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Search tags: 7-shorts
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review 2017-07-11 14:07
The Time Machine and Other Stories ★★★☆☆
The Time Machine and Other Stories: Library Edition - H.G. Wells,Ralph Cosham

I haven’t read HG Wells since I received a collection of his stories for my 16th birthday. Of course, what I mostly remembered was The Time Machine, and being fascinated by the Eloi and Morlocks but bored by the rest of it. This particular edition is an audio collection of 10 stories of various quality, including The Time Machine. I expected that my experience with TTM would be entirely different as an adult, but was surprised to find that once again, the section following the encounter with the Eloi and Morlocks was a snoozefest, this time with a little eyeroll over the giant crab things. The difference is that I felt a little sorry for the Morlocks this time around, rather than sharing the narrator’s visceral disgust. I was much more interested in the author’s theories regarding the evolutionary outcome of the current (late 1800s Britain) political, social, and economic climate. I wonder why it never occurred to him that the oppressed industrial workers would revolt and take over as the balance of power shifted with the ruling class becoming increasingly weak and ineffectual with indolence and soft living?

 

The remainder of the short stories were mostly entertaining. Standouts were The Country of the Blind, The Man Who Could Work Miracles, and The Flowering of the Strange Orchid. The Cone was satisfactorily gory.

 

Stories in this collection:

  1. The Time Machine
  2. The Country of the Blind
  3. The Diamond Maker
  4. The Man Who Could Work Miracles
  5. Aepyornis Island
  6. The Flowering of the Strange Orchid
  7. The Cone
  8. The Purple Pileus
  9. The Truth About Pyecraft
  10. The Door in the Wall

 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library. This is the first time I’ve borrowed a book in the playaway format, and I didn’t like it. For one thing, I had to supply my own battery. For another, the rudimentary playing controls made navigating through the short stories somewhat difficult. And lastly, I’m just plain old spoiled by reading apps on my phone, and appalled by how quickly technology becomes obsolete. It wasn’t that long ago that we would have been delighted by an audio coming already loaded in a (sort of) portable digital format, rather than having to keep inserting the CDs into our heavy Sony Walkman/Discman.

 

Ralph Cosham provides a very good performance. His somehow old-fashioned stylings really fit the stories.

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review 2017-07-08 16:14
Full Dark, No Stars ★★★☆☆
Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King,Craig Wasson,Jessica Hecht

Four novellas/long short stories on a theme of secret second or inner lives: the horrible person under the affably smiling member of your family or community. Overall enjoyable, as SK always is, but it didn’t suck me in or stick with me later the way his best stuff does. Although, I got into a conversation with a friend, who was insisting that she believes she would recognize evil in a person, that she doesn’t believe it could be concealed. I pointed out that Ted Bundy fooled everyone he worked with in his “public persona” from law enforcement to professors to politicians, and even his many girlfriends, until it all fell apart and his secrets were out. But anyway, I did reference the stories in this book as we argued about it, so there’s that.

 

1922: Just weird, but with SK-style graphic goriness that makes it worth reading. One of the things I love about SK’s style is his use of all five senses in his descriptions of action, scenes, and characters. It’s really immersive.

 

Big Driver: Disturbing for sure. It's a revenge tale, and as the main character notes in her inner monologue, those are always a satisfying fantasy. But the ending is, well, not very satisfying. Not believable. Seems like a copout.

 

Fair Extension: Shorter than the others, but it's a fun little tale of revenge (again) but this time for perceived injustices, where Envy is thoroughly exercised to its logical conclusion. It's fun, and sort of funny.

 

A Good Marriage: I think this is the best of the four stories. It's creepy and plausible to start, because of course there have been killers whose mask is so good, even their close family and friends have no idea. The ending was less plausible and a little weak.

 

Audiobook, purchased via Audible. The performances by Craig Wasson and Jessica Hecht are excellent, especially Wasson’s. I read this for the 2017 Booklikes-opoly challenge, for the square Adventureland 26: Read a book tagged genre Adventure or Thriller on GR.

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review 2017-06-16 17:15
Mile 81 ★★★★☆
Mile 81 - Stephen King,Thomas Sadoski,Edward Herrmann

This is the short story/novella version of every 1950’s Creature Feature B movie, where the teenagers witness everything and frantically try to get help, only to have all the adults dismiss them as crazy kids pulling a prank. Except in this case, it’s little kids instead of teenagers. Good entertainment, SK style.

 

The “bonus story” The Dune is much shorter story, with fairly classic SK story elements, but there’s no horror or gore here, just an odd little story of mysterious events, with a fun little twist at the end.

 

Audiobook version, borrowed from my public library. Thomas Sadoski (Mile 81) and Edward Herrmann (The Dune) bring their stories alive, perfectly capturing the characters through whom the story is told.

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review 2017-02-28 12:55
Reckoning ★★★☆☆
Reckoning: From Unbound - Jeaniene Frost

I've never read any of the other books in this series, but that was not a barrier to enjoying this fun little novella about a vampire-for-hire and deadly ghouls. The author had more fun with the gruesome than with the romance, which was decidedly one-sided, but I thought

the girl's hopeful crush and the vampire's gentle accommodation of her feelings was poignant,

(spoiler show)

especially at the end. 

Audiobook, borrowed from my public library via Overdrive. Competently read by Tavia Gilbert.

 

Read for the 2017 Romance Bingo, but I haven't decided yet which square to use for it. Applicable squares:

Urban Fantasy: Supernatural creatures in the city of New Orleans

Interracial Couple: in this case, interspecies (vampire/human)

Love is Murder: because the ghouls get her in the end, and because the entire plot revolves around one vampire hired to kill the ghouls, and a second vampire hired to kill the first one

(spoiler show)
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review 2016-10-16 13:14
The Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe ★★★★★
The Illustrated Edgar Allan Poe - Edgar Allan Poe,Lucio Mondini,Jessica Angiulli

Beautifully illustrated volume of four classic Poe horror stories. Includes several intricately constructed popups. The pages and popups are made of thick, sturdy cardstock and stands up well to handling. Highly recommend.

 

Stories (links to reviews):

The Fall of the House of Usher

The Tell-Tale Heart

The Pit and the Pendulum

The Cask of Amontillado

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