SHORT STORIES

 

 A

 

ANDERSON, Poul & Karen  

Faith         1992    Fantasy

(in ‘After the King: Stories in Honour of J.R.R. Tolkien’; Ed. M. Greenberg)

Excellent mood, a worthy tribute

 

DOYLE, Arthur Conan    

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes          1892    Crime/Short Stories

Thoroughly enjoyable

 

 A-

 

ANDERSON, Poul     

My Object All Sublime   1961    Short Story/SF

In ‘The Giant Book of Science Fiction Stories’

Killer twist

 

DOZOIS, Gardner      (Ed.)   

The Year's Best Science Fiction, Ninth Annual Collection      1991    SF/Short Stories

Best of 1991. Consistently good

 

FORSYTH, Frederick     

No comebacks     1982

Meticulous, able, satisfying

 

KEILLOR, Garrison   

We Are Still Married       1989

Inconsistent but often manages warmth & whimsicality without sentimentality

 

KIPLING, Rudyard    

The Jungle Book       1894

Entertaining, skilful, moving. Profound underlying myth

 

The Second Jungle Book     1895

Sequel atypically as good as original – ‘Undertakers’ brilliant

 

LE GUIN, Ursula K.

Semley's Necklace (in ‘The Wind’s Twelve Quarters’)      1964    Short Story/Fantasy/SF

Wonderful evocation of a fantasy legend somehow effectively incorporating SF elements

 

 

 B+

 

BACH, Richard   

Jonathan Livingston Seagull     1972

Ultra optimistic anti-Ecclesiastes parable: every discipline is eternally meaningful

 

BRADBURY, Ray

The Day it Rained Forever    1959

Richer moods than the usual SF single idea short stories

 

DOYLE, Arthur Conan         

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes        1893

Clever ideas, engaging lead characters

 

The Return of Sherlock Holmes 1905

Clever ideas, engaging lead characters

 

The Poison Belt   1913

Classic SF model – a story based around a daunting ‘what if’

 

The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes 1927

Clever ideas, engaging lead characters

 

GOLDSWORTHY, Peter 

Little Deaths   1993

Consistent, well-written, affecting

 

HALL, Rich

Magnificent Bastards            2009    Humour/Short Stories

Wonderfully laconic, entertaining narration around often surprisingly dark subjects

 

HAMMETT, Dashiell

Nightmare Town 1923-34     Crime/Short Stories

Capable, original Chandler precursor

 

HARRIS, Robert  

PMQ    2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Amusing frightfully British narration of PM in a sitcom style sketch

 

HARRISON, Harry     

Stainless Steel Visions    1993

Ranging between action, humour, comment – pretty consistent

 

Galactic Dreams   1994

Ranging between action, humour, comment – pretty consistent

 

HERRIOT, James      

If Only They Could Talk 1970

Light and formulaic, but charming and amusing country vet recollections

 

Let Sleeping Vets Lie      1973

Light and formulaic, but charming and amusing country vet recollections

 

Every Living Thing    1992

Light and formulaic, but charming and amusing country vet recollections

 

KEILLOR, Garrison   

Lake Wobegon Days       1985    Short Stories/Historical Fiction/Humour

Nostalgic, languid, imaginative, warm, whimsical, indulgently tangental

 

KIPLING, Rudyard    

Short Stories: Volume 1 1901-1912

Pretty consistent

 

LE GUIN, Ursula K.         

The Darkness Box (in ‘The Wind’s Twelve Quarters’)       1964    Short Story/Fantasy

Clever realisation of an evocative idea

 

The Word of Unbinding        1964    Fantasy/Short Stories

Great key elements already in place in early Earthsea musings

 

Tales from Earthsea        2001    Fantasy/Short Stories

Five tales, one great, three good, and one disappointing

 

LEVI, Primo  

The Wrench         1978

Gracefully narrated stories of a tradesman’s jobs and values

 

A Tranquil Star    2005 (1946-86)     

Understated yet engaging style. Mainly SF type ‘what if’s’

 

MARTIN, George R. R.

Tuf Voyaging       1978-1985 SF/Short Stories

Some flaws, but one good thriller and a couple of fascinating themes

 

NIVEN, Larry 

What Good is a Glass Dagger?   1972    Fantasy/Short Story

(in ‘The Flight of the Horse’)

Great little mix of fantasy, action and humour

 

O’FARRELL, John    

Walking Into the Wind    2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Enjoyable, if pointed, picture of the highs and lows of a mime’s life

 

RANKIN, Ian  

Beggars Banquet       2002 (1990-2000)   Crime/Short Stories

Capable, interesting

 

SHELLEY, Rick

Eyewall     1991    SF/Short Story

(in The Giant Book of Fantastic SF; Ed. Gardner Dozios)

Able development of a scientific idea into a story

 

WILLIAMS, Walter Jon  

Prayers on the Wind 1991    SF

(in The Giant Book of Fantastic SF; Ed. Gardner Dozios)

Capable dramatic yarn in a largely Hindu syncretic future

 

WYNDHAM, John

Consider Her Ways and Other Stories   1956    SF (Weird)/Short Stories

Able ‘weird’ tales around slips in time or parallel universe

 

 

 B

 

ANONYMOUS

The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night 1300s?      Fantasy/Short Stories

Constant blood, magic and sex. Diverting but very repetitive

 

ASIMOV, Isaac   

The Early Asimov, Volume 2     1940s

Definitive magazine SF, individual stories around a novel idea

 

I, Robot     1950

Average characters and dialogue flesh out novel dilemmas from the ‘three laws’ of his anthropomorphic robots

 

CARD, Orson Scott   

Maps in a Mirror (Vol. 2) 1991

Collection of short stories – more a curiosity for fans

 

DAHL, Roald       

Completely Unexpected Tales          1949-1980

Collection of ‘twist’ stories. Hit and miss. ‘Galloping Foxley’ is a cracker

 

DOYLE, Arthur Conan         

The Land of Mist  1926

Doyle courageously defends spiritualism, exploiting his popular ‘Challenger’ characters

 

When the World Screamed        1928

Professor Challenger in an oddly Gaia setting

 

The Conan Doyle Stories      1929

Large collection of ripping yarns from 1883-1922: sea, sport, war, supernatural, medicine and history

 

The Disintegration Machine       1929

Striking spin on how far scientists are responsible for the application of their research

 

EGGERS, Dave   

After I was thrown into the river and before I drowned      2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Dog’s enthusiastic new age perspective on life and afterlife

 

FIRTH, Colin 

The Department of Nothing  2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Charming mix of child/grandmother’s fantasy coping with everyday

 

GREENBERG, Martin H. (Ed.)    

The Giant Book of Science Fiction Stories 1986    SF/Short Stories

101 1950s-70s magazine SF stories

 

HAŠEK, Jaroslav

The Red Commissar  1923

Czech satire of bureaucratic absurdities

 

JAMES, Henry    

Daisy Miller: A Study      1878

James musing on the changing female role in his time

 

KIPLING, Rudyard    

Many Inventions 1893

Can’t remember specifics

 

Traffics and Discoveries 1904

Can’t remember specifics

 

Puck of Pook’s Hill    1906

Glimpses of English historical figures

 

Rewards and Fairies 1910

Sequel to ‘Puck of Pook’s Hill

 

LE GUIN, Ursula K.

April in Paris (in ‘The Wind’s Twelve Quarters’)   1962    Short Story/SF

Competent early Le Guin magazine time travel ‘what if’; understandably (and unusually) twee

 

LIVELY, Penelope

Making It Up 2005   

Typically professional alternative biographical musing

 

LOUKAKIS, Angelo

For the Patriarch 1981

Greek Australian perspective

 

MORTIMER, John

Rumpole of the Bailey    1978    Short Stories/Crime

Courtroom wit and detection

 

The Trials of Rumpole    1979    Short Stories/Crime

Courtroom wit and detection

 

NIVEN, Larry 

The Flight of the Horse   1974    SF/Fantasy/Short Stories

Pretty average pulp apart from the enjoyable ‘Glass Dagger’

 

RANKIN, Ian  

A Good Hanging  1992    Crime/Short Stories

OK, but short form feels like you’re on fast-forward

 

SMITH, Giles      

Last Requests             2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Dark humour improvising a monologue as a death-row canteen lady

 

 B-

 

BANK, Melissa    

The Wonder Spot           2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

A woman’s romantic daydream about an ideal night

 

BRADBURY, Ray

Quicker than the Eye      1996    SF/Short Stories

Sentimental, indulgent, average

 

CHANDRA, Vikram   

Love and Longing in Bombay    1997

Original but not engaging

 

DOYLE, Roddy    

The Slave       2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Mid-life crisis monologue

 

FIELDING, Helen      

Luckybitch     2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Ageing hedonist diva’s vacillating monologue

 

GAIMAN, Neil and Sarrantonio, Al (Editors)    

Stories 2010   

Too similarly dark collection

 

HORNBY, Nick    

NippleJesus    2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Security guard’s quirky perspective on art designed to shock

 

KEILLOR, Garrison

Leaving Home     1987    Short Stories/Humour

Didn’t work for me this time – maybe just my mood?

 

The Book of Guys     1993    Short Stories/Humour

Improvisations around an indulgent theme: occasionally inspired technique but ultimately childish perspective

 

SMITH, Zadie      

I’m the Only One 2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Vignette of teenager step to identity

 

C

 

LE GUIN, Ursula K.

The Masters (in ‘The Wind’s Twelve Quarters’)     1963    Short Story

Dumb, preachy demonising

 

 

 C- 

 

 

MARBER, Patrick     

Peter Shelley 2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Uglily nostalgic depiction of amoral punk adolescent first sex

 

 D-

 

WELSH, Irvine    

Catholic Guilt (You Know You Want It)       2000

(in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby)

Stereotype priest slander with naughty words and obscene action. Pathetic