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Smoke and Mirrors

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  53,596 Ratings  ·  2,243 Reviews
The distinctive storytelling genius of Neil Gaiman has been acclaimed by writers as diverse as Norman Mailer and Stephen King. In Smoke and Mirrors—the definitive collection of Gaiman's short fiction, including previously unpublished material—he will dazzle your senses, haunt your imagination and move you to the depths of your soul.

In Gaiman's richly imagined fictions, any
Paperback, 431 pages
Published 2000 by Headline Book Publishing (first published November 1998)
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Nov 27, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Smoke and Mirrors' is the first of two short story collections written by Neil Gaiman. This title was first published in 1998, while 'Fragile Things' came out in 2006. Having read 'Fragile Things' mere months ago I was doing quite a bit of comparison between the two as I worked my way through 'Smoke and Mirrors'. While there are a lot of similarities between the two, there are also many differences.

Both collections involve Gaiman doing what he does best, that is taking our own myths, fables, an
Feb 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This collection of short works, some not quite complete, is maybe a must read for real Gaiman fans who read everything he does (4 stars for them), but not really for anyone else (only 1 star for the general audience). And I say that as one of those fans. I really like what Gaiman does, both in traditional and graphic novel form, but Smoke and Mirrors is not representative of his best work. Basically, it is a collection of things he never bothered to give a final polish to. Much of S&M is thi ...more
Althea Ann
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially read in 1999 or thereabouts. Not reviewed at the time.

Upon re-reading:

***** “The Goldfish Pond and Other Stories” by Neil Gaiman
I'm usually not that interested in the whole 'glamour of Hollywood' theme, but this is probably the best commentary on it I've ever read.
Clearly partially autobiographical, this tells the story of a British writer who's flown out to L.A. to talk about converting his bestselling novel into a movie. A shifting cast of film execs gradually morph his story past r
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gaiman fans
Bearing in mind I read this on my kindle, so some stories weren't included in the version I read. Also this is hella long.

All ratings (including notes). * indicates favourite
The Wedding Present (Yes, I religiously read introductions):4*
In which a picturesque couple are given a quaint wedding present that seems to be a 'retelling' of their coupling; it spins a story of how their marriage could have went wrong. Though this premise may seem outlandish and bizarre, it's terribly relevant and poses
Wayne Barrett
...Drops of water fell like diamonds from the Angel Lucifer's perfect fingers... From the short story, 'Murder Mysteries'
About half way through this volume of short's I was thinking this would probably be a 4 star, maybe a 3.5 actual. Now that I am at the end, having examined the work as a whole, and considering the power of the last 2 stories, I had to rate this a 5.
I love the way Neil mixed it up. The collection seemed to be a potpourri of short stories, prose, poetry and lyrical verse. I cou
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A guilty pleasure, sure, but with Ray Bradbury's death, I'd suggest that Neil Gaiman is the best storyteller we have today.

Consider the words of Harry Bailly (he of the Tabard Inn, not George's brother): "And which of yow that bereth hym best of alle / That is to seyn that telleth in this caas / Tales of best sentence and moost solaas / Shal have a soper at oure aller cost." And I'd buy Gaiman a meal or three for this sundry collection of tales pulled together from over the years and published i
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How weird and marvelous is Gaiman's mind
Andrea ❤Ninja Bunneh❤
I hate saying this, but I'm only giving this one 3 stars.

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I love Gaiman's writing, I truly do. Somehow I felt a lot of the stories in this anthology were a bit disjointed. Some were boring, to be quite honest. As if they were just something thrown together from a discarded pile. A few of the stories were enjoyable so I'm just going to say I had a neutral time reading this.

That being said, I am not giving up on Gaiman just yet. I know he's an author has the potential to make my weirdly wired br
Laura Syed
DNF at 50%.
I couldn't really get myself to love any of the stories here. I liked some of them at most; as for the rest... maybe they were just too short.
Jun 11, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vampires
A note: I expect more than I should from this author. I find him to be a brilliant idea man with little substance.

-Suggested Reading Order:

Murder Mystery
Snow, Glass, Apples
Only the End of the World Again
Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar
We Can Get Them for You Wholesale
Cold Colors
The Price

Chivalry- an old woman buys the Holy Grail. A full-armored knight comes to seek the Grail. Cute, long-run and dry. The most wonderful thing about this story is that it is quaint and written as gabbish; a
Oct 07, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. I have to say that just about every story in this collection was highly engaging, and I had strong emotional reactions to several of them, and many "gotcha" type moments. Gaiman is, indeed, a master storyteller. Some of my favorite bits, without giving too much away for those of you who need to add this to your "to read" stack:

- the sad workings of Peter's mind in "We Can Get Them For You Wholesale"
- the explanation of those who've spurned "The Sweeper of Dreams"
- the evolution of perceive
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lecturas-2017
segundo recopilatorio que leo del autor y me ha gustado mucho más. Por la temática de los relatos más oscuros, más de ciencia ficción, más adultos...Pero todos con ese toque tan particular del autor. Seguro que muchos os sorprenderá u os hará ver la realidad de otra forma como me ha ocurrido con el último relato. Muy recomendable a lectores asiduos del autor.

Más sobre mi opinión en la reseña del blog
Edward Lorn
SMOKE AND MIRRORS Review, or My Final Review For a While I'm a Neil Gaiman fanboy. I've loved all of his novels and a great deal of his short fiction, but this collection was marred with either lackluster outings or poems I couldn't enjoy because I personally don't understand what makes them poems. The latter is my own fault, and I do not hold it against the author. The former, on the other hand, is all Gaiman's fault. Many of these stories lack purpose, are nothing more than words compiled into ...more
Apr 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Stories are, in on way or another, mirrors. We use them to explain ourselves how the world works or how it doesn't work.Like mirrors, stories prepare us for the day to come. They distract us from the things in the darkness. Fantasy-and all fiction is fantasy of one kind or another-is a mirror. A distorting mirror, to be sure, and a concealing mirror, set at 45 degrees to reality, but it's a mirror nonetheless, which we can use to tell ourselves things we might not otherwise see."

As always anot
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Short stories are like ice cream cones: they can be perfectly savored in one sitting. These ones in particular were deliciously entertaining.

I have always loved Neil Gaiman's style (he is my favorite author, after all), and this collection is no different. It's an eclectic mix of oddities, wonders, spine-tinglers, and fairy tales turned upside down. Highly recommended, especially if you're in the mood for something short and sweet.
Kimberley doruyter
a wonderful collection of the madness that is neil gaiman.
I just think I'm the wrong audience for this book. Some of the novellas I thought were okay and others I skimmed. Nothing really grabbed my attention to make me sit up and say, "Wow that was amazing".
I'll bypass Gaiman's short stories in future and just continue reading his novels.
Serena.. Sery-ously?
Hey, hi! Neil Gaiman speaking! I can write the best damn introductions ever.. Bye losers! Just kidding, I can write whatever the hell I want: name it, already done!

I found some old friends (such as "Chivalry" or "Troll bridge".. Long time no see!) and discovered some new (I'm talking about you, "We can get them for you wholesale" and you, "Snow, glass, apples".. Hi! Nice meeting you!).

Some stories are creepy as hell (there is a certain atmosphere, I don't even know how to explain!), while others
Like in all story collections some stories are better, some are worse.In this case some stories where boring and alone I would rate them 1 star and some where 5 stars easily and reminded me why I consider Gaiman a deity.

My overall impression is that Smoke and mirrors is enjoyable book but not among Gaiman's best.I would recommend it to people who read most of his "major" books and are looking for more, than definitively read this.If you haven't, read those first than return and if you are unfami
Matt Garcia
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting collection with a wide variety of stories. Horror, fantasy, science fiction, and other genres are present in this collection. Gaiman's imagination is unique and some of his stories have the ability to grab you and not let go until the end. A crisp, clean writing style and inventive premises make this an enjoyable collection. Some stories are exemplary while others fell flat. Overall, a worthwhile read from a truly talented writer who is not bound to any sort of genre limitation.
Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
Everything in this world casts a shadow, and I suspect Neil Gaiman looks deeper into the shadows than most of us will ever have the courage to. Smoke and Mirrors is a hugely varied collection of short stories in terms of length and subject matter, but there is a thread of delving into the shadow-world of half-seen things we fear that ties them all together.

There are many reasons to read this book, but my reason is to discover the very best, and most disturbing Snow White retelling I have ever e
Juan Manuel Sarmiento
Jun 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars
En Humo y Espejos, Neil Gaiman se descubre como un avezado ilusionista que hará creer al lector en las más imposibles situaciones, por increíbles, absurdas, terroríficas o raras que sean.
Reseña completa en THE BEST READ YET BLOG
Mar 21, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 6-out-of-10
Зеркала — удивительные вещи. Они как будто говорят правду, отражают для нас реальный мир, но поставьте зеркало определенным образом, и оно станет лгать так убедительно, что вы поверите, будто предмет растворился в воздухе, коробка с голубками, флагами и пауками на самом деле пуста, а люди, спрятанные за кулисами или в оркестровой яме, — это покачивающиеся над сценой привидения. Найдите нужный угол — и зеркало превратится в створку магического окна: оно покажет вам все, что сумеет породить ваше в ...more
Paul  Perry
As with most short story collections, Gaiman's Smoke and Mirrors is something of a mixed bag. When he is good he is sublime, and there is plenty in this volume that fits that description, but there are also a few stories that seem little more than jottings of ideas meant to be fleshed out or perhaps left over from longer works. There is also some laudable inventiveness which, for me, doesn't always quite work - for example his triptych of narrative poems - but nonetheless shows the writer's grea ...more
Jul 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stories
Having read M is for Magic and Fragile Things I have encountered some of the short stories that Mr. Gaiman has written. I found this collection to be one of the most eclectic. Happy stories, sad stories, chilling stories, and erotic stories, but as he introduces them - all a product of smoke and mirrors. We're not to believe any of this, as it is all just an illusion. So why do I walk away feeling like it was all a bit too real?

I enjoyed the very experimental feel to this book. Some prose, some
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of two collections written by Neil Gaiman and a miscellany of stories from different genres. I like the style of Gaiman and I love this collection. It’s easy to go from a surreal story to a frightening or absurd. He has a great talent in capturing the reader's attention, starting with a story that seems to have heard something then go ahead.
I liked the tribute to Lovecraft with novels set in the town of Innsmouth and I must add that I'm not a fan of poetry. In any case, some of my fa
Alexis Drake
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gaiman, english-books
Chi mi segue già da un po’ sa che uno dei mei autori preferiti è Neil Gaiman, quindi, quando l’anno scorso sono stata in vacanza in Irlanda e Londra, ho colto l’occasione per prendere qualche suo volume in lingua originale, tra cui questo, Smoke and Mirrors, che è poi una raccolta di racconti.
Come un po’ tutte le raccolte di racconti, di qualsiasi autore, chiaramente ci sono dei racconti molto belli ed alcuni piuttosto insignificanti, o come in questo caso, abbastanza strampalati (cioè pi
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very happy I read these. This is a collection of very adult Neil Gaiman stories, written before he fell into his trusty formula of "Ordinary guy meets strange person, and then enters wacky wonderful fantasy world." They're sad, sexy, naughty, shivery, eerie, and occasionally moving. There's an early story called "One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock" that took my breath away, mainly because it must have been based on his own childhood. "Troll Bridge," a heart-tightening tale about the pain of g ...more
Evans Light

Much like Joe Hill did with the story hidden in the afterward of his 20th CENTURY GHOSTS collection, Gaiman has embedded a short tale, THE WEDDING PRESENT, in the introduction. It's well told, but doesn't ultimately lead to much. After this, his notes on all the tales in the book follow. While I truly enjoy author's notes in short story collections, I much prefer them to come after each story.


An old woman finds the Holy
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe it took me so long to hop aboard the Neil Gaiman train, but better late than never, I suppose. I started with Smoke and Mirrors, his first compilation of short stories, and I was so surprised how different each story/poem was. He was able to leap from genre to topic to format with complete ease, and I applaud his inventiveness and creativity. I can't wait to read more from him in the future!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • We Never Talk about My Brother
  • Black Thorn, White Rose
  • Looking for Jake
  • Moonlight and Vines (Newford, #6)
  • The Ladies of Grace Adieu and Other Stories
  • Lucifer, Vol. 4: The Divine Comedy
  • Flights: Extreme Visions of Fantasy
  • Burning Your Boats: The Collected Short Stories
  • Nocturnes
  • Stranger Things Happen
  • Wizards: Magical Tales From the Masters of Modern Fantasy
  • Shelf Life: Fantastic Stories Celebrating Bookstores
  • The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest
  • Saffron and Brimstone: Strange Stories
  • Hanging Out with the Dream King
“When I was a child, adults would tell me not to make things up, warning me of what would happen if I did. As far as I can tell so far, it seems to involve lots of foreign travel and not having to get up too early in the morning.” 3177 likes
“Memory is the great deceiver. Perhaps there are some individuals whose memories act like tape recordings, daily records of their lives complete in every detail, but I am not one of them. My memory is a patchwork of occurrences, of discontinuous events roughly sewn together: The parts I remember, I remember precisely, whilst other sections seemed to have vanished completely.” 153 likes
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