This is a short story collection that encompasses many different types of science fiction and fantasy. There is a good amount of space stories to be sure, but they are all different too. I would not say that there are many traditional fantasy stories (nothing like Lord of the Rings), but there are good stories in their own rights.
I would have liked more traditional fantasy stories, as it did seem that most of them were sci-fi. There weren’t any elves, wizards, magic, or other fantastic creatures (though I did like the cats that were based on actual prehistoric cats so that could be a fantasy, but that was only one story).
Apart from that, all the stories made me think, inspired me, and were entertaining. It did take me a while to read this book, as it’s not a cohesive book. It’s 20 different stories, so I needed a break after awhile to clear my mind. Which says a lot about how interesting the stories are.
I’m not new to the idea of the Cthullu mythos, the stories have been around since the 1930’s so it’s almost impossible not to know of them. If you don’t know about the stories, maybe you’ve seen The Reanimator or heard of it. In any case, you’ve probably heard of Lovecraft or the niche he created with his writings.
This is a collection of all his writings, which I was surprised to know that all he wrote were short stories. I thought he had this epic series around the Cthullu mythologies. Even so, his works aren’t all about Cthullu, and in fact the works only give him a passing mention to explain the goings on in the stories.
My favorite horror author is Stephen King, and these aren’t the “in your face” fears that he writes about. These are more of an all encompassing, world ending, deep fear; and I liked it. Lovecraft’s writing style is first person, and as this person is telling you his story, the fear creeps up little by little. The story starts out fairly normal, then you can tell something isn’t quite right, and by the end, you’re curled up in a fetal position hoping it will all blow over.
Lovecraft is a horror genre classic, the Cthullu mythology is enduring, and it’s just plain good storytelling.
Stephen King is one of my most favorite authors and I love that he still writes short stories (and publishes them!). I’ve read another short story anthology by him and loved that one too. I can’t say that I’ve read anything from Mr. King that I didn’t like or love.
He explores several topics in this anthology, life after death, dreams, other dimensions, loss, and perilous situations. No two stories are completely alike and that gives this collection a nice flow. I’m glad the themes change from story to story.
He also includes a brief explanation of how the stories came to be, how he came to start writing short stories again, and the art of writing short stories. I love that too about Stephen King, he gives us a glimpse into the mind of a brilliant writer.
Horror stories aren’t for everyone, but if you’re a fan of the genre, you should be reading Stephen King.
I’ve bought quite a few books from the Dollar Tree in my time here on this blog, and I think the time has come to do a collective review on some of them. So, without further ado here is a video of my talking about some books from the Dollar Tree!
This book is a set of two short stories: Song of the West and Her Mother’s Keeper, collectively called With Open Arms.
I willingly admit that I liked Song of the West more than Her Mother’s Keeper. I have a couple reasons for this. One, I was raised on a farm, rode horses, and worked around cattle most of my life. I identified with the characters and the setting. The story was believable, I liked it.
Her Mother’s Keeper… well I couldn’t get into it like I did with Song of the West. One of the main characters is a writer, and as a writer, I liked him. But her…she was a terrible daughter. The main premise (spoilers!) is that the man lets her believe that he is involved with her mother, yet she has no willpower to stop kissing him even though she believes he’s with her mother. Yeah. Couldn’t wrap my head around that one.
Anyway, I liked Song of the West, wasn’t impressed with Her Mother’s Keeper. I received this book from a co-worker as a gift, otherwise I’m not sure I would have gone out and purchased it on my own.
I liked reading this short story compilation for two reasons: the story and the storytelling.
The stories themselves were interesting, with a twist of horror; believable horror. They all had a tiny bit of real life tragedy that anyone could come into contact with in our daily lives. That’s what made them good to me. It had a touch of Stephen King.
But the storytelling, Oh! the way Sarah Hall drove you into the emotions the characters were feeling, the way she told the story was brilliant. I definitely need to re-read this book and take some pointers from her on storytelling.