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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 Mar 17, 2009
ISBN: 9780061795299
List price: $4.99
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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.read more
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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.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I seem to be in the minority on this collection. I had high hopes for this Smoke and Mirrors, but left it fairly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong . . . Gaiman clearly has a fecund imagination, and a powerful grasp of the use of imagery, and at his best seamlessly blends dark fantasy with the very funny. But I found little of this as compelling as American Gods (which I rather liked), for example. There were several strong stories in the collection, including a couple that I rated as 8s (Shoggoth's Old Peculiar, which I found quite funny, and Snow, Glass, Apples, after the reading of which I will never quite think of a famous fairy tale the same again), and several that I rated 7s (Murder Mysteries would have been an 8, were it not marred by the inclusion of a completely gratuitous and overly graphic little sex scene). But others of the stories left me very flat. I could easily have done without Don't Ask Jack, Changes, Looking for the Girl, The Sweeper of Dreams, Foreign Parts, and Tastings. And I would characterize the poetry as strong on imagery, but fairly pedestrian on word-smithing.
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Best part is the introduction. Aside from that, best 'stories' are: Chivalry, Goldfish Pool, Looking for the Girl, Tastings, Vampire Sestina and Babycakes--- but all for different reasons. Altogether a great collection for its genre
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Have been leafing through this over the past month. Inventive, but not terribly good. More humor, less horror is needed. 8.15.07
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