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How to Talk to Girls at Parties

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Nominated for a 2007 Hugo Award.

"Come on," said Vic. "It'll be great."

"No, it won't," I said, although I'd lost this fight hours ago, and I knew it.

"It'll be brilliant," said Vic, for the hundredth time. "Girls! Girls! Girls!" He grinned with white teeth.

11 pages, ebook

First published January 1, 2007

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Neil Gaiman

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5 stars
1,722 (22%)
4 stars
2,887 (37%)
3 stars
2,310 (30%)
2 stars
585 (7%)
1 star
113 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 608 reviews
1 review
September 30, 2014
I really enjoyed this short story. Yes, it's about a boy who thinks of girls as aliens and then surprise, meets actual aliens, but it goes beyond this initial joke and delves into much deeper territory. Enn encounters three "alien beings" who attempt to express their loneliness, quest for knowledge, imperfection, fear of mortality, and need to communicate their stories. His friend, Vic ( short for Victor?), more superficial, takes off upstairs to attempt another conquest, but this time he encounters Stella (Star), and he gets more than he bargained for--the universe finds him lacking.

Enn's last meeting is with Triolet, who is a girl/alien/ pattern/ and poem and as she pours her story into his being, he begins to understand, albeit imperfectly, what she gives to him, and it changes him irrevocably--there is always a cost. We know because he suddenly can recognize and access the story inherent in the music playing in the dimly lit house admidst the stars and the universe. The girls are travelers, but Enn is too, and he has lost his way but found something during his wandering.
Profile Image for poiboy.
151 reviews57 followers
July 22, 2016
A wonderful and all-too-short story that wraps poetry, fantasy and childhood memory into one.

"We knew that it would soon be over, and so we put it all into a poem, to tell the universe who we were, and why we were here, and what we said and did and thought and dreamed and yearned for. We wrapped our dreams in words and patterned the words so that they would live forever, unforgettable."

How can you not love a writer like Gaiman?

(sad that many reviews of this short story get stuck in the logic of the story instead of losing themselves in the beauty of fantasy and cosmic poetics.. which is what was clearly intended)
Profile Image for Julie Ehlers.
1,111 reviews1,398 followers
March 22, 2019
In How to Talk to Girls at Parties, two teenage guys go to a party they've heard about but where they know no one. The narrator has thus far had no luck with girls, and his friend, a ladies' man, always tells him he just needs to talk to them like regular people. So on the one hand, this story is kind of amusing, because at the party the narrator does indeed talk to three different girls, all of whom spout the most astonishing kind of nonsense that he doesn't understand at all. But it's also kind of annoying, because even though the narrator doesn't understand any of the girls' creepy stories, he still wants to hook up with all of them. So much for seeing girls as regular people! These girls are the kind of regular people you should want to run from, no matter how horny you are. Of course, there's something else going on here, but I'll be damned if I could figure out what it was. Still, this short ebook saved me after I chucked my book in the recycling bin and was left with nothing to read on my lunch break, so I am thankful to it for that!
Profile Image for Daniel.
753 reviews73 followers
September 9, 2016
Simpatična pričica o nesigurnom klincu na zabavi za kojeg su devojke ko sa druge planete. Taj osećaj stidljivosti i nesigurnosti je odlično prebačen i odma me vraća u moje mlađe dane :P Standardno samo pisanje je odlično plus ima par veoma lepih skoro poetičnih rečenica i slika koje dobijamo od njih.

Minus bi bila kratkoća i otvorenost samog kraja knjige. Ponovo pričica gde se dobija osećaj da je samo uvod u daleko zanimljiviju priču.
Profile Image for Amar.
391 reviews
August 15, 2015
Prva četvorka za Gaimana . Sacrebleu

Smiješak na licu čitavo vrijeme . Jako simpatična priča o Ennu i Vicu , koji zalutaju , i odu na pogrešnu žurku . Enn je onaj stidljivi koji misli da su cure sa "druge planete " dok je Vic "frajer" koji zna kako "osvojiti" svaku djevojku .

Četvroka zbog otvorenog kraja . ( Iako je po meni sve jasno šta se desilo )

Lijepo štivo uz kafu .
Profile Image for Tamara.
684 reviews201 followers
August 10, 2015
EDIT: I've just found out this is going to be a movie and Ella Fanning is going to star.

I feel sorry for you Ella.

*backs away slowly*

Good luck. This movie is going to need it.

You can read it for free at here if you'd like. But while my edition had a excerpt from The Ocean at the End of the Lane in the end, it appears the Neil Gaiman site I've shared above only consists this short story.

“They’re just girls,” said Vic. “They don’t come from another planet.”

Oh, the irony.

Two teenagers decide to go to a party. They end up in the wrong house. While the popular, lady-killer one spends the night with the most beautiful girl of the party, the shy one ends talking to some really read odd girls. And by odd I mean ODD. They’re kinda like 'tourists' that came for a foreign exchange thing. Except, they are not really from around here. You get it? *winks*

I did like this short story but the main problem lays with its main character Enn being a dumbass. I'm serious. Dude is so stupid. So freaking slow at understanding what's going on. I doubt he ever 'got it'.

I get that he is really shy and cant talk to the girls so all girls feel like aliens to her but look, the situation he was in was really weird ok?
“Parent-teacher engulfed me, and I was here, embodied in a decaying lump of meat hanging on a frame of calcium..”

And I'm like: 'Excuse me, SAY IT AGAIN?'

If it was me I'd have thought this girl was on drugs but apparently Enn is not me. Oh no, he is just a stupid teenager boy who has some serious brain damage. One of the girls even said she was a poem. A POEM!!! A freaking poem,ok? Why the hell you are still at that party, with that girl Enn ha? I'd have understood you being that desperate but COME ON, you dont even get suspicious?

How can you be sooo freaking oblivious to catch the girls' hints that she isnt from around here? Seriously, how?!

While I am a huge Gaiman fan, as you can see this short story just did not work for me at all. The story being too short for this kind premise, the main character's stupidity and that lame ending (THATS IT?!) kinda ruined it for me. Though, I did liked the excerpt from The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and the whole premise.
Profile Image for Janelle.
1,162 reviews141 followers
November 3, 2020
Really liked this one. Two teenage boys make their way to a party , Vic is the more confident one and hangs out with the prettiest girl, Stella. Enn is shy and finds it hard to talk to girls, it’s like they’re from another planet... Clever story that made me smile.
Profile Image for Maxine.
1,250 reviews42 followers
June 12, 2016
Fifteen-year-old Enn is not nearly as cool or confident as his best friend, Vic, especially where girls are concerned. So when Vic suggests they attend a party with ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’, Enn only reluctantly agrees. Vic, unfortunately, left the invitation with the address at home but that’s okay because he sure he can find it – just follow the party sounds. And they do find a party only they don’t recognize any of the people or the music. And there are lots of girls but these girls definitely aren’t like the ones they know at school.

How to Talk to Girls at Parties written by Neil Gaiman was originally released as one of the short stories in Fragile Things in 2006. It is now being released as a graphic novel by Dark Horse. Neil Gaiman has adapted it to the genre and it is illustrated by Brazilian brothers and award winning artists, Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba.

This is a relatively short book at just 67 pages and, on the surface, it is a fairly simple albeit smart story. But this is Gaiman and his stories are never quite what they seem and there are layers here. It can be read as straightforward scifi or as a story about how teenaged boys perceive girls – as a completely different universe, beautiful like poetry but, when you get too close, as terrifying and dangerous as the sun. However you read it, it is a beautifully written and drawn tale, witty, humorous in places, creepy in others but always a compelling and fascinating read


Thanks to Edelweiss and Dark Horse for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review
Profile Image for Anthony Chavez.
121 reviews69 followers
June 18, 2012
How to Talk to Girls at Parties is a short story by Neil Gaiman, I had the pleasure of listening to an .mp3 of Gaiman reading it. It is a very funny story about a teenage boy going to a party, end up at the wrong house, and then being too oblivious to catch the girls' hints that they aren't from earth at all. The narrator's, and the story's, cheeky refusal to every get the point is surprisingly endearing. The story was both poetic and kinda spooky at the same time on a twilight zone level. It was a good tale that paired teen angst and science fiction perfectly well. Good little listen or read, would recommend to any Gaiman fan.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Samane Hatam.
Author 6 books68 followers
December 17, 2020
چهار و نیم گمونم

از داستان هرچی بگم، لوث می‌شه فقط می‌تونم بگم کی جز گیمن می‌تونه وحشت و تعلیق و فضای شاعرانه و طنز و فانتزی رو کنار هم توی یه داستان کوتاه ده دوازده صفحه‌ای بگنجونه؟

فکر می‌کنم به فارسی ترجمه نشده -تا جایی که یادمه توی ج مثل جادو بوده و توی ترجمه سانسور شده- اما متن اصلیش توی وبسایت خود گیمن رایگان در دسترسه. نسخه‌ی صوتیش هم با صدای خودش هست.

می‌خواستم به تقلید از خودش بگم که حین خوندنش یه فنجون چای بخورین، ولی استثنا قائل بشین و این یکی رو با یه ته استکان نوشابه بخونین تا با شخصیت اصلی بیشتر همراه بشین.
Profile Image for Shweta Padma Das.
Author 1 book33 followers
August 2, 2018
Available on Neil Gaiman's site if anyone wants a listen. Fun YA scifi short story... about the MC's pisspoor attempt at talking to girls at parties... the girls might as well be from another planet as far as he is concerned. Oh, wait (spoiler alert), in this case they are. And the guy has no clue.

Also, there's a movie coming up. Excited to see how this is adapted into a full-length feature film.

Update: Saw the movie. Enjoyable adaption. Made it a fuller story. Punk was never so appealing.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Marijana ☕✨.
466 reviews87 followers
April 8, 2018
Ne znam zašto, ali setila sam se ove priče i morala sam da je pročitam još jednom. Mislim da mi je sad bila još bolja kad sam joj se posvetila odvojeno od cele zbirke.
Moram samo da prokomentarišem i neke negativne komentare, a svi do jednog se tiču otvorenog kraja - khm da li ste čuli za umetnost kratke priče i uopšte pojam (uspešnih) kratkih priča?
Profile Image for Henry Ratul.
64 reviews110 followers
September 1, 2017
Dafuq !!!

I have no fucking idea what I have just read. :v

Ending was so hilarious and weird at the same time. :3
Profile Image for Radwa.
Author 1 book2,062 followers
February 11, 2018
I don't know what I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting this. It was so bizarre and weird and I'm not even sure I understood it.

It had sci-fi elements that crept up on me and an abrupt ending that left me with more questions than answers.

It's got some deep insights into life and the universe, but extremely confusing at the same time. I think it would've been better if it was a novella or a novel, to be fleshed out more. The writing style is nice (so far I haven't read any full-length writings by Neil Gaiman, only short stories) but his style is to my liking, it's just that this story was way too weird on so many levels. It wasn't bad, just not THAT good.
Profile Image for Anna.
273 reviews50 followers
July 17, 2019
Short story about a teen who so badly wants to hook up with someone, anyone (well, as long as it's a girl, even if she's not the prettiest one at the party, she'll do). So while he's desperately trying to chat a couple of girls up he completely misses pretty obvious hints that all of the girls at the party are .
"Enn. You got to talk to them. And that means you got to listen to them, too. You understand?" Listen to them? Not in this house, Vic!
Man, I love Neil Gaiman.
Profile Image for Robyn.
1,790 reviews116 followers
September 1, 2020
Neil Gaiman's How to Talk to Girls At Parties

Well... it was colorful and I liked that. I got the first part of the book.. the boys wanted to meet and talk to girls... they go to a party and I assume that the girls there are really aliens... That is what I thought. They spoke in a language that I did not even get close to understanding. Perhaps one was a poem... or a pattern. oh hell, I don't have a clue at all.. it almost drove me into an existential crisis

1 star for pretty graphics

Happy Reading!
Profile Image for Lau .
650 reviews127 followers
October 13, 2019
«Había sólo un poema, que tomó una carne y caminó y se esparció a través de la inmensidad de lo conocido.»

Me gusta mucho Neil Gaiman, y me tiré de cabeza a esta historia. Esta se puede leer online aquí, o como parte de la antología Objetos Frágiles (cosa que me enteré después...).

El título me tenía intrigada principalmente por si sería realmente ese el tema de la historia. Y en cierta forma lo es, pero a la manera de Neil Gaiman, claro.
El protagonista (que narra teniendo 45 años) es Enn, un chico de 15 años que junto a un amigo está yendo a una fiesta, y que –como pasa a esa edad... y a a veces a otras edades también– efectivamente no sabe cómo hablarle a las chicas. Simplemente no las entiende. Dice que cambiaron de golpe, que menstruan y crecieron, y ellos siguen siendo niños.

En la fiesta hay una chica extraña y que habla sinsentidos, pero Enn, dentro de su inexperiencia en el trato con las chicas (y al ver que una le presta atención, pobrecito), le sigue la conversación con respuestas normales y mundanas (y creo que sin prestarle mayor atención), aunque no sabe de qué cuernos le está hablando ella. La explicación lógica que encuentra es que es extranjera, aunque la verdadera razón de su rareza va a ser otra.

Es breve y no tiene mayor argumento, pero los diálogos son simpáticos y las explicaciones (que el autor se digna a darnos) muy imaginativas y extrañamente profundas. Y si consideramos que la historia está vista en retrospectiva desde el punto de vista de un adulto queda mejor todavía. Sospecho que esa fiesta le habrá cambiado a Enn la forma de ver muchas cosas.

Personalmente estaba esperando que en cualquier momento aparezca Doctor Who, porque sería un argumento simpático para uno de los capítulos.
Es bonito, no lo mejor de Gaiman, pero sí entretenido y raro, como espero de este autor.

Reseña de Libros junto al mar
Profile Image for Sir Readalot.
78 reviews6 followers
February 14, 2020
It deserves 2.5 ★ tbh.

Neil Gaiman tries to tell a story of an evening where two teenage boys go to a party. One is a shy guy who can't hold a conversation with a girl and on the other hand his friend has got all figured out.

Plot wise, there's not much depth to it, I found the story to be bland and pretty straightforward (but then again how much can one expect for a short comic). The only reason I liked the book was the way that shy guy's character was presented, my 15 year old self found that to be pretty relatable.

And it also deserves an extra point for this single sentence:

"we knew that it'd soon be over, we knew, so we put all of that into a poem to tell the universe who we were and why we were here and what we did and we thought and dreamed and yearned for. We wrapped our dreams into words and patterned the words so they'd live forever unforgettable..."

I fucking loved reading that.
Profile Image for Ana Luisa.
108 reviews121 followers
January 23, 2015
This is my first experience with a Neil Gaiman story, and I have to say it took me completely by surprise!
The story has a narrative that flows very easily and I found myself intrigued by the scenario and always wanting to know more. There was something about the main character, Enn, that was unique in a weird and great way, and we get to know through his words how it feels like to be a young and shy boy in an attempt to talk to unfamiliar girls at parties.
This short story got me hooked from the start and it made me want to read even more of Gaiman's works.
Profile Image for Ankita.
41 reviews2 followers
December 30, 2016

A sci fi short by Gaiman turned into a graphic novel - illustrations are pretty amazing as is the story. Starts off as something you'd expect and then you're in for a surprise. Most definitely recommend a second read and also the original short (part of the Fragile Things collection).
Profile Image for willaful.
1,155 reviews370 followers
May 21, 2013
Kind of a one-joke story, but it is an interesting joke.
Profile Image for Stefi.
594 reviews203 followers
July 14, 2018
Short and light read. Love this one even the story little rush in ending.
Profile Image for Laís Arjona.
354 reviews
October 24, 2017
This one wasn't for me.
I didn't really care about any of the characters and wasn't exactly surprised by the events, but it's a Gaiman after all.
I love that Neil Gaiman is the voice narrating his own audiobooks, and it's really nice that this short story and its audiobook is avaliable for free on his website, I did have fun listening to and reading it.
If anyone is interested, here's the full text and here's the link to the full audio.
Profile Image for Tam.
207 reviews46 followers
August 22, 2020
"You cannot hear a poem without it changing you," she told me. "They heard it, and it colonized them. It inherited them and it inhabited them, its rhythms becoming part of the way that they thought; its images permanently transmuting their metaphors; its verses, its outlook, its aspirations becoming their lives. Within a generation their children would be born already knowing the poem, and, sooner rather than later, as these things go, there were no more children born. There was no need for them, not any longer. There was only a poem, which took flesh and walked and spread itself across the vastness of the known.".

They definitely went to the wrong party.
Profile Image for Siobhan.
4,494 reviews469 followers
October 13, 2020
How to Talk to Girls at Parties was a short story that had me curious, but it never quite wowed me in the way I had expected. It was different, but I had hoped for more from this one. I think my problem is that I’d heard a lot of good things about this one and went in with high expectations. Instead of getting one of Neil Gaiman’s strange gems, this one was simply strange.

All in all, this one wasn’t for me, but I’m sure it will work for many.
Profile Image for Fran.
685 reviews56 followers
May 18, 2013
Let's admit it: everyone who got this free short story was really getting it for the The Ocean at the End of the Lane preview, right? The short story is good, of course, but you've probably all ready read it in Fragile Things (I have).

The preview is the new bit (until the book is published, at least) and this free ebook serves both as an introduction to Neil Gaiman's work with a short story, and as a promo to get you to buy his upcoming book. The preview is the Prologue of tOatEotL, and it's good. Sets the scene and gets you wanting to know 'what happens next?' so you'll buy the book when it comes out. Although I'm pretty sure that the majority of people who got this free ebook already have tOatEotL on pre-order!

Still, if you don't know Neil Gaiman's work, this is a good thing to pick up; or to recommend to friends as an introduction to Neil Gaiman because, hey, it's free!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 608 reviews

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