This is another very late review that I am posting. I don't have much to say about this audiobook except that it was rather mundane. I didn't care mucThis is another very late review that I am posting. I don't have much to say about this audiobook except that it was rather mundane. I didn't care much for the narrator. She didn't give the stories the vivacity that I would have hoped for. As such, the stories felt rather boring. I was starting to question that my love for fairy tales had waned. Thankfully, I have also been reading the Fables series by Bill Willingham, and that series has shown me that I love fairy tales just as much as I ever did. It's just a matter of execution.
I don't think I would pick this one up if I had kids. Most likely, the narrator's voice would not keep their interest. She didn't keep mine. It might put them off the magnificent timeless gems of the stories within. We can't have that.
What an enjoyable quick audiobook! A nice mix of short fairy tales from the Grimms' collection. I haven't read any of these particular stories, althouWhat an enjoyable quick audiobook! A nice mix of short fairy tales from the Grimms' collection. I haven't read any of these particular stories, although I am familiar with plot devices and archetypes from more than a few of them. The narrator was great. She brought these stories to life. There is also classical music to accompany parts of the stories. I could see this audiobook being very good for kids to expose them to fairy tales. They would enjoy the stories and the narrator's different voices. I would say these are pretty kid-friendly stories, especially for the Grimms, which can be dark. Overall, each story has a good lesson about morals and ethics, from hard work, to keeping promises, and not giving up when things get rough.
Listening brought back the joy of reading fairy tales, that I have not ever gotten over, even into my 4th decade. I'd recommend it!
George Mann and thirteen other writers provide new mystery-solving fodder for the famous duo of Holmes and Watson. I say well done over all. A coupleGeorge Mann and thirteen other writers provide new mystery-solving fodder for the famous duo of Holmes and Watson. I say well done over all. A couple of the stories were a bit dry (and I fell asleep reading those), but I enjoyed most of the stories. I liked how unique each one read, yet Holmes and Watson are true to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's creations. You wouldn't think an author could combine them with Martian aliens and Lovecraftian monsters, but you'd be wrong.
I'd recommend this overall to Sherlock Holmes/Watson fans.
This is a partial review. I read The Vampyre out of this collection, but I will read the other stories when I have the opportunity.
Review of The VampyThis is a partial review. I read The Vampyre out of this collection, but I will read the other stories when I have the opportunity.
Review of The Vampyre by John Polidori Read: 6/13/12 Rating: Three Stars
The history of this short story might be even more intriguing than the actual writing itself. Mr. Polidori was the personal physician of the infamous Lord Byron, and this work of fiction was conceived on that famous holiday event in which Lord Byron, Percy Shelley and Mary Godwin (who would later become Mary Shelley) issued a challenge to each other to write Gothic stories. This was Mr. Polidori's result.
I have little doubt that Lord Ruthven was inspired by Lord Byron. Polidori's feelings towards his debauched past employer are quite clear. In this case, Lord Ruthven has a supernatural ability to ruin, damage, and destroy anything he lays his hands on, and enjoys doing so in the process. This does not speak well of Lord Byron, and based of what I have read of him, I can see some echoes of him in this character. Lord Caroline Lamb, the incredibly outrageous for her times, cast-off mistress of Byron is immortalized in a character who appears briefly in the beginning of the story, at least in my opinion.
As far as the writing, I didn't feel that it was particularly inspired or brilliant. This short story is all telling and little showing. This created a distance between the characters in this story and myself. It was hard to feel much sympathy for Aubrey, his sister Miss Aubrey, Ianthe, or anyone else because the narrative was too much like a bland newspaper article, with little connection to the intense emotions of the persons involved. I had a distant feeling of dislike and disgust for Lord Ruthven, which with more active, vivid writing could have been outright disgust. That is a sadly wasted opportunity for a writer, in my opinion.
It's hard to say much overall about this story. It wasn't bad. I can't say I was disappointed, because I didn't have high expectations. Regardless of the issues as far as the writing, Mr. Polidori has earned his place in the vampire fiction canon. Sadly, he lived a short, disappointing (to himself) life. Although he could not be aware of the famous status of this story, it is some comfort to me that he has created something that endured two hundred years later. For that I will respect and appreciate The Vampyre. And also for its commentary of Lord Byron, a man whose antics pretty much created its own character archetype in literature, the Byronic hero. Admittedly in this case, there is nothing at all to recommend Lord Ruthven. Lord Byron himself, I cannot say yay or nay to that question.
End verdict: Any vampire fiction aficionado should take the opportunity to read this story at least for its historical value.
This was a fun, quick read. A collection of short stories with steampunk themes in various incarnations. A good dose of sweet romance as well. RecommeThis was a fun, quick read. A collection of short stories with steampunk themes in various incarnations. A good dose of sweet romance as well. Recommended if you can find it for an affordable price for your ereader (only about 100 pages).
I found this on the clearance rack at Half-Price Books (go clearance rack!). I picked it up because of the Karl Edward Wagner and Manly Wade Wellman sI found this on the clearance rack at Half-Price Books (go clearance rack!). I picked it up because of the Karl Edward Wagner and Manly Wade Wellman stories. Those two stories definitely met my expectations. I found it enjoyable reading overall. This is horror and weird fiction, and the "new terrors" mantle is appropriate. And it isn't the screaming scary kind of horror. It's the 'that's kind of messed up' horror, which is infinitely more chilling to this reader. This was one I read during the day and I was glad I did. These stories gave me that uneasy feeling I don't want to go to bed on, much like an overly full stomach.
This book has the first story by Robert Aickman I read, "The Stains." When I think of him now, I will think Refined British Gentleman writing, and definitely weird fiction. Nothing that I've heard about him from fans has disagreed with this description. I found that Ramsey Campbell is also a bit on the refined side, and more sinister, but equally weird.
Like most anthologies I've stumbled across, this one encouraged me to seek out more works by most of the writers included in this genre. Probably not a good thing for my pocketbook, but a great thing for my horror collection.
If you can find this and you like modern classic horror (horror from the mid-century and up to the 70s), I'd recommend picking it up, especially if you find it for a good price at your neighborhood used bookstore. Recommended.
This is a collection I would recommend to a fan of westerns with a weird and/or supernatural/horror slant. The stories are short and nicely digested,This is a collection I would recommend to a fan of westerns with a weird and/or supernatural/horror slant. The stories are short and nicely digested, and full of all the things that make a western fic fan happy.
I'm not sure I'd call most of these stories horror. More like dark fiction. Some were a little too oblique for my tastes (I had more than a few 'Huh?'I'm not sure I'd call most of these stories horror. More like dark fiction. Some were a little too oblique for my tastes (I had more than a few 'Huh?' moments), but the writing caliber was good across the board.
One one level, for a reader who loves short stories (as I do), for the pure essence of the medium of storytelliHow to review this collection.....Hmm..
One one level, for a reader who loves short stories (as I do), for the pure essence of the medium of storytelling, this is an excellent collection. There is no question that all the writers here know their craft, and very well. I had the pleasure of being introduced to many new authors I had never read, and none of the stories were boring. I know I will definitely seek out some of these new authors to read more of their stories. Others, I'm not so sure about. Not because of a lack of ability, but I'm not sure that they write the kind of stories I like to read, if the content here indeed represents their output. It's completely possible that the pieces here are a departure. I suppose that like strangers who travel down a similar path (the world of short story literature), we might meet again. As Neil Gaiman intimated in his introduction, most of these stories caught me, and had me on the line, waiting for what happens next. Like Mr. Gaiman, that is a huge draw when I read a story. If I don't care about what happens next, I don't even bother finishing the story. For pretty much all of these stories, even the ones I didn't care for, I did keep listening to find out...what happens next. I wanted to know!
On another level, I think that if a reader picks this collection up to read fantasy/science fiction/speculative fiction and that alone, they will be disappointed. Certainly, there was a good amount of those things on offer. There were also stories that I would place firmly in the literary fiction arena. Which certainly is not a bad thing if that is your sort of reading. And if you like a literary touch to your speculative fiction reading, you will probably be a happy camper. Myself, I don't care much for the genre or its conventions, so I felt a bit like I had gone into a movie theater for a science fiction 'popcorn' movie and ended up watching an IFC-style drama about all the depressing aspects of life that I don't need to be reminded about. Not to say that the latter movie isn't well done and interesting, but certainly not what I wanted to watch, or read, in this case.
So, this one is a bit of the good and bad. I loved a few of the stories. I liked more still. Others I didn't care for or I was ambivalent about. There was one with a woman who was being stalked by an admirer who gifted her in the days around Christmas in the manner of the wonderful carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." Take a moment, if you will, to consider how messed up that could be in execution. Yeah. I was bad, and it was highly hilarious and entertaining. That was by far my favorite story. This was by one of my favorite fantasy authors since I was a young girl, Diana Wynne Jones, who passed away this year, and will be mourned by this reader and many others. If that was her last story, I would raise my glass in toast to her. The Joanne Harris story was about Norse Gods in modern NYC, and it was funny and entertaining. Yeah, the Norse mythology part hooked me, but the wit kept me listening intently. The Jodi Picoult story, "Weights and Measures," had me sobbing hard and blowing my nose as I drove and listened. I think I'll avoid her books. I don't like going to that emotional place if I don't have to. But she can write. The most disturbing story was by Lawrence Block. It was called, "Catch and Release" and it was about a serial killer who had developed a habit of doing exactly that, except not with fish, and not all the time. It was....chilling, to say the least. Another story that I found very well-written but I found very unsettling and very sad was "The Stars are Falling," by Joe R. Lansdale. I've been wanting to read him for a while, and he's definitely a talented writer. The story itself was incredibly sad, but the imagery stuck with me. The sign of a good short story. There were others, lots of others, and I could probably talk about each one, but I won't dither here.
Narrator Comments: I think the narrators were very good. There was one man who I felt sounded a little too much like the PBS documentary narrators for my tastes. It took me out of the story because it was too monotone, and a bit too detached. The other narrators I liked very much.
Final Thoughts: My rating is an emotional one (that's how I roll, you see). I gave it three stars because it didn't quite give me what I wanted. That's on me, not the writers here. However, for the reader who has a serious love of the short story, and who wants to bask in that medium for many hours, or however long one wants to spend reading through an anthology, regardless of the genre and subject matter, I think this is a good collection to reach for. In that sense, it's probably more of a four star collection.
So I recommend this one with reservations... ...more