** spoiler alert **
Yes, yes, I know. It's taken me forever to read this book (considering that its summer and all), but I had to stop and read Grapes of Wrath
for summer homework, and that really ate up my time...but I still got it done! And god how I loved it...
Neil Gaiman is a true wonder of literary magic and I absolutely love him to bits! He has such a way with words. And I'm sort of sad because this was the last book of his that I haven't read yet. But the good thing here is that he's still alive and writing so they'll be more coming in the future.
Okay, now on to the actual stories. There’s prose, tales, poems, realistic fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, and even a couple that could be classified as fanfictions. Since there are so many, I'll just talk about the ones that really stood out to me.
"A Study in Emerald"---I had already read this story in a magazine that my dad got me just because it had this story in it. It is possibly one my favorite of all his short stories. It is so clever and original and I just can't get over the universe that he created and how he totally surprises you in the end by revealing that Sherlock is actually the murderer that the pair that you thought were Watson and Holmes (but are not) were looking for. And you can’t forget the aliens ruling the world bit either. It was totally amazing and brilliant and just plain cool. If there are any Sherlock Holmes fans out there, you got to check this story out.
"October in the Chair"---I just thought it was cool seeing all the months personified. Kind of makes you think about what kind of person each month would be. I really liked February, though, only because it’s my birth month.
"The Hidden Chamber"---A delightfully frightening poem about Blackbeard that I just want to read over and over again, and read aloud to others during a dark and stormy night. Love it!
“Bitter Grounds”---This was a truly beautiful story about a man whose life is practically over and what he does. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but it’s just plain brilliant the way everything connects even though it seems random, the tone and feeling of the story, and the symbolism in here makes it just pure magic. It is an absolutely gorgeous story.
“Other People”---An utterly perfect idea of Hell. In this story Hell is this demon physically torturing this evil man, and then mentally torturing him by pulling out and showing him all the evil things he’s done and making him tell about them over and over and over again. But here’s the twist, in the end, the man becomes a demon, and it is he that tortures the newly dead version of himself. Just a plain perfect concept of Hell, wouldn’t you say?
“Good Boys Deserve Favors”---This is just proof of how Gaiman just has a way to make real life seem so magical and at the same time so real. It’s about a boy who chose a double bass as his instrument to play. It a great little story and just displays how Gaiman has wonderful knack at capturing the real in real life.
“Strange Little Girls”---Pure magic. That’s what this set of prose are. Each is a short little paragraph or two about a woman. They are all loosely based on Tori Amos’s album Strange Little Girl
, and are very beautifully written and though provoking.
“Instructions”---A wonder short little poem about what do if you’re stuck in a fairy tale. It’s brilliant in a fantastical magic sort of way. Great little read.
“My Life”---A wonderful monologue about this guy talking about his completely unusual life like it’s nothing special. I would totally do this for theater if I was in theater…maybe I can get one of my friends in theater to do it…
“Fifteen Painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot”---Another set of prose, but this time they’re all about different perspectives on vampires. And I’m not talking about the cheesy wet-dream type from Twilight
. No, I’m talking about cool original and new vampires. Each prose talks about vampires in a different way, and I think it’s extremely well done.
“Feeders and Eaters”---The type of story that makes you shiver and run away and pray to no avail that nightmares won’t haunt you that night. It’s an extremely terrifying story about an old woman who, bit by bit, eats the flesh off of living things and somehow keeps them alive after eating one serving. Now tell me that doesn’t make you cringe in horror and fright.
“Diseasemaker’s Croup”---A delightful little prose about a disease that plagues diseasemakers. It got a bit confusing towards the end, but that was the point really. By the end of the disease the diseasemaker starts to talk nonsense that no one understands. Very clever way of writing it.
“Goliath”---A though provoking story based in the world of The Matrix
. This was one of the stories (the other story being “The Problem of Susan” about Susan in the Narnia
series) that I said could be considered a fanfiction in the most basic definition. But really it’s not something you’d normally find on Fanfiction.net. It’s much better written and more original.
“Pages from a Journal Found in a Shoebox Left in a Greyhound Bus Somewhere Between Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Louisville, Kentucy”---Yes, I know it’s a long title for another set of prose. This set is once again loosely based on another album of Tori Amos’s (Scarlet’s Walk
). It’s about this person (male or female)’s journey in search for Scarlet, someone or something they are not sure how to find. It’s all very symbolic and though provoking and completely and utterly brilliantly beautiful.
“The Day the Saucers Came”---A funny fun little poem about everything apocalyptic happening at once but this person doesn’t notice it because they are waiting for the narrator to call. It’s funny and sweet and just a great little piece of writing.
“The Monarch of the Glen”---The American Gods
novella. It was kind of like the Further Adventures of Shadow kind of thing and it was nice catching up with him. It was very good and you actually got to find out Shadow’s real name, which I thought was extremely awesome.
Okay, that’s really it. I think this collection of Gaiman’s short fictions was better than his other collection, Smoke and Mirrors
. It had more stories that I found beautiful and thought provoking and creative and just plain wonderfully brilliant. I really, really liked it. God I love Neil Gaiman!!