Thursday, January 3, 2013

Neil Gaiman 'Smoke and Mirrors' Book Review

"Half of the stories I loved, but the rest I'm not sure about"

I'm a Neil Gaiman fan, and I am three quarters of the way through his book - Smoke and Mirrors. 'A collection of short stories'. And for any one interested, so far about half are pretty good (A few I've read at least 6 times again, three of them I loved), but the rest are a bit iffy. Bordering on disappointing.

Sometimes the stories are coincidently about a "writer" or something similar. Which makes me think that some of these stories were never really meant to be read by any one else but Gaiman. Others I think are possible experimentations Which Gaiman was hopeful about but in practise I just don't know about. So sometimes I wonder a bit why they were published. But maybe I just don't see what others might see in those stories.

The most striking resemblance to Gaiman, being "The goldfish pool and other stories" A story about an English Author who's novel was optioned for the screen, and came to holly wood to write the script. An obvious inspiration from his own film adaptations. The story shows the "Hollywood experience" but from the stand point of within reality, measured up against the "dream" that holly wood is supposed to be. Both on and off screen And how sometimes its the worst place to be if you love films and not film making.

But even so, it has one of my favourite short stories, I've read it at least seven times and enjoyed keeping the familiar weight of the book in my satchel as I walk around. Simply because I love that short story, and I rarely like a short story enough to say I love it.

The second one I love being "Only the end of the World again" A Hp Lovecraftian, Werewolf story by the sea. Its about a Man who happens to be a werewolf, who's new in town and has just reverted from a change. No point in saying anything more than that, accept it includes unrestrained werewolf violence, a weird "quiet" folklore ridden town, and other developments from curious dark people with mysterious origins.

But I must admit, that I might be wrong about the disappointing parts of the book, I haven't finished it yet. There's a bunch of stories that still need reading.

So for me personally, I would buy it just for those stories. But I'm a bibliophile. For any one else, if you like/love Gaiman's stuff, or if you like Great Fantasy that sometimes has a soupcon of cool perversity (Which is basically the same thing) then buy it just for the those great stories, or at least borrow it.

1 comment:

  1. Great review! Thanks for it. I've never read Gaiman, but it seems to me short story collections are always challenging to pull off.