Quorren’s #CBR4 Review #28 Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman
Fragile Things is thirty or so short stories and poems by Gaiman. Some of them have never been published and some have won varied short stories of the year awards. The plot of the stories and poems are what you’d expect from Gaiman’s oeuvre. Which, of course, makes it one of my favorite reads so far this year.
The book opens with A Study in Emerald, which is a Sherlock Holmes story with Lovecraftian motifs. (Actually, this is the fourth or fifth time I’ve read something that suggests Queen Victoria was a demon insect thing. Is that some sort of English conspiracy theory?) The story ends with a bit of a question mark; I hope that one day he gets around to writing a follow-up.
Another favorite of mine is October in the Chair. Basically, all of the months of year sit around a campfire and share stories It’s an interesting concept. I had read Bitter Grounds in a large zombie stories compendium a few years ago, but I think the story fits much better with other Gaiman stories. The story has a… well, a Gaiman vibe to it that doesn’t fit with the slash and gore of the other zombie stories. Harlequin Valentine reminded me of the Mr. Quinn short stories that Agatha Christie wrote, only a bit more dark. The Problem of Susan explores a literary problem that always bugged me – Susan Penvensie wasn’t allowed back into Narnia like her brothers and sister since she liked “lipstick and nylons too much”.
Gaiman saved the best for last – the crowning story of the book is The Monarch of the Glen. It picks up about a year after the ending of American Gods. Shadow has been wandering across Europe for about a year when he comes to Scotland and in typical Shadow fashion, unfortunately falls in with mythology again. Hopefully Gaiman has a few more Shadow stories percolating.