread that comes from not knowing exactly what is the form of the fear you experience.
Loton Cagle
Great book! I also got the leather-bound deluxe signed edition with extra chapbook. I love her stories and I recently read about half of her novels and will no doubt read the other half soon!
Celeste
Finished all but last two stories. Couldn't get into 'The Dry Salvages' and am pretty certain I have read 'Houses Under the Sea' in another anthology, so didn't bother reading it again.
Cdollowi
Some of the most haunting science fiction I will likely ever read. An enjoyable anthology to read, in part because you get to see the author grow over time.
Aspen Walker
I love Caitlin Kiernan. I especially loved "Houses Under the Sea" in this very large, very delicious book.
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“And it means snapshots, because that's what all stories I write come down to; each is a snapshot of who I was during however many days and weeks it was written. A fictional reflection of my mind fossilized, set in paper and ink, instead of stone. Memorialized, for better or worse. This is who I was, and this, and this, and this, and that, and most times I look back and wince. I'm rarely kind to who I was. But other times, looking back is bittersweet. Sometimes, I'm even grateful to the me of then who left a snapshot for the me of now. Maybe I should let go and join those who pretend the past is past, but it's a falsehood I've never learned to spin.” 4 likes
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