Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Panic Hand by Jonathan Carroll, Short Stories

The Panic Hand by Jonathan Carroll is a collection of his short stories. All are set in a kind of magically realistic universe infused with an odd mysticism. Some of the stories in the collection I liked are Mr. Fiddlehead about an imaginary friend that grows up with its creator and changes her life. Another story is about a man who adopts an exceptional dog who causes some bizarre changes in the persons life, Friend's Best Man. The Jane Fonda Room is about a trip to hell where the person gets to watch all of Jane Fonda's movies for eternity. A Wheel In The Desert, The Moon On Some Swings is about a man trying to capture his last important images through photography as he goes blind. The writing in these short stories deals with issues like death, sorrow, mysticism, and the every day moments that seem to stretch into forever. There is a real sense of magic and wonder in the writing. Even with the magic and wonder it touches on ordinary every day life things and the present. This makes for some exceptional fantasy writing. His writing is both different than most other writers and touches close to the heart.

I don't often read short stories. Most of the time when I read short stories, it is to find new writers which I hven't read. I will pick up a recent anthology of science fiction or fantasy writers and look for short stories by people I haven't read before. After I read a few of the stories, I will look in the back of the anthology to read the brief biography of the writer that is usually included. If both the short story and the biography are interesting, I will often go look for books by the author so I can read them.

Anthologies also help when I have to find out about a style of literature which I have never read before like Brazilian Literature, or Scandinavian literature. These often give me a jumping off point to find other authors. Also because the stories are short, I can skip over the ones I don't like and be selective about which ones I am going to read.

Short stories are a very good point for looking for new authors. The general publishing pattern for many writers is to write several short stories to establish an audience before they attempt to write novels. Many publishing houses will not as readily accept manuscripts from novelists who have not written short stories first.


After looking through Bloggers, Blogs of Note; I found three major science fiction and fantasy authors, David Brin, Robert J. Sawyer, and Neil Gaiman who used blogger as their blog platform. It is one of the little things which happens when you look through lists obsessively.


I found another directory of blog literature sites this time with over 700 blogs listed. I am applying for membership to this list. It is really, really big.



I also pinged my site today using http://www.pingoat.com/ to announce that I had updated my site. This is supposed to increase traffic to this site by letting search engines and directories know that you are keeping your site up to to date.


Stella said...

Hi! When you commented on my blog last week, I made a mental note to visit your blog. I'm glad I did! It's very well done.

I am of course jealous that you get to read for a living.


Book Calendar said...

That is a lot of it. Thanks.