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McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales (McSweeney's Quarterly Concern #10)

3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  2,384 ratings  ·  157 reviews
Thriller, Short Stories
Paperback, 497 pages
Published February 2003 by Vintage Books (first published January 1st 2003)
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Nine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories and Poems by Edgar Allan PoeA Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories by Flannery O'ConnorDubliners by James JoyceThe Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Collections of Short Stories
150th out of 2,037 books — 1,528 voters
Dubliners by James JoyceNine Stories by J.D. SalingerThe Complete Stories by Flannery O'ConnorThe Martian Chronicles by Ray BradburyInterpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best Short Story Collections
89th out of 846 books — 627 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nov 19, 2008 Ciara rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of genre fiction, sci-fi nerds, hard-boiled private eyes, nerdy hipsters
Shelves: read-in-2008
do you like genre fiction? then read this book. tragically, i dislike genre fiction. i'm sure this is a great anthology for people who do like genre fiction. by which i mean, westerns, mysteries, fantasy, old-school pulp novels, & items that can be found in the gold room at powell's in portland, oregon. when i was in college, one of my several majors was popular culture, with an emphasis on the inter-relationship of cinema & literature. which seems weird to me now that i never watch movi ...more
An all-star team of super dope writers comes together to try and bring back from the dead that slender beast that is the American Genre Short Story.
Some people in here did not really get what they were supposed to be writing, some were clearly unable to stop being all intellectualish and just put a plot in what they wrote, but most wrote stuff that's purely brilliant. Also because, well - Chabon, Leonard, King, Moorcock... some of the world's best writers are here.

Were such things still publishe
Sam Quixote
Like the cover and the way the stories are presented, the title "Thrilling Tales" is an ironic smirk at the content. Big name writers try to write genre pulp fiction from the '30s and '40s and the results are dire.

Jim Shepard opens with a story called "Tedford and the Megalodon", a snoozer about a guy who goes looking for a prehistoric fish (I think anyway, I was so bored I drifted in and out) and ultimately finds it only to have it swim away. Yup, that's the opening salvo that's supposed to ha
Oct 17, 2013 Jacob rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: wwii
I wanted to read this collection for the exposure to a number of authors who have intrigued me for a while (namely Rick Moody, Sherman Alexie, Dave Eggers, Elmore Leonard, Nick Hornby and Neil Gaiman). Frequently, though, I got the sense from these stories that these novelists were outside their element, struggling against the short story format. Mainly because the stories they wrote were written nicely with interesting characters, but often I felt the conclusions were rushed and/or unfulfilling ...more
A good collection of ripping yarns, despite any (staggering) misgivings you may have about the imprint. I especially enjoyed “The Nazi Canary” by Michael Moorcock (alt-30’s Conan-Doyle-style whodunnit concerning the suspicious death of Hitler’s niece); “Ghost Dance,” a cowboys-and-Indians ghost story by Sherman Alexie; plus a Depression-era gangster shoot-em-up by Elmore Leonard, a couple of good time-travel stories by Nick Hornby and Chris Offutt, and an in-search-of-prehistoric-sharks science- ...more
Karenina González
Unos cuentos me gustaron más que otros pero el libro sí está para no despegar los ojos de las páginas.
Perhaps it’s my recent immersion in the world of SF, but this treasury was less thrilling for me than advertised. It’s a good thing I didn’t read Michael Chabon’s intro before beginning the stories; otherwise I never would have continued. In it he complains about a particular type of literary story being all that literary venues have to offer. To which I say, perhaps you should read more widely. “Thrilling” tales are being published in all sorts of places. Perhaps not in McSweeney’s, to their st ...more
One of the unanswered questions of modern culture is the reason for the decline of the short story form. As people complain about lacking the time to read it would seem that the short stories should prove the ideal solution; busy readers can read a story from a collection and then walk away until they next have a chance to read. Yet despite this short stories receive less and less of a readership, precipitously falling from the great popularity they enjoyed a few decades ago when readers could c ...more
There's nothing better than an anthology of great short stories. What I love best is that this anthology doesn't succumb to the two most common pitfalls usually encountered in short story collections: 1) if the collection is done by just one author, then there tends to be more than a couple of duds in the collection; and 2) it doesn't fall prey to the literary pretentiousness so common in current fiction.

I had a fiction prof who argued that genre fiction could in no way be considered "literary
Deliciously evil.

There were some short stories here that were superb and some I could have skipped. The Albertine Notes started out sort of interesting and developed into an incredibly powerful shocking story that will haunt me forever. The major writers I've heard of didn't write the best stories, although Steven King's tale was better than most of his books. It was an odd collection tied together only because they had 'surprise' endings - like elaborate jokes. The idea was to have them be plot
Vickey Foggin
I picked this up at a church rummage sale because it featured a lot of authors I like having a play in the pulpy genres I enjoy. Like all short story collections, some stories are stronger than others but I'm glad they tried. I wish they'd all really let go and totally embraced the creative freedom the genres allowed...a lot of these tales could have been MORE thrilling. The best story was Michael Chabon's alternate history about American rebels on the run from Her Majesty's Aeronauts. Elmore Le ...more
I distinctly remember sitting down in the University of Wisconsin bookstore some time in my freshman year of college to thumb through this collection and find "The Tale of Grey Dick", a tie-in to the Dark Tower series and a trailer of sorts for the next book, Wolves of the Calla. I finished and put it right back on the shelf. Flash forward to a few weeks ago, and I'm lucky enough to find this gem at my sister's yard sale! w00t.

The stories are mostly hits with one or two misses. There are a few
John Pringle
This is a very likeable collection with some very good stories. “The Tears of Squonk, and What Happened Thereafter” by Glen David Gold is maybe the pick of the collection. I wish Gold would write more short stories. In the time it took him to write Sunnyside, he could have written 20 more stories like this one.
I saw the cover of this book at a book sale and I fell for it, hard. It's a compilation of "genre" short stories: westerns, sci-fi, horror, crime, etc. The reason for my instant need to own? Contributing authors include: Michael Chabon (who also edited), Elmore Leonard, Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, Stephen King, Michael Crichton (who sadly contributed a rather lame tale), Dave Eggers, Harlan Ellison, and more. Love at first sight, I'll tell you.

It mostly lived up to my expectations as well. The maj
MB Taylor
I finished Reading McSweeneys Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales (2002) edited by Michael Chabon on the first. It’s an interesting collection of 20 short stories. It’s a little outside my normal reading genre, but I’d read works of eight of the contributors before (and seen a movie based a book by one of the others). I thought the collection as a whole was a little better than OK. A couple of the stories I liked a lot, a few I liked, and most were ok. I didn’t think any of them we awful (althou ...more
This collection was preceded with an explanation/lament on the dying genre/pulp short story. I gathered that short stories are hard, pulp has little in the way of plot (I'm not sure I've ever read a true pulp story, as this was a phenomenon that occurred before I could read), and started in. Pulp was dying. Whatever. I was just pumped that I'd found a "collection" book on the shelf of the man who would later become my boyfriend (didn't want to start something longer as the "book at his place" in ...more
Mike Rasbury
Despite the overwhelmingly great group of contirbutors: Alexie, Chabon, Ellison, Gaiman, Leonard and Moorcock, this collection struck me as extremely indulgent and very "wanky." Yes, wanky. There's a stigma that McSweeny's carries, (one of pomp and pretentiousness) and while I feel that this stigma is mostly undeserved, it is totally deserved here. You would have thought that this book would have been exempt based on its very nature (genre fiction) but it so isn't.

Chabon—as much as I do like the
John Bruni
This is a good group of stories. There are a few stinkers, but the good ones more than make up for them. The best come from the bigger names, like Elmore Leonard, Michael Crichton, Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, Michael Moorcock, and Harlan Ellison. There were a couple of other really good ones, though, like "The Bees" by Dan Chaon and "Chuck's Bucket" by Chris Offutt. However, I would have to say my favorite would have to be either Leonard's "How Carlos Webster Changed His Name to Carl and Became a ...more
I’m a fan of fiction anthologies because it allows me to sample a variety of writers and possibly discover new favorites. The only thing I don’t like is reviewing them because of the amount and variety of stories. It’s hard to do something like this justice in a short and simple review.

Overall, this was interesting, entertaining, and quite varied with regard to theme. While the genre was fiction, the tales themselves varied from horror-esque to mystery to supernatural to simple fiction. Inevitab
Rating: 8/10

Although some of the stories were more satisfying than others, there is enough excellent, entertaining material here that I was very glad to have had the chance to read this collection. The concept of short stories which contain plot and adventure, and which avoid the anti-ending, is an idea I can readily embrace.

Jim Shepard's "Tedford and the Megalodon"
A good opener. Though it is by no means the swashbuckling tale promised by the cover, I found it strangely poetic and transcendent a
I admire Michael Chabon's crusade to break down the barriers between genre fiction and mainstream fiction. As he did when editing 'The Best American Short Stories 2005', Chabon aims for this short story collection to be a celebration of the joys of plot -- of a good 'thrilling tale' -- vs. the tyranny of the "contemporary, plotless, moment-of-truth revelatory story". This is played up in a fun way with old-age pulp-y illustrations and blurb text for each story (example: "It was just a lousy seco ...more
Booknerd Fraser
I always find it difficult to both finish and review short story anthologies, and partly for the same reason - there's so much stuff there. But I've got a few lying around, and this one's been here longer than most.

This volume is an attempt by the editor, Michael Chabon, to rescue the modern short story from lint-filled navel gazing in which nothing much happens to the more narrative form favored by the "genre" (that is, anything not defining itself as "literary") fiction of yesteryear. In the
Well, I hate to be a pretentious indie hipster, but I love and adore McSweeney's and I want them to publish something that I write someday cause it would be awesome.

That being said, this book only continues my love affair with the publisher.

In the introduction, Michael Chabon complains about how most short stories written today completely lack plot and then end with a startling revelation that is character-related. He's absolutely right. Remember all of those creative writing stories??? Anyway.
Quick thought on each story.

Jim Shepard - Tedford...:
Pretty good, diction made it kind of hard to read.

Glen David Gold - Tears of Squonk:
Good. Funny.

Dan Chaon - The Bees:
Awesome. Suspenseful.

Kelly Link - Catskin:
Terrible. Pointless. Reads like furry fan fiction written by 15 year old.

Elmore Leonard - Carlos Webster:
Mastery. I love pulp fiction.

Carol Emshwiller - The General:
Great. Gripping.

Neil Gaiman - Closing Time:
Kind of interesting. Don't 100% get it.

Nick Hornby - Otherwise Pandemonium:
As with most story collections, this one was hit-or-miss. Obviously people have differing tastes, so the stories I liked will not be the ones that other people liked, but there were some pretty strong entries. I very much enjoyed the stories by Kelly Link, Elmore Leonard, Carol Emshwiller, Neil Gaiman (duh), Nick Hornby, Laurie King (seriously good), Sherman Alexie, and Harlan Ellison. The others ranged from fine to pretty pointless.

Also, Michael Chabon is full of crap if he thinks this collect
Oct 12, 2007 Erik rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those seeking thrills and otherwise
This McSweeny's publication is edited by Michael Chabon and his purpose for the anthology was to include, as the title suggests, thrilling short stories. He didn't dissapoint. Some excellent talent was recruited including: Elmore Leonard, Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Nick Hornby, Michael Crichton, Sherman Alexie and of course Dave Eggers and Mr. Chabon himself.

After finishing this book the thing I was most surprised about was that many of my favorite stories were by the authors which I was unfamil
Sep 06, 2007 Tracey rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes "old-fashioned" short stories
I spotted McSweeney's Mammoth Treasury of Thrilling Tales on the New Releases table at the local bookstore a month or two ago - I picked it up & glanced at the list of authors on the back & figured it to be a pretty good read.

I was not disappointed. In his introduction, Michael Chabon discussed his concern with the current state of the short story and challenged his fellow authors to come up with plot-driven stories, more in line with the "pulps" of the 40's & 50's. All 20 authors me
Michael Chabon writes that he set out to edit this collection in order to gather what might be called old-fashioned short stories -- think Conrad, London, even Faulkner as well as Kipling and all manner of genre fiction -- as a alternative to "the contemporary, quotidian, plotless, moment-of-truth revelatory story" that no seems to be the whole of the form. Only read about half the stories here before deciding to move on, but enjoyed what I read well enough. There are a lot of popular heavy-hitt ...more
A decidedly mixed bag. Some of the stories (e.g., Sherman Alexie's, Neil Gaiman's, Elmore Leonard's) are solidly great reads, others (e.g., Dave Eggars's) are interminable and pointless slogs, some (e.g., Dan Chaon's, Laurie King's) one forgets thirty minutes after reading them, and a few (e.g., Nick Hornby's) are good examples of why those authors are worth exploring further, but seem to have wandered into the collection from other short story compilations more appropriate for their tone and mo ...more
This is a collection of short stories with a wierd premise. That premise is that these are stories with plots. Michael Chabon who was the editor for the volume apparently feels that this is something missing from today's short fiction (including his own). He laments the lack of horror, detective, sci fi and adventure stories. I am left wondering what he has been reading lately. There are plenty of short stories today that have plot and that fit into these categories.
Regardless, the collection o
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Expected More 1 15 Nov 22, 2008 03:02PM  
  • McSweeney's #14
  • McSweeney's #13
Michael Chabon (b. 1963) is an acclaimed and bestselling author whose works include the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000). Chabon achieved literary fame at age twenty-four with his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), which was a major critical and commercial success. He then published Wonder Boys (1995), another bestseller, which was mad ...more
More about Michael Chabon...

Other Books in the Series

McSweeney's Quarterly Concern (1 - 10 of 50 books)
  • McSweeney's #1
  • McSweeney's #2
  • McSweeney's #3
  • McSweeney's #4
  • McSweeney's #5
  • McSweeney's #6
  • McSweeney's #7
  • McSweeney's #8
  • McSweeney's #9
  • McSweeney's #11

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