Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fiction and Illusions Smoke and Mirrors discussion


79 views
Good, but he does best with a larger canvas

Comments Showing 1-12 of 12 (12 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Jay (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:46AM) (new)

Jay He is a yoga master.


message 2: by Kathryn (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:46AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kathryn These short stories (some flash fiction length, some more traditional) are well written, but they feel more offhand. I think Gaiman is at his best when he's working with stories and characters on an epic scale--American Gods and the brilliant Sandman series. It's almost as if he's reining himself in here, and it shows.


message 3: by Joshtothemaxx (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

Joshtothemaxx I agree totally. These short stories, to me, all felt like they were written in between his novels and Sandman work just as a way to pass the time, or to get mediocre writing ideas out of the way. Gaiman is a master at getting you to know and love (or hate) a character, but not in 20 pages or so.

It's still a pretty good collection of short stories though.


Allison i disagree. i loved Anansi Boys and American Gods, and his collaboration with Pratchett for "Good Omens."

But a short story, or prose, is a beautiful thing in and of itself. A concept that would be tired in 50 pages, he attacks, toys with, and completes in mere pages, sometimes just a few paragraphs.

I love reading a short story between larger novels, like a pallet cleanser for the mind.


message 5: by Tim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Tim Mckinstry I agree that for many of the short stories I was merely skimming past, looking for something that pricked my interest, but his darker take on Snow White in "Snow, Glass, Apples" had me riveted.

I was surprised to find lust and sex to be a theme that kept cropping up in many of the stories, almost making me uncomfortable reading them at some points.

You could almost describe Smoke and Mirrors as a kind of brain dump of story ideas. snippets of characters and themes all swimming around, jostling for attention in the writers head.


Carina Tim wrote: "I agree that for many of the short stories I was merely skimming past, looking for something that pricked my interest, but his darker take on Snow White in "Snow, Glass, Apples" had me riveted.

I..."


I totally agree that "Snow, Glass, Apples" was my favourite and in my opinion one of the best stories in the compilation. I also found the one about the black cat to be quite interesting.

I do think that his longer works are, generally, better (I am currently reading Sandman for the first time and am really impressed so far), but I wouldn't say that this compilation is noticably worse. Especially as Gaiman explains how/why he wrote the stories.


Suge I agree. The short stories are good, but when given the time to flesh out a novel, he does a superb job. The novels either left me feeling disappointed or left me wanting more from the characters.


Plamen Evlogiev Maybe that applies, but not for all stories. Such tales as Chivalry, The Wedding Present, How Do You Think It Feels?, Looking For The Girl and Only the End of the World Again I consider to be brilliant and finished pieces of the good old peculiar Gaiman-type fiction.

However, I do agree that his longer works are better.


Emmy Allison wrote: "i disagree. i loved Anansi Boys and American Gods, and his collaboration with Pratchett for "Good Omens."

But a short story, or prose, is a beautiful thing in and of itself. A concept that would ..."


I prefer his short stories, too. They're little bursts of creative genius, and I don't think most of them would survive if stretched out any longer. Honestly, I think those are his best pieces.


Matthew A few of these stories, as he explains in the forward, were solicited from different publishers for various reasons, so perhaps they are not all as organic as much of his work. However, there are plenty of flashes of brilliance in this collection. His last novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was his shortest one yet, but despite that, I thought it was his strongest work. All of this to say, that sometimes brevity is superior to length in his work.


Papaphilly Allison wrote: "i disagree. i loved Anansi Boys and American Gods, and his collaboration with Pratchett for "Good Omens."

But a short story, or prose, is a beautiful thing in and of itself. A concept that would ..."


To compare short stories and novels is like comparing apples to tire irons. They both have their place in the sun. I happen to like Smoke and Mirrors very much and think the book is very well written. I also think short fiction is much harder to write than novels due to constraints of length and Neil Gaiman does a wonderful job.

The comments about novels developed characters better and liking his longer work is valid, but also that you have to appreciate the short story for its own sake as stand alone.

Both forms of the writing art have their place and both are valid.


message 12: by Tamara (last edited Sep 13, 2014 04:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Tamara Philip Papaphilly wrote: "Allison wrote: "i disagree. i loved Anansi Boys and American Gods, and his collaboration with Pratchett for "Good Omens."

But a short story, or prose, is a beautiful thing in and of itself. A con..."


Absolutely agree!! I couldn't have said it better myself.


back to top