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Smoke and Mirrors - Who's reading it then?

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Opal 27th February 2006 11:41 PM

I can't be the only one out there reading it! I don't know how long we're supposed to wait before starting to discuss it, or whether we have a different thread for each story, but I thought I'd make a start by finding out who's joining in! :D

Adrian 27th February 2006 11:53 PM
I'm reading it too, though I might not get through it all before it has to go back to the library.

I'd say start a thread for any story(ies) you want. It would be pretty confusing to have posts about different stories in the same thread.

Grammath 28th February 2006 11:46 AM
I've read about half of it so far. I wasn't sure if good policy would be to finish it or to start threads on individual stories as I went along.

I think I might skip a lot of the rest of the poetry, though. I've been quite underwhelmed by that so far.

Flingo 28th February 2006 12:04 PM
I picked it up from the Library last night. Unfortunately they told me I need to return 2 other books already on my card as they had been requested by other readers. Will read them quick and then get on with Smoke!

Opal 28th February 2006 02:16 PM


Originally Posted by Grammath
I think I might skip a lot of the rest of the poetry, though. I've been quite underwhelmed by that so far.

I know what you mean, I don't know if I'm missing the point of it, but I've never liked reading poetry very much. It's over so quickly that you don't have time to get drawn into it or anything! Maybe I'm just not a poetry person... :(

Momo 28th February 2006 04:20 PM

Originally Posted by Opal
I know what you mean, I don't know if I'm missing the point of it, but I've never liked reading poetry very much. It's over so quickly that you don't have time to get drawn into it or anything! Maybe I'm just not a poetry person...

That's exactly how I feel about short stories. You don't get to know the characters well enough to really get into the story and when it gets interesting (if at all on a couple of pages), it's all over. If I find the book here, I might read it but I'm not going to order it because I know I'm not into short stories.

megustaleer 28th February 2006 04:32 PM
I'm not keen on short stories, either. If I happened to come across the book i might take a look, but with so may books waiting to be read, and so many others that I want to read, it's not likely that I'll be joining in on this one.

Grammath 28th February 2006 05:32 PM

Originally Posted by Opal
I know what you mean, I don't know if I'm missing the point of it, but I've never liked reading poetry very much. It's over so quickly that you don't have time to get drawn into it or anything! Maybe I'm just not a poetry person...


Nah, its not 'cos I don't like reading poetry (something I tell myself I should do more often), its just not very good poetry IMO. Above Vogon standard (the third worst poetry in the universe, for non-"Hitchhikers" fans), but not much.

Originally Posted by Momo
That's exactly how I feel about short stories. You don't get to know the characters well enough to really get into the story and when it gets interesting (if at all on a couple of pages), it's all over.


I like short stories and probably read a couple of collections a year on average. I would regard it in the same way as studying a miniature painting versus a vast canvas, both are rewarding in their own ways and the former can still have a lot of detail packed into it by a skilled craftsman.

Its not practical to cover an epic timespan; indeed, many of the best short stories examine a single incident or idea and have a small cast of characters - or even a single individual. Also, novels are just as likely to have ambiguous endings and cardboard, stock characters - surely much more frustrasting over 300 pages than 30.

The only ones that often don't work for me are crime short stories - its virtually impossible to set up and solve a complex case in such a short space. The honourable exception to this rule is the great Sherlock Holmes.

MarkC 1st March 2006 11:21 AM
It's at the top of the pile, Stand on Zanzibar is taking me a while though, much as I like Brunner it's a long book and at times can be hard work.

Hazel 1st March 2006 12:19 PM
My copy was delivered this morning so I shall start it tonight.

Mungus 1st March 2006 10:56 PM
I started reading it and seem to have drifted away from it about two thirds of the way through.

I don't usually read short stories, which seemed like a good reason to give it a go, but I couldn't get involved with them and I found myself skimming through each and forward to the next. I don't feel that I can start any threads on any of the specific stories, because I can't articulate my thoughts on them well enough but look forward to reading other people's reactions and will contribute as and when.

Mungus 16th March 2006 07:22 PM
I see that this part of the forum has been idle for over a week. Is this because we were all underwhelmed by Smoke and Mirrors or have we just forgotten to post? I have already confessed that I was unimpressed and I'm finding it hard to remember any of the stories now. Does anyone else have anything to add?

Opal 16th March 2006 07:36 PM
I have to say I haven't read any more of it this week - I've had too much work on, but I really enjoyed the stories I have read. Hopefully this weekend I'll have a chance to read a few more!

MarkC 17th March 2006 08:55 AM
So far I'm half way through the introduction, only having had 15 minutes yesterday lunchtime for reading, but should have more free time in the next few days.

Grammath 17th March 2006 12:53 PM
I, too, have not read much more in the last couple of weeks.

Its not that I don't like it, but it is one of the more eclectic collections I've come across so there are some stories I like much more than others. As I say, the weakest stuff IMO is the poetry.

I've just got to the werewolf story set in Innsmouth, whose title escapes me at the moment.

Flingo 17th March 2006 07:11 PM

Still working my way through the other "higher priority" books on the TBR mountain. This is currently near the top, where the clouds start forming.

Hazel 29th March 2006 04:40 PM

Am I right in saying that we are underwhelmed by this book? Not many seem to be posting on it and there is very little discussion. Or are we still reading it? I for one, who enjoyed it initially, now admit that it drifted off in the middle and I have largely forgotten most of it. Where are the people that voted for it? :thinking:

Grammath 29th March 2006 05:06 PM

Originally Posted by Hazel
Am I right in saying that we are underwhelmed by this book? Not many seem to be posting on it and there is very little discussion. Or are we still reading it? I for one, who enjoyed it initially, now admit that it drifted off in the middle and I have largely forgotten most of it. Where are the people that voted for it?

That's been exactly my experience, although I have to say I didn't originally vote for it. I haven't picked it up in a couple of weeks and have become engrossed in novels instead.

I guess this was always going to be a risk with a book of short stories. Although I am a big fan of the form, I very rarely read a collection from beginning to end but rather dip in when I'm in the mood for one.

Adrian 30th March 2006 01:25 AM
 

Originally Posted by Hazel
Am I right in saying that we are underwhelmed by this book? Not many seem to be posting on it and there is very little discussion. Or are we still reading it? I for one, who enjoyed it initially, now admit that it drifted off in the middle and I have largely forgotten most of it. Where are the people that voted for it?

That sums it up for me too. I started it and read a few but never felt stongly enough to post anything. I put it to one side to read something else and then it went back to the library.

I've noticed previously that sometimes there were fewer posters about the book that there were voters for it. Seems strange to me to vote for a book and then not comment :thinking:

Mungus 30th March 2006 09:26 AM

I didn't vote for it but decided to give it a go and had a similar response to Hazel. I made a few aide memoire notes but these no longer make any sense! Time to choose another book?

Hazel 30th March 2006 03:22 PM

I didn't vote for it either but notice a distinct lack of response from those that did!

Opal 30th March 2006 10:26 PM

I replied on the other thread but never mind.... I liked this book a lot, but have found it not as compelling to read as a novel. I also went and left it at uni when I moved home for the holidays. Oops. I will read some more eventually....

 

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