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Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories
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Fantasy Writer's Assistant and Other Stories

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  199 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
At times literary, at other times surreal, this collection offers an eclectic group of stories that deal with real-life conflicts, human values, and coming-of-age experiences all placed within fantastical settings. One tale recounts the author's search for a Kafka story that can only be found in an elusive and quite possibly cursed edition. Other stories feature humans dre ...more
Hardcover, 247 pages
Published August 1st 2002 by Golden Gryphon Press
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Mar 18, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012, short-stories
a reliable source sent me a video of jeffrey ford reading his story from his forthcoming collection (this summer!), Crackpot Palace: Stories and i thought i should investigate. when i finally found him shelved in a bookstore, this, i bought it -- they didn't have the other i'd marked to-read first The Empire of Ice Cream, because a) there was ice cream in the title, b) i wondered if it was inspired by the wallace stevens poem called "the emperor of ice cream" and c) it came with an introduction ...more
Nov 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
“Creation” is about what it says it’s about: A young boy undergoing religious training gives in to an impulse to create as God did, and succeeds…after a fashion. The rest of the story concerns the aftermath and the young boy coming to terms with the implications and responsibilities of his action. It’s one of Ford’s better known stories, and I’ve even heard claims that it “transcends genre fantasy.” Sorry, no. This is what fantasy does. It’s the fun-house mirror that we hold up so we can see our ...more
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
Loved the first few stories but was put off by the title story, "The Fantasy Writer's Assistant." I guess it all depends on your perspective: is a middle-aged fantasy writer creating a false universe for a slim, bookish 17-year-old girl charming, or creepy? Clearly Jeffrey Ford and his fans think the former. And maybe I'm over-sensitive on this point; I've always found Alice in Wonderland vaguely icky. But the smugness of the ending--the fantasy writer was the puppeteer all along! and the girl w ...more
Aug 25, 2007 rated it really liked it
Ford writes like an avuncular, wide-eyed, big-hearted mystic and these stories are so full of exuberant imagination that they sometimes trip over themselves. Despite the stumbles, I was inspired by the mixture of autobiography and Borgesian fantasy in "The Honeyed Knot" and "Bright Morning." Reading "The Honeyed Knot" alone made me reconsider a career in teaching writing. Ford professes composition at a community college and draws deeply on his classroom experience in the story, which he claims ...more
This may be the most expensive book in my recent Amazon spree. $2.98.
I've read Ford's two newest novels, but until searching the used books on Amazon, was unable to track down any of his earlier stuff. I liked The Girl in the Glass and The Portrait of Mrs. Charbuque, but I like his short stories much better, probably because they tend more towards fantasy and sci-fi than his recent novels. I'm looking forward to reading the Physiognomy, especially since it is somewhat based on The Delicate, fou
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a pretty good collection of short stories by Jeffrey Ford, and I have to say I enjoyed several of them. Some were not to my taste at all but that's the way it goes. There's a lot of hunting and killing of animals (or creatures) in this book - not graphically described or anything, but enough to notice. Perhaps it's a metaphor for the slaying of personal monsters or demons; a dream-like quality pervades the books and in dreams we often do battle with our own dark monsters or even mysterio ...more
Daniel Rosen
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Didn't entrance me quite as deeply as The Empire of Ice Cream collection, but I felt like the stories resonated with me personally a lot more despite that. Being torn between genres, the blurred lines between magic and everyday coincidence, the strange wonder of youth.

Excellent collection.
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
This is a collection of short stories that are fantastical in nature, but were not your standard fantasy fare. The title story was a fun one, as was "The Exo-Skeleton Town." And then there were some intelligent stories such as "Malthusian's Zombie." I guess as a whole, the collection is pretty good. The stories in the later half of the book were great, but it took me awhile to get interested in the stories in the first half of the book.
With each new book ingested, Ford is becoming my favorite author.

It's usually difficult to give a short story collection 5 stars, as with most collections, the content quality is uneven, all over the place. Not so here; every one of these stories was amazing. Some blew me away. I never know where Jeffrey Ford is going to take me, but I always trust in him that I will enjoy
the ride.

Ford's unique qualities are a breath of fresh air.

This was my first collection of Ford's short stories to read aft
Oct 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Really interesting, actually. I found this on a shelf in the Oberlin Public Library and picked it up just for kicks. Turns out I discovered a really cool author I'd never heard of before. He's like a cross between Bradbury and Diane Duane, with a little bit of Heinlein thrown in.

My favorite stories in this collection were "The Honeyed Knot," "The Fantasy Writer's Assistant," and the one with the little girl and her uncle. I thought it was pretty clever in another one how the narrator was a succe
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
The stories stretched my concept of what fantasy is and can be, taking it out of the usual glacial lakes/forested mountains/sword wielding/Middle Earth business, and I'm glad. They seem to come at their respective narratives from all sorts of strange angles, and the genre blending was expertly done. Ford is self-effacing and has a refreshingly down-to-earth prose style.
Jeffrey Ford is unforgettable, and inarguably my new favorite short story writer. Truly impeccable short stories, ranging from very atypical high fantasy to slipstream, historical fiction, and magical realism based on his own experiences teaching. Ford is on his way to greatness, heed my words.
Jan 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Better than I could write. Sometimes literary and beautiful, sure but the stories will bum you out. Downbeat and offbeat. I am not in the right phase of my life to love this stuff.

Take these in small quantities.
Jim Wolfe
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Estupenda colección de relatos cortos. Completamente alejada de la fantasía tradicional, con toque kafkianos y lovecraftianos, pero inquietantemente original. Ganador del Premio Mundial de Fantasía como mejor colección de relatos del 2003.
Apr 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Collection of Jeffrey Ford's older stories (up to about 2003), one of my favourite authors, mixture of unsettling, weird stories and uplifting fables.
Jul 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Impossibly good collection of short fiction equal mix of wistful and sad and surreal and menacing. Elements of scifi, fantasy, aubiography, absurdism in the style of an American Borges.
Nov 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
An amazing collection of short stories, the best of which tell the most strange, far-flung, fantastical stories with pathos and humanity.
Dec 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Can I add more stars?
Fang McGee
Jan 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Lucid, Kafka-sequel fever dreams; an awe-inspiring delight.
Andrew Johnson
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ford's writing is some of the most vivid I've ever encountered. Each of these stories is worth a read, and some of them are worth several.
Joe English
Sep 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Reading Jeffrey Ford is like dreaming while awake.
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Sep 14, 2016
rated it it was amazing
May 15, 2013
rated it really liked it
Nov 15, 2010
rated it it was ok
Aug 03, 2015
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Sep 03, 2015
Jean Harper
rated it it was amazing
Jan 26, 2017
rated it really liked it
Dec 09, 2008
Michael Antoniewicz
rated it it was amazing
May 28, 2013
Katie Did
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Jul 29, 2012
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Jeffrey Ford is an American writer in the Fantastic genre tradition, although his works have spanned genres including Fantasy, Science Fiction and Mystery. His work is characterized by a sweeping imaginative power, humor, literary allusion, and a fascination with tales told within tales. He is a graduate of the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he studied with the novelist John Gar ...more
More about Jeffrey Ford...