By: Neil Gaiman
Format/Source: eBook; my purchase
A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night. . . .
In a Hugo Award–winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England. . . .
Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares. . . .
These marvelous creations and more showcase the unparalleled invention and storytelling brilliance—as well as the terrifyingly dark and entertaining sense of humor—of the incomparable Neil Gaiman. By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most original writers of our time.
At long last I’ve picked up one of Neil Gaiman’s short stories collection; I had been eyeing them for some time, especially as I’ve been reading a lot of short story collections in the past year. I’ve enjoyed Neil Gaiman’s full-length works, whether they be novels or graphic novels, so I was also curious to see how he fared with shorter works.
Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical
By: Robert Shearman
Format/Source: Paperback; my purchase
The first love song in the world, as composed by a pig in the Garden of Eden.
The Devil, alarmed when his hobby of writing romantic fiction begins to upstage his day job.
A man finding love with someone who has an allergy to his happiness.
Another losing love altogther when his wife gives him back his heart in a Tupperware box.
By turns macabre and moving, horrific and laugh-out-loud funny, Robert Shearman’s short stories come from a place just to the left of the corner of your eye. Following his World Fantasy Award-winning Tiny Deaths, this new collection puts a bizarre twist on the love story. What is love, why does it hurt so much, and how is it we keep coming back for more? Sometimes poignant, sometimes cruel – but always as startling and fresh as Shearman’s fans have come to expect.
Book cover image found from Big Finish. My copy has a slightly different typography
A bit hard to tell with the way my book reviews have been scheduled these last few months but a) I’m on a bit of a roll with the short stories collections lately; I find them very easy to turn to when you’re busy studying for exams (supposedly) 😛 and b) this is the second collection by Robert Shearman I’ve read in the span of a month. I’ve read his later books Remember Why You Fear Me (review) and They Do the Same Things Different There (review) and loved them both. Slowly but surely I am tracking down his earlier collections now and checking them out 😉
Hi everyone! You may remember that some time ago I had reviewed a short story collection that was recently published entitled Remember Why You Fear Me (review) by Robert Shearman (many of you may know him for the episode he wrote for Doctor Who, “Dalek” (109)). It’s quite an interesting collection of short stories; as I had mentioned in my review it’s quite a range of stories–not necessarily steeped in horror in every story but intriguing, chilling and introspective in the themes that they explore.
Well, aside from reviewing the book last month, I also had the opportunity to interview the author as part of the blog tour organised by ChiZine Publications. ‘Twas very exciting (not to mention this blog’s very first author interview ever!) and I hope you enjoy the following interview. A big thank you again to ChiZine Publications for arranging it and to Robert Shearman for taking the time to answer my questions =)
- Remember Why You Fear Me is quite an eclectic collection of short stories! Which story did you enjoy writing the most? Do you have a particular favourite from this compilation?
It’s a funny thing, really. As you write each and every story, they feel like the most important one you’ve ever done. You get this wonderful idea in your head, and you think – this one, at last, is going to be absolute genius, so long as I don’t screw it up! And then the actual process of putting it down on paper is one of irritation and compromise, and the dismaying sense that that wonderful idea is being screwed up, and you’re doing your level best at damage limitation! Then, months later, you can look back at the story, and assess it for what it is coolly – and sometimes it’s rotten, but often it’s actually rather good, and you can feel a certain sense of pride. But by that point you’ve moved on to other ideas and other stories, and the emotional attachment you feel to the old stuff is a bit detached. So, it’s honestly hard to judge a favourite story, or which one I enjoyed writing the most (especially seeing the ones I most enjoyed writing are the ones I suspect I didn’t work at hard enough, so seem a bit lacking in retrospect!). The oldest story in the book is ‘Mortal Coil’, which was a rather fun idea about the whole world receiving letters from God informing them exactly when and how everyone’s going to die. I had no expectations at that point I would ever write another short story; I had been asked to give something to an anthology, and back then I was exclusively a dramatist, so it was like having a little holiday, creating something entirely new for an entirely new medium. That may be my favourite, because I felt so wonderfully irresponsible doing it!
Remember Why You Fear Me
By: Robert Shearman
A woman rejects her husband’s heart— and gives it back to him, still beating, in a plastic box. A little boy betrays his father to the harsh mercies of Santa Claus. A widower suspects his dead wife’s face is growing over his own. A man goes to Hell, and finds he’s roommate to the ghost of Hitler’s pet dog. Giant spiders, killer angels, ghost cat photography, and the haunted house right at the centre of the Garden of Eden.
Seems pretty fitting since Hallowe’en is around the corner, eh? ChiZine Publications kindly sent me a copy of Robert Shearman’s book for review; the book is available for purchase this month. Just a bit of background, Shearman has quite a diverse background in writing, from theatre to television shows (perhaps most notably known for writing the series 1 episode “Dalek” for Doctor Who). This book is a collection of stories, the author’s fourth.