Thursday, August 30, 2012

Shadow Show edited by Sam Weller and Mort Castle

It's extremely rare that I find an anthology that I love. Anthologies are tough for me. It seems like you're just bound to hate some of the stories in them, find some of them to be "ok", and if you're lucky find a handful of stories that you're in love with. But with Shadow Show, I found a collection that I absolutely love. And that's no surprise, because all of these authors were asked to write a story that was inspired by Ray Bradbruy. It's a collection that's subtitled "All new stories in celebration of Ray Bradbury." This one will join the ranks of Stories, edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantino and The Armless Maiden edited by Terri Windling, two other anthologies that I can think of off the top of my head that I've absolutely loved.

This collection opened with a beautiful introduction by the editors and then a little piece called "A Second Homecoming" by Ray Bradbury himself. I don't know if you've ever read the story "The Homecoming" by Mr. Bradbury himself, but if you haven't, it's the story of all sorts of ghouls who come together every Halloween and one human who gather to celebrate. So for Mr. Bradbury, this was indeed a homecoming of his peers filled with wonderful stories.

It opens with a fantastic story by Neil Gaiman called "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury," but surprisingly, that story was not my favorite. My favorites came later in the anthology, and happened to be by new to me authors. One was "The Companions" by David Morrell, a story of two people who go to an opera one night in some nasty weather who happen upon a couple by chance and continue to meet them almost as if fate would have it...perhaps fate does have it in the cards. Another story was "Fat Man and Little Boy" by Gary A. Braunbeck which really surprised me by how much I enjoyed it. The opening paragraph makes you think you'll be disgusted by the story only to throw that disgust back in your face and instead gives you quite the emotional, touching, sad story. I think my favorite of them all was "Young Pilgrims" by Joe Meno. Wow did I ever love this story. Blown away really. Reminded me of something Patrick Ness would write set on Mars in a way. The story of a young boy and a young girl finding not quite first love, but first...attraction(?) in a place where religious intolerance rules and a mystical, beautiful place awaits but is off limits. Just such a beautiful, heart-wrenching story.

I really could go on and on and on because I seriously loved nearly every story in this collection and I can honestly say there really wasn't a story in the collection that I felt blech about. Such a wonderful collection that ends with what is perhaps Harlan Ellison's last short story, and begins with what may be the last thing Mr. Bradbury wrote. A stellar cast indeed. And a book I think should be on everyone's shelves. This was my first book read for the RIP VII challenge and I'm only hoping that the rest of the books I read can live up to this one!


Bookfool said...

I loved "The Companions," too. I think that was my personal favorite. While there were a couple stories I didn't love, the word "stellar" is the word that came to mind when I closed the book. It really is an amazing collection by a stunning cast of writers. So glad you enjoyed it as much as I did, Chris!

Anonymous said...

I've been dipping into Shadow Show for a couple weeks now. So far, so good; I'm happy to hear that it's only going to continue!

Debi said...

OMG--I MUST have this book!!! MUST. MUST. MUST.

David Morrell, huh? The same David Morrell who writes thrillers? I read a couple of his books about 25 years ago (The Brotherhood of the Rose and The Fraternity of the Stone, I think they were called)...and have sort of forgot about him since.

Chris said...

Nancy, Stellar is the word I'd use too! Such a nice surprise. I usually just don't like anthologies even though I continue to buy them :p And yes..."companions" was so good!

Katenread, Oh, keep reading!!! I think so many of the best stories are towards the middle and end!

Debs, You really do have to get NOW! And yep, it is the same David Morrell...what I loved about this collection is each author wrote about their connection to Bradbury at the end of their story. So you got to know them personally. His story was so good!

Sam Welelr said...

Thnaks for all the kind word and thoughtful comments! We are super proud of this book and Ray Bradbury loved it too. I read much of it to him before he passed. I'm supetr-thrilled that many of you like "The Companions." It is one of my favorites. David Morrell is a giant!

I will also tell Joe Meno you loved his story, Chris! That will make him happy!


Sam Weller

Sam Weller said...

And apologies for typos! I'm writing on my iphone!

Chris said...

Sam, Thanks so much for stopping by the blog! I truly did adore this collection and it's so rare to find a collection as thoroughly good as this one was. And it's wonderful that Ray Bradbury got to hear some of these stories before he passed. Kinda makes me teary. Still miss him so much. And despite what Harlan Ellison says in the prologue to his story, I really did feel like a part of me "knew" Ray Bradbury from his amazing writing. It was so personal to me and his death was a hard one to swallow. I really appreciate this collection. Very special. And your story was just magnificent! Also, I'd love if you passed on to Joe Meno how much I loved his of the better short stories I've read in a long time!

Natalie~Coffee and a Book Chick said...

Anthologies are tough for me as well. I love that while the Neil Gaiman story was fantastic, there were others within the anthology that were better! I would have been drawn to Neil Gaiman's story, so it's reassuring to hear that this is an anthology not to be missed. I will definitely have to check this one out!

Chris said...

Natalie, I KNOW, right?? When Neil's story isn't the best, you know it's a good one :p

Sam Weller said...


I will share your blog with Joe Meno tomorrow when I see him.

Thanks again for the kind words!


Sam Weller

Carl V. said...

I'm so glad to hear it Chris. I am pretty easy going when it comes to most anthologies and generally enjoy them but it is really special when you find one to love and this sounds like one of those. I got online earlier today and ordered a copy from my library. There are just too many good authors in there to pass up a chance to read it.

Lynn said...

Wow, that sounds amazing. I don't really go for anthologies but I might make an exception here - particularly if Neil Gaiman's story (who I love) is not the best of the bunch.
Lynn :D