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Goofy Beast
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Picture of Thirith & His Enormous Tibia
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I'd just written half of a long reply when it got chomped on... Anyway, to cut a long story short: I see all the things you mention, but for me the story doesn't say or do anything more than your summary of the issue - and that, for me, is not the mark of a good story. Murder Mysteries strikes me as more complex and interesting; the Aslan* of TPoS is much simpler than the God of MM.

I'm sorry - I might be coming across as trying to convince you that the story isn't good. That's not it: I'd love to like Fragile Things, and most of NG's more recent work, more. I'd love to recognise that there's so much in these texts that I simply missed. (I'm currently rereading Sandman, and some of the issues that I wasn't too hot on four or five years ago I like better now.) That's why I haven't just bowed out - I want to like these texts better than I do.


*I don't see how it's very useful to see the identity of the lion, the witch and even the professor as open. I don't see anything interesting following from seeing them as anyone else than Aslan, Jadis or Susan. Gaiman's being coy, not ambiguous, I think.


__________
We scraped along like rats, but now we will soar like eagles... eagles on pogo sticks!
 
Posts: 10887 | Location: Switzerland | Registered: September 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Wild horses did drag her away, once - long story
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Picture of the madness of queen monk
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And I'm not advocating that *all* the stories in FT are fabulous, brilliant, touching, etc. To me, some are. And those that are, really are. Which is exactly how I felt about Smoke. I do not love all of Gaiman's work equally (which seems a normal reaction -- I don't love any artist's complete canon that way). Some of it leaves me unmoved. For example, it I hadn't already read quite a bit of his prose, I would never have lasted through "Preludes and Nocturnes" and some of the other earlier Sandman issues. I kept at it though because I was saying to myself, "You know he's a good writer -- give this some time." And it I was right and ended up loving it by the time I got to "Kindly Ones." (Yay! Smile) Also, MM didn't do much for me. It was interesting but, to me, predictable. I've only read it once (which is unusual -- normally I read the works multiple times). Perhaps I need to look at again...

What I am hoping to do is when criticism is made of the stories I thought good and significant is explain why I love it and what I saw. If that still doesn't resonate, then, well, that's just how it goes. We each are moved by different things. For example, I think it is deeply important to the story that so much ambiguity exists about the identity of the characters in TPoS. You think not. Okay. We've both done our best to explain ourselves and now we can only respectfully disagree. Smile

(One reason I think it's important to realize that the Professor is not necessarily Susan is that if she is, it makes the Narnia stories into biographies, and I think Gaiman is deliberately steering away from that.)


********-------********
"this whole blonde doctor situation has me mortified"
---
and I don't normally advocate music I love, but go see www.myspace.com/umbrellatree and thank me later!
 
Posts: 1540 | Location: Tennessee | Registered: March 06, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of chimeer
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What I'm getting from all this is that there's no absolute definition for a good story, and something that works for someone will not work for someone else.

I also don't think it's natural to like absolutely everything that a writer has written, and if you claim that to be the case about anybody, it's more likely something you want to believe. I mean, you can have such a high opinion of someone that you want to like everything he does and you don't allow negative thoughts about that person to reach your consciousness.

I personally go with two things, how much of an emotional or intellectual reaction the story gets from me, and the stronger, the better. TPoF was a sort of a bang that way. And second, and maybe not in order, how much I enjoy reading it. The literary qualities don't mean much to me otherwise. Like, Sunbird may have been perfectly written, but for some reason I didn't get any special reaction from it so I'll simply say I didn't like it.
 
Posts: 341 | Location: Indiana, US | Registered: January 12, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Goofy Beast
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Picture of Thirith & His Enormous Tibia
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I think this is as much of an issue for me as it is because usually I am quite capable of appreciating a work of literature even if I don't like it as such. In fact, it's a large part of my job (I teach literature at University). I've got intellectual kicks out of reading books that I disliked quite a bit, in terms of enjoying them on an emotional or sensual level. I haven't been able to do so with much of what NG has written in the last couple of years (excluding his children's books). That's what frustrates me - that most of the Gaiman works that I've read recently struck me as empty repetitive. I haven't been able to appreciate them much on any level. Frown


__________
We scraped along like rats, but now we will soar like eagles... eagles on pogo sticks!
 
Posts: 10887 | Location: Switzerland | Registered: September 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by cloverheart:
Madame Blue, you might want to check the American Gods forums, there's lengthy discussions about Shadow. There's a thread called 'Shadow's real name' or something like that where that question was extensively researche dby posters (as well as discussion on loads of other things).

I hated the novella, though. Hated. I thought it had no point, it didn't made me know anything about Shadow's character, I didn't see any evolution in him from American Gods... I don't know. I might read it again once I finish re-reading American Gods (which I'm enjoying much more I thought I would, btw).


C'mon it gave a great insight into Shadow and explored the whole dimension of him as a man/myth in much greater detail than American Gods. I thought it tied in nicely with the original novel.
 
Posts: 5 | Registered: December 13, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Bonzo:
quote:
Originally posted by cloverheart:
Madame Blue, you might want to check the American Gods forums, there's lengthy discussions about Shadow. There's a thread called 'Shadow's real name' or something like that where that question was extensively researche dby posters (as well as discussion on loads of other things).

I hated the novella, though. Hated. I thought it had no point, it didn't made me know anything about Shadow's character, I didn't see any evolution in him from American Gods... I don't know. I might read it again once I finish re-reading American Gods (which I'm enjoying much more I thought I would, btw).


C'mon it gave a great insight into Shadow and explored the whole dimension of him as a man/myth in much greater detail than American Gods. I thought it tied in nicely with the original novel.


I just read it again yesterday and it was even better the second time!
 
Posts: 182 | Registered: June 16, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
the firebreather beneath the clover
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Picture of fawn
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You know, I can't really judge whether I like one book of stories over the other--I don't look at books of short stories that way. I tend to just pick and choose stories that I like.
I didn't really care to read Monarch of the Glen until I had read American Gods...and then, when I did, I LOVED it. It was just nice to see Shadow again and I liked his relationship with the other characters.


"Even mollusks have weddings, though solemn and leaden
But you dirge for the dead, take no jam on your bread
Just a supper of salt and a waltz through your empty bed"---Joanna Newsom
 
Posts: 171 | Location: San Clemente, Ca | Registered: April 15, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I don't know about you guys, but I really enjoyed GOLIATH. I've never read Matrix fiction before, I've only watched the movies and the short flims, so when I read this I was pleasantly surprised and impressed. It not only showed the intricacies of the Matrix, it was also fun to see someone like Neil write a story about such a mainstream property such as the Matrix. And he did so with the dream-like writing style he's so famous for; the plot was mindblowing, to say the least.
 
Posts: 103 | Registered: May 05, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Muscariatto
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Well, i was reading Fragile Things here and there... On the bench in the park, on the grass in the park, in my home, in trams, and so on, i was making a kind of narcotic of it, taken bit by a bit.

And it occured to me that that book is really good. Stories there are cool, except for poems, caue i've read them in polish version, and the translations are really BAD. But, propably in english they're really cool.

I loved some stories. But, i've finished yesterday the "Smoke & Mirrors" and it was better, for me personaly.


drink and be merry for tommorow we can die
it's better to laugh, than it is to cry
my cup runeth over with blood and not wine
the last was the flood,
it's a fire this time
 
Posts: 18 | Location: poland | Registered: July 08, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
enlightened website user
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Picture of the other duncan
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"Hi, my name is duncan s., and I'm a noob ..."

"Hello, noob."

"Yeah, so while I have yet to read any other titles in the (NG) canon (Yet! I do plan to, really!), there's no harm in reading 'Fragile Things' first, right? I'd forgotten, but in a bit of spring cleaning I realized that Mom (good ol' Mom) gave me 'Fragile Things' last Xmas and I still haven't taken it up. I'm in the middle of another book, but if there's no prerequisite, I'll hit FT next."

[plug](I'm pretty sure Mom bought it on a recommendation from Mark & Cindy Ziesing, who I (still) highly recommend as a bookseller. Mom & Pop shop, northern california, worth making the connection.)[/plug]


(not his real name)
 
Posts: 6861 | Location: darned eff I know | Registered: June 12, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hello everybody!

I'm a huge fan of Gaiman, and now I'm reading Fragile Things (I've just got the US hardcover edition ^^). But I think that this book is not as good as Smoke and Mirrors.
Gaiman's style became more professional, that's true, but something is missing from his new books. I can mention Endless Nights, which was quite awful and boring, or the Anansi Boys, which was a great disappointment after American Gods, and now Fragile Things has some uninteresting and dull stories. However, there are masterpieces in it, too, like A Study in Emerald, Other people, The Monarch of the Glen, How do you think it feels?, etc.

Sorry for my English, I'm not a native-speaker.
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: December 03, 2007Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Er.. Hello everyone! I'm a fan of Pratchett and all things Discworld, that's how I knew about Neil Gaiman: reading Good Omens, then Neverwhere, then American Gods... All these found in used books stores 'till recently I managed to persuade the bookstores over here to bring more Harper Collins.

So finally, about a week ago I bought Fragile Things and started reading it. I love it. October in the Chair is the closest to my heart, partly because I like Ray Bradbury's stories a lot too. Although (haven't really finished the book yet so I souldn't be saying this but...), like Cortez, I still like Smoke and Mirrors a lot more.

By the way, does anyone know how do I go about asking Neil or Harper Collins permission to put a bit of "Snow, Glass, Apples" in my webpage?

Thanks!
 
Posts: 1 | Registered: April 09, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of albie
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CLOSING TIME gave me the willies, which Gaiman has never given me before. I'm not sure why it affected me so. Maybe it was the stars in alignment.
 
Posts: 10 | Location: Hull england | Registered: November 21, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Smaug
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quote:
Originally posted by Weeble:
Um, er, please don't flame me, I am a newbie, a raw newbie.

But I wanted to share that Fragile Things is in NYT Book Review tomorrow,NYTBR 11/5/06 link

with a neato-keen illustration by Yuko Shimizu.


hahaha!

sorry, its funny seeing someone with 10072 posts claiming to be a newbie.

*waterballoons*

oh, and i finally got my copy of fragile things and am about half way through, but taking a break to read some other stuff, although i am looking forward to the problem with susan...i think.


~
I prefer to live in a country that's small, and old, and where no one would ever have the NERVE to wear a cape in public, whether they could leap tall buildings in a single bound or not.

the parrot... ...gets tiresome.
the parrot... ...i ate him.


CHIKKINZ?
 
Posts: 20596 | Location: England | Registered: June 21, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
is irreducibly complex
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Picture of Weeble
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That was my first-ever post!


~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~ . . ~
Weeble: Vibrant and bouncy, like something one would find valiantly trying to escape from a Disney geneticist's specimen freezer. - Pelham Bleatwell, Esq.

 
Posts: 10991 | Location: *rattling the bars of my cage* | Registered: November 04, 2006Reply With QuoteReport This Post
*Special Achievement Award Winner 2010* shines on like the stars
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Picture of library lady
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I tend to like neil's writings better after a second read. I like SM better than FT because I've read it more often.


+++
Life is too short to read a bad book.
 
Posts: 2485 | Location: Page 42 | Registered: December 27, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Picture of Smaug
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and now...i'm finished.

lots of good stories in there, i think i prefered this to smoke and mirrors, but perhaps i need to re-read smoke and mirrors to check.

you know the thing that's sticking most in my mind, perhaps because it was in the last story read, wednesday's song Big Grin

my grandpa sell condoms to sailors

i liked it.


~
I prefer to live in a country that's small, and old, and where no one would ever have the NERVE to wear a cape in public, whether they could leap tall buildings in a single bound or not.

the parrot... ...gets tiresome.
the parrot... ...i ate him.


CHIKKINZ?
 
Posts: 20596 | Location: England | Registered: June 21, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Hello all. Just wanted to add my tuppence worth to the conversation regarding 'Fragile Things.' I only properly joined on Monday.

I did not like this book. Not at all.

Some of it is technically brilliant, but a lot of it felt hollow and silly to me. I liked A Study in Emerald the most, thought the poetry was ridiculously pretentious and despised the weird sex scene between the White Witch and the Lion. WTF?? Oi, Neil, no!

However, it is not a bad book because I don't think NG is capable of doing anything badly but I can't help feel that Smoke and Mirrors had a lot more soul.
 
Posts: 2 | Registered: June 22, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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