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The Celestial Omnibus and Other Stories

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  458 Ratings  ·  46 Reviews
Collection of classic short stories, first published in 1912. According to Wikpedia: "Edward Morgan Forster(1 January 1879 – 7 June 1970), was an English novelist, short story writer, essayist and librettist. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. Forster's humanistic impulse t ...more
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Published February 1st 2011 by B&R Samizdat Express (first published 1911)
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Nancy Oakes
May 19, 2015 Nancy Oakes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much more about this book later, but I finished this book about 3 a.m. this morning and I literally have not stopped thinking about it since. I just ordered Forster's Selected Stories, hoping that the other stories in that book are as good as these are.

Seriously -- super book. My favorite quotation from the entire collection:

"Lasciate ogni baldanza voi che entrate."
This is a different side of Forster that we see here. This is a collection of allegorical short stories that he considered fantasy. Very much on the lines of C.S. Lewis with a little Tolkien thrown in. The Celestial Omnibus gets top billing, but they were all quite good.
Jun 10, 2016 Laura marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Free download available at InternetArchive.
Jan 17, 2015 Melissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of this title from Dover Publications through NetGalley.

This brief collection of stories show the true depth of Forster’s literary talent and his ability to infuse fantasy and imagination into his stories. My favorite stories were two in the collection into which Forster incorporates many classical references.

In the Celestial Omnibus, a boy discovers a sign for an omnibus in the lane across from his house. The alley is a very odd place for an omnibus to pass through so the boy
Cait Poytress
I have to admit that I am still getting used to Forster's style. He's not especially descriptive, which can be a good thing. I've read books that take pages upon pages to describe something as inconsequential as the front porch of a random building, down to the individual hues and intricate pattern of the wood grain. Um, no thanks. That's when I start skimming, in an attempt to keep my eyes from glazing over and drooping shut. However. Forster, in my opinion, goes too far in the opposite directi ...more
A nice collection of stories with fantasy/supernatural element; the main theme seems to be the forces of nature and imagination versus rules of society and reason. Some of the stories were slightly too sublime for my taste, but I liked "The Story of a Panic" and "The Road from Colonus".
Barbara Justiniano
Wonderful compilation of 6 short stories.
Aug 12, 2016 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
More like 3.5
Mar 20, 2011 Ape rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 18, 2013 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, short_stories
I find it very difficult to review a short story collection. I don't like to review each story individually, because I don't have enough time, but it seems like I skip too much if I do otherwise. Sometimes I review the collection with a vague conglomeration of what I felt of the stories as a whole, but that really doesn't say much about the stories. In the worst case, I write a review that ends up being potentially off-topic because all it does is talk about how I tend to review short story book ...more
Aug 17, 2008 Michele rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Celestial Omnibus is a delightful (did I just say delightful? ugh! but it really was sheer pleasure to read) short story about a boy who visits heaven and returns with wonderful stories that no one will believe. It's nicely crafted, concise, and highly imaginative... heaven is a sort of literary haven for heros, gods, and good writers. It's only about 15 pages, but lots of fun.

The Machine Stops is another short story that I'd read before. It was included in the Science Fiction Research Assoc
THE CELESTIAL OMNIBUS and other stories. (1911). E. M. Forster. ***.
This early collection of stories by Forster represented his forays into the world of the imagination. He called them fantasies, but you should not confuse them with the genre we call ‘fantasy’ today. Each story, with a slightly different twist, tells the story of how one of the characters breaks through the façade of our ‘real’ world into the world of the supernatural. In Forster’s mind, the supernatural is represented by those
Nov 28, 2010 Bonnie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: a budding reader
Recommended to Bonnie by: Out of the Great Books Vol 1
I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never read a book by E.M. Forrester, certainly been meaning to, at the least one of his more well known--A Passage to India, A Room with a View or Howard's End, but never have, and so was thrilled to run across one of his short stories that I knew I could read in a short stint and get a feel for him as a writer. And what better topic than what I might call a Book on Books even though in this case it would be a short story on books or something to that effect.

Jun 18, 2016 Collin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
The 3-star review is a little misleading - I really did enjoy most of these little stories, more than your average 3 stars express. I guess it's another 3 1/2.

I'd previously read the eponymous story for a speculative fiction course, and that was fun, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that all of the stories were in the same vein of not quite fantasy, but definitely not just plain fiction. I might even come close to calling it a sort of magical realism. (Well, "The Curate's Friend," I think, i
Nov 25, 2016 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Prior to reading these short stories by E. M. Forster, I'd only been familiar with his work through watching "A Room with a View" all those years ago. I wasn't sure what to expect from these stories (a gift from a friend). In the end, I would say that the author's approach was part whimsy, part oddity. My two favorites were the story about the curate who meets a faun ("The Curate's Friend") and the story in which a young boy takes a bus ride to heaven ("The Celestial Omnibus"). The others were e ...more
Feb 28, 2014 Emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Celestial Omnibus was intriguing to say the least. I was drawn in to this story and curious to see what would happen to the main character, but as others have stated E. M. Forster does not use many details so I had to reread certain sections to try to figure out where they were or I would be lost for a bit of reading until something clicked. I liked that short story better than The Road to Colonus. The Road was more detailed and I was able to start predicting what might happen next (unlike O ...more
Sep 03, 2015 Ci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a curious collection of short-stories, all centered on encounters with supernatural being or events. Greco-Roman mystic creatures such as Pan and Faun, as well as re-worked stories such as Apollo and Daphne, Dante's Paradiso, Oedipus at Colonus, all worked into the curate-aunt-country-side setting of middle class English vignettes. The Story of a Panic is the best of the lot, while the rest seems to be rather skimpily developed in characters. It is enjoyable to read but not in the same p ...more
Althea Ann
Feb 03, 2014 Althea Ann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review of just the title story:

The allegory here is in the beat-'em-over-the-head-with-it school, but I still really enjoyed this tale of a small boy who discovers a carriage that conveys him to the Heaven that all true lovers of literature can find (the return ticket is free). Yes, the story is 100% about the wonders of reading and scathing about both those who disrespect the sense of wonder, and those who treat literature as a didactic tool to be put on a pedestal - and that's just wonderful.
Jan 20, 2015 Melissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd previously read a couple of Forster's novels- A Room with a View and A Passage to India, so I assumed this collection of short stories would be similar. Boy, was I wrong. These stories are really quite bizarre and seem to be inspired by Victorian ghost/ supernatural stories. I can't really call them ghost stories, but supernatural elements are at play in several of the stories.

My favorite in the bunch is the title story, The Celestial Omnibus, which tells of a carriage that can take its pas
This book repeats the themes of several other Forster titles (Room with a View, Passage to India, and Howard’s End) about how social conventions can stifle true living. In these short stories, he mocks those who are educated and dignified and glorifies those who give themselves over to the pleasures of the natural world. Each tale is beautifully written and yet somehow they leave the reader with an uneasy feeling. Yes, something is definitely lacking in a life of “just following the rules,” but ...more
Aug 11, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Please, is that an Omnibus?"

My first encounter with E.M. Forster, after starting the first of this collection's stories in a used bookshop, which also happens to be Forster's first published story "The Story of a Panic". "The Celestial Omnibus" compiles a smattering of Forster's other delightfully peculiar short stories. His writing is very English, and his stories full of classic Hellenization, ancient literary allusions and paganistic elements. They're mostly enigmatic and perhaps somewhat im
Apr 05, 2012 Stormcrow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A thoroughly delightful collection of short stories all having elements of the fantastic. Some of the stories are almost lighter versions of Arthur Machen who was an inspiration to Lovecraft. The horrors here aren't cosmic, but often nature itself in subtle degrees. And make no mistake, there are elements of horror in these stories.

Most delightful of all, this collection is in the public domain and can be downloaded to any device. Next time you're stuck waiting somewhere, instead of surfing the
Feb 14, 2008 Katherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Short stories, allegorical fable type. Forster, in his trademark beautiful prose, provides several short stories of practical British people who find themselves either able or completely unable to deal with a slight amount of otherworldliness. In the title story, a young boy finds an omnibus that goes to Heaven; however, try though he might to share this vision with the adults around him, he finds himself surrounded by disbelievers. The end result is fair, almost frighteningly so.
Ralph Blackburn
Six early tales by Foster, written before he became the preeminent author known today. The stories, first appearing in turn-of-the-century magazines, are basically retold fables reflecting the times they were published. Sometimes awkward in their approach to race and gender mores, but filled with glimpses of Foster's emerging wit and style. An enjoyable read. Dover's presentation is very clean and easy to navigate.
Mar 31, 2009 Dianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i'm actually reading Celestial Omnibus and Eternal Moment together in a collected volume ... i had no idea that E.M. Forster wrote stories of fantasy and science fiction, this is not an author i would have associated with the genre. Celestial Omnibus was written in, i believe, 1911 and the stories share themes of man's disconnect from nature, from sincerity and simplicity, and idealizes a classical past. they're charming and excellent.
Elizabeth Hopkinson
I found this book in a second hand book sale this week, and really enjoyed it. These are exactly the sort of short stories I like; they reminded me a bit of Lord Dunsanny, only not quite so wonderful. I also wonder if CS Lewis read them, as one story contains an obnoxious boy called Eustace who undergoes a change for the better, and another one features someone meeting a faun in a wood.
Mar 11, 2011 Zoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brilliantly bizarre collection of short stories. While the style is in distinct contrast to that proffered by his novels, the themes of the often problematic connection between man and nature, and the tension between the inner and outer modes of being, are typically, and wonderfully, Forsterian.
Roger Buck
Jun 11, 2014 Roger Buck rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poignant, compelling stories which I deeply appreciated in my misspent youth in an English, Protestant galaxy far, far away. But changing galaxies changes everything and these days these great English Protestant writers seem to have nothing like the poignancy and pathos I find in say …
Laura J. W.
May 15, 2010 Laura J. W. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read the short story "The Celestial Omnibus" in junior high for a class assignment, and thought it was the most beautiful story at the was a good feeling to read it today many years later and still find the magic that so sweetly set my imagination on fire...
Jan 27, 2013 Kristin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoy E. M. Forster and liked this collection quite a bit.

But why were there So. Many. Fauns? I get that the satyr is a motif in the Edwardian period, but it was pervasive enough to be distracting.
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Edward Morgan Forster, generally published as E.M. Forster, was an novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. His humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect".

He had five
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