Smoke and Mirrors by

They do it with mirrors. It's a cliché, of course, but it's also true. Magicians have been using mirrors, usually set at a forty-five-degree angle, ever since the Victorians began to manufacture reliable, clear mirrors in quantity, well over a hundred years ago.
–Neil Gaiman - Smoke and Mirrors - c.1999 - An Introduction - pg 4

Short Fictions and Illusions
ISBN: 0755322835

Neil Gaiman is one of my favourite authors. Partly because you are never quite sure what you are going to get. He has his wonderful Sandman, graphic novels/comics I’ve yet to finish, his “novel” American Gods, his comic novel Anansi Boys, and so much more. This is a collection of his short stories, gathered with no particular theme, which I think is fitting for Gaiman.

My favourite three, just to limit it, stories are The Price, Chivalry, & Snow, Glass, Apples. But there are plenty more worth reading here too.

The Price I was already familar with, from Creatures of the Night, but that is a graphic version. This, in Smoke and Mirrors, is all text. And it was interesting to compare the two.

Snow, Glass, Apples is a retelling, or maybe, a revision, of the old fairy tale Snow White. And Chivalry is just a lovely, charming story about finding the Holy Grail.

The great thing about Gaiman is that not only does he have great ideas and vision, but that he also has a wonderful turn of phrase.

“How can you see a growl or a cry?” … In the eye of the mind we see many things”

Richard was young, and innocent in his fashion, and believed that authors should be trusted, and that there should be nothing hidden beneath the surface of a story.

You may also like...

10 Responses

  1. Kailana says:

    The only thing I have ever read by Gaiman is the novel he did with Terry Pratchett: "Good Omens". That was a hillarious book!

  2. Carl V. says:

    Those are 3 of my favorite stories as well Fence. I also really love We Can Get Them For You Wholesale (think that's the name?). Really like The White Road as well. I recommend the CD 'Warning Contains Language' in which Neil reads some of the stories from this including Chivalry. It is really comforting to hear Neil read Chivalry. I also recommend the Bebe Neuwerth (sp?) radio play of Snow, Glass, Apples that can either be listened to online at scifi.com or on the CD 'Two Plays for Voices'. It is very well done…that story just blew me away the first time I read it. And I got chills the first time I read The Price…I've since read that one aloud to many, many friends and family. Nice review, glad you enjoyed the book.

  3. Fence says:

    Good Omens is fantastic Kailana. One of my very favourite books of all time.

    Carl, I have part of the audio of Snow, Glass, Apples on my mp3 player. And there is a link to a reading in the book as well, I just have to get around to actually downloading and listening to it.

  4. Carl V. says:

    If you can get ahold of that other one to listen to Chivalry I think you'll enjoy it.

    On another note, I see that Susanna Clarke has a new book coming out:

    http://www.bloomsbury.com/BookCatalog/ProductItem

    in October so I better get cracking and finish Jonathan Strange!

  5. Fence says:

    Yeah, I'll be buying it. She also has a short story, which i think can be read on her website…

    Yup, it is called The Duke of Wellington Misplaces His Horse

  6. NineMoons says:

    I'll borrow this off you when I'm free. Assuming you'll lend it. Dear, precious, wonderful, wise and beautiful Fence… :-)

  7. Fence says:

    Grand so. And you can give me that Heyer one you keep saying I should read.

  8. NineMoons says:

    There are many of them you should read. :-) Think you probably mean the Waterloo one, starring Justin and L̩onie's great-grandchild and the whole bunch from Regency Buck. Though you also should read The Spanish Bride. And I just got one which I'll have to leave aside until my brain is functional again РMy Lord John, her great unfinished "serious epic", a medieval tale which she spent several years meticulously researching. I've a feeling the rigidly meticulous research might get a tad in the way of it being a good story but I think you might really like it Рyou really liked The Conqueror so I think it's more in that vein. I'm more in the 're-read the lighter ones' stage at the moment so there's no point struggling with it.

    There's a kind of sad intro to it, written by her husband after her death, talking about how harsh taxation, money worries and the clamouring of the public for a new romance kept her from ever being able to finish her dream novel.

  9. Fence says:

    That is sad, but then again, if her romances hadn't been so popular surely she may neer have had the chance to ever start her "dream novel"

  10. NineMoons says:

    True. And how many would-be writers would love to have written as many successful books as she has and to actually be GOOD at writing, even if her subject matter leans towards the trashy. And her success put her hubby through his studies for the Bar and he ended up becoming a KC/QC so that's not 'alf bad. I think he was more pissed off over the taxing of income derived from artistic endeavour thing – much as our artists were pissed off at the suggestion that they were thinking of changing our tax rules on same issue.