CBR14Bingo: Bodies (dead bodies, aliens inhabiting human bodies, people going from cyberspace into a body for the first time, etc.)
I was obsessed with Neil Gaiman’s work from high school through college and then burned out and haven’t read anything by him in probably 10 years, so when I saw this in the bookstore I initially didn’t think I was going to get it. But when I picked it up and started reading the first story, I remembered that I liked that one, and it had been long enough that I didn’t remember most of the other stories, so I bought it and breezed through the collection this week. Gaiman has such a specific voice that it makes sense that I needed to take a long break, but he is a good writer and this is a fun group of stories.
The highlights for me are the first story, “A Study in Emerald,” which is a Cthulhu Sherlock Holmes mash-up, and “Closing Time,” “Other People,” and “Feeders and Eaters,” all effective horror stories. The rest are a mixed bag. As an adult, I can see all his tics much more clearly and he’s not as earth-shattering a writer any more. I think the best stories here are the shortest ones or the ones with an edge to them. Also, his poetry is just not for me — the only poem I liked here was “The Day the Saucers Came,” which is a sweet poem that has a lot of fun imagery about the end of the world. It’s definitely a readable collection and a good introduction to his work, but it didn’t inspire me to go re-read more of his work again. It felt like a nice short visit with an old friend you’ve outgrown a little. (Aside from Stardust, which I think I would love just as much if I read it now.)