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Tales of the Hidden World Paperback – 8 Jul 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media Science & Fantasy (8 July 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1480491160
  • ISBN-13: 978-1480491168
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 360,766 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Lesley on 3 July 2014
Format: Paperback
If you are already a fan of Simon Green you will find a lot to enjoy in this collection of 17 short stories spanning his writing career. If you are exploring short stories as a way of deciding if you want to read more of his works, this collection will definitely give you a wide range of examples of his writing skill. These stories go all the way from Green's first story sold and on to a new story bringing in characters from a current popular series featuring Jack Drood. I've listed the title and year of copyright for each story.

1. Question of Solace - 2014
2. Street Wizard - 2010
3. Death is a Lady - 1997
4. Dorothy Dreams -2013
5. Down and Out in Deadtown - 2012
6. From Out of the Sun, Endlessly Singing - 2012
7. It's All About the Rendering - 2011
8. Find Heaven and Hell in the Smallest Things - 2012
9. Jesus and Satan Go Jogging in the Desert - 2011
10. Food of the Gods - 2009
11. He Said, Laughing - 2010
12. Soldier, Soldier - 1979
13. Manslayer - 1980
14. Cascade - 1979
15. Soulhunter - 1982
16. Awake, Awake Ye Northern Winds - 1979
17. In the Labyrinth - 1983

One of my favorite parts of this collection was reading the personal notes from Green at the end of each story. He usually explained either what had caused him to come up with the idea or what he was doing that influenced the creating of that story. After I began to realize that feature was at the end of each story I started to read the explanation first. It didn't spoil any of the stories for me and actually enhanced them in many cases.
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Format: Paperback
The bottom line is that this is a fine read, but there are lots of different opinions about why that is so. Some suggest that this is a good introduction to Simon Green for those unfamiliar with his body of work. Others felt the book was an interesting summing up his work to date. Some like the fact that this is a wide ranging sampler; but some sought a unifying theme or preferred the author's longer stand alone works.

For Green fans, there is a bit of the Nightside, a lengthy taste of the Droods, a few other stories that prefigure later series and a few tales that improvise and work variations on often encountered themes. For super fans there is a note from the author at the end of each story that offers some insight into how and why the story was written.

On the other hand, if you are new to Green I'm not entirely sure this collection will offer a complete picture. The Nightside story isn't as clever, witty or satisfying as an actual Nightside book. The story of the Droods' armorer doesn't have the personality and depth I associate with each of the books. And so on.

For my part I thought some of the briefer stand-alone stories were interesting, and I enjoyed reading the stories from earlier in Green's carer to see how he had developed over time. This book offered a fine opportunity to read a short Green tale in a quiet moment. There were some surprises and some comforts, but it was mostly having a chance to dip in and out that I liked.

Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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Format: Paperback
“Tales of the Hidden World” is a great glimpse into the fertile imagination and fine prose of Simon R. Green, the bestselling urban fantasist who should be counted as among the United Kingdom’s better writers of speculative fiction, if he isn’t already. This is a compelling collection of tales which range from sword and sorcery fantasy to horror and space opera speculative fiction, with some tales nearly as good as the finest from Ray Bradbury, Ursula Le Guin and Michael Swanwick. Best known for his tales about the Drood family, this short story collection opens with a brand new tale of the Droods, “Question of Solace”, which reads like Ian Fleming meets Lev Grossman. In “Street Wizard” a wizard employed by the London City Council confronts a Golem. In “Dorothy Dreams”, my personal favorite, an elderly Dorothy, at death’s door, dreams of returning once more to the Land of Oz. “From Out of the Sun, Endlessly Singing”, reads like a tale that could be set in Iain M. Banks’ or Peter F. Hamilton’s exquisitely detailed space operas. In “Find Heaven and Hell in the Smallest Things”, Green evokes both Ray Bradbury and Iain M. Banks, with a nod too to John Scalzi, in a rather creepy tale about a group of formerly human explorers confronting the alien and deadly botanical denizens of a remote, Earth-like planet. In “He Said, Laughing”, Green pays homage to Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” and Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now” in a memorable zombie tale set during the Vietnam War. “Awake, Awake Ye Northern Winds” is a memorable pirate fantasy that ends all too quickly. “Tales of the Hidden World” is, without question, one of the more notable short story collections of speculative fiction published recently.
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