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The Celestial Omnibus and other Stories

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  725 ratings  ·  75 reviews
1923. English author and critic, member of Bloomsbury group and friend of Virginia Woolf who achieved fame through his novels, which include: Room with a View, Maurice, A Passage to India, and Howard's End. The Celestial Omnibus is a collection of short-stories Forster wrote during the prewar years, most of which were symbolic fantasies or fables. Contents: The Story of a ...more
Paperback, 159 pages
Published 2005 by Snowbooks (first published 1911)
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Aug 31, 2020 rated it liked it
The Celestial Omnibus is practically 'Midnight in Paris' in book form. Aside from adding that the stories are refreshing and entertaining, if sometimes a little odd and mysterious in their meaning--the reader is definitely expected to do some interpretation--all I can say is that they are very E. M. Forster. Many muddles--much muddling?--and plenty of the Englishman at home, abroad, and in some dimension in between.

The Story of a Panic - 3
The Other Side of the Hedge - 5
The Celestial Omnibus - 4
Nancy Oakes
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much more about this book later, but I finished this book about 3 a.m. this morning and I literally have not stopped thinking about it since. I just ordered Forster's Selected Stories, hoping that the other stories in that book are as good as these are.

Seriously -- super book. My favorite quotation from the entire collection:

"Lasciate ogni baldanza voi che entrate."
Mar 02, 2021 rated it really liked it
E.M. Forster seemed to live and write like an electron in a region bordered by a semi-permeable membrane. Characters that can free themselves sufficiently from the hectic, cynical and ironic world are drawn through, they break on through to the other side.

The stories in this collection belong together. An old man, as weary as ancient Oedipus, has the scales fall briefly from his eyes while in a cool shaded glen in Greece in "The road From Colonus." A young boy, ignored and ridiculed by his pare
This is a different side of Forster that we see here. This is a collection of allegorical short stories that he considered fantasy. Very much on the lines of C.S. Lewis with a little Tolkien thrown in. The Celestial Omnibus gets top billing, but they were all quite good.
Jun 10, 2016 marked it as to-read
Free download available at InternetArchive. ...more
A fantasy full of literary allusions (most which I probably missed), The Celestial Omnibus is a rant against snobs, I think. Its villain is named Bots—snob spelled backwards 😀) The Boy exudes innocence which nullifies all snobbery, ans who conquers Bots (with the help of The Boys Immortal friends). Abandon hope...
This was my first reading of E. M. Forster, and I’m glad I started with this quirky, hard-to-describe little collection. It was a refreshing, fun read and while I know his longer novels won’t be in quite the same (fantasy) vein, I’ll surely begin on his novels soon because his writing style here was so appealing. I loved these short pieces of unexpected fabulousness!
Jan 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received an ARC of this title from Dover Publications through NetGalley.

This brief collection of stories show the true depth of Forster’s literary talent and his ability to infuse fantasy and imagination into his stories. My favorite stories were two in the collection into which Forster incorporates many classical references.

In the Celestial Omnibus, a boy discovers a sign for an omnibus in the lane across from his house. The alley is a very odd place for an omnibus to pass through so the boy
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-owned
2.5 stars. It’s hard to believe this collection of stories was written by the same man who wrote A Room with a View , A Passage to India , and Howards End -- all of which I love, and the first of which I consider to be one of my favorite novels of all time. I have heard the stories described as “fantasy” (on the back book cover) or speculative fiction, but really they are just allegories with a mythological bent. They contain none of the darkness or creativity of previous Victorian tal ...more
Nov 06, 2011 added it
Although I read all the stories in this collection in another one of Forster (with other stories), when I saw a 1920 edition of it, I couldn't resist getting it. Some books are just plain sweet to own. ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Celestial Omnibus and Other Stories was a small volume first published by E. M. Forster in 1911. The spotlighted story, The Celestial Omnibus, is, in many lists, considered to be one of the best stories ever written. It was said, that Forster felt books, and stories for that matter, must be read in the proper way. They must be absorbed "not as ends, but as means - as signposts, not destinations."

I must completely agree that the stories in this volume, must have been "signposts," because mor
Cait Poytress
Oct 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have to admit that I am still getting used to Forster's style. He's not especially descriptive, which can be a good thing. I've read books that take pages upon pages to describe something as inconsequential as the front porch of a random building, down to the individual hues and intricate pattern of the wood grain. Um, no thanks. That's when I start skimming, in an attempt to keep my eyes from glazing over and drooping shut. However. Forster, in my opinion, goes too far in the opposite directi ...more
A nice collection of stories with fantasy/supernatural element; the main theme seems to be the forces of nature and imagination versus rules of society and reason. Some of the stories were slightly too sublime for my taste, but I liked "The Story of a Panic" and "The Road from Colonus". ...more
Charles Sheard
Although Forster was one of my earlier favorites, this collection of short stories is sadly very rough. Despite being written over the first decade of the 20th Century, during the same period during which he gave us Where Angels Fear to Tread, The Longest Journey and A Room with a View, these stories seem juvenile and quite lacking in polish. At times, the language was so in need of an editor that it was unclear what was going on. All the stories include elements of fantasy, but are not convinci ...more
Grete Howland
Dec 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Having only known Forster as a novelist, I was surprised (though perhaps I should not have been) by the potency of these few short stories. Simple enough in their prose, their themes are, by Forster's own label, fantastic, and mysterious. I can see how more cynical readers might be inclined to roll their eyes at the romantic, humanist themes--indeed, they might seem to verge on the melodramatic for a modern audience--but I found the passion of Forster's convictions refreshing and inspiring. If t ...more
Kari Trenten
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An excellent collection of tales where E.M. Forster tries his hand at far more speculative fiction than some of his more well-known works, a practice I wished he’d done more often because the results were magical. The omnibus was such a delightful, character-specific place where it comes into question whether or not it’s real or imaginary…or is it the character who doubts its existence whose imaginary? More than one story makes its characters wonder if otherworldly forces are at work even amidst ...more
Jun 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Even though that the dialogue are somewhat archaic and difficult to follow and there are moments where you have to re read if you missed something in the story, it is an incredible lecture that lets the reader feel the empathy of the characters that want to be outside the status quo and are spiritually awake. That's what I liked about these short stories. It's about people or situations that let you open your eyes of what really matters in life. ...more
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is quite an interesting read. Forster has a very important message in it and that is to not be too proud of your knowledge for it may surprise you. The reader is touched by the innocence of the young boy and at certain places wishes to hold the same truthful and pure heart as that of the child.

Lamar Latrell
Apr 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful pastoral collection. I've known for a while that he was really into the outdoors, but this was an excellent collection of stories about nature and the desire to connect to it or be a part of it.
Really, it was close to magical realism, between the release of dryad and the creation of a faun. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-story
Awesome set of short stories. All are chock full of allusions to and lessons from Greek mythology, reframed for modern-ish eyes. My favorites were The Story of a Panic and The Celestial Omnibus; both had mad Peter Pan vibes.
“Oh, fence me out if you like! Fence me out as much as you like! But never in. Oh Harcourt, never in.”
– Other Kingdom

My favourites were The Other Side of the Hedge, The Celestial Omnibus and Other Kingdom.
Charlie Barber
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Magical, allegorical short stories, with Forster’s light, sly hand.
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Was a very good, short read.
Aug 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very fey. I love E.M. Forster. The title story was my favorite.
Courtney Clark
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
Oh Forster, you muse you
Feb 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The Celestial Omnibus is a sentimental allegorical fantasy where adults are bad because they have no wonder and imagination.
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The stories in this volume share a similar fantasy/surreal feeling.
The only one I had read before, The Other Side of the Hedge, I find to be particularly chilling.
john speake
Jun 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Unfortunately modern authors can no longer write like this .But they could lean a lot by going back and re-reading some of these stories.
May 23, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I did not like Forster’s writing but really enjoyed the stories and themes, they are things I often think about.
Madison Gardner
May 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
Very sweet story. Gratifying end.
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Edward Morgan Forster, generally published as E.M. Forster, was an novelist, essayist, and short story writer. He is known best for his ironic and well-plotted novels examining class difference and hypocrisy in early 20th-century British society. His humanistic impulse toward understanding and sympathy may be aptly summed up in the epigraph to his 1910 novel Howards End: "Only connect".

He had five

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