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Shoggoths in Bloom and Other Stories

4.05  ·  Rating Details  ·  313 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
Short fiction from Elizabeth Bear, recipient of the "John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer." Includes her Hugo- and Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award-winning "Tideline" and Hugo-winning novelette, "Shoggoths in Bloom," as well as an original, never-published story. A World Fantasy, Nebula, and Philip K. Dick nominee, Bear is one of speculative fiction's most acclaimed, ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 31st 2012 by Prime Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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Sandkings by George R.R. MartinThe Last Castle by Jack VanceThe Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette KowalThe Girl-Thing Who Went Out for Sushi by Pat CadiganShoggoths in Bloom and Other Stories by Elizabeth Bear
Hugo Award Winners: Best Novelette
5th out of 51 books — 8 voters
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark HaddonThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann ShafferI'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have to Kill You by Ally CarterThe Princess Bride by William GoldmanAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Books with Really Long Titles
378th out of 729 books — 203 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,043)
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Beth Cato
Sep 29, 2012 Beth Cato rated it really liked it
I received this gratis e-ARC through the publisher on NetGalley.

I'm very familiar with Elizabeth Bear's work. I have followed her blog for many years, read several of her books, and a number of her short stories. It turned out that I had already read about 1/3 of the stories in this anthology--but I didn't mind in the least. I connect much more with her shorter work than I do her novels, and it was a joy to re-read her masterful work such as "Tideline," "Shoggoths in Bloom," and "The Girl Who Sa
Jul 10, 2013 Rattyfleef rated it it was amazing
I loved this so much I will review each story INDIVIDUALLY.

A damaged war robot and her pet boy, seaglass, and storytelling.

I love this one. The narrator is the spirit of Vegas and the story is about boxing and the price of magic, and that sometimes the person who pays for a thing is not the person who gets to use it.

Also about magic and who pays vs who enjoys, but this time with whales and a bro who makes a bad call.

Carey Gibbons
Oct 07, 2013 Carey Gibbons rated it really liked it
This is really an incredible collection. I read Shoggoths in Bloom and enjoyed every page. Some of the stories weren't what I would normally read (yay for broadening horizons!), but I can say with confidence that every single one was beautifully written. Elizabeth Bear has a gift for language. I can't wait to read more of her work.
Mar 28, 2014 Cole rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
Let's be honest for a minute. I only picked this book up off the Library shelf because it had "Shoggoths" in the title. Let that be a lesson to me.

I enjoyed the eponymous short story, because it was about Shoggoths and they were done well (there are no other mythos intersections, however). I also rather liked "The Cold Blacksmith". The rest of these stories are depressing, formulaic, and uninspired. The formula involves sacrifice, bittersweet and/or cathartic endings, and the lead character dyin
"Tideline" and "In the House of Aryaman, a Lonely Signal Burns" are still good stories, but none of the rest is remarkable. And even those two, the reason why I picked a collection by Bear, are not stories that burned themselves deep into my memory. The rest ... there are neat ideas and great language, but somehow, they are lacking. None of the worlds created are coherent - I read science fiction and fantasy a lot, I am used to suspend my disbelief a lot, but there are too many things that are n ...more
Gustavo Muñoz (Akito)
Jun 09, 2015 Gustavo Muñoz (Akito) rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi, mystery
People don't joke when they call Elizabeth Bear one of the most prolific writers today. She knows exactly what makes stories work, and she plays around that knowledge like a drunken musician; sometimes the amazing happens, sometimes the not-so-amazing does, but it's always interesting to see.

This is one varied collection, ranging from Shoggoths, to singing endangered dragons, to a sex robot blamed with murder (Dolly, one of my favourites) and I just have to mention the Pacific Northwest Tree Oct
Kate O'Hanlon
These stories have been festooned with awards, honourable mentions and places in years best anthologies. Rightly so, Bear is a master of short fiction. As with her first collection, Shoggoths in Bloom spans a variety of genres and sub-genres, there are battle robots mourning fallen comrades, politically savy princesses in eastern inspired fantasy worlds, scientists in near future labs, blacksmiths forging hearts, corporate spies, personified cities, broken down boxers, and hard choices.

She loves
Jan 24, 2016 Darren rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
This review is not a review yet.

Tideline - A powerful story of a machine of death which chooses to care.

Sonny Liston Takes the Fall - This one is all in the title. You know which fall they're talking about before you even start in on the story. What is the line between a dive and a sacrifice?

Sounding - Another story of sacrifice, this time in a New England fishing family.

The something-Dreaming Game -

The Cold Blacksmith - Weyland puts too much of himself into his attempts to mend a broken heart
Pop Bop
May 13, 2014 Pop Bop rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Sample Bear's Range and Diversity

Here's the thing about anthologies, and about attempts to review, describe or comment on anthologies - well intentioned blurbers and reviewers give you one sentence summaries of the most remarkable stories, or even of each story. Depending on whether they liked the collection or disliked the collection they can easily make each story sound fascinating or tedious and derivative. The summaries are helpful, of course, and can be tasty come-ons, but it's hard to gaug
Mar 24, 2014 Cameron rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
Bought this because of the mention of one of Lovecraft's famous monsters in the title. Unfortunately, that is the only story in the bunch that is Lovecraftian. I wish there were more because she did an excellent job with it, but the remainder of the stories are mostly sci-fi, with a couple urban fantasy. I was quite surprised to find myself enjoying the urban fantasy yarns ("Cryptic Coloration" and "The Horrid Glory of Its Wings") because I've never had much interest in the genre. I need to dig ...more
May 08, 2015 Bibliotropic rated it it was amazing
Short story collections vary in their quality. That’s pretty much a given, an acceptance that just about everyone has when they start reading. Some will be better than others, some you may want to skip to get to better things ahead, others are so dull they may tempt you to put the collection down entirely.

This wasn’t the case with Shoggoths in Bloom.

Perhaps it was due to the fact that all the stories in here are written by Elizabeth Bear and aren’t a collection from multiple different authors wi
Aug 21, 2013 Stephanie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
"Tideline": Loooooooved it. I love it when Bear gives souls to soulless things, eg robots. Plus the new importance of oral storytelling in post-apocalyptic world so yeah FEELINGS. 5/5

"Sonny Liston Takes the Fall": This one is very understated and at first I was like "ehhh that was ehhhh" but it stuck in my brain and percolated for a while and it's really quite lovely. 5/5

"Sounding": Whales, man, they'll kill ya??? I didn't really get this one. 2/5

"The Something-Dreaming Game": heebie-jeebies, au
Jul 19, 2013 Craig rated it really liked it
This is a collection of some good, some very good, and a couple of really excellent stories. There are both science fiction and fantasy works, all very densely written, serious, and well thought-out, in which not everything is always explained clearly; some of them are quite challenging and thought-provoking. "Tideline" and "The Girl Who Sang Rose Madder" were probably my favorites; there were a couple of stories that didn't do much for me one way or the other, but there were none that I would s ...more
Apr 18, 2014 Spencer rated it it was amazing
If we assume for a moment that Lovecraft was a long way from the best Lovecraftian author, we must then ask ourselves: who was/is? This collection bring Elizabeth Bear into the same league as Ligotti and more than a step above Lumley in that competition. Her work evokes a sense of brutal hopefulness in which there is only light that lets you see how terrible the odds stacked against our existence are, and her characters explore the dark corners of this shadowy hope in new ways in each story. The ...more
Jul 24, 2015 kari rated it really liked it
I really wanted to like Elizabeth Bear as an author. I knew she was a skilled writer, capable of amazing worldbuilding and creating nuanced characters; but her novels felt somewhat too polished and too well calculated. They were too neat to make me care and too refined to deliver any real emotional experience. I'm relieved to say that Bear's short stories did exactly what the novels failed to do. They made me shiver, laugh, worry, reflect. They moved me. And even more, they inspired me to write ...more
Morgan Dhu
Apr 09, 2015 Morgan Dhu rated it it was amazing
i have long felt that Elizabeth Bear is a very good writer in the process of becoming a great writer. It easy to see this progression in her most recent short fiction collection Shoggoths in Bloom - all but one of the pieces are reprints and they show how over the past decade her writing has been evolving, growing ever more incisive and provocative and finely crafted. I'd read some of these before - the thought-provoking title story, the heart-breaking Orm the Beautiful, the multi-layered In the ...more
Feb 21, 2016 Mkfs rated it it was ok
Didn't do it for me.

Not infuriatingly bad or anything, but after a couple of stories the writing style started to grate on me. It seemed very ... self-conscious, I guess. Like watching a Joss Whedon film and getting the feeling that he's standing right there, watching you intently, eager for verification that every carefully-selected phrase elicits a smile of appreciation, that every over-thought detail receives its nod of recognition.

I ended up touring the stories more or less at random, givin
After finishing the collection, I was able to pin down why I didn't love these stories. While I adore Bear's big, beautiful ideas, and admire her smooth, competent execution, I'm a language person at heart. The tone throughout was flat, so I suppose I really mean that I found her voice to be flat. This had the benefit of completely avoiding overdramatic moments, but it never inspired any other feeling from me, either. The few times I found myself drawn in and wanting to know what would happen ne ...more
Mar 15, 2016 Jani rated it really liked it
I remember someone saying that what separates science fiction from other fictional types that speculate (on past/future/etc.) are the consequences. Another claim is that science fiction concentrates too much on ideas and forgoes the characters. In Elizabeth Bear's short stories often have fascinating ideas, but those ideas also almost always have consequences, perhaps globally, but definitely on personal, character level.

Shoggoths in Bloom collects stories that were published between 2006 and 20
I've really enjoyed Elizabeth Bear's books. I've read a few of the stories in this collection before. And was looking forward to reading the rest for the first time. Of the 20 stories here, here are a few of my favorites (and I've reated the collection based on these high points rather than an average):

It's easy to see how Tideline won a Hugo Award for best short story. It uses a sci-fi setting to tell a poignant tale set after some ambiguous future war, a meeting of two characters: one is a "ve
Dec 19, 2012 Naiya rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi
Elizabeth Bear has been on my radar for a while, so seeing Shoggoth's in Bloom up for grab, I went for it (complimentary copy courtesy of the publisher, thank you!).

This short story collection brings together 19 short stories by Elizabeth Bear, including two Hugo winners, "Tideline" and "Shoggoths in Bloom," plus one never-before-published piece original to the collection, "The Death of Terrestrial Radio." With one exception, the stories average around a few-to-twenty pages and cover a truly mi
Midu Hadi
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 06, 2013 Helen rated it really liked it
Also on A Book With A View .

“Shoggoths in Bloom” is an anthology of Elizabeth Bear’s short science fiction and fantasy. It includes Hugo and Theodore Sturgeon Award-winning “Tideline” and Nebula-winning eponymous novelette.

This book was a surprise. I must admit I was taken aback a little when the first story in a book titled “Shoggoths in Bloom” opened with:
”Chalcedony wasn’t built for crying. She didn’t have it in her, not unless her tears were cold tapered glass droplets annealed by the infe
Matti Tornio
Mar 21, 2016 Matti Tornio rated it liked it
A few great short stories mixed in with lots of average material. The award winning Tideline and Shoggoths in Bloom along with a few other stories are certainly the highlight here. The rest of the stories are not terrible per se, simply mediocre. While the stories span a fair variety of different genres and settings, lot of the material still manages to feel pretty formulaic.

The collection also suffers from bad editing, lot of the stories have a significant amount of typos.
Jan 28, 2014 Gwen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-sf-fantasy
I often struggle to define my response to Bear's work. I first encountered it in Range of Ghosts (I was late to the party, obviously!), and I was struck by her language - spare, hard, sometimes chilling, but also rich and vivid. Her characters catch your attention, and the things that happen to them hit hard.

I've read her short story in Queen Victoria's Book of Spells, but otherwise Shoggoths in Bloom is my first exposure to her shorter fiction. My favourite stories - the title piece, "Tideline
Dec 19, 2013 Tom rated it really liked it
Shoggoths in Bloom was an unexpected pleasure. I've heard about Elizabeth Bear before, and Shoggoths in Bloom in particular. These short stories generally operate within sci-fi/horror, but only in regard to setting or context. The underlying themes of Bear's stories belie the expectations of genre fiction; these are stories about nurturing, loss, aging, memory, freedom, rebellion, revenge, and gender roles, among others. Not to misrepresent: Bear certainly demonstrates a firm command of sci-fi a ...more
May 28, 2013 Jer rated it it was amazing
Despite the title, this is not a collection of "lovecraftian" style stories. This is a collection of Elizabeth Bear's sci-fi and fantasy short stories. One of them ("Shoggoths in Bloom") is inspired a bit by lovecraft, but has a completely different attitude towards the material. The quality of all of the stories in this volume is top notch but the range imagination for each of the different settings that Bear conjures with these stories is amazing. Of all of them, my favorite was hands down "In ...more
Jun 25, 2013 Benjamin rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
First of all, many of the stories in this collection are wonderful. I was genuinely impressed.

But, there were two things that really irritated me, and deserve to be mentioned: (1) the editors at Prime Books should be ashamed for essentially doing zero copy editing; the text is rife with typos that could have been easily corrected; and (2) whoever decided to request that Elizabeth Bear's BOYFRIEND write the introduction was an idiot. Scott Lynch's intro is, predictably, a ludicrously over-the-top
Tim Hicks
Dec 28, 2012 Tim Hicks rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I can't give this five stars because it left me feeling as if I had eaten two pieces of a rich cake that is far too rich for two pieces.

The stories are so very different that it is hard to believe one person wrote them all.
It also means that it is very unlikely that one reader will like all the stories.
Check her varied list of novels, too - can THEY all be from one person?

"In the House of Aryuman .." and the title story were particularly fine, although "Shoggoths ..." might just be trying a l
Megan Baxter
Jul 03, 2015 Megan Baxter rated it really liked it
This is a book of short stories, and as long as people get that I mean this in a positive way, reading them is a lot like swallowing razors. They're sharp, dig in as they go down, lodge in your throat in unexpected and painful (deliciously painful) ways. I've loved her novels, but these short stories are really something else. Each one packs a punch.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision he
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: Shoggoths in Bloom by Elizabeth Bear 35 40 Apr 03, 2014 07:39PM  
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Elizabeth Bear was born on the same day as Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, but in a different year. This, coupled with a childhood tendency to read the dictionary for fun, led her inevitably to penury, intransigence, the mispronunciation of common English words, and the writing of speculative fiction.

She lives in Massachusetts with a Giant Ridiculous Dog. Her partner, acclaimed fantasy author Scott Lynch
More about Elizabeth Bear...

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