Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Sci-Fi/Fantasy: Shadow Show ed. by Sam Weller and Mort Castle
Publisher: William Morrow
Date: July 10, 2012
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers
Read: for review (disclaimer: I received my copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)
Reading time: three weeks
From GoodReads: You might see rockets to Mars. Or bizarre circuses where otherworldly acts whirl in the center ring. Perhaps you travel to a dystopian future, where books are set ablaze . . . or to an out-of-the-way sideshow, where animated illustrations crawl across human skin. Or maybe, suddenly, you're returned to a simpler time in small-town America, where summer perfumes the air and life is almost perfect . . . "almost."
Ray Bradbury--peerless storyteller, poet of the impossible, and one of America's most beloved authors--is a literary giant whose remarkable career has spanned seven decades. Now twenty-six of today's most diverse and celebrated authors offer new short works in honor of the master; stories of heart, intelligence, and dark wonder from a remarkable range of creative artists.
My review: It's been a while since I read a book by Ray Bradbury, which, as this anthology reminded me, is really unfortunate. The stories included here truly capture the essence of Bradbury's unique storytelling - the sense of wonder, the correlation between everyday life and the extraordinary, the transportation of the reader to other worlds. It is, ironically, also a very timely anthology, as its publication date falls only a little over a month after Bradbury's death.
As with most (or all?) anthologies, some stories stick out to you and some don't. A lot of the beginning selections did not stick with me, and I often felt like the endings didn't offer much closure. The more I read, though, the more the stories became memorable. I loved "Young Pilgrims" by Joe Meno, which for me felt as much a Nathaniel Hawthorne-inspired tale as it did Ray Bradbury. It had a similar theme taken from New England, Puritanical history. "Conjure" by Alice Hoffman was perhaps my favorite - I loved the unexpected, kick-butt heroine ending. "Earth (A Gift Shop)" by Charles Yu was probably the funniest, while "Who Knocks?" by Dave Eggers wins for both one of the shortest stories and one of the most terrifying. "Two Houses" by Kelly Link also had a fantastic ghost story embedded in it. "Reservation 2020" by Bayo Ojikutu had the most interesting futuristic scenario, and Harlan Ellison's notes about Ray Bradbury provided an excellent and moving conclusion to the collection.