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FRAGILE THINGS S HORT F ICTIONS AND W ONDERS NEIL GAIMAN For Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison, and the late Robert Sheck. Author: Gaiman Neil Selections from Fragile Things, Volume Six. Read more Fragile Things; Short Fictions and Wonders. Read more. FRAGILE THINGS. SHORT FICTIONS AND WONDERS. Written and read by Neil Gaiman. CD 1. 1. HarperAudio presents Fragile Things

Enter and be amazed! Fragile Things is a delightful compendium. They are fiercely playful and very grim, wisps of whimsy and wonder buoyed by the happy heart of a tragic poet. Well-worth adding to any collection; highly recommended. The best of these clever fantasy metafictions explore the mysteries of artistic inspiration. Gaiman relishes the sacred act of telling stories. Expect the unexpected.

A wodwo, or wodwose, was a wild man of the woods. I wrote four short stories in , and this was, I suspect, the best of the lot, although it won no awards. Conjure Stories. A year or so later, bored on a plane, I ran across my note about the story and, having finished the magazine I was reading, I simply wrote it—it was finished before the plane landed.

Then I called a handful of knowledgeable friends and read it to them, asking if it seemed familiar, if anyone had read it before. They said no. Normally I write short stories because someone has asked me to write a short story, but for once in my life I had a short story nobody was waiting for. I do a lot of writing on planes.

When I began writing American Gods I wrote a story on a plane to New York that would, I was certain, wind up somewhere in the fabric of the book, but I could never find anywhere in the book it wanted to go. A couple of years later Hill House Press, who publish extremely nice limited editions of my books, sent it out to subscribers as a Christmas card of their own. One describes a tale best by telling the tale. You see? The way one describes a story, to oneself or to the world, is by telling the story.

It is a balancing act and it is a dream. The more accurate the map, the more it resembles the territory. The most accurate map possible would be the territory, and thus would be perfectly accurate and perfectly useless.

There was an emperor of China almost two thousand years ago who became obsessed by the notion of mapping the land that he ruled. He had China recreated in miniature on an island which he had constructed at great expense and, incidentally, a certain amount of loss of life for the waters were deep and cold in a lake in the imperial estates.

Fragile Things PDF

On this island each mountain was become a molehill, and each river the smallest rivulet. It took fully half an hour for the emperor to walk around the perimeter of his island. Every morning, in the pale light before dawn, a hundred men would wade and swim out to the island and would carefully repair and reconstruct any feature of the landscape which had been damaged by the weather or by wild birds, or taken by the lake; and they would remove and remodel any of the imperial lands that had been damaged in actuality by floods or earthquakes or landslides, to better reflect the world as it was.

The emperor was contented by this, for the better part of a year, and then he noticed within himself a growing dissatisfaction with his island, and he began, in the time before he slept, to plan another map, fully one one-hundredth the size of his dominions. Every hut and house and hall, every tree and hill and beast would be reproduced at one one-hundredth of its height.

It was a grand plan, which would have taxed the imperial treasury to its limits to accomplish. It would have needed more men than the mind can encompass, men to map and men to measure, surveyors, census-takers, painters; it would have taken model-makers, potters, builders, and craftsmen. Six hundred professional dreamers would have been needed to reveal the nature of things hidden beneath the roots of trees, and in the deepest mountain caverns, and in the depths of the sea, for the map, to be worth anything, needed to contain both the visible empire and the invisible.

His minister of the right hand remonstrated with him one night, as they walked in the palace gardens, under a huge, golden moon. You must know, Imperial Majesty, said the minister of the right hand, that what you intend is….

And then, courage failing him, he paused.

A pale carp broke the surface of the water, shattering the reflection of the golden moon into a hundred dancing fragments, each a tiny moon in its own right, and then the moons coalesced into one unbroken circle of reflected light, hanging golden in water the color of the night sky, which was so rich a purple that it could never have been mistaken for black.

It is when emperors and kings are at their mildest that they are at their most dangerous. Nothing that the emperor wishes could ever conceivably be impossible, said the minister of the right hand.

It will, however, be costly. You will drain the imperial treasury to produce this map. You will empty cities and farms to make the land to place your map upon. You will leave behind you a country that your heirs will be too poor to govern. As your advisor, I would be failing in my duties if I did not advise you of this. Perhaps you are right, said the emperor. But if I were to listen to you and to forget my map world, to leave it unconsummated, it would haunt my world and my mind, and it would spoil the taste of the food on my tongue and of the wine in my mouth.

And then he paused. Far away in the gardens they could hear the sound of a nightingale. But this map land, confided the emperor, is still only the beginning. For even as it is being constructed, I shall already be pining for and planning my masterpiece. A map, said the emperor, of the Imperial Dominions, in which each house shall be represented by a life-sized house, every mountain shall be depicted by a mountain, every tree by a tree of the same size and type, every river by a river, and every man by a man.

The minister of the right hand bowed low in the moonlight, and he walked back to the Imperial Palace several respectful paces behind the emperor, deep in thought. It is recorded that the emperor died in his sleep, and that is true, as far as it goes—although it could be remarked that his death was not entirely unassisted; and his oldest son, who became emperor in his turn, had little interest in maps or mapmaking.

The island in the lake became a haven for wild birds and all kinds of waterfowl, with no man to drive them away. They pecked down the tiny mud mountains to build their nests, and the lake eroded the shore of the island, and in time it was forgotten entirely, and only the lake remained. Warren did an excellent job, but I was dissatisfied with the story, and I wondered what had made the man who called himself Smith what he was.

Al Sarrantonio asked me for a story for his anthology, and I decided it would be interesting to revisit Smith and Mr. Alice and their story. They also turn up in another tale in this collection. I think there are more stories about the unpleasant Mr. Smith to be told, particularly the one in which he and Mr. Alice come to a parting of the ways. This story began when I was shown a Frank Frazetta painting of a savage woman flanked by tigers and asked to write a story to accompany it.

Inspired by Cindy Sherman and by the songs themselves, Tori created a persona for each of the songs, and I wrote a story for each persona. Lisa Snellings-Clark is a sculptor and artist whose work I have loved for years.

There was a book called Strange Attraction, based on a Ferris wheel Lisa had made; a number of fine writers wrote stories for the passengers in the cars.

I was asked if I would write a story inspired by the ticket-seller, a grinning harlequin. He loved Columbine, and would pursue her through each entertainment, coming up against such stock figures as the doctor and the clown, transforming each person he encountered on the way.

Goldilocks and the Three Bears was a story by the poet Robert Southey. The form of the story and what happened was right, but people knew that the story needed to be about a little girl rather than an old woman, and when they retold it, they put her in.

Of course, fairy tales are transmissible. You can catch them, or be infected by them. They are the currency that we share with those who walked the world before ever we were here. Telling stories to my children that I was, in my turn, told by my parents and grandparents makes me feel part of something special and odd, part of the continuous stream of life itself. My daughter Maddy, who was two when I wrote this for her, is eleven, and we still share stories, but they are now on television or films.

We read the same books and talk about them, but I no longer read them to her, and even that was a poor replacement for telling her stories out of my head.

I believe we owe it to each other to tell stories. The doctor the hotel had called told me the reason my neck hurt so badly, that I was throwing up and in pain and confused, was flu, and he began to list painkillers and muscle relaxants he thought I might appreciate. I picked a painkiller from the list and stumbled back to my hotel room, where I passed out, unable to move or think or hold my head up straight. On the third day my own doctor from home called, alerted by my assistant, Lorraine, and talked to me.

It was some months before I could think clearly enough to write, and this was the first piece of fiction I attempted. It was like learning to walk all over again.

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I read the Narnia books to myself hundreds of times as a boy, and then aloud as an adult, twice, to my children. There is so much in the books that I love, but each time I found the disposal of Susan to be intensely problematic and deeply irritating. Although I put several poems into Smoke and Mirrors, my last collection, I had originally planned that this collection would be prose only.

I eventually decided to put the poems in anyway, mostly because I like this one so much. The book would cost you the same with or without them, and nobody pays me anything extra to put them in. I was asked for a story for an anthology themed about gargoyles, and, deadline approaching, found myself feeling rather blank. Gargoyles, it occurred to me, were placed upon churches and cathedrals to protect them.

I wondered if a gargoyle could be placed on something else to protect it. Such as, for example, a heart…. This odd little monologue was written to accompany a photograph of a sock monkey in a book of two hundred photographs of sock monkeys called, not surprisingly, Sock Monkeys, by photographer Arne Svenson. I started wondering whether there was, somewhere out there, someone who had a Weekly World News sort of a life. In Sock Monkeys it was printed as prose, but I like it better with the line breaks.

I have no doubt that, given enough alcohol and a willing ear, it could go on forever. Occasionally people write to me at my Web site to find out if I would mind if they use this, or other bits of mine, as audition pieces. I love dreams. I know enough about them to know that dream logic is not story logic, and that you can rarely bring a dream back as a tale: Still, there are things you can bring back with you from dreams: This is the only time I can remember bringing back a whole story, though.

Scenes from a Moving Picture. A few years ago editor Steve Jones asked me if I would like to resurrect an unjustly forgotten story of mine for his Keep Out the Night anthology, and I remembered this story and rolled up my sleeves and started to type. I was asked to write an entry in a book of imaginary diseases The Thackery T.

It seemed to me that an imaginary disease about making imaginary diseases might be interesting. I wrote it with the aid of a long-forgotten computer program called Babble and a dusty, leather-bound book of advice to the home physician. And on the subject of naming animals, can I just say how happy I was to discover that the word yeti, literally translated, apparently means that thing over there. They want you to write a story, said my agent, some years ago.

I wanted to write something about identity and travel and America, like a tiny companion piece to American Gods, in which everything, including any kind of resolution, hovered just out of reach. The process of writing a story fascinates me as much as the outcome. The story is not in there. So, nettled, I took an empty notebook and a pen and I went down to the gazebo at the bottom of the garden and during the course of the afternoon I wrote this story.

I got to read it aloud for the first time a few weeks later at a benefit at the legendary CBGBs.

The best of these clever fantasy metafictions explore the mysteries of artistic inspiration. Gaiman relishes the sacred act of telling stories.

Expect the unexpected. Then savor the chills. A mysterious circus terrifies an audience for one extraordinary performance before disappearing into the night. In a Hugo Award—winning story, a great detective must solve a most unsettling royal murder in a strangely altered Victorian England. These marvelous creations and more showcase the unparalleled invention and storytelling brilliance—and the terrifyingly dark and entertaining wit—of the incomparable Neil Gaiman.

By turns delightful, disturbing, and diverting, Fragile Things is a gift of literary enchantment from one of the most original writers of our time. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? Read more Read less. Discover Prime Book Box for Kids. Learn more.

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Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders

Buy the selected items together This item: Fragile Things: Ships from and sold by Amazon. Smoke and Mirrors: Trigger Warning: Customers who bought this item also bought. Page 1 of 1 Start over Page 1 of 1. Short Fictions and Illusions. Neil Gaiman. Mass Market Paperback. Short Fictions and Disturbances. Anansi Boys. The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel. M Is for Magic. Good Omens: Read more. Two teenage boys crash a party and meet the girls of their dreams—and nightmares.

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Try the Kindle edition and experience these great reading features: Literary Fiction. Is this feature helpful? Thank you for your feedback. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Read reviews that mention neil gaiman fragile things american gods study in emerald monarch of the glen october in the chair sherlock holmes problem of susan harlequin valentine keepsakes and treasures feeders and eaters talk to girls short story girls at parties forbidden brides bitter grounds facts in the case miss finch collection of short smoke and mirrors.

Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Jill-Elizabeth Jill Franclemont. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Neil Gaiman is, I think, the only author who writes short stories that I enjoy.

Generally speaking, I prefer long fiction - the characterizations, build, settings, emotions are all better to me when they're well-developed, and for most authors that requires length. Not so, Mr. I have never read anything by him that I didn't enjoy - even the ones that aren't my favorite I'm thinking the Sandman stuff, only because graphic novels aren't my cup of tea - I'm a word person, not a picture person are still incredibly detailed and interesting If you haven't picked him up before, definitely do - and if you want an introduction to him, his short stories are a great way to go.

They can be a bit dark and exceedingly creepy - but they aren't all so, and are definitely worth keeping an extra light on even if that's not your usual type of story! There are some in this anthology that I really enjoyed, others were so-so, and some I just didn't get. This anthology includes 31 short stories and a lovely introduction by Gaiman which briefly discusses the origins of each story and how they came to be, as well as an interesting story about the Mapmaker.

Below is a list of the stories included in the anthology: Gaiman is a great voice actor and he really drew me into his stories. Lestrade seems omniscient at times and I enjoyed hearing him tell of how he came to his conclusions. It baffles me how Gaiman comes up with some of the ideas for his stories. Who else would have thought to have the months sitting around talking and sharing stories?

Fragile Things

An excerpt from the story: Mine are always too dark. He stumbles upon a new life to lead, taking the place of a fellow that seems to have disappeared. He winds up in New Orleans where he meets some strange people.

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