Neil Gaiman: short stories?

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
25,396
Location
UK
I've not read any of Neil Gaiman's actual novels - but I bought most of his Sandman series when it came out, and was generally good quality, though it seemed to slip towards the end.

Point is, he seemed to have much more of a talent for writing shorter stories within the Sandman series itself - preludes and noctures, a Midsummer Night's Dream, and various other Sandman shorts were pretty excellent stories - and often were much more interesting than his longer Sandman stories themselves.

I would therefore be much more inclined to read an anthology of Gaiman short stories than a novel by him. However, does any such short story anthology by Neil Gaiman exist as yet?
 

Kraken

Work in progress
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Messages
68
Location
Essex, UK
Smoke and Mirrors is a short story collection by Neil Gaiman. It contains a nice range of stories and a couple of poems, and there are some interesting notes in the prologue, where he briefly comments on the fiction.

I think Angels and Visitations is a collection too, but I haven't found a copy yet.
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
25,396
Location
UK
Thanks for that - I'll definitely have to watch out for Smike and Mirrors then. :)

If you don't mind my asking, how do you rate Neil as a writer, as compared to the general market? It's just that being mostly familiar with his work via comics, I often wondered how much of a leap it would be moving to just the printed word to tell a story.
 

tonic

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 21, 2004
Messages
216
Location
Toronto, Ontario
Read American Gods Brian, I have a good feeling that you'd like it. You know most things about history, well this has a lot of historical/mythological references. Also I just finished Good Omens which is his collaboration with Terry Pratchett and I really liked it. Especially if you know a lot about the antichrist then it would be a good satire for you. Though I'm jewish lol and had no idea what I was reading but it made me laugh nonetheless.
 

Devillishgirl

Mostly Absent User..sadly
Joined
Jun 2, 2004
Messages
129
Location
Michigan
I haven't read any of his short stories but I stumbled upon a children's book by him last night when I took my son for his weekly trip to the library. I didn't realize he did any children's stuff so it was a surprise. It's pretty cute, very nicely illustrated and it's called The Wolves in the Wall.
 

Kraken

Work in progress
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Messages
68
Location
Essex, UK
Devillishgirl said:
I didn't realize he did any children's stuff so it was a surprise. It's pretty cute, very nicely illustrated and it's called The Wolves in the Wall.
It is cute, isn't it :).
He's written at least one other illustrated story, The Day I swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish. Haven't actually read that one, but it sounds good!
And Coraline is aimed at slightly older children; I admit I found that one a bit creepy (yes, I'm a wuss)
 

Kraken

Work in progress
Joined
Sep 8, 2004
Messages
68
Location
Essex, UK
I said:
how do you rate Neil as a writer, as compared to the general market? It's just that being mostly familiar with his work via comics, I often wondered how much of a leap it would be moving to just the printed word to tell a story
I'm not sure how useful this will be to you since our opinions on Sandman differ, but I'd recommend American Gods.
Even his collaboration with Pratchett has as much depth than Neverwhere - don't get me wrong, I like both of those novels, but Neverwhere doesn't have the amount of meaning I expected, coming to it from Sandman.
It's too long since I read Stardust's, but my vagure impression is that the illustrated version felt more like a comic than a novel: where that was purely because it was illustrated or not I can't say.
American Gods is more complex, less optimistic, and has the same rich mythic background that underpinned Sandman. I have to say it took me longer to get enthusiastic about it than anything of Neil's that I've ever read, but it was worth persevering.

And having thought about it, if you're going for a lighter read, I might pick Good Omens over Neverwhere, purely because of the ending. I think it has one of the best codas I've ever seen.
 

McMurphy

Apostate Against the Eloi
Joined
Jan 4, 2004
Messages
1,146
Location
Coffee is an addiction, black-and-white horror fil
I would suggest reading Smoke and Mirrors. Not all of the short stories (and a handful of poems) are good, but it is certainly worth your time to check out.

If you wish to give the collection only a limited span of attention, please read "Murder Mysteries" first. I enjoyed that story the most, and it best illustrates his preferred subject matter: reworking of mythologies.
 

Winters_Sorrow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
2,956
Location
Newcastle, UK
I've just bought Smoke & Mirrors and busy working my way enjoyably through it.

The thing that strikes me is the different genres and styles which Gaiman seems very comfortable using. I'm used to his brilliant quirky outlook and characters but I was impressed at how broad his body of work was.

I seem to have under-estimated Mr Gaiman. :)
 

Green

Sick and Tired
Joined
Jun 10, 2005
Messages
808
Location
Manchester
I think he's a great writer of myths and mythology. I'm not that interested in short stories as a whole, so I've not bothered with his short story collections.

But, I can wholeheartedly reccomend American Gods to all and sundry. Great book, with interesting takes on established ideas of gods and the idea of how worship can shape the god itself.

Neverwhere and Anansi boys are much lighter reads, but still engaging nonetheless. Sandman is still his magnum opus, though.
 

Winters_Sorrow

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 1, 2005
Messages
2,956
Location
Newcastle, UK
Which Sandman is the original?
I've kind of steered clear of that as it seems to either be a sprawling collection about about 15 graphic novels - are they self-contained stories (like traditional comics) or one long story seperated into component parts.

Is there some kind of collected works or a starting point I can get my teeth into?
 

Brian G Turner

Fantasist & Futurist
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Nov 23, 2002
Messages
25,396
Location
UK
Winters_Sorrow said:
Which Sandman is the original?
I've kind of steered clear of that as it seems to either be a sprawling collection about about 15 graphic novels - are they self-contained stories (like traditional comics) or one long story seperated into component parts.

They're all basically from the Sandman comic, which run to around 80 or so issues.

Although there is a basic underlying connection to each of the story arcs, you should be able to pick up most of them without worrying too much about missing anything.

Seasons of Mists is one of my favourites of the longer story arcs, but I personally think his shorter single-issue stories were some of his most powerful. Watch out for Preludes and Nocturne on that point.

Hope that helps. :)
 

wonko

Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2006
Messages
14
@ Winters Sorrow
I totally share your opinion in "Smoke and Mirrors", Gaiman just changes style as he walks along, and I think it's great! But... with what of the short stories can you compare his style or wrighting books? I think of buying one, but I just can't decide, which... allthough I like "amarican gods" cover most... ;)
 

Hile Troy

Caer-Caveral
Joined
Jun 20, 2006
Messages
8
I think all of his novels are top notch. Anansi Boys is pretty lightweight, but still fun. Neverwhere and Stardust are great reads....Also, the Lucifer/angel story in smoke and Mirrors is chilling.
 
Joined
Jun 20, 2006
Messages
7
Location
Favorite authors: George RR Martin Stephen R.
Smoke and Mirrors was a fun read -- if you've read Gaiman before, you'll keep saying to yourself, "that is so Neil Gaiman."

However, if you're going to read something of his, you must read "American Gods." I thought it was a masterpiece. I haven't read Stardust, but I do own it and I will get to it eventually. I've heard it was rather good.
 

Adasunshine

Everything in Moderation
Joined
Jan 10, 2006
Messages
1,041
Stardust is so worth the read Leer! You'll read it in a day, fabulous book!

xx
 

Patrick Mahon

Would-be author
Joined
Feb 15, 2006
Messages
532
I've just got hold of 'Smoke and Mirrors', Gaiman's short story collection. Before I read it, I thought I'd just check out what fellow Chroniclers thought about it. There were some mixed views below - anyone else read it in the last year, and want to comment?
 

scalem X

I am, the scallywag
Joined
Aug 1, 2004
Messages
1,363
Location
Belgium(Flanders)
I bought Smoke and Mirrors and started reading about halfway. Although I'm not too familiar with Neil Gaiman as a writer, I have to agree on the: That is so Neil Gaiman You'll be surprised how he can describe a person in two lines and you'll be 100% certain you can picture him/her.

summary: great style and average storylines. I think it's worth its money.:)
 

booksforlunch

The reading one
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
52
There´s a newer anthology. ( Bought it a few weeks ago, came ´round reading it yesterday ).
It´s called Fragile Things - Short Fictions & Wonders. It contains short stories, poems and a story with Shadow, from American Gods ( which is interconnected with one of the other stories, containing the background of two characters ).
Personally I think I liked the poem The Day The Saucers Came , the short stories Harlequin Romance and Other People ( a Mobius story ) best.
 

Similar threads


Top