Synopses & Reviews
In Neil Gaiman's richly imagined fiction, anything is possible. And the proof is in the telling in this extraordinary collection of short stories. Discover within these pages miraculous inventions and curious characters: an elderly widow who finds the Holy Grail tucked beneath an old fur coat in a thrift store, a terrified boy who barters for his life with a mean-spirited troll living beneath a bridge by the railroad tracks, a young couple who receives a wedding gift that gradually reveals a chilling alternative history of their marriage. Smoke and Mirrors will dazzle your senses, touch your heart and haunt your dreams.
"[Gaiman] is, simply put, a treasure house of story, and we are lucky to have him in any medium." Stephen King
"A whopping collection....[T]he volume's numerous successes put an engaging spin on even more-than-twice-told tales....[A]n exhilarating display of the work of one of our most entertaining storytellers." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Poe would love him....A box of bonbons for dark fantasy fans, and a strong successor to Neverwhere." Booklist
"Imaginative twists on old legends and frightening glimpses into the impossible combine to form this impressive collection....The intriguing world behind these pages is indeed smoke and mirrors, just a step or a word or a story away from our own." Publishers Weekly
"Short stories guaranteed to excite the senses and inflame the imagination..." Book Alert
"Highly imaginative...readers will find echoes of H.P. Lovecraft, Harlan Ellison, Ray Bradbury and Stephen King, but the voice is all Gaiman." Dallas Morning News
"Gaiman's incantatory storytelling ignites both the bitter and the sweet and its smoke twists and seeps into dark corners, wafts into the light and amusing, even wends poignantly into the heart: nothing he writes should be missed." HorrorOnline.com
"Gaiman is a star. He constructs stories like some demented cook might make a wedding cake, building layer upon layer, including all kinds of sweet and sour in the mix." Clive Barker
Now available in paperback is the definitive collection of short stories that reveals one of the world's most gifted fantasy writers at the peak of his form.
About the Author
A professional writer for more than twenty years, Neil Gaiman has been one of the top writers in modern comics, and is now a bestselling novelist. His work has appeared in translation in more than nineteen countries, and nearly all of his novels, graphic and otherwise, have been optioned for films. He is listed in the Dictionary of Literary Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers.
Gaiman was the creator/writer of the monthly cult DC Comics series, "Sandman," which won Neil nine Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, including the award for best writer four times, and three Harvey Awards. "Sandman #19" took the 1991 World Fantasy Award for best short story, making it the first comic ever to be awarded a literary award.
His six-part fantastical TV series for the BBC, "Neverwhere," was broadcast in 1996. His novel, also called "Neverwhere," and set in the same strange underground world as the television series, was released in 1997; it appeared on a number of bestseller lists, including those of the Los Angeles Times,the San Francisco Chronicle,and Locus.
Stardust,an illustrated prose novel in four parts, began to appear from DC Comics in 1997. In 1999 Avon released the all-prose unillustrated version, which appeared on a number of bestseller lists, was selected by Publishers Weeklyas one of the best books of the year, and was awarded the prestigious Mythopoeic Award as best novel for adults.
American Gods,a novel for adults, was published in 2001 and appeared on many best-of- the-year lists, was a New York Timesbestseller in both hardcover and paperback, and won the Hugo, Nebula, SFX, Bram Stoker, and Locus Awards.
Coraline(2002), his first novel for children, was a New York Timesand international bestseller, was nominated for the Prix Tam Tam, and won the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award, the BSFA Award, the HUgo, the Nebula and the Bram Stoker Award.
2003 saw the publication of bestseller The Wolves in the Walls,a children's picture book, illustrated by Gaiman's longtime collaborator Dave McKean, which the New York Timesnamed as one of the best illustrated books of the year; and the first Sandman graphic novel in seven years, Endless Nights,the first graphic novel to make the New York Timesbestseller list.
In 2004, Gaiman published the a new graphic novel for Marvel called 1602,which was the best-selling comic of 2004, and 2005 saw the Sundance Film Festival premiere of "MirrorMask," a Jim Henson Company Production written by Gaiman and directed by McKean. A lavishly designed book containing the complete script, black and white storyboards, and full-color art from the film will be published by William Morrow in early 2005; a picture book for younger readers, also written by Gaiman and illustrated with art from the movie, will be published by HarperCollins Children's Books at a later date.
Gaiman's official website has 400,000 unique visitors per month in 2004; close to 600,000 per month are expected in 2005. His online journal is syndicated to thousands of blog readers every day.
Born and raised in England, Neil Gaiman now lives near Minneapolis, Minnesota, where he is currently at work on Anansi Boys, the long-awaited follow-up to American Gods.
Table of Contents
Reading the Entrails: A Rondel
An Introduction 1
Nicholas Was... 48
The Price 49
Troll Bridge 57
Don't Ask Jack 69
The Goldfish Pool and Other Stories 72
The White Road 108
Queen of Knives 120
The Daughter of Owls 141
Shoggoth's Old Peculiar 144
Looking for the Girl 159
Only the End of the World Again 171
Bay Wolf 190
We Can Get Them for You Wholesale 198
One Life, Furnished in Early Moorcock 209
Cold Colors 224
The Sweeper of Dreams 236
Foreign Parts 238
Vampire Sestina 255
The Sea Change 267
When We Went to See the End of the World 271
Desert Wind 278
Murder Mysteries 292
Snow, Glass, Apples 325