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Stories 95 - 111

The rest of Neil Gaiman's Fragile Things: small fictions and wonders:

95. Harlequin Valentine.  I think this is one of Neil's stories that works better in other forms than the one in which it originally appeared.  The story works, but the graphic novel adaptation works better, and the reading Neil gives the story on the audio cd of this book works the best.  Plays on the conventions of the commedia dell'arte.

96. Locks.  Goldilocks, in poem form, with frequent interruptions of a cute child nature by the narrator's daughter.

97. The Problem of Susan.  Two women, a professor and a reporter, discuss the fate of Susan Pevensie at the end of The Chronicles of Narnia ... but are they just discussing a fictional cautionary tale for children?  It's an interesting story, one I can't say is either amongst my favorites or least favorites.

98. Instructions.  One of the Gaiman poems I actively dig out and reread from time to time, no matter which of his many anthologies it ends up in.  How to survive a fairy tale ...

99. How Do You Think It Feels?  We do interesting things for love, and sometimes we finally get what we think we were denied years before and it opens up feelings locked away.

100. My Life.  Another story-poem.  How much of the narrator's life is real, how much is he making up to keep the free drinks flowing?

101. Fifteen Painted Cards from a Vampire Tarot.  Like "Strange Girls," shorter vignettes around a common theme. Some of them work for me, some not so much.

102. Feeders and Eaters.  I like this one -- a chance meeting of two old friends, and again a chance for one of them to tell a strange story.  Gaiman really does excel at that "story within a story" type of short story.

103. Diseasemaker's Croup.  A disease for the people who make up imaginary diseases.

104. In the End. Will the End of the World mirror the Beginning?

105. Goliath. This is the story Neil wrote to tie into The Matrix.  A good solid story about discovering your life isn't what you think it is, even if you've never seen The Matrix or its sequels.

106. Pages from a Journal Found in a Shoebox ...  I don't feel like writing out the whole title.  Possibly my least favorite Gaiman piece ever.  This story just doesn't work for me.  I don't mind stories where it is left up to the reader to determine what's real and what's not (hey, I actually liked The Blair Witch Project, after all), but this one just doesn't work for me.

107. How to Talk to Girls at Parties.  An attempt to find a party they've been invited to leads two teenage boys (one a ladies' man, one decidely not so) into a strange place.  Most of the girls I tried talking to in high school sounded like aliens, too.

108. The Day The Saucers Came.  Think of every single way the earth could end.  Put them all together, and you get this fun poem.

109. Sunbird.  Another of my favorite Gaiman short stories, about the Epicurean Society's quest to find the last possible thing on earth they have not tried eating: the sunbird of suntown.

110. Inventing Aladdin.  A nice look at what it must have been like to be Scheherezade, trying to come up with story twists and hooks to stay alive one more day.

111. The Monarch of the Glen.  A novella that takes place several years after the end of Gaiman's novel American Gods.  I actually like this piece far more than I did the original novel.

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