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My name is Pat and I live in Florida. My skin will never be smooth again and my hair will never see color. I enjoy collecting autographs and playing in Paint Shop Pro.,along with reading and writing. Sometimes, I enjoy myself by doing volunteer "work" helping celebrities at autograph shows. I love animals and at one time I did volunteer work for Tippi Hedren's Shambala Preserve.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Second Attempt at Short Stories

I just finished reading The Dragon Quintet by multiple authors. They were: Orson Scott Card, Mercedes Lackey, Tanith Lee, Elizabeth Moon and Michael Swanwick.
I really like the cover on this book.. and the fact it was to be stories about, or concerning dragons drew me to purchasing it.
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Tor Books (January 13, 2005)
ISBN-10: 0765311364




I won't report on all of the stories, but I'll mention a few here...
The first story was by Orson Scott Card, a favorite author to a number of folks I have gotten to know.. the story was called In The Dragon's House.
This was (to me) a strange story, centered around the house itself, which was a big old Victorian mansion containing turrets, steep pitched roofs, and gargoyles, one of which is a dragons head, and a young boy who had come to live with distant relatives, at a very young age, when his parents died.
The boy has a spot on the stairs, that when he sits there he becomes warm feeling and thinks he hears and see's things that he doesn't fully understand. When he becomes a bit older he finds his way up to a attic room where the original builder of the house had electric trains set up that seemed to come to life.. along with what he see's as a tiny miniature dragon. He knows then that the feelings and things he's seen have come from this room and the dragon and is drawn it. What he doesn't know is that it can take over his life.
I can't say the story drew me in.. or that I felt I would have liked to read more.. I guess I was a bit disappointed. I'm not sure what I expected from the short stories in this book, other than they would be about dragons.
In another story, by Elizabeth Moon, called Judgment, a young boy, named Tam and an Elder find a smooth stone that looks like an egg. When they find a second such stone the Elder breaks it open to find "pretties" (crystal type inners) he gives a shard to the young boy as a present, saying they are valuable, and since he is to marry the Elders daughter it will help them. But soon after the Elder begins to change from a kind person to one of meanness and power hungry.He accuses the boy of being a thief and takes back the shard and has Tam and his mother expelled from the town. As Tam and his mother wander, looking for a place to live some Dwarves find them and ask for what is not theirs to be returned to them. The find out that the round stones are dragon eggs and each little shard will in turn take over a humans body and become a dragon.
This story I enjoyed a bit more. The characters were more to my liking and so was the story.. but still it did not make me want to read more than it was.
The only story in the book I can say I felt as if I wanted to read more of was the one by Mercedes Lackey called Joust. Joust is about a young boy named Vetch, who is a serf to a man who like to beat his help. While his master is beating him a Jouster named Ari see's it and takes the boy with him to be his helper with his dragon Kashet. As the story unfolds Vetch learns much from Ari on why he is different from the other Jousters and why his Dragon Kashet is much tamer. Vetch takes what he learns and puts it to his own advantage and by the end of this short story has bonded with a baby dragon.
I knew before I even looked around in Amazon that Mercedes had a group of books out called Joust and so I searched them out to see that indeed her first "full book" is a full length of this same short story.. there are 4 books to this series and I read the descriptions of them and, for now they are on my wish list...but still not really certain I will wind up getting them. But of all the stories in this Dragon Quintet, Joust was (to me) the best to my liking.
I think I've learned my lesson though.. I've always said short stories are not my thing and since trying this twice (once with a book called Wizards, and now this one) I am sure I won't get more books of short stories. Though I have enjoyed a number of them overall I am more disappointed than I am happy I've read the books, obviously, they are not for me. That being said, I do feel that if you are someone who enjoys short stories, and like stories that concern dragons, then this might be a book you'd enjoy!

6 Comments:

Blogger Chris said...

I've looked at this book a few times myself, but I always pass it over. Short stories usually aren't my thing either unless they're written by an author that I really like! This past year, I read Wizards and 2 Neil Gaiman collections, and I loved both Gaiman books and a handful of stories in Wizards (the Gaiman and Card story included) but I'm the same as you...I'll take a novel any day over short stories! They just aren't my thing. I like my stories to be more developed and I like to go on a journey with characters. An author really has to be skilled to grab me in such a short time. Great review anyway though! You actually made me interested in the Orson Scott Card story even though you weren't crazy about it ;) It sounds like something I'd like!

12:21 PM  
Blogger DesLily said...

Chris: I thought of you the whole time I read that story lol.. I wanted to really really like it alot! And Maybe.. had it been a longer short story, allowing me to know this kid better.. maybe, ya know?

3:41 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Do you ever watch Futurama by any chance? They played a marathon last night on Cartoon Network and there was an episode that was hilarious that I just loved all about Star Trek and Trekkies! I thought about you during the whole episode because they had animated versions of the whole original cast as main characters of the whole episode and DeForest Kelley was one of the characters! It was great!

2:49 AM  
Blogger Cath said...

I used to be a big sci fi short story person but not so much these days. I still buy anthologies but, weirdly, don't seem to rush to read them.

I'm about two thirds through The Beekeeper's Apprentice and adore it. I haven't been able to read it as quickly as I would like because of Christmas preps and family illness, but I'm getting there. Going to sit by the fire with it this afternoon and try to finish it.

Merry Christmas, Pat!

4:47 AM  
Blogger Nymeth said...

I didn't use to be a short story person either, but somehow they grew on me. I think this is a book I'd like. Elizabeth Moon is the author of the story Winter's Wife on Wizards, right? I've wanted to read more of her stuff ever since I read that one.
Mercedes Lackey is one of those fantasy authors I've always wanted to try, and this story sounds great!

And Merry Christmas! :)

7:22 AM  
Blogger Carl V. said...

I guess I am stubborn enough to believe that there are short stories for everyone out there who likes to read. Gaiman is a perfect example of a man who writes short stories that just blow one away. You like fantasy, so you should check out the story Chivalry by Gaiman. It is one of his very best. A bad or even mediocre short story really is a bad thing, no doubt about it. It leaves one cold and wondering why the time was wasted. But I've read some absolutely incredible short stories this year.

In the end though there are so many amazing novels out there that one isn't really getting cheated by not taking the time to read short stories...more than anything it just saddens me a bit when folks are put off by them because there really are satisfying ones out there.

10:04 AM  

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