Paul Weimer's Reviews > Stories: All-New Tales

Stories by Neil Gaiman
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Jun 06, 10

Read in January, 2010

Stories is an anthology composed by the profilic anthology Al Sarrantonio, along with fantasy writer Neil Gaiman. Bringing together talents ranging from Mr Gaiman himself to Tim Powers, Joyce Carol Oates, and chuck Palahnuik, its an impressive stable of authors for an all new anthology.

The mission of the anthology is to dissolve the artificial barrier between genre fiction and mainstream fiction. providing a suite of stories that straddle the borderland between the often walled kingdoms of fantasy, and the realms of contemporary literary fiction.

With such an impressive pedigree of writers, I started the anthology with high expectations. While I didn't think that the anthology would be the holy grail of a book that could help tear down that wall, I hoped that I could find good value for money in the stories.

Unfortunately, for me, this proved not to be the case.

I think that, for the most part, the authors in the anthology kept the stories *too* contemporary, shying away too much from genre conventions and trappings, in an effort to be more literary. Many of these stories would not be out of place in one of the many high school and college short stories anthologies that I read in English class. That's precisely the problem, and its a bug, not a feature, of the anthology. Oh, a number of the stories do not fall under this broad brush that I am painting. But for the most part, the stories remain too literary for their own good.


Let me not say that the quality of the stories is bad. They aren't--not even the ones which remain closest to the literary side of the no man's land between contemporary and genre fiction. But the stories, one after another, just felt like they didn't really fulfill the mission of the anthology to my expectations.

The lineup of the anthology is as follows:

Table of Contents

* Blood - Roddy Doyle
* Fossil-Figures - Joyce Carol Oates
* Wildfire in Manhattan - Joanne Harris
* The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains - Neil Gaiman
* Unbelief - Michael Marshall Smith
* The Stars are Falling - Joe R. Lansdale
* Juvenal Nyx - Walter Mosley
* The Knife - Richard Adams
* Weights and Measures - Jodi Picoult
* Goblin Lake - Michael Swanwick
* Mallon and Guru - Peter Straub
* Catch and Release - Lawrence Block
* Polka Dots and Moonbeams - Jeffrey Ford
* Loser - Chuck Palahniuk
* Samantha's Diary - Diane Wynne Jones
* Land of the Lost - Stewart O'Nan
* Leif in the Wind - Gene Wolfe
* Unwell - Carolyn Parkhurst
* A Life in Fictions - Kat Howard
* Let the Past Begin - Jonathan Carroll
* The Therapist - Jeffery Deaver
* Parallel Lines - Tim Powers
* The Cult of the Nose - Al Sarrantonio
* Human Intelligence - Kurt Anderson
* Stories - Michael Moorcock
* The Maiden Flight of McCauley's Bellerophon - Elizabeth Hand
* The Devil on the Staircase - Joe Hill
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