Stories Selected by Neil Gaiman
HarperCollins New York, NY 2013
This is technically an anthology, a collection of short stories from all kinds of different authors. What makes it interesting is that most of the stories were collected for the piece. There are a few though either written for the collection or at least published here for the first time.
The contributors are as varied as E. Nesbit (story first published in 1900 and known for her children’s fiction), Larry Niven (story first published in 1969 and known for science fiction), and Gahan Wilson (story first published in 1972 and known as a cartoonist/ illustrator). The oldest piece in the collection was originally published in 1885 by Frank Stockton, known for his fable The Lady or the Tiger. If you know the fable that gives you a sense of the tone of the collection.
This book is classified as teen fiction. That seems appropriate in the sense that the stories are neither gory nor particularly sexual in content. They do, however, all have a dark edge. Many of them would find themselves comfortable in the world of television’s Grimm.
As a reader, I found the variety in this collection delightful. Some of these stories I recognize, having read them in other places, but many were new to me. Even those I knew brought a smile to my face as I read them again. These are talented writers in a very open genre.
Neil Gaiman is a frequent traveler to the strange worlds of fantasy fiction. He brings his British sensibilities to his choices as well as his literary understanding. It is rather amazing that this hodgepodge of stories fits together so neatly, but it works. The ubiquitous introductions to each story are very short and tend to reflect the style of writing in the story to come. This genius is part of what makes Neil Gaiman the perfect editor of this collection.