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Last Summer at Mars Hill

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  289 ratings  ·  19 reviews
This is Elizabeth Hand's long-awaited collection of short stories, centered around her Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning novella The Last Summer at Mars Hill. There are 12 pieces in all here, ranging from those first published in places like Interzone and Pulphouse to a two-page poem taken from the pages of Asimov's. Although many readers may be familiar with Hand's ...more
Paperback, 324 pages
Published August 26th 1998 by Harper Voyager (first published 1998)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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Althea Ann
Nov 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've read several of Elizabeth Hand's novels, and have always felt that they were nearly perfect... except that something always happens (like a big, supernatural blowout climax) to screw it up. The one exception, for me, before reading this, was her story:"The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon" (which you can read on her website: http://www.elizabethhand.com/bellerop...). Excellent story. Maybe I just like Hand's short fiction better, because this book was nearly 100% excellent.

Last
...more
Daniel
Jun 07, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received an electronic version of this book from the publishers through Net Galley. It is an upcoming reissue of Elizabeth Hand's first short story collection in eBook format.

I know Hand's name and writing almost solely from her book review column in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Prior to this I had only read one short story of hers, and I can't say I remember anything of it. I guess her first short story collection is a good place to start, and I hope now that I'll see more of
...more
Katie
Jul 28, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: weird fiction fans, people who like good things
Elizabeth Hand's short stories are devastating combinations of beauty and ugliness. They're mostly modern-day fantasy, but in terms of content and mood actually feel a lot closer to horror - but in a way that's only slightly repulsive.

They're also of reasonable literary quality (solid plot structure! good themes!), so I'd recommend checking them out even if you can't tolerate standard fantasy (like if you hate elves with cars).
Zoe Brooks
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: magic-realism
Elizabeth Hand is a writer of speculative fiction and horror. This collection of short stories first appeared in 1998 and has just been issued as an ebook. The story that gives its name to the collection won the 1995 Nebula Award and the World Fantasy Award.

When is speculative fiction magic realism? It seems to me that especially in short stories the boundaries can very definitely overlap. This is partly because the brevity of short stories makes it easier to start in reality than in a
...more
Becky
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Do you recall my kind of glowing review of Stephen Jones's A BOOK OF HORRORS from last October? No, go ahead and check it out. I'll wait.

Now, remember that last story on the faves list? "Near Zenor" by Elizabeth Hand? Well that story led me on a search for Elizabeth Hand's backlist titles. One of the books on my must have list was LAST SUMMER AT MARS HILL. This collection, originally released in 1998 was Hand's first collection released and the title novella earned her a Nebula and a World
...more
Frankie
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The title story is the one that introduced me to Elizabeth Hand nearly 20 years ago, but somehow I've never managed to read this entire collection. Now that I have, I know I shouldn't have waited so long. The ones I had read previously such as "Engels Unaware" and "Prince of Flowers" are as disturbing as ever. The ones new to me, such as "Justice" will ensure this collection gets handed around to friends.
Thomas Pluck
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great story collection influenced by myth and folklore.
Beth Roberts
This is a first for me, since writing reviews for GoodReads, that I have rated an anthology the full 5-stars.

I had already decided the rating would stand even if the individual ratings averaged 4-stars. Why?

Despite less than stellar editing throughout this collection, Hand's writing is gorgeous. Her imagery is masterful and she is clearly extremely intelligent. I enjoyed the snippets included after each piece detailing her inspiration for the stories and I admire how blatantly autobiographical
...more
Blair
Dec 22, 2019 marked it as dipped-in  ·  review of another edition
This was Elizabeth Hand’s debut collection of short stories. ‘Last Summer at Mars Hill’ and ‘The Erl-King’ are very much of a piece: ostensibly contemporary stories with whimsical commune-like settings and traces of magic. ‘Justice’, a dark tale of revenge, was my favourite of the stories I read. ‘In the Month of Athyr’ is an uncomfortable and disturbing story about a boy becoming fascinated with a ‘geneslave’, set in a space settlement. ‘Engels Unaware’ is a heavy-handed swipe at bankers/yuppie ...more
Sara
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Several really good and a couple of great stories in this collection. The Boy in the Tree was my favorite - made me want to reread Winterlong, the novel that introduced me to Elizabeth Hand when I stumbled across it years ago. But there were others that I really enjoyed and I love her writing style. Some of the stories have elements that are a little dated, but I think they hold up well (although in the case of Engels Unaware my enjoyment may be enhanced by having also worked as an office temp). ...more
Nilchance
Aug 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hand excels at wistful beauty and at including the surreal / supernatural in a way that feels grounded and realistic. The title story is the strongest in the collection, a meditation on terminal illness and lost youth in a spiritualist community with actual spirits, but all of them are strong.

I have concerns about the penultimate story, which has a little too much 'Autistic People are emotionless and spoooooky' dehumanizing for my taste and probably should have stuck with its main theme of
...more
Jessica
Sep 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
My first encounter with Elizabeth Hand's writing was her novel Waking the Moon. I didn't really like it, but I was sort of angry about not liking it... It's like all of the elements of the novel are things that I usually enjoy, so it was a huge let down when the end product actually repulsed me.

I also tried reading another novel of Hand's, Black Light, and hated it. I guess what happens is that Hand's writing includes themes that I like, but the stories she turns out end up being more
...more
Melanti
About half the stories in this volume have an overt Agenda (capital letter intended) and most of those Agendas I just didn't agree with - which makes it really difficult to enjoy them.

Sure, at first it might SOUND satisfying to have a female reporter who avenges female domestic violence victims. And I got the feeling I was supposed to agree with the the premise even if I didn't agree with the details... But once I pictured someone as vile and biased as Nancy Grace as the reporter in question,
...more
Kate
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, kindle, favorites
I read Hand's "Wylding Hall" last and loved it. It was modern horror, a terrifying tale told as a kind of oral history, but it was also a very classic gothic tale, with a grand hall, missing persons, secrets, and the paranormal permeating it all.

This short story collection has all of that, with even more mythology and discombobulating, earthy horror. A burnout reporter witnesses a goddess's justice. A famous musician who sold his soul reaps his rewards. An artist collective pleads for help from
...more
David Marshall
The majority of these stories are as excellent as they day they were written. The others are weaker. On balance this is an excellent way of exploring the work of a young author destined to hit the big time.

http://opionator.wordpress.com/2013/0...
E.
Sep 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this collection--it's Liz Hand, c'mon--but my favorite collection from her remains Saffron and Brimstone.
Rook McNamara
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I never get enough Liz Hand

And the title story is one of my two favorite short stories she's published. The other isn't in the book; it's called The Least Trumps.
MB
Oct 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Outstanding short stories. Liked the author's notes at the end.
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A New York Times notable and multiple award– winning author, Elizabeth Hand has written seven novels, including the cult classic Waking the Moon, and short-story collections. She is a longtime contributor to numerous publications, including the Washington Post Book World and the Village Voice Literary Supplement. She and her two children divide their time between the coast of Maine and North ...more
“Grief he had always thought of as an emotion, a mood, something that possessed you but that you eventually escaped. Now he knew it was different. Grief was a country, a place you entered hesitantly, or were thrown into without warning. But once you were there, amidst the roiling formless blackness and stench of despair, you could not leave. Even if you wanted to: you could only walk and walk and walk, traveling on through the black reaches with the sound of screaming in your ears, and hope that someday you might glimpse far off another country, another place where you might someday rest.” 1 likes
“Grief he had always thought of as an emotion, a mood, something that possessed you but that you eventually escaped. Now he knew it was different. Grief was a country, a place you entered hesitantly, or were thrown into without warning. But once you were there, amidst the roiling formless blackness and stench of despair, you could not leave. Even if you wanted to: you could only walk and walk and walk, traveling on through the black reaches with the sound of screaming in your ears, and hope that someday you might glimpse far off another country, another place where you might someday rest. Jason” 0 likes
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