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The Loud Table

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  127 ratings  ·  34 reviews
The Loud Table by Jonathan Carroll is an sf-fantasy about four elderly men who regularly hang out. One of the men is worried that he’s getting Alzheimer’s, but the truth might be even more discomforting.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.
ebook, 32 pages
Published November 2nd 2016 by Tor Books
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3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  127 ratings  ·  34 reviews


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karen
Nov 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“There’s no cure for old age. No one recovers from it.”

in keeping with my new resolve to not review the tor shorts so good, in order to get my to-be-reviewed list down to a manageable number, i'm just going to drop a few thoughts about this jonathan carroll story, and leave it to you to read it on your own and make your own assessments. because, obviously, you should read it. 1) it's a new jonathan carroll story and 2) it's free! what on earth is keeping you from reading it right now? me? oh, ok
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
This is one of the better Tor online short stories I've read lately! I thought Jonathan Carroll would pull me out of my funk, and he did. :)

description

Final review, first posted on Fantasy Literature:

A group of retired old men meets every day at a coffee shop to hang out most of the day and shoot the breeze.
description

They live for each other’s company, so they’re bewildered and alarmed when the coffee shop manager announces that the café is closing for two months for renovations. After considering and discarding se
...more
GoldGato
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Getting older is hard, especially for men.

Old women have a knack for keeping busy, but old men don’t. Maybe we used up all of our busy before we retired. Look around and you’ll see what I mean—old women are always going off to lunch together or bridge club or museums or whatever.

This Tor.com short story starts innocently enough, as a group of elderly men meet each morning to talk and to drink coffee and to feel secure in easy companionship. Then they discover their local cafe has to temporarily
...more
Kelly Furniss
Dec 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This very short story manages to show Carrolls talent well. In 22 pages he squeezes in an analysis of life, how its lived and death with a fun twist of sci-fi. The analysis is in the form of four elderly men sitting around a table who discuss everything daily and one worries he may be getting Alzheimers but the truth could be worse!.
I found Jonathan Carroll through Neil Gaiman's work and he is now one of my favourite magical realism authors. His writing delves deep in to your emotions and makes
...more
Selina Kyle
I want one single thing in my life to remain the same right up until the day I die. Then whenever I get the feeling life is slipping through my fingers like sand, I can turn to that one fixed thing and hold tight, knowing it will stay that way till I’m gone.

This story is so good. It's hard to find sci-fi of any kind that feels real enough for me to get hooked on, and it's harder still to find any kind of media featuring senior citizens well past retirement. Especially sci-fi or fantasy, which t
...more
Zuky the BookBum
I have a huge, irrational love for old people, so when I saw this was about the elderly I really wanted to read it! This started out nicely, is was slow and mundane, but in a good way.

Towards the middle, there were some comments on aging that really got to me. I hate the thought of getting old and I hate the thought that old people think they're useless (because I personally think they're great) so some of the things said really touched me.

Then the twist happened and it was totally left field. I
...more
Laura
This is an well written short story with a twist. You think you know what is going on, but you don't. It appears to be straight fiction, so to speak, but it isn't. It is a quick read, and quite fun. The voices sound genuine, and the search for a good cafe to hang out in is fun.

Read it all the way to the end, because otherwise you won't get it.

Yeah, that is the way it is with short stories. You give too much away, you spoil it.

You can read this story for free on the Tor site.
Jen
Nov 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-freebie
I loved the twist at the end, but the old people talking about the negatives of getting older depressed me. Very realistic. Short freebie at Tor. Worth the read. Three solid stars.
Hannah
Nov 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi, short-stories
I feel rather meh about this.

Old men nattering at a table seemed realistic and I had no problems with the twist, but Margaret Atwood and Robin Hobb/Megan Lindholm have previously tackled the "is it really Alzheimer's?" SFF short story with so much more nuance and plays on language.
Jim
Nov 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
This short SF story is free from Tor & available here. It's an interesting look at aging & memory & a little more...
Buse
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WOW
Narmeen
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
LOVED! Now someone please recommend me other short stories that are as good as this one.
Fans of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, this one's for you.
Kinsey_m
Nov 14, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This started out quite interestingly, then shifted gears in a way that was extremely jarring for my taste and lost me. Maybe there is people that can keep invested in a story that started out one way and then became something else entirely (and I mean universes away), but this has always been problematic for me. I can suspend disbelief all day long, as long as enough hints are provided about which type of story I'm dealing with, but go from realistic to WTF in an instant and you'll leave me behi ...more
Maggie Gordon
The Loud Table is about a group of old men who enjoy spending their days at a coffee shop. Until the narrative takes a drastic turn and is about aliens and the singularity instead. The story was amusing, but very disjointed and not particularly compelling in the end. The idea could have been explored better, even in a short story. Instead, the plot elements were tossed in without must development, and the Alzheimer's part in particular felt quite flippant.
Moutasem
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Old men don’t sleep much. Don’t sleep much, don’t eat much, piss much; we are walking clichés of what old men are supposed to be like—men that once upon a time we never ever thought we would become"

A twenty pages of fiction shouldn't be amusing like this.. at the first few pages you're drown into some elder people talks on a table, and by the last few pages there are aliens and AI. who controls the world of humans.
ambyr
The conceit here is cute, I guess, but I found the reveal clunky. And the narrator's dripping misogyny grated. I like reading about strong bonds of friendship between men, but I assert it is possible to write that without dismissing every woman in their lives as a miserable shrew.
Tess
Not subtle enough and not as full of pathos as it could have been. Interesting premise though.
Stanley
Sep 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting short read.
Audrey
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Carroll is one of my favorite authors, and as a result, I have a hard time not being biased when I talk about his work. This is a perfect example of Carroll's work, if you've never read him -- conversely, if you have, then you'll know what to expect (without ever quite knowing EXACTLY what to expect). The thing that I love most about Carroll is that his novels is how his novels are about everything that's beautiful in life, and that sometimes those beautiful things can also be scary or strange o ...more
Lil Old Bookworm
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A sweet little short story about the effects of old age, life, death, and all the little moments in between. There was a bit of a sci-fi touch at the end which added a neat little twist, but in all honesty I enjoyed the first half of the story before the twist better. But it all worked together pretty well and made for an intriguing story.
Bud Mallar
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: karen-rec-read
one should not grow old - as I am.....

you can find this on the tor website and read for free
Michelle
"Old women have a knack for keeping busy, but old men don’t. Maybe we used up all of our busy before we retired. Look around and you’ll see what I mean—old women are always going off to lunch together or bridge club or museums or whatever. On the other hand, us men sit at home watching whatever dreck is on TV, or we read too much of the newspaper every morning. We used to have so many things to do in our busy lives, but now there are these big fat chunks of free time in a day that are like mile- ...more
JM
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So this starts off as a pretty normal story about a bunch of old dudes having to deal with the inconvenience of their favorite diner being closed for renovations for a couple of months so that they don't know where to hang out. Old retired men are creatures of habit and this proves to be not only a hassle but a challenge as well.

Going through the story I was starting to wonder where the sci-fi angle was until the twist at the end, which was pretty fun. Great story, having fun with our expectati
...more
Fiona
Another free Tor short :)

Initially reading this brought my dad to mind - he's just retired, and the process of aging, with the effect that has on one's self-image and attitude to the rest of the world, was just beautifully described. It really did echo a lot that my dad has mentioned about the weirdness of becoming old.

About halfway through it stopped resonating quite so much... but no spoilers! And a very entertaining read.
Marco
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
This is the story of four elderly men who regularly hang out. One of the men is worried that he’s getting Alzheimer’s, but the truth might be even more discomforting. A nice piece of fiction, with a small touch of science fiction in it.
Bitchin' Reads
More like 3.5/5 stars. This was such an interesting read with a strange twist in plot. If you want a surprise from a seemingly cute tale about a group of old men friends...this is your read.
Jennifer
Nov 03, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks-online, sff
Pretty cool. I would read a novel set in this universe, definitely.
Amy
Nov 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tor short. Interesting little quickie. Not particularly up my alley.
Vanellope
Good short story! Interesting concept, I just wish it'd been longer.
Sanaa Hyder
Dec 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meaningful and funny! An entertaining short read, would recommend.
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Jonathan Carroll (b. 1949) is an award-winning American author of modern fantasy and slipstream novels. His debut book, The Land of Laughs (1980), tells the story of a children’s author whose imagination has left the printed page and begun to influence reality. The book introduced several hallmarks of Carroll’s writing, including talking animals and worlds that straddle the thin line between reali ...more
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