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In the deft hands of Neil Gaiman, magic is no mere illusion . . . and anything is possible. In Smoke and Mirrors, Gaiman's imagination and supreme artistry transform a mundane world into a place of terrible wonders—where an old woman can purchase the Holy Grail at a thrift store, where assassins advertise their services in the Yellow Pages under "Pest Control," and where a frightened young boy must barter for his life with a mean-spirited troll living beneath a bridge by the railroad tracks. Explore a new reality, obscured by smoke and darkness yet brilliantly tangible, in this extraordinary collection of short works by a master prestidigitator. It will dazzle your senses, touch your heart, and haunt your dreams.

Topics: Short stories, Retellings, Dark, Spooky, Adventurous, Mystical, Magic, Folk and Fairy Tales, Mythology, Supernatural Powers, Assassins, Magical Realism, and Gothic

Published: HarperCollins on
ISBN: 9780061795299
List price: $6.99
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The stories in this book are sometimes horrifying, sometimes thought provoking, and sometimes just plain weird. Overall, I enjoyed this book.more
I don't normally like short stories, but Neil Gaiman has them down to an art. His short stories don't feel like shrunken down versions of a novel: they feel like short stories. My favourite story in the whole thing is actually the story in the intro, the wedding present. Well worth reading.more
Want to know how good this book is? Well, I bought it because it's a book of short stories. My husband and I were going on a trip to Hawaii, and I figured I'd read it on the plane.

Which I did. I then kept reading it -- in our hotel, in the car, on the way to the beach, at the beach. My husband was getting so irritated at me because I was spending our vacation on the island of Oahu reading a book.

That is how great this book is. I picked it over snorkeling.more
Of course it's 5 stars... It's Neil Gaiman! Eclectic and brilliant story-telling that always comes out perfect.more
Of the three short collections, this is definitely the more horror-themed of them. Fragile Things does have horror elements, but there’s also more elements of fantasy and magical realism. And Smoke & Mirrors has the same things, but there’s a little bit more of a darker element to the stories.

This has some of my favorite stories. “The Goldfish Pond…” is probably my hands-down favorite, and surprisingly that’s the one with the least fantastical elements (and I like the “mostly a true story” aspect). “Murder Mysteries” is fantastic, I love “Chivalry” and “Snow Glass Apples.” “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar” is hysterical, even to someone who doesn’t really know a lot of the Cthulu Mythos. And there’s “Bay Wolf” which shouldn’t work, but he excels at the whole poem.

As for the rocking back and forth…hoo boy. One word: “Babycakes.” Less so, “The White Road,” and I’d like to find a copy of “Eaten” as Gaiman refers to the two poems as part of a triptych. I wouldn’t say that it’s completely disturbing, but a lot of the stories are extremely unsettling.

It’s a well-structured collection, and I recommend it for a good scare or just a deeper read into Gaiman’s work.
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I love Gaiman's short stories more than his novels (well, almost haha)! He is a master storyteller and does such a great job at pulling the reader in. What I love is that his stories don't always tell you everything...you have to guess as to why certain things are happening the way they are. There's a great blend of fantasy, reality, and the unbelieveable, as well as a few dashes of horror. He included longer stories, as well as short poems in this collection (and they're all amazing). My personal favorites are "Chivary", "Murder Mysteries", "Snow, Glass, Apples", "Nicholas Was...", and "Bay Wolf". The great thing about this collection is you can pick it up, flip to a story, then come back again to read more. There's no order you have to read in. You can go back and read them over and over again. But all of the stories stay with you.more
I was already a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's writing when I borrowed this book from a friend. This is a collection of short stories all written in typical Gaiman style with twists and surprises. Two of my favorites in this collection were "Chivalry", a story about the Holy Grail (accidentally purchased by an elderly woman in a thrift store) and a retelling of Snow White called "Snow, Glass, Apples" in which we get the queen's version of the story (if you like Gregory Maguire's Wicked, this story will likely appeal to you). Wonderfully and masterfully written and always with Neil's dark edge.more
The first Gaiman I've read and a truly fantastic book. Definitely made me want to seek out more from him. Often deliciously creepy, and a mixture of mundaneness and fantastic that seemed difficult to pull off but somehow he did.more
This is a collection of short stories, poems and suchlike. The quality is as diverse as the subject with the only thing that each have in common being the darkness of tone that Neil Gaiman often brings to his work. This collection is not meant for the younger end of the age spectrum with many of the entries containing scenes of a sexual or horrific nature. There are almost 40 pieces of work in this book so I will not go through them all but just highlight a couple of favourites.Chivalry is a tale about an old lady finding the Grail in a charity shop. Troll Bridge has a troll under a bridge and there's a boy who doesn't want to be it's next meal. The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch has the circus coming to town.Murder Mysteries is a tale of angels and set around the time of Creation.Snow, Glass, Apples is an alternate take on the story of Snow White. The original will never be looked at in the same light again if you read this.I've read this collection, like I usually do with short stories, over the period of a few weeks. Never reading more than two or three at a time so I don't get bored of the style and feel this worked well in this instance. There is an introduction, which also contains a story, where the author describes how and why he wrote each of the entries. Also provided is a link to the author's website where you can download The Price, one of the stories, that's read by the author and there's a short interview also included at the back of the book. Overall an enjoyable collection.more
Summary: Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of Neil Gaiman's short stories and story-poems. They're primarily from earlier in his career, and run the gamut to werewolf detectives to alien STDs, and from fairy tale kingdoms to 1980s London to the End of the World. Although some of the stories overlap with M is for Magic, Gaiman's YA story collection, Smoke and Mirrors is emphatically not a book for kids, as many of the stories deal, unashamedly if not necessarily explicitly, with sex and death, usually in equal measures.Review: I got this book after realizing that M is for Magic was not a collection of new stories, but rather an anthology that drew primarily from Fragile Things and this book. As a consequence of having read Gaiman's other collections, however, I was already familiar with a number of the stories in Smoke and Mirrors. This was just fine by me; "Chivalry", "The Price", "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar", and "Vampire Sestina" are all very good stories, and "Troll Bridge" and "Don't Ask Jack" are fine as well, if not my particular favorites. As for the rest of the stories... well, it was kind of a mixed bag.For most of the book, the stories were ticking along at a pretty good pace, even if they weren't blowing my mind. "Changes" and "We Can Get Them For You Wholesale" were fascinating and bitterly funny, "Mouse" and "One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock" were haunting and unexpectedly poignant, and "When We Went to See the End of the World by Dawnie Morningside, Age 11 1/4" was a bit of both. The rest of the stories were interesting enough, if not really attention-grabbing, although the story-poems (of which there were a fair few) didn't really do much for me... I typically prefer more structured poetry (like "Vampire Sestina"). Maybe Gaiman's too good of a storyteller... I'm so used to him at the top of his game that this collection of earlier works didn't quite get the job done. Regardless, everything changed when I got to the last two stories, "Murder Mysteries" and "Snow, Glass, Apples." I know these stories have been reprinted elsewhere, but it was my first encounter with them, and man alive. *That* is how to write a seriously good short story. I'm sure it didn't hurt that I'm predisposed to love fairy tale retellings and fallen angel stories, but... wow, they were good.So, overall, this collection wasn't perfect, and had a handful of low spots... but also a handful of shining high spots, too, and the stories are quick enough that even when I wasn't particularly into one of them, I was already on to the next. 3.5 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: Fans of Gaiman's works, dive in! There'll probably be some familiar stories, and some are starting to show their age, but there's quite a few gems worth reading, too. For Gaiman newbies, I wouldn't start here. Although Gaiman's a great storyteller, this collection's kind of patchy, and not representative of him at his best.more
Enjoyable collection of short-form fiction - stories, poetry - from a master storyteller.more
This is the first Neil Gaiman book I've read, and it was a series of short stories, all different. Some were really enjoyable, others a bit hit and miss, but they were all interesting and definitely didn't put me off reading another of his books, which is a good job as I own a few!more
I felt in the mood to read some short stories and didn't have any on my TBR pile, so I decided to re-read this book since the whatwasthatbook community on Live Journal recently identified "We Can Get Them For You Wholesale" for me. 'Good,' said Seth. 'Anyway. H. P. Lovecraft. He'd write one of his bloody sentences. Ahem. "The gibbous moon hung low over the eldritch and batrachian inhabitants of squamous Dulwich." What does he mean, eh? What does he mean? I'll tell you what he bloody means. What he bloody means is that the moon was nearly full, and everybody what lived in Dulwich was bloody peculiar frogs. That's what he means.''What about the other thing you said?' asked Wilf.'What?''Squamous. Wossat mean, then?'Seth shrugged. 'Haven't a clue,' he admitted. 'But he used it an awful lot.'from "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar"I was surprised to find that the friends who invited the author to the circus in "The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch" are quite obviously Jonathan Ross and Jane Goldman. I can't think how I managed to miss that the first time I read it. And in case anyone was wondering, squamous means scaly.more
I loved this book! My relationship with Gaiman to this point hasn't been the best. Having only read Stardust and Coraline (and not loving either), I was tentative to dive into an entire collection of his short stories. But I'm glad I did. Smoke and Mirrors allowed me to see a wide variety of Gaiman's styles and while there were stories in here I didn't really care for too much, they were the exception, not the rule. Most of the stories were absolutely brilliant!My favorites were "Troll Bridge", "Murder Mysteries" and "Snow, Glass, Apples". "Troll Bridge" is about a boy who accidentally wanders upon a troll and for the remainder of the story, he must continually try to keep his life from being eaten. This was the saddest story in the entire collection. I read it multiple times before I'd even finished the book. "Murder Mysteries" is an interesting take on the biblical creation story. It paints Lucifer in a gentler light (actually, he comes across as the true victim of the story). It's one of the longer stories in the book but it's worth it. "Snow, Glass, Apples" is another look on the faerie tale of Snow White, this time portraying Snow White as the evil one and the evil stepmother as the protagonist. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at the original tale in quite the same way...I highly, highly recommend this collection. It doesn't take a big commitment to read. The stories are quick and they fly by. You're done before you know it. But each story leaves its own mark that I don't think will be forgotten for quite awhile.more
If there's a part of your imagination that can be ignited, this book ignites it. Spanning the spectrum from charming, gentle fantasy to chilling, macabre horror, Gaiman's stories make the reader think in ways most impossible; somehow making his charm and wit come through even the most horrifying tales.more
I skipped the poetry - A few good stories, but after reading a number of them, you realize that while Neal is a very good writer - Most of his short stories are nothing but a trick ending with a lot of frosting. The wedding present (in the introduction) - I liked this one. Sufficiently creepy, but its also an interesting what if story.Chivalry - A story about getting old, and living what is important.Nicholas Was ... Wonderful twisty story.The Price - seems a bit derivative, not that good.Troll Bridge - An ok story. Not that memorableDon't Ask Jack - another derivative story - creepy, but not that special.The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories - I liked it, but really didn't get what it was about.Changes - About a man who discovers something that changed the world - I really like this story - In a short story form, it covers how society a chances. I'd like to see this as a full length novel.The Daughter of Owls - Another well written story with a trick ending. Shoggath's Old Peculiar - Neal Gaimon's take on the Chthula Stories. Again, another trick ending.Virus (the only poem I read) - I liked it. Looking for the Girl - Typical Neil Gaimon Story - a bit pointless, or I missed what it was about - Girl only exists for photoshoots in playboy.Only the End of the World Again - Not so interesting were-wolf story.We Can Get Them For You Wholesale - I liked the story, but figured out the ending very quickly.One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock - Story about a boy who reads fantasy. Not as angsty as thought. Foreign Parts - An Okay story, with another tricky ending.Mouse - Its a mixed up story - lots of metaphor that don't quite work.When We Went to See The End of the World - Another mixed up story. I liked it, but it misses as a story about children growing up with an abusive father, and it misses as a story about the end of the world.Desert Wind - story about dying, typical story.Tastings - A story about not so typical vampires. Okay story, not great.Babycakes - Reminds me of Swift's a Modest Proposal.Murder Mysteries - an interesting tale of the first murder. I'm not entirely sure how the ending works into it. Snow, Glass Apples - alternate take on the Snow White Story, in this story, Snow White is a very scary entity.more
I decided to try Neil Gaiman as I so loved the collaboration he did with terry pratchett, Good Omans is one of the best books that I have ever read.However this book did nothing for me, It has no humor in it that I can find, It is possible if I had read this with a different set of expectations I would have foind it different. Not put off enough not to try others by him though, especially those aimed at a younger audience such as coralinemore
A great collection of short stories that are as interesting in subject and telling as his novels. Some quick reading, but also plenty to think about. Highly recommended.more
Neil Gaiman has the rare ability to be equally brilliant in short and long form. His prose style and his invention stand out among contemporary fantasy/SF authors. This collection of short stories is presented with brief notes on each one in the introduction, as well as a bonus short story in the introduction.more
A collection of stories that's sure to be enjoyed by any fan of Neil Gaiman. Typical of Gaiman, you won't find anything "light hearted" here, and that's all to the good. These stories may have you rethinking some of the beliefs you have about a few subjects, especially "Murder Mysteries".The only downside to this book for me were the stories told in "poetic" form, but that's a matter of personal taste.more
Haunting and atmospheric as usual; whenever I read any of Gaiman's stories I immediately wish I could visit whatever location he describes. No matter how desolate or bland, he always manages to fill it with a sense of wonder and beauty. I wasn't, however, quite so impressed with the story-poems, which struck me more like prose with awkwardly placed line breaks. I also wish I'd known so many of the stories would be from collections devoted to authors I've never read, such as H.P. Lovecraft. But that's okay. Maybe someday, after I've read some of those stories, I'll come back and reread these. Speaking of rereading, the final two stories, "Murder Mysteries" and "Snow, Glass, Apples", I'd heard before on Two Plays for Voices. They're much easier to follow in prose form. All in all, I think I prefer the other Gaiman I've read.more
D-I like this book very much. I might even love it... Let me think about it some more.more
The title is quite apt, short prose and poetry give but a glimpse of something, an illusion of a different world. I've always loved short story anthologies, and it's a great treat when they all come from an author whose stories I always find somewhat refreshing. This collection was everything I wanted and more. Every story was something unique with something to appeal to all sorts of literary types as long as they have a taste for the slightly fantastical. An old woman finding the holy grail, Snow White being not nearly as pure as she seems, a cat who can hold off the devil: all this and more can be found within these pages. Simply an enchanting read.more
These stories are a large part of why I want to be Neil Gaiman when I grow up. His imagination is truly magnificent, and his talent is overwhelming. "Murder Mysteries" is my all-time favourite short story. Gaiman is an absolute literary genius, and that is showcased incredibly well in this collection.more
Like Tanith Lee, what I think of as Literary Horror. The style tends to be more creepy than horrifying: literary creepy? Ugh.The story in the introduction was especially disturbing. Some of the semi-pornographic bits bothered me-- like the story about the male with a detatchment to his penis. Perhaps just that they were scenes about sex written by a man, from a male point of view, since they were disturbing to me in a way that sex scenes written by women generally aren't. The casual body-function-ness attitude is alien, to someone who first learned about sex from female-written romance novels, anyways.more
An eclectic collection of short stories, poems and other writings which are, as usual with Gaiman's writing, always interesting and thought provoking. My favourite stories are Chivalry, The Price, Troll Bridge, The Facts in the Case of the Disappearance of Miss Finch, The Daughter of Owls, Shoggoth's Old Peculiar and Mouse.more
A nice grouping of short stories and poetry, this was my first adult Neil Gaiman. And yes, he can get very adult. I found some of the themes and ideas so creative and intriguing--he seemed to be experimenting and challenging himself throughout. Definitely something for everyone. At the beginning of the book, I liked that he told a little bit about where he was in his journey as a writer when he wrote each of these entries. Those little snippets of insight are always fun and interesting.Most of the stories were very smart and polished with beautiful use of the language; but there were a few that seemed young and stumbling. Fledgling writer coming into his own so to speak. I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I read The Graveyard Book and CORALINE first, as I'm not sure this collection alone would have inspired me to move onto his novels. But, maybe novels is where his real talent lies? I'll keep reading.more
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Reviews

The stories in this book are sometimes horrifying, sometimes thought provoking, and sometimes just plain weird. Overall, I enjoyed this book.more
I don't normally like short stories, but Neil Gaiman has them down to an art. His short stories don't feel like shrunken down versions of a novel: they feel like short stories. My favourite story in the whole thing is actually the story in the intro, the wedding present. Well worth reading.more
Want to know how good this book is? Well, I bought it because it's a book of short stories. My husband and I were going on a trip to Hawaii, and I figured I'd read it on the plane.

Which I did. I then kept reading it -- in our hotel, in the car, on the way to the beach, at the beach. My husband was getting so irritated at me because I was spending our vacation on the island of Oahu reading a book.

That is how great this book is. I picked it over snorkeling.more
Of course it's 5 stars... It's Neil Gaiman! Eclectic and brilliant story-telling that always comes out perfect.more
Of the three short collections, this is definitely the more horror-themed of them. Fragile Things does have horror elements, but there’s also more elements of fantasy and magical realism. And Smoke & Mirrors has the same things, but there’s a little bit more of a darker element to the stories.

This has some of my favorite stories. “The Goldfish Pond…” is probably my hands-down favorite, and surprisingly that’s the one with the least fantastical elements (and I like the “mostly a true story” aspect). “Murder Mysteries” is fantastic, I love “Chivalry” and “Snow Glass Apples.” “Shoggoth’s Old Peculiar” is hysterical, even to someone who doesn’t really know a lot of the Cthulu Mythos. And there’s “Bay Wolf” which shouldn’t work, but he excels at the whole poem.

As for the rocking back and forth…hoo boy. One word: “Babycakes.” Less so, “The White Road,” and I’d like to find a copy of “Eaten” as Gaiman refers to the two poems as part of a triptych. I wouldn’t say that it’s completely disturbing, but a lot of the stories are extremely unsettling.

It’s a well-structured collection, and I recommend it for a good scare or just a deeper read into Gaiman’s work.
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I love Gaiman's short stories more than his novels (well, almost haha)! He is a master storyteller and does such a great job at pulling the reader in. What I love is that his stories don't always tell you everything...you have to guess as to why certain things are happening the way they are. There's a great blend of fantasy, reality, and the unbelieveable, as well as a few dashes of horror. He included longer stories, as well as short poems in this collection (and they're all amazing). My personal favorites are "Chivary", "Murder Mysteries", "Snow, Glass, Apples", "Nicholas Was...", and "Bay Wolf". The great thing about this collection is you can pick it up, flip to a story, then come back again to read more. There's no order you have to read in. You can go back and read them over and over again. But all of the stories stay with you.more
I was already a huge fan of Neil Gaiman's writing when I borrowed this book from a friend. This is a collection of short stories all written in typical Gaiman style with twists and surprises. Two of my favorites in this collection were "Chivalry", a story about the Holy Grail (accidentally purchased by an elderly woman in a thrift store) and a retelling of Snow White called "Snow, Glass, Apples" in which we get the queen's version of the story (if you like Gregory Maguire's Wicked, this story will likely appeal to you). Wonderfully and masterfully written and always with Neil's dark edge.more
The first Gaiman I've read and a truly fantastic book. Definitely made me want to seek out more from him. Often deliciously creepy, and a mixture of mundaneness and fantastic that seemed difficult to pull off but somehow he did.more
This is a collection of short stories, poems and suchlike. The quality is as diverse as the subject with the only thing that each have in common being the darkness of tone that Neil Gaiman often brings to his work. This collection is not meant for the younger end of the age spectrum with many of the entries containing scenes of a sexual or horrific nature. There are almost 40 pieces of work in this book so I will not go through them all but just highlight a couple of favourites.Chivalry is a tale about an old lady finding the Grail in a charity shop. Troll Bridge has a troll under a bridge and there's a boy who doesn't want to be it's next meal. The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch has the circus coming to town.Murder Mysteries is a tale of angels and set around the time of Creation.Snow, Glass, Apples is an alternate take on the story of Snow White. The original will never be looked at in the same light again if you read this.I've read this collection, like I usually do with short stories, over the period of a few weeks. Never reading more than two or three at a time so I don't get bored of the style and feel this worked well in this instance. There is an introduction, which also contains a story, where the author describes how and why he wrote each of the entries. Also provided is a link to the author's website where you can download The Price, one of the stories, that's read by the author and there's a short interview also included at the back of the book. Overall an enjoyable collection.more
Summary: Smoke and Mirrors is a collection of Neil Gaiman's short stories and story-poems. They're primarily from earlier in his career, and run the gamut to werewolf detectives to alien STDs, and from fairy tale kingdoms to 1980s London to the End of the World. Although some of the stories overlap with M is for Magic, Gaiman's YA story collection, Smoke and Mirrors is emphatically not a book for kids, as many of the stories deal, unashamedly if not necessarily explicitly, with sex and death, usually in equal measures.Review: I got this book after realizing that M is for Magic was not a collection of new stories, but rather an anthology that drew primarily from Fragile Things and this book. As a consequence of having read Gaiman's other collections, however, I was already familiar with a number of the stories in Smoke and Mirrors. This was just fine by me; "Chivalry", "The Price", "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar", and "Vampire Sestina" are all very good stories, and "Troll Bridge" and "Don't Ask Jack" are fine as well, if not my particular favorites. As for the rest of the stories... well, it was kind of a mixed bag.For most of the book, the stories were ticking along at a pretty good pace, even if they weren't blowing my mind. "Changes" and "We Can Get Them For You Wholesale" were fascinating and bitterly funny, "Mouse" and "One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock" were haunting and unexpectedly poignant, and "When We Went to See the End of the World by Dawnie Morningside, Age 11 1/4" was a bit of both. The rest of the stories were interesting enough, if not really attention-grabbing, although the story-poems (of which there were a fair few) didn't really do much for me... I typically prefer more structured poetry (like "Vampire Sestina"). Maybe Gaiman's too good of a storyteller... I'm so used to him at the top of his game that this collection of earlier works didn't quite get the job done. Regardless, everything changed when I got to the last two stories, "Murder Mysteries" and "Snow, Glass, Apples." I know these stories have been reprinted elsewhere, but it was my first encounter with them, and man alive. *That* is how to write a seriously good short story. I'm sure it didn't hurt that I'm predisposed to love fairy tale retellings and fallen angel stories, but... wow, they were good.So, overall, this collection wasn't perfect, and had a handful of low spots... but also a handful of shining high spots, too, and the stories are quick enough that even when I wasn't particularly into one of them, I was already on to the next. 3.5 out of 5 stars.Recommendation: Fans of Gaiman's works, dive in! There'll probably be some familiar stories, and some are starting to show their age, but there's quite a few gems worth reading, too. For Gaiman newbies, I wouldn't start here. Although Gaiman's a great storyteller, this collection's kind of patchy, and not representative of him at his best.more
Enjoyable collection of short-form fiction - stories, poetry - from a master storyteller.more
This is the first Neil Gaiman book I've read, and it was a series of short stories, all different. Some were really enjoyable, others a bit hit and miss, but they were all interesting and definitely didn't put me off reading another of his books, which is a good job as I own a few!more
I felt in the mood to read some short stories and didn't have any on my TBR pile, so I decided to re-read this book since the whatwasthatbook community on Live Journal recently identified "We Can Get Them For You Wholesale" for me. 'Good,' said Seth. 'Anyway. H. P. Lovecraft. He'd write one of his bloody sentences. Ahem. "The gibbous moon hung low over the eldritch and batrachian inhabitants of squamous Dulwich." What does he mean, eh? What does he mean? I'll tell you what he bloody means. What he bloody means is that the moon was nearly full, and everybody what lived in Dulwich was bloody peculiar frogs. That's what he means.''What about the other thing you said?' asked Wilf.'What?''Squamous. Wossat mean, then?'Seth shrugged. 'Haven't a clue,' he admitted. 'But he used it an awful lot.'from "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar"I was surprised to find that the friends who invited the author to the circus in "The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch" are quite obviously Jonathan Ross and Jane Goldman. I can't think how I managed to miss that the first time I read it. And in case anyone was wondering, squamous means scaly.more
I loved this book! My relationship with Gaiman to this point hasn't been the best. Having only read Stardust and Coraline (and not loving either), I was tentative to dive into an entire collection of his short stories. But I'm glad I did. Smoke and Mirrors allowed me to see a wide variety of Gaiman's styles and while there were stories in here I didn't really care for too much, they were the exception, not the rule. Most of the stories were absolutely brilliant!My favorites were "Troll Bridge", "Murder Mysteries" and "Snow, Glass, Apples". "Troll Bridge" is about a boy who accidentally wanders upon a troll and for the remainder of the story, he must continually try to keep his life from being eaten. This was the saddest story in the entire collection. I read it multiple times before I'd even finished the book. "Murder Mysteries" is an interesting take on the biblical creation story. It paints Lucifer in a gentler light (actually, he comes across as the true victim of the story). It's one of the longer stories in the book but it's worth it. "Snow, Glass, Apples" is another look on the faerie tale of Snow White, this time portraying Snow White as the evil one and the evil stepmother as the protagonist. I don't think I'll ever be able to look at the original tale in quite the same way...I highly, highly recommend this collection. It doesn't take a big commitment to read. The stories are quick and they fly by. You're done before you know it. But each story leaves its own mark that I don't think will be forgotten for quite awhile.more
If there's a part of your imagination that can be ignited, this book ignites it. Spanning the spectrum from charming, gentle fantasy to chilling, macabre horror, Gaiman's stories make the reader think in ways most impossible; somehow making his charm and wit come through even the most horrifying tales.more
I skipped the poetry - A few good stories, but after reading a number of them, you realize that while Neal is a very good writer - Most of his short stories are nothing but a trick ending with a lot of frosting. The wedding present (in the introduction) - I liked this one. Sufficiently creepy, but its also an interesting what if story.Chivalry - A story about getting old, and living what is important.Nicholas Was ... Wonderful twisty story.The Price - seems a bit derivative, not that good.Troll Bridge - An ok story. Not that memorableDon't Ask Jack - another derivative story - creepy, but not that special.The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories - I liked it, but really didn't get what it was about.Changes - About a man who discovers something that changed the world - I really like this story - In a short story form, it covers how society a chances. I'd like to see this as a full length novel.The Daughter of Owls - Another well written story with a trick ending. Shoggath's Old Peculiar - Neal Gaimon's take on the Chthula Stories. Again, another trick ending.Virus (the only poem I read) - I liked it. Looking for the Girl - Typical Neil Gaimon Story - a bit pointless, or I missed what it was about - Girl only exists for photoshoots in playboy.Only the End of the World Again - Not so interesting were-wolf story.We Can Get Them For You Wholesale - I liked the story, but figured out the ending very quickly.One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock - Story about a boy who reads fantasy. Not as angsty as thought. Foreign Parts - An Okay story, with another tricky ending.Mouse - Its a mixed up story - lots of metaphor that don't quite work.When We Went to See The End of the World - Another mixed up story. I liked it, but it misses as a story about children growing up with an abusive father, and it misses as a story about the end of the world.Desert Wind - story about dying, typical story.Tastings - A story about not so typical vampires. Okay story, not great.Babycakes - Reminds me of Swift's a Modest Proposal.Murder Mysteries - an interesting tale of the first murder. I'm not entirely sure how the ending works into it. Snow, Glass Apples - alternate take on the Snow White Story, in this story, Snow White is a very scary entity.more
I decided to try Neil Gaiman as I so loved the collaboration he did with terry pratchett, Good Omans is one of the best books that I have ever read.However this book did nothing for me, It has no humor in it that I can find, It is possible if I had read this with a different set of expectations I would have foind it different. Not put off enough not to try others by him though, especially those aimed at a younger audience such as coralinemore
A great collection of short stories that are as interesting in subject and telling as his novels. Some quick reading, but also plenty to think about. Highly recommended.more
Neil Gaiman has the rare ability to be equally brilliant in short and long form. His prose style and his invention stand out among contemporary fantasy/SF authors. This collection of short stories is presented with brief notes on each one in the introduction, as well as a bonus short story in the introduction.more
A collection of stories that's sure to be enjoyed by any fan of Neil Gaiman. Typical of Gaiman, you won't find anything "light hearted" here, and that's all to the good. These stories may have you rethinking some of the beliefs you have about a few subjects, especially "Murder Mysteries".The only downside to this book for me were the stories told in "poetic" form, but that's a matter of personal taste.more
Haunting and atmospheric as usual; whenever I read any of Gaiman's stories I immediately wish I could visit whatever location he describes. No matter how desolate or bland, he always manages to fill it with a sense of wonder and beauty. I wasn't, however, quite so impressed with the story-poems, which struck me more like prose with awkwardly placed line breaks. I also wish I'd known so many of the stories would be from collections devoted to authors I've never read, such as H.P. Lovecraft. But that's okay. Maybe someday, after I've read some of those stories, I'll come back and reread these. Speaking of rereading, the final two stories, "Murder Mysteries" and "Snow, Glass, Apples", I'd heard before on Two Plays for Voices. They're much easier to follow in prose form. All in all, I think I prefer the other Gaiman I've read.more
D-I like this book very much. I might even love it... Let me think about it some more.more
The title is quite apt, short prose and poetry give but a glimpse of something, an illusion of a different world. I've always loved short story anthologies, and it's a great treat when they all come from an author whose stories I always find somewhat refreshing. This collection was everything I wanted and more. Every story was something unique with something to appeal to all sorts of literary types as long as they have a taste for the slightly fantastical. An old woman finding the holy grail, Snow White being not nearly as pure as she seems, a cat who can hold off the devil: all this and more can be found within these pages. Simply an enchanting read.more
These stories are a large part of why I want to be Neil Gaiman when I grow up. His imagination is truly magnificent, and his talent is overwhelming. "Murder Mysteries" is my all-time favourite short story. Gaiman is an absolute literary genius, and that is showcased incredibly well in this collection.more
Like Tanith Lee, what I think of as Literary Horror. The style tends to be more creepy than horrifying: literary creepy? Ugh.The story in the introduction was especially disturbing. Some of the semi-pornographic bits bothered me-- like the story about the male with a detatchment to his penis. Perhaps just that they were scenes about sex written by a man, from a male point of view, since they were disturbing to me in a way that sex scenes written by women generally aren't. The casual body-function-ness attitude is alien, to someone who first learned about sex from female-written romance novels, anyways.more
An eclectic collection of short stories, poems and other writings which are, as usual with Gaiman's writing, always interesting and thought provoking. My favourite stories are Chivalry, The Price, Troll Bridge, The Facts in the Case of the Disappearance of Miss Finch, The Daughter of Owls, Shoggoth's Old Peculiar and Mouse.more
A nice grouping of short stories and poetry, this was my first adult Neil Gaiman. And yes, he can get very adult. I found some of the themes and ideas so creative and intriguing--he seemed to be experimenting and challenging himself throughout. Definitely something for everyone. At the beginning of the book, I liked that he told a little bit about where he was in his journey as a writer when he wrote each of these entries. Those little snippets of insight are always fun and interesting.Most of the stories were very smart and polished with beautiful use of the language; but there were a few that seemed young and stumbling. Fledgling writer coming into his own so to speak. I enjoyed it, but I'm glad I read The Graveyard Book and CORALINE first, as I'm not sure this collection alone would have inspired me to move onto his novels. But, maybe novels is where his real talent lies? I'll keep reading.more
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