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Stories: All-New Tales by Neil Gaiman

Stories: All-New Tales (2010)

by Neil Gaiman (Editor), Al Sarrantonio (Editor)

Other authors: Richard Adams (Contributor), Kurt Andersen (Contributor), Lawrence Block (Contributor), Jonathan Carroll (Contributor), Jeffrey Deaver (Contributor)23 more, Roddy Doyle (Contributor), Jeffrey Ford (Contributor), Neil Gaiman (Contributor), Neil Gaiman (Introduction), Elizabeth Hand (Contributor), Joanne Harris (Contributor), Joe Hill (Contributor), Kat Howard (Contributor), Diana Wynne Jones (Contributor), Joe R. Lansdale (Contributor), Michael Moorcock (Contributor), Walter Mosley (Contributor), Stewart O'Nan (Contributor), Joyce Carol Oates (Contributor), Chuck Palahniuk (Contributor), Carolyn Parkhurst (Contributor), Jodi Picoult (Contributor), Tim Powers (Contributor), Al Sarrantonio (Contributor), Michael Marshall Smith (Contributor), Peter Straub (Contributor), Michael Swanwick (Contributor), Gene Wolfe (Contributor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
982558,747 (3.63)1 / 34
  1. 00
    Serial by Jack Kilborn (MyriadBooks)
    MyriadBooks: Re: the short story "Catch and Release" by Lawrence Block, or another take on serial killers.

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Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
I have a theory that the more well known an author is, the less he gets edited. Here is what a good editor would have said to him: "Neil, I know these stories are by your buddies and are an homage to your genre. But most of these stories are poorly written, boring, unoriginal and lack any true emotion. Some are even down right embarrassing. The best are mediocre. This book would never have gotten published without your name on the cover."

I forced myself to finish the book, hoping in the name of Gaiman to find at least one gem in the collection. I suffered through this, so you my dear friends, might be spared. Skip this book. ( )
  aront | Jul 25, 2017 |
I made the mistake of not taking any notes while reading this and after looking at the index of stories I realise that I don't remember what a few of the stories are about. HAHA. Anyhow, that might or might say more about my lack of focus or selective retention than anything else.

Long rambly story-by-story comment (may add on stuff at later dates):
“Blood” by Roddy Doyle - Interesting but didn't go anywhere.

“Fossil-Figures” by Joyce Carol Oates - Hmm, no, not really.

“Wildfire in Manhattan” by Joanne Harris - Interesting but I didn't engage in reading it.

“The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains” by Neil Gaiman - 5 stars. Easily one of the best stories in the anthology.

“Unbelief” by Michael Marshall Smith - Based on reading this I immediately looked author up and added some of his books to my TBR.

“The Stars are Falling” by Joe R. Lansdale - This was disturbing but I found the story really engaging. And I liked the way it was written.

“Juvenal Nyx” by Walter Mosley - Didn't really engage with the main character. Romantic interest also didn't feel natural. So can't say much apart from that. Found the premise somewhat interesting though.

“The Knife” by Richard Adams - Not something that appealed to me.

“Weights and Measures” by Jodi Picoult - This was an interesting/engaging read. Pleasantly surprised.

“Goblin Lake” by Michael Swanwick - Interesting premise but didn't engage with the characters (i.e. didn't care).

“Mallon the Guru” by Peter Straub - Don't really remember this one.

“Catch and Release” by Lawrence Block - Disturbing - but is a different take on serial killers.

“Polka Dots and Moonbeams” by Jeffrey Ford - Had to look it up to jog my memory. This played in my head somehow in graphic novel form. Go figure.

“Loser” by Chuck Palahniuk - maybe expected a bit more from this than it had to offer.

“Samantha’s Diary” by Diana Wynne Jones - Kinda enjoyed this one, really fun! Second Christmas themed story in this collection. Lol. The first one being "Unbelief".

“Land of the Lost” by Steward O’Nan - It was ok.

“Leif in the Wind” by Gene Wolfe - Had to look it up to jog my memory (sorry the second half of this anthology I was reading a bit faster). This one I found rather interesting (long term space travel, reduced ships crew, mystery in space) but again maybe the short story format doesn't allow that much for expansion.

“Unwell” by Carolyn Parkhurst - Had to look it up. This was a mean story! But it did make me want to read to end to find out "what happens next".

“A Life in Fictions” by Kat Howard - Didn't have to look it up (probably because the title reminded me directly what the story was about). Interesting premise. I like the theme/concept. Found myself emotionally detached from it though.

“Let the Past Begin” by Jonathan Carroll - Had to look it up. Nicely formed encapsulated story. Ending is on point.

“The Therapist” by Jeffrey Deaver - Didn't have to look it up. Was pleasantly surprised to find that I liked this story.

“Parallel Lines” by Tim Powers - Had to look it up. I remember the overall premise, but can't for the life of me remember the ending. Oh dear.

“The Cult of the Nose” by Al Sarrantonio - Story-vignette. Was almost documentary-like in narrative.

“Human Intelligence” by Kurt Anderson - Found this one interesting.

“Stories” by Michael Moorcock - A story about writers. What is not to like?

“The Maiden Flight of McCauley’s Bellerophon” by Elizabeth Hand - This was almost fable-like in execution.

“The Devil on the Staircase” by Joe Hill - This was fable like in execution (and that fancy word arrangement thing).

Favourites: The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains - Gaiman, Unbelief - Smith, The Stars are Falling - Landsdale, Weights & Measures - Picoult, Samantha's Diary - Wynne, The Therapist - Deaver, The Devil on the Staircase - Hill.

Short story collections are probably something I need to read on the side. It takes me to get through them. LOL.

Source: Borrowed from the library.
First draft review posted: 11feb2017 ( )
  kephradyx | Jun 20, 2017 |
Anthologies are always a bit of a mixed bag. Very rarely does every story come together and not only offer something unique and resonant, but also fit together with the rest of the collection on some satisfying thematic level. I’ve not read that many anthologies. I find they take far, far longer than a novel of the same length for me to get through, which makes sense. You’re restarting the learning curve every twenty minutes instead of after every book. There’s a new world and new characters to get familiar with and ever story feels like you’re cramming for a test and when you finally have a grasp of things the story ends.

Of the few I have read however, there was one in particular that I felt hit every note that you want an anthology to hit. The stories were similar in atmosphere, setting, and even writing style. They were almost all of them incredibly good. They were all held together by a simple theme that was neither too specific nor too vague. Oddly enough, it was also edited by Neil Gaiman. You can read my gushing over [b:Unnatural Creatures|16248246|Unnatural Creatures|Neil Gaiman|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1359978941s/16248246.jpg|21856303] in its’ own review. I bring it up only as a comparison. When I go back and look at the index page for Unnatural Creatures and gloss over the titles of the stories I remember every single one, and what it was about. I didn’t love all of them, but I can’t recall any that I just straight up did not like. And there were a great many that I truly loved.

This anthology is nothing like that. Even though I just finished it I find myself forgetting entirely what some of the stories were about. Some of them are so short or so unremarkable that they flew from my mind not long after reading them. Some of them were just plain bad. And, not that this is really a huge point of contention for me personally, I felt that they weren’t really held together thematically very well. I guess the book is called ‘Stories’ and there are, in fact, stories inside, but…come on, really?

First, let’s address the elephant in the room. I didn’t care for Neil Gaiman’s story, ‘The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains.’ There, I said it. In fact I thought it was one of the weaker stories in the collection, and I’m a huge Gaiman fan. He’s probably my favorite author, and by a large margin the author from whom I’ve read the most books. But sometimes he swings, and he misses. The poetry in his two short fiction collections (Smoke & Mirrors, Fragile Things) was mostly bad. Most of the stories were good, but some were…not. Neverwhere, Mr. Punch, and Fortunately, the Milk are some other examples where he falls short of hitting the mark. This story also fell far short of hitting the mark for me.

His isn’t the only bad to mediocre story in this collection. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part the stories were incredibly…decent. They were all well-written at the very least. But, for instance, the opening story entitled ‘Blood’ wherein a man slowly starts craving raw meat and eventually murders a neighbor’s animal is just plain bad in my opinion. Cliché, predictable, nothing unique about it. It read like something that would be equally at home in “Supernatural Fantasy Analogy # 15” or whatever.

But instead of talking more about the stories that drag this anthology down I’d much rather spend some time talking about the stories that held it up and made it something worth reading. That’s much more fun than ragging on other people’s work anyway.

So, by far the standout story to me, and worth the price of admission just to read, is ‘Weights and Measures’ by Jodi Picoult, in which a married couple drift apart after the death of their child. This is an author I recognized by name and name alone when I first picked this collection up. I knew only that she was rather famous, had several books sitting on my girlfriend’s shelf, and that those books were (based on the summaries on the back cover) probably not for me.

After reading this story I have the utmost respect for her as an author, even if I never read any of her other work. This story is by far one of the best short stories I have ever read. It made me think about symbolism in writing, and how far you can take it. It left me with a profound sense of loss and emotional turmoil. I really felt what the characters felt, and I still think about it on a regular basis. Just writing this is making me want to re-read it.

Part of the problem with this anthology is that Weights and Measures is the only truly amazing story in the collection. Though I felt these deserved mention as being pretty good:

Polka Dots and Moonbeams by Jeffrey Ford
A fun little story about a couple living on an Earth that’s stuck in an infinite time loop (think groundhog’s day) and a crazy scientist acquaintance of theirs who says he’s come up with a way to kill yourself for good.

Unwell by Carolyn Parkhurst
A seemingly mundane story with no magic or other weirdness to speak of that manages to be perhaps the second-best story in the collection. It’s about a bitter elderly woman and her relationship with her sister. It’s narrated in first-person by the bitter old woman, and that simple fact puts you in the head of someone so unlike yourself (at least for me) that it was akin to reading the first Dexter book and being thrust inside the mind of a serial killer. The protagonist of this story isn’t quite so bad, but she’s honestly not that far off.

A Life in Fictions by Kat Howard
A short and somewhat floaty…almost dream-like story about a writer and his muse. The muse takes on the persona of whatever woman he’s currently writing about. He steals bits of the muse’s personality and puts them into his characters and, in turn, his characters become the muse, until finally she has no identity of her own. Very, very interesting and thought-provoking read. Glad it was as short as it is though, because a story written this way can’t sustain itself for long.

( )
  ForeverMasterless | Apr 23, 2017 |
"And then what happened."...the four words that every storyteller longs to hear. That child-like impulse is the essence of what Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio wanted to evoke with this collection. On that basis, they were largely successful. These diverse stories, written by an impressive array of writers, kept me turning the pages and, yes, wondering what would happen next.

In some cases, I didn't have to wonder long. The stories range in length from a mere three pages to an impressive 48. Despite his name appearing in 72-point font on the book's cover, Mr. Gaiman contributes only one story in addition to his introduction. So, die-hard Gaiman fans, don't be disappointed. Instead, revel in the embarrassment of riches that have been brought together. This story collection features contributors who are among the best in genre fiction (Gene Wolfe, Joe R. Lansdale, Michael Swanwick, Peter Straub), literary fiction (Stuart O'Nan, Joyce Carol Oates, Walter Mosley, Roddy Doyle), and popular fiction (Jeffrey Deaver, Jodi Picoult, Joe Hill, Chuck Palahniuk). Honestly, I barely brushed the surface of all the big-name contributors, so very many of whom are long-time favorites of mine.

I'll be honest, not every single story is a slam dunk, but not one was a stinker. The overall quality of contributions is high. Whether you're looking for quick palate cleansers between longer works, or you're looking forward to reading this collection cover to cover, I feel confident in asserting that there's something for everyone to be found within these pages. ( )
  Carol420 | May 31, 2016 |
I got this on audiobook, and I only stopped reading it before I finished it because I kept feeling compelled to turn it off every time the children walked into the room where I was listening to it. And then it was due back at the library and I could no longer renew it and, well, I'll probably check it out again. Some of the stories were hits and some were misses, but I enjoyed them all quite a like. Walter Mosley's "Juvenal Nyx" was a very satisfying vampire story, and one that I had to turn off multiple times when my little pitchers came on the scene. Lawrence Block's "Catch and Release" was disturbing, and I kind of wish it had ended a lot earlier and left more to the imagination. I loved Neil Gaiman's "The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains," which was haunting and tightly crafted.

I made it to about the halfway point in the book and I really liked it, but if I keep getting it on audiobook, it might take me a very long time to finish it. Headphones might help. Or perhaps I should stay up late listening to these stories while I crochet baby clothes for friends. I love incongruous entertainment while I craft tiny sweaters and bootees. ( )
  ImperfectCJ | Feb 3, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Gaiman, NeilEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sarrantonio, AlEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Adams, RichardContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Andersen, KurtContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Block, LawrenceContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Carroll, JonathanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Deaver, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doyle, RoddyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ford, JeffreyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hand, ElizabethContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harris, JoanneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hill, JoeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Howard, KatContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jones, Diana WynneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lansdale, Joe R.Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moorcock, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mosley, WalterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
O'Nan, StewartContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Oates, Joyce CarolContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Palahniuk, ChuckContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Parkhurst, CarolynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Picoult, JodiContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Powers, TimContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sarrantonio, AlContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Smith, Michael MarshallContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Straub, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Swanwick, MichaelContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Wolfe, GeneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Haworth, HennieCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For all the storytellers and tale spinners who entertained the public and kept themselves alive, for Alexandre Dumas and Charles Dickens, for Mark Twain and Baroness Orczy and the rest, and most of all, for Scheherazade, who was the storyteller and the story told.
Many loving thanks to Jennifer Brehl and Merrilee Heifetz, dual rudders on a long boat, for steering us safely to shore.
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A groundbreaking anthology that includes outstanding tales by Joe Hill, Lawrence Block, Carolyn Parkhurst, Joanne Harris, Richard Adams, Jeffery Deaver, and Neil Gaiman.

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