Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Miniature Wife

I was lucky enough to get a copy of The Miniature Wife and Other Stories by Manuel Gonzalez from LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program. With my love of bizarro fiction, I figured that a collection of more mainstream weird fiction would be right up my alley. I was right. It does have less gore and sex than a typical bizarro story collection, but I think bizarro fans might enjoy it, too.

This is a good bunch of stories, with some weird twists. The titular story, for instance, is about a man who works in miniaturization whose wife gets mysteriously miniaturized and starts a war against her husband. There are also stories about a hijacking that lasts for decades, a man who talks through his ears, and life in what seems to be a video game. Some of the stories also involve more traditional fantasy and horror creatures like zombies, werewolves, and unicorns.

There are a few minor things I didn't like about the stories. Too many of the stories take the form of mini-biographies or memoirs instead of the more usual types of fictional narrative, although since they are interesting biographies/memoirs, this isn't much of a complaint. However, some of them, most notably, "The Artist's Voice"--that's the one about the man who talks through his ears--do drag a little bit. Even so, this is a really nice bunch of stories

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Stardust: The Gift Edition

I first read Stardust years ago in a cheap, paperback edition, and it is a great story. A few months ago, I was offered the opportunity to get a review copy of Stardust: The Gift Edition, which is a brand new hardcover edition of Neil Gaiman's classic tale. Naturally, I jumped on the opportunity as you can probably tell since I'm reviewing it.

For those who aren't familiar with the story, Stardust is a fairy tale for adults. The story starts off with the tale of Dunstan Thorn and how he fell in love with an imprisoned fairy princess and had a child named Tristran with her. Many years later, this child, now a young man, heads off into Fairy to find a fallen star after making a foolish promise to a young woman. While there, he has a bunch of adventures that would take far too long to explain in detail. It's a cool story that's well worth reading.

You may wonder what it is about the Gift Edition that's so special. Well, like I already said, it a hardcover. In fact, it's a very nice looking hardcover. The cover looks a lot like the sort of covers they had back before the invention of dust jackets. It's just the image of a falling star with the title and the author's name that has been (I assume) stamped on with some sort of goldish-looking foil. It's very classy, and if you want a nice looking copy to sit on your shelf, this is the one for you.

Besides that, it has some cool extras. There's a new introduction by Gaiman. There's an excerpt of an unfinished novel that Stardust was originally going to be a sort of prequel to. There are also some new illustrations by Charles Vess. All of this makes it a great book to by if you love Stardust, don't have the original heavily-illustrated DC comics version, and want an illustrated copy (or want to read the extras).