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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dan Simmons answers your prayers, 18 Mar 2003
Mark F. Spence "mspen147" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
No wonder this won the 1991 Bram Stoker Award for Best Short Story Collection. It opens with the finest Introduction to a book of short fiction I have ever read. Written by Harlan Ellison, he recounts how he ‘discovered’ Dan Simmons whilst chairing a writer’s workshop. Dan was one of the hopeful students, and his story, ‘The River Styx Runs Upstream’ (included here), impressed Harlan so much that he asked if he could submit it in the Twilight Zone magazine short story competition, which it won. Although this tale of love and loss - told from a child’s perspective - is the collection’s stand out story, there are other equally dazzling pieces that show Dan’s diversity and genius. My favourite is ‘The Death of the Centaur’: a very moving tale about the relationship between an English schoolteacher and Terry, one of his pupils. This story moved me to tears when I realised what Terry had done to his teacher’s yarn at the end. Another beautiful tale is ‘Remembering Siri’: a sci-fi romance, which paved the way for the novels ‘Hyperion’ and ‘Fall of Hyperion’. The novella version of ‘Carrion Comfort’, arguably Dan’s best-known novel is also included here. Of course the ending is different. ‘Iverson’s Pits’ is a wonderful revenge story, linking back to the American Civil War. However the book is not without its weaker moments. ‘Eyes I Dare Not Meet in Dreams’ is too long and makes little sense. We could have done without the insipid ‘E-Ticket to Namland’ and ‘Shave and a Haircut, Two Bites’ is a horror story that didn’t really work for me. There are also some real oddities, like a teleplay version of ‘Metastasis’ and a brief account of the Challenger disaster. Overall, this is a strong and varied collection. Aspiring writers would do well to buy this for Harlan Ellison’s introduction alone, and the magnificent stories here far outweigh the average ones. Recommended.
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Prayers to Broken Stones
Prayers to Broken Stones by Dan Simmons (Paperback - 7 Oct 1997)
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