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Reviews of Smoke and Mirrors: Short Fictions and Illusions (1998)

Review by Kidkarysma (2007-05-08)
This is a not a great book, but it is worth reading. I found it very entertaining at times and, at worse, tolerable. It has a couple of stories that are excellent. The last story about angels is excellent, the rest is just okay. Mostly it really should've been better, but it's okay and I'd recommend it.

Review by clong (2007-01-14)
I seem to be in the minority on this collection. I had high hopes for this Smoke and Mirrors, but left it fairly disappointed. Donít get me wrong . . . Gaiman clearly has a fecund imagination, and a powerful grasp of the use of imagery, and at his best seamlessly blends dark fantasy with the very funny. But I found little of this as compelling as American Gods (which I rather liked), for example.

There were several strong stories in the collection, including a couple that I rated as 8s (Shoggoth's Old Peculiar, which I found quite funny, and Snow, Glass, Apples, after the reading of which I will never quite think of a famous fairy tale the same again), and several that I rated 7s (Murder Mysteries would have been an 8, were it not marred by the inclusion of a completely gratuitous and overly graphic little sex scene).

But others of the stories left me very flat. I could easily have done without Don't Ask Jack, Changes, Looking for the Girl, The Sweeper of Dreams, Foreign Parts, and Tastings. And I would characterize the poetry as strong on imagery, but fairly pedestrian on word-smithing.

Review by mojosmom (2006-02-13)
Excellent book, and quite a variety of styles and genres. Gaiman seems to have decided to try everything! He does best when he takes a seemingly everyday situation and throws a bit of humor and fantasy into it. His attempts at poetry are the least successful.

Here's an oddity: when I read Good Omens, I said, "Did anyone else read the prologue's conversation between Aziraphale and Crawly and hear the voices of Peter Cook & Dudley Moore? " I'm guessing now that Gaiman wrote that part because in describing one of the stories in this book (Shoggoth's Old Peculiar), he says, "I no longer remember quite why John and I began talking about Cthulhu in the voices of Peter Cook and Dudley Moore . . ."

Be sure to read the introduction, because one of the best of the stories is there.

Review by Raukodraug (2003-03-10)
A wonderful book of short stories and poetry. The 100 word poem "Nicholas was..." is one of my favorite poems, and "Babycakes" is one of the most wonderfully disturbing poems I've ever read.




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