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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-09-13 08:41
Inside the “Outsiders” — An Anthology with stories by Neil Gaiman, Tanith Lee, Joe Landsale, & Poppy Brite
Outsiders: 22 All-New Stories From the Edge - Brian Hodge,Neil Gaiman,Tanith Lee,Bentley Little,Lea Silhol,Michael Marano,Jack Ketchum,Freda Warrington,Elizabeth Massie,Brett Alexander Savory,Melanie Tem,Yvonne Navarro,Steve Rasnic Tem,David J. Schow,Katherine Ramsland,Elizabeth Engstrom,Thomas S. Ro

 

 

Below, I mention how I liked each story and include a favorite quote:

 

The Empty Chambers by Neil Gaiman

A poem. Very creepy but I’d rather have read a Gaiman story.

 

The Company You Keep by Steve Resnic Tem

Walking among us are the members of a secret company. I don’t know what I took away from this story if anything.

 

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Scarabesque: The Girl Who Broke Dracula by Tanith Lee

This was actually an excerpt from one of Tanith Lee’s novels. It was also the first time I read anything by her. I liked the imagery that her words created. For instance:

 

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Under the Needle by Lea Silhol

You’d appreciate this story more if you focused on how it was written rather than the plot. I did and I ended up liking it!

 

Expanding Your Capabilities Using Frame/Shift(TM) Mode by David J. Schow

A literally visceral story about a man who discovers his remote can do much more than change channels!

 

Cat and the Cold Prince by Freda Warrington

A story that brings to mind dictatorships and restrictive regimes, such as the Prohibition in the Cromwell era. Oh, and a girl falls in love with a tiger!

 

Faces in Revolving Souls by Caitlin R. Kiernan

This one was about a splinter group of people who left their human status behind by choice fighting for their rights.

 

Lighten Up by Jack Ketchum

Smoking is banned. Smokers decided to retaliate.

 

Pit Boy by Elizabeth Massie

The beginning of the story is set up to deceive the reader. The end is one of the saddest endings I have ever read!

 

The Country of the Blind by Melanie Tem

A blind girl will accept you into her family but she needs a sacrifice first.

 

Ruby Tuesday by Kathe Koja

A hidden cult in the midst of the society and a boy with a dying mother looking for a place to fit in.

 

Running Beneath the Skin by Brett Alexander Savory

Can you even said to be alive, if your insides have been replaced with metal? No, this isn’t about Wolverine!

 

Grim Peeper by Katherine Ramsland

There’s necrophilia and there are grim peepers. Read this story, if you love being grossed out.

 

Craving by Yvonne Navarro

This story is based on a certain type of “outsiders” who like to watch accidents.

 

Violent Angel by Thomas S. Roche

A planned hit where the hitman isn’t on the complete plan.

 

…And the Damage Done by Michael Marano

Beautiful imagery is one of the characteristics of this story. The other is heartbreak!

 

Pop Star in the Ugly Bar by Bentley Little

Simply gross but a fitting addition to this collection. A wannabe pop star ends up in a gore-hardcore bar. She doesn’t make it out.

 

Miss Singularity by John Shirley

A teenager’s depression comes out to play!

 

The Working Slob’s Prayer by Poppy Z. Brite

The going ons in a restaurant with some very interesting characters thrown in!

 

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If I Should Wake Before I Die by Brian Hodge

Expectant mothers miscarry all around the world. No one knows why until we reach the end of the story…*shudder*

 

Honing Sebastian by Elizabeth Engstrom

A sad story about the dreams of those below being crushed by the powers that be. This line from the story says it all:

 

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Another favorite quote:

 

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The Shadows, Kith and Kin by Joe R. Landsale

A broken man tired of being put down by the whole world makes friends…with shadows…who talk to him…

 

My Favourites

Lighten Up by Jack Ketchum

Pit Boy by Elizabeth Massie

Miss Singularity by John Shirley

The Working Slob’s Prayer by Poppy Z. Brite

 

Have you read this anthology? Which ones are your favorites?

 

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Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on September 13, 2017.

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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 2017-04-08 21:41
Cute book but I'll stick with the social media sites.
The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Ave... The Mommy Shorts Guide to Remarkably Average Parenting - Ilana Wiles

I needed a happy/silly book to read after this week. I'm a follower of Wiles, who runs the blog 'Mommy Shorts' and the @averageparentproblems Instagram account. It was great to hear she got a book deal and I was curious to see what it was about.

 

It's a coffee table hardcover of anecdotes, social media posts, pictures, etc. of children (mostly, with some parents) in various parenting, everyday situations. From the kid who doesn't want tomato in their sauce to the dread/horror of discovering a "poop" turd in the corner (it was actually part of a toy). There are tips and stories, pictures and social media posts as part of the book.

 

That's just about it. It wasn't something that really made me laugh/smile and so I guess it just wasn't what I was looking for. But if you're a parent, a fan of the internet presence or just like these types of books (or some combination of all three) then it's not a bad pick up to read. I personally wouldn't buy it and was glad I got it at the library.

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