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Two more stories

Passengers is a twelve page short story by science fiction writer, Robert Silverberg. It was written in 1968 so I'm, tragically, old enough to have read it back then and may well have done, but this time around it's in an anthology edited by Isaac Asimov called Monsters, published in 1989. I picked it up in a UK charity shop for 80p. I love these little finds.

This story begins when a man wakes up one morning realising several things. Firstly, he has lost three days and this means he has been 'ridden' by a Passenger. He also thinks he spent the three days in bed with a woman. The crux of the matter is that he should not remember this. Later in the day he sees the woman, she does not remember him and, against the rules, he tells her what happened. In some respects this is an unsatisfying little story as nothing is resolved. But that didn't worry me. I liked the hint of some awful horror, the feeling of hopelessness, and the neat little twist at the end. Gripping, and very nicely written.


I've now read four stories from Dreams Underfoot by Charles De Lint. I liked them all but Timeskip stands out for me as it's a rather a nice little ghost story.

The story is narrated by Geordie, brother of Christy Riddell, the writer. He wants to go out with 'Sam' who works in a record shop and, encouraged by Jilly Coppercorn, he asks her out. Sam sees a ghost every time it rains and tells Geordie all about it. Knowing Jilly would be interested he introduces Jilly to Sam. Jilly explains that the ghost could be any one of a number of things such as a restless spirit with unfinished business, or a 'timeskip'. This is similar to when a broken record keeps playing the same thing over and over, until somebody interferes...

These stories suck you right in. It's De Lint's writing I think, you feel like you know the characters intimately. And what ought to be confusing, the premise that you're not sure what's real and what isn't, is not at all confusing. In his introduction Terri Windling says this book is 'not a simple gathering of short stories' but 'a tapestry of interconnected dramas, interconnected lives'. And that's a brilliant description of the book. I have a feeling that it'll be one of my best reads of the year and I'm certainly going to seek out more books in the 'Newford' series.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 23rd, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
Those both sound really good! I added "Dreams Underfoot" and the "Monsters" anthology to my list of stuff to keep an eye out for.
Jan. 24th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC)
I seem to have been lucky so far in that the half dozen short stories I've read since the group started have been good. I hope you're lucky and come across them somewhere.
Jan. 24th, 2008 04:22 am (UTC)
One of the first science fiction novels I ever read was Silverberg's "To Open The Sky," and I've reread it probably 8 or 9 times since then (and I think I'm due for a reread soon). I'm intrigued by this story and should try to track it down.

And I purchased "Dreams Underfoot" today and will probably start making my way through it sometime soon. One of my goals with this community is to read what other people recommend, so I picked it up today along with Best American Non-Required Reading 2002 since Jwright recommended a story from there.
Jan. 24th, 2008 09:10 am (UTC)
I've made a note of 'To Open the Sky'. I honestly can't say whether I've read it or not. I read a lot of what we *now* call classic sci fi back in the 60s and 70s and can't remember what half of it was. I'm very interested in broadening my reading horizons this year so I will search that one out sometime.

I hope you like Dreams Underfoot. I get a bit nervous because there's always the possiblilty that someone won't like a book I recommend and might have wasted their money. On the other hand I think it would be a shame to keep good books to yourself, so the risk needs to be taken.

Thank you for starting this community. It's a lot of fun and proving to be very interesting!
Jan. 24th, 2008 10:18 pm (UTC)
I'm enjoying this community very much -- small but inspiring!

I know that To Open The Sky is out of print, but I found several copies last year at Powell's Books in Portland OR, and I know they have a website that you can order through.

I agree about that squeamishness that comes with recommending a book -- every time I tell someone about how much I love "...Sky" I get that queasy feeling that they won't like it. But recommend I must!
Jan. 25th, 2008 08:23 am (UTC)
I found a copy of To Open the Sky on eBayUK so am waiting to see if I can win that. Nine days and counting...

I saw your mention of The Stolen Child on bookshare (I think). I keep hearing about this one and wondering whether to get it. I take it you liked it a lot?
Jan. 26th, 2008 04:33 am (UTC)
The Stolen Child was definitely one of my favorite books from 2007, and it was a book that I tripped across after wandering whatever bookstore I was in at the time (I don't even remember which city I was in, but it was on one of my travels) -- sometimes the best books you read are the ones you find accidentally.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )


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