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For me, his best work finds the world anew, in a place right where you left it and not quite the same. None of this equals his masterpieces but they can't be expected to. In a world too wide for us to ever completely perceive in all its wonder and darkness, these are merely fields to linger in, perhaps frolic or even lie on the ground and stare at the sky and listen to the wind and maybe just for a moment feel the motion of the earth and for even a fraction of a moment the minuscule effect of your meager weight on that spin, the hesitation of the friction of the skip.
And maybe its nothing and maybe its fleeting but its just enough to prove that you exist, that life isn't just inertia set forth by hands too old to fathom. In forms and ways both visible and immeasurable we all affect each other, from the center outward and in all the other directions we can't see. Feb 26, Bonnie Stufflebeam rated it really liked it. The only trend I noticed was that the stories at the end of the collection seemed to deal more with abstractions. In his earlier short stories, there seems to be little in the way of abstract concepts.
The story, which begins with the origin story for the time machine itself, soon moves to bigger and more complicated matters, such as a secret society of time travelers who work to maintain the British Empire and the values that their benefactor, Cecil Rhodes, held dear and a man, our protagonist, chosen to complete a task he has, in a time travel world, already completed. Complications, of course, arise. Both are intriguing in both the present of the story and the story being told. Dec 01, A. Jansen rated it really liked it.
Solid collection. The writing, though occasionally concept-heavy and overly abstract the boring "In Blue" being the worst offender , is generally of very high quality, and the themes are diverse and thoughtfully explored. I hate to make an arbitrary comparison to The Best of Gene Wolfe , but since they're both collections of SF short stories and I read them concurrently, yep, it's gonna happen.
This one maybe doesn't quite reach the heights of Gene Wolfe's very best stories, but overall it's muc Solid collection. This one maybe doesn't quite reach the heights of Gene Wolfe's very best stories, but overall it's much stronger; sentence for sentence, Crowley is clearly the superior writer. I suspect the reason he isn't more widely read is that, more so than Wolfe, he truly straddles the border between literary and genre fiction, and for the average SF reader this makes him "too literary.
When he writes about time travel, the time travelers spend most of their time talking about orthogonal logic and Cecil Rhodes. When he writes about aliens. Not terribly pulpy stuff. Anyway, John Crowley is a unique and under-appreciated writer and this book is a good indicator of his talent. Nov 02, Nancy rated it liked it Shelves: enoyed , learning-tool.
Some of the stories I really enjoyed, some left me baffled, and some were yawners. But hey, he writes, I talk about writing. He has original ideas and clever comments. Let's leave it at that while I suggest you read and decide for yourself. Sep 20, Nickie rated it really liked it. The War Between the Objects and the Subjects. Jan 23, R. Ware rated it it was amazing. I would have given it "only" four stars, but it contains his excellent time-travel novella, "Great Work of Time".
Oct 10, Yve rated it really liked it Shelves: s , s , s , 20th-century , 21st-century , s , short-stories , sff. I love John Crowley's lengthy novel Little, Big , yet this short fiction collection felt like a bit much. The number of stories included is not in itself intimidating, but many of them are novella length and quite dense besides - it took me two days to read "Great Work of Time" and "In Blue. It usually works for him, but in stories like "In Blue" I could only take so many consecutive pages of head-spinning invented math and physics before I had to put the book down.
I think it might have been for the good of the world if Crowley met up with Roger Zelazny , formed a Lewis Carroll fan club, and did a bit of mutual venting before committing every one of their rambling wacky schemes and inside jokes to paper. I like how "Antiquities" is the weirdest most involved Alice in Wonderland reference I've ever read. I like how "The Nightingale Sings at Night" is a Garden-of-Eden-expulsion rewrite that still somehow manages to be clever and engaging.
I really liked all "Great Work of Time" despite the fact that its length and its placement in a collection rather than as a standalone felt inappropriate. I loved "Her Bounty to the Dead," meticulous and hypnotic. And I also liked "Snow" and "Gone," which are both pretty atypical science fiction.
With this book and Little, Big , I've enjoyed Crowley's writing so much that just wanted to read it all in one swoop, to absorb it whole without stopping. But, to the contrary, his work takes a lot of time to think about and trying to just run through it is pointless. For this reason, it would be really hard to make this work as a short fiction collection, no matter how the stories are ordered I can only imagine it would still feel like it needed to be broken into smaller parts to process individually.
It was a bit deceptive to see this as one volume I could pick up in the library because I felt like I should read them all at once. Still, I can't complain that they're now easily available and collected, and I very well might check it out again if only to re-read "Great Work of Time. Jan 29, Jacob rated it liked it Shelves: short-fiction , And there is a wide variety of subjects here: creation myths, faerie tales, sci-fi, time travel, stories within stories.
A bit dull and inaccessible at times. Makes me more eager to try out his novels.
View all 4 comments. Jun 23, James Cook rated it it was amazing.weygouk.com/cache/2019-07-10/4107.php
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I DID plow thru these shorter works however and was duly impressed, especially with "The Great Work of Time", a novella in which Crowley creates a narrative that is both 'postmodern' in its way I hate that word unless it refers to Charles Olson's concept of postmodern, which involves a reaching back to archaic cultures or experimental, as well as being written in that great tradition of English storytellers like Kipling, Stevenson, Chesterton, and others. I sensed, also, a hint of Borgesian playfulness. The other stories ranged from excellent to astounding.
I especially loved "Missolonghi " in which a descendant of the god Pan is captured by provincial townsfolk and is released by the narrator. Dec 06, Sarah rated it it was ok Shelves: short-stories. This is a beautifully written collection, but it did little for me.
Novelties and Souvenirs: Collected Short Fiction
The first four stories held my attention, and "The Nightengale Sings At Night" was poignant and elegant. Crowley's writing style has a nineteenth century reserve about it, which works well in the context of most of the stories, but leaves me uninvolved in what I'm reading. Other than the handful of stories I enjoyed, I found most of the characters unlikeable or uninteresting, and as such, ended up skimming stories that really on This is a beautifully written collection, but it did little for me.
Other than the handful of stories I enjoyed, I found most of the characters unlikeable or uninteresting, and as such, ended up skimming stories that really only stood up to a close read.
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Oh, and how many times can the word "stochastic" really be used in one book? I'll loan it to any of my friends who want to read it. I think others might enjoy it more than I did. Oct 19, elka is currently reading it. Usually I can flutter through a book of short stories, but Crowley's prose is somewhat inaccessible or unreliable, meaning I will get drawn into the tone of one story and the next will leave me dry.
There are some great shorts, though. I especially liked "Antiguities" and "Great Work of Time".
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I have this book stashed in my cupboard downstairs, in case I ever need a book to read while I'm in the kitchen and have forgotten the book s I'm currently lugging around actively from room to room. Crowl Usually I can flutter through a book of short stories, but Crowley's prose is somewhat inaccessible or unreliable, meaning I will get drawn into the tone of one story and the next will leave me dry. Crowley, you've got imagination, and I won't give up on my varied experience of your tone. Or your pace. Dec 20, Shaun rated it it was amazing.
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This book is on the short list of books I've liked enough to read twice in the span of the years. A collection of short stories that tells a tale of a British organization using time travel to preserve the British Empire. The historical edits made to preserve the British Empire turn out to be at the expense of the integrity of time and space.
Given the handling of time travel in these stories, it wouldn't surprise me if the writer of Twelve Monkeys was familiar with the stories collected here. I This book is on the short list of books I've liked enough to read twice in the span of the years. It's an extremely complicated and rewarding text. Jul 23, Jamie R rated it it was ok Shelves: , books-i-ve-abandoned. I tried for three years to read this book.
I kept picking it up and forcing myself to read some of it, until finally letting myself abandon it. I'm not really sure where he went wrong with this collection - some of the ideas in the stories are brilliant, and will stay with me forever, but it was just painful and boring to read. I like this author and I enjoyed many of the stories, although I found some of the extremely complicated time-travel ideas a little tiresome.
And there was one story toward the end that I just couldn't finish, it bored me so. But I would still check out his other books, especially "Little, Big. Feb 04, Scott Golden rated it it was amazing. There is a variance in quality between some of the stories here -- some of them are quite plain, or 'basic'; however, all of his best short fiction is here as well, and his best is something quite special indeed.
Highly recommended. Mar 02, Keith Edwards rated it liked it. A rather uneven collection of short stories, the bulk are there for filler to what is the main course, "The Great Work of Time" a novella so full of vigor and ideas it outclasses many novels on the same subject, namely, the delicate nature of time in relation to human memory and intentions. I wish his publishers would reissue this one story in a delux hardback all by itself.
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Sep 07, Justin Covey rated it really liked it. John Crowley is a master. While the first set of stories in this collection display more style than substance, though that style is of such a high caliber it's by no means a criticism, the latter are truly remarkable. A Great Work of Time is easily one of the greatest time travel stories I've yet come across and In Blue, a fiercely enigmatic tale of heartache and dystopia, is a wonder.
Jul 04, Amanda rated it did not like it.