And I'm back with the week 7 group read of Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. So close to the end and I'm going to miss the fun (and frustrating) journey! But no worries. I have something else planned for November. This week’s stories were not as frustrating as some earlier stories. Though I only found two I really enjoyed and two that didn't make much of an impression. But I didn't hate them so it's all good.
Remember, there will be spoilers!
This week’s stories are:
In The End
Pages from a Journal Found in a Shoebox Left in a Greyhound Bus Somewhere Between Tulsa, Oklahoma and Louisville, Kentucky
How to Talk to Girls at Parties
In The End: In the Introduction, Neil said he was trying to imagine the last book of the Bible. It definitely read as a more pleasing way to end the Bible considering the way things began and "will" end. It was well written but I’m kinda over religious stuff at this point of my life. Maybe in a few years I’ll find Jesus again. Anyways, moving on...
Goliath: Neil was given the script for the Matrix and wrote Goliath for the website. It is a very cool, very trippy read. There are a lot of déjà vu moments as a man relives his life several times running through different versions that run in fast forward. This was a very visual read. The confusion of the loops felt very real and are so well written! Now, I hope I don’t get into too much trouble for writing this out, but I just have to share this moment:
The tube stopped in the tunnel.
That was what I thought happened, anyways: I thought the tube had stopped. Everything went very quiet.
And then we went through Euston, and half the passengers got off.
And then we went through Euston, and half the passengers got off. And I was looking at the other passengers and wondering who they really were inside when the train stopped in the tunnel, and everything went very quiet.
And then everything lurched so hard I thought we’d been hit by another train.
And then we went through Euston, and half the passengers got off, and then the train stopped in the tunnel, and then everything went –
(Normal service will be resumed as possible, whispered a voice in the back of my head.)
And this time as the train slowed and began to approach Euston I wondered if I was going crazy: I felt like I was jerking back and forth on a video loop. I knew it was happening, but there was nothing I could do to change anything, nothing I could do to break out of it.
(Fragile Things, pg. 238)
See?! So good! I just loved reading that part!
It definitely had the feel of the beginning of The Matrix. The pale, almost colorless world that seems to be passing you by and you just go through the motions. Then the character finds that all is not as it seems as he is yanked back and forth between one reality and another. I'm not going to get into too many details because this one needs to be read and enjoyed.
Pages From a Journal…: A woman is on a road trip looking for Scarlet. In actuality she’s looking for herself which is what I was able to determine through some of the nonsensical ramblings. But isn’t that what usually happens on a road trip? Self discovery?
How to Talk to Girls at Parties: Two teenage boys stumble upon the wrong party. And when they find out the girl who had invited them to a party in the first place wasn't even there, does that stop them from inviting themselves in? Nooooooo.... Neil wrote in the Introduction that this is an account of a tourist holiday on Earth. The girls (or, aliens) at the party are the tourists. The two boys don’t seem to mind (or notice at first) as long as the girls are pretty. The girls can say whatever they want and these two boys will be “impressed” (translation: they do not really care as long as they can put their arm around one of the pretty girls or steal a kiss). Isn’t this how most men, oops, sorry, boys are anyways? Nothing shocking. It’s funny near the end how one of the boys finds out that things are not as it should be with these girls and they leave in a hurry. Ha! That’s what they get for not paying attention!
So, Goliath and How to Talk to Girls at Parties were the winners with me this week. It’s funny, these two stories this week were more in the realm of sci fi and I see Neil as a fantasy writer, or am I wrong to think that? Anyways, at least with this collection of short stories they have been on the fantasy spectrum so it was very interesting to see this side to Neil Gaiman’s writing.
Next (and last) week’s stories will be:
The Day the Saucers Came
The Monarch of the Glen
Happy Fragile Things Reading!