I became a fan of Neil Gaiman after reading American Gods, which may be the best contemporary fantasy novel of the past several years. It won the Hugo Award when it came out and became a bestseller, launching Gaiman into the mainstream. I’ve since read a few of his other novels and enjoyed them immensely, though I don’t care much for his ghost stories, not because he doesn’t tell some goods; I just don’t like ghost stories, written by anyone.
And there are quite a few ghost stories in this, Gaiman’s most recent story collection. There are also some mind-blowingly cool stories, as well, not to mention an American God novella, which is worth the price of the book alone.
The only story in the collection that I had read previously was A Study in Emerald, which is a freaky twist on traditional Sherlock Holmes mysteries. It also won a Hugo Award winner, if I’m not mistaken. And it’s also quite possibly the best story in the bunch. I also enjoyed:
How to Talk to Girls at Parties
The Facts in the Case of the Departure of Miss Finch
You can skip How Do You Think it Feels? since it contains a briefly pronographic sex scene, which will only btoher you afterwards.
There’s also a story set in the universe of The Matrix entitled Goliath. Gaiman was commisioned to write it before the movie was released in an effort to promote the film. Good stuff, whether you’re a fan of the Matrix (like me) or not.
And I got a kick out of the poetry, particularly The Day the Saucers Came. Funny and fun.
All in all, Fragile Things shows how vivid and broad an imagination Gaiman has. His writing is brilliantly simplistic. If you enjoy short stories, this is a must read.