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Irregular Verbs and Other Stories
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Irregular Verbs and Other Stories

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  64 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Keluarga: to move to a new village. Lunak: to search for something without finding it. Mencintai: to love for the last time.

Meet a guilt-ridden nurse who atones for her sins by joining her zombified patients in exile; a lone soldier standing guard on a desolate Arctic island against an invasion that may be all in his mind; a folksinger who tries to unionize Hell; and a pri
Paperback, 340 pages
Published June 18th 2014 by Chizine Publications (first published May 15th 2014)
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Average rating 3.77  · 
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May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Irregular Verbs

this is one of the best short stories i have ever read. it was the perfect introduction to this collection, which is overall characterized by a preoccupation with language/communication and by a strong sense of location. this story highlights both themes and is godawfully lovely and tender and sad and 100% relatable despite taking place in an imagined locale with very specific defining qualities. it is a truly moving portrayal of grief and helplessness within a well-developed worl
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
upgrading a star... cause that first story... for shits it's good! read... it!


This massive collection of short stories will engage some, frustrate others, and enrapture many. It is, after all, a very unique offering, one that spans the gauntlet of subject matter, and explores the dirtiness of human existence. The author explores the layers of mundane life transitions—even though, on their own these are tragic and often unnecessarily cruel—through a contemporary lens that cuddles up
Camilla Kristensen
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014, male-author
Wow. I really don't know how to write this review because I think this got to be the best collection of short stories that I have ever read. Not that I had read that many, but... you know. Matthew Johnson has this amazing mind and how he'd come up with all that stuff and make his worlds so... real in so few words is beyond my fantasy.

I don't want to say too much about each story because I think the best way to approach this collection is to not know much at all, but I just need to mention the ti
Jun 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley, 2016
Irregular Verbs and Other Stories by Matthew Johnson is a wonderful anthology of short stories about ... everything.

There's a story about a husband, who's wife is dead and he starts to forget the language the two of them talked with each other, so he starts to write it down, and when parer and floor isn't enough, he uses his skin. About prefugees from old Rome, who do not assimilate into modern times and want to go back. About a detective in Noveu-Orleans who is investigating a threat to kill He
R.A. Marsh
Jun 17, 2014 rated it liked it
Matthew Johnson is a writer of many gifts, and incomparable imagination. He is at his best in stories like Irregular Verbs, Closing Time, or Holdfast, where familiar yet inventive locales and exotic cultures play a prominent role in the narratives. From the Far-East to the Arctic to medieval Nordic-style villages, Johnson handles the difficulties of regional flavor and authenticity with a deft hand and a keen sense for the evocative details that can bring a story to life. Irregular Verbs in part ...more
Bruce Gargoyle
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Full review at http://thebookshelfgargoyle.wordpress... (July 10)

I received a digital copy of this title for review from the publishers via Netgalley.

Ten Second Synopsis:
A collection of fascinating tales for the intrepid and fearless armchair traveller.

I was pleasantly surprised by this collection because, although I enjoy reading short stories, I often find that collections can be hit and miss. With Irregular Verbs I was happy to discover that not only did I enjoy the vast majority of these st
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Anthologies are often subjective and a little hit-or-miss, but this one had some great stand-outs. Personal favourites include:

* Public Safety
* Beyond the Fields You Know
* When We Have Time
* Heroic Measures
Samantha Gramer
Jun 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Some are fantastic, some are to short, but every one has it's moments
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Above average anthology.
Jun 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
The cover to this collection popped out to me on NetGalley, and the name Matthew Johnson immediately rang a bell of vague familiarity. I knew I’d read a lot by the author, mostly in Asimov’s Science Fiction, and also in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction and respected online publications like Strange Horizons and Fantasy Magazine (the latter now merged into Lightspeed).

I recalled his name with fondness, not a sense of trepidation. But I couldn’t really remember any particular story clear
Jun 14, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
When I saw this one in the Read Now section of NetGalley I instantly remembered Helen Marshall’s “Hair Side, Flesh Side”, a book of short stories much like this one that I picked up and found myself rather disappointed with. It also made me even more curious to see where this book would lead, especially after seeing that she wrote the introduction to this one.

“Irregular Verbs and Other Short Stories” is a book that was good up to about the half-way point, I found, and then I slowly began to los
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthology, bizarre, sci-fi
I tend to prefer short story anthologies with multiple authors, but those can sometimes be a crapshoot, with great stories and terrible ones side by side. Reading an anthology entirely by one person gives you a glimpse into their mind and their preoccupations in a way little else can, but run the risk of becoming extremely samey.

In the case of Johnson, I was startled to see the ease with which he switched settings and cultures-- jumping from Pacific Islanders to faux Germanic, to modern America
Oct 01, 2014 rated it liked it

Conceptually speaking, this collection is really hit and miss. Some of the stories' premises are incredibly cool. Seriously. As in, worthy of Bradbury or Gaiman at their best. Others are bland, unremarkable. The real problem, though, is that nearly all of them end up being neatly tied up with a pretty little bow at the end. Not only that, but they're usually tied up in pretty similar ways. These are not stories that you can end with an unexpectedly good turn at the end and expect them to mak
Nov 29, 2014 rated it liked it
My interest in this book was very uneven — only a few stories really caught my attention, but those that did had really clever premises: Another Country, which deals with refugees from other time periods, and Beyond the Fields You Know, in which children are invited to a fantasy world but do not find what they expect, really stayed with me. Most of the other stories were OK or didn't keep my attention long enough and I ended up skipping them. If it weren't for those two stories, I would have giv ...more
Angélique (MapleBooks)
I just can’t repeat enough how much I loved this book. I’m totally dazed at the amount of creativity and details behind each world in Irregular Verbs and Other Stories. It’s just so smart, so immersive, so gripping! If you like short-novels, I have no doubt this will become one of your favourite. If you don’t, this will change your mind. Seriously, you just can’t miss this masterpiece: check it out!

Full review available on
Twenty-two stories of speculative fiction, ranging from a glowing restaurant review of a vegetarian place serving one special course of meat (why is the chef in a wheelchair?) to a mashup of Frankenstein and Mark Twain’s story “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.” I really appreciated the wide ranging curiosity of the author as he tackles all sorts of ideas across genres. Lots of fun, and reminded me of Ted Chiang's stories.
Apr 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
I really loved this collection. Imaginative with great social commentary, Matthew Johnson has a talent for intricate world building in only a few short pages. Public Safety, Beyond the Fields You Know, Outside Chance, The Coldest War and Written by the Winners were all standouts for me, though I enjoyed almost every story from front to back.
This was a solid collection of stories. The ideas were great, and I like his prose. There were a couple stories in there that I found really boring, but I just skipped them and the rest were really compelling! Nice little tastes of great sci fi concepts.
Josef Hernandez
Aug 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Another great short story collection by ChiZine

For a full review, please go to and follow me on Twitter @josenher
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I loved these stories. Imaginative and interesting and fresh and totally fantastical and yet somehow ancient and wise and true as breathing. My only complaint- these stories were introductions to amazing people and ideas and I would love to read more. There isn't more. Maybe someday....
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
After reading the story "Heroic Measures," I paused for a minute to just pet the book: yes, good.
You're a good book.
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Stories of history and its telling, both "real" and imagined, presented in narrative forms reflective of diverse cultures. Fiction, fantasy and science fiction, all compelling.
Jan 29, 2017 added it
Shelves: incomplete
Collection of short stories - some good and some not so good. Incomplete.
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