Tag Archive | Short Story

The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman

Format: Hardcover
Rating:  5 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Three dwarves discover a sleeping princess and return to their queen. She sets out to save the princess on the eve of her wedding.

This is a clever mashup of Sleeping Beauty and another fairytale I won’t mention (spoilers, you see…), with excellent illustrations from Chris Riddell. I enjoyed the twists and the connections, and the story definitely left me thinking. My knee-jerk rating was four stars, but being a Neil Gaiman book, I’ll be musing over this story awhile, and that rates five stars.

What I do know is this: don’t go into any Gaiman book with expectations (I didn’t in this case, but he still surprised me) because whatever they are, he WILL defy them.

A very, very good book.

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If Ever I Should Leave You by Pamela Sargent

Format: Hardcover
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

The narrator of this story remains nameless. Her husband is Yuri Malenkov, and when we meet them, Yuri is dying – having cheated death for around three hundred years – apparently that’s what people do. In the last six months Yuri has made many time travel trips, and he dies the night after he returns from his final trip.

The reason Yuri made those many trips was so his wife could travel to meet him again after he has left her. And eventually she does make use of the time slots he logged and visits with him as time passes.

It isn’t explained how people in this setting cheat death, but apparently they can rejuvenate – but only for so long. Then they age rather rapidly.

This was a really lovely, gentle story of timeless love, and I enjoyed it very much. And there’s a bit of a plot twist that just put the cherry on top of the cake.

Bad Timing by Molly Brown

Format: Hardcover
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Alan Strong works in the Archives Department at the Colson Time Studies Institute some three hundred years in the future. One day, when he arrives at work, his friend Joe Twofingers draws his attention to a fiction story in a magazine from the 20th century called Woman’s Secrets. The story is about a man called Alan Strong from the 24th century who travels back in time because he sees a photo of a lady called Cecily Walker, falls in love with her. And apparently this man works at the Archives Department at the Colson Time Studies Institute…

What ensues is a humorous account of Alan’s attempt to find Cecily. Time travel gets tough when you don’t have all the instructions.

I enjoyed reading this story. Brown’s writing is vivid and concise, and the story tickles the time travel paradox nicely. Definitely a thumbs’ up from me.

In the Tube by EF Benson

Format: Hardcover
Rating:  3 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

In this story, the narrator is visiting an Anthony Carling. After dinner, all the other guests leave, and the narrator remains as an overnight guest. Anthony is quite a philosophical character, and the discussion turns to time and eternity, how time is an invention, whereas eternity is outside of time. Then Carling goes on to describe some events he’s experienced that he believes prove that eternity does not follow the same conventions as time.

I felt it a bit of a stretch to include this story in a book about time travel, but there you go, that decision was not mine. As a story, yes. I quite enjoyed it. Pretty much a narration of supernatural events is my assessment – some events of which had not occurred at the time they were witnessed by Carling. So he saw a foreshadow of them, basically. Or precogged them. The story is well-written and easily accessible.

Domine by Rjurik Davidson

Format: Hardcover
Rating:  4 Stars
Reviewer: Laurel

Marek, a musician and soundscaper, is excitedly anticipating the return of Dany, a crew member on the first close-to-light-speed space trip. But who is Dany, and what will happen?

This story had a distinctly “The Forever War” feel to it, but from the other side of the coin, so to speak. Fascinating, really, and somewhat disturbing too. I really enjoyed Davidson’s vision of the near future, of how the cities had evolved and/or degenerated, and his depiction of disconnect was excellent.