I hope you’re ready for a slight bending of my rules this week. I only read two short stories. Big shock! Reading isn’t my strength lately, but it’s still going, just slowly. But what do I have to accompany those two stories? Two graphic novels!
Due to the comic format being quick reads, even if they’re collected into 100-200 page books, I think I’ll consider these two as short stories this week because it didn’t take long to read them, and one definitely read more like a short story compared to the first which had more of a novel feel to it.
I read the first two mini-series in the Marvel 1602 “multiverse” series. They were interesting, and as you’ll see, Marvel: 1602 was a big hit with me. the second wasn’t bad either, but didn’t stack up well next to Neil Gaiman’s writing.
I also want to make a quick mention of Carole Lanham’s story that I read. I read The Reading Lessons from her collection The Whisper Jar. I also mention her novel of the same name that I’m currently reading. Lanham has reissued the short story, on its own, under the title V.I.L.E: Reading of Violent Indefensible Lust and Evil. I haven’t had the chance to ask Lanham about it yet, so I’m not sure if the new release has any changes to the version I read, but if anything, it’s probably just been better formatted and had a small edit at the very least. It’d be a good way to check out her writing if you don’t feel like grabbing the entire collection.
The Reading Lessons, by Carole Lanham
(story read in the collection The Whisper Jar)
This story is sort of a reread for me. Lanham released her novel of the same name earlier this year and I’ve been reading it off and on since then (good book, I’m just distracted by life). This story is the basis for The Reading Lessons novel. To be up front, this story is an early version of the first (roughly) 25% or so of the novel, in a slightly condensed form. That’s why I considered it a bit of a reread.
What’s interesting, for me, is to read “the novel”, but without it being as fleshed out and developed. Already knowing what it’ll turn into, I’m biased to enjoy the novel more. But I can still say that new readers will be able to enjoy what the story has to offer.
I won’t get into the differences, but I think that if a reader enjoys the story, he or she might be compelled to check out the novel to continue Hadley and Lucinda’s story.
Marvel: 1602, by Neil Gaiman
I’m not much of a graphic novel reader, but I’ve been warming up to them more and more lately. When I saw that Gaiman wrote this one and what it was about, I had to check it out.
Basically this is a mini-series (8 comics) set in 1602 with some of the more popular Marvel characters as if they’re from 1602, not our time. This is one of the multiverse scenarios that Marvel has been exploring.
I only have a basic experience with these characters and the more modern Marvel Universe as a whole, but I found it to be a great storyline and was very interested to see how mutants/superheroes may be treated centuries ago…basically like witches (witchbreed).
I also think Gaiman’s writing aided in my enjoyment. I find many comics/graphic novels lacking in the writing department, but this one was great. Fleshed out, great dialogue, it wasn’t too basic or sparse. It makes me want to read some other Gaiman comics.
1602: New World, by Greg Pak
This was a five comic continuation of Gaiman’s Marvel: 1602 that I also read this week, and because I enjoyed that series, why not see where it goes from there?
One big difference is the change in writers. Gaiman is listed as the “creative consultant” (whatever that means), but Pak takes over the role of writer. While the story was still good, it’s noticeably different. There’s more of a “blah” feeling to it (for me) than a compelling page-turner to keep me going as this strange alternate history unfolds, which the first series had. I think this is due more to Gaiman being a great storyteller, and less to do with the five comic format compared to the eight of Marvel: 1602 (though that’s part of it, I’m sure).
Still, it was a good series and we get to see “The Spider” (Spider-man of the time) storyline begin.
The Honest Truth About The Zombie Apocalypse, M. Stark
I grabbed this short story earlier today because a friend recently recommended Starks’ novel Remember Me and this was a freebie. Great way to check out an author’s short work.
I’m on the fence with how I felt about the story. It had some good humor, but I think for five “Kindle” pages, the author tried to do too much without the space to execute it “properly”. The story was trying to be funny, have a commentary on the zombie genre, and have a scene going on at the same time.
It felt too scattered as the narrator scrambled around trying to tell what he was doing to escape his house, all while making jokes about house the zombie mythos is wrong in our media (either his world’s media, or the real world). I was reading and thinking “you have a few pages to say what you want…you can keep it straight for that long.” Also, none of what the narrator says is much different from many zombie stories, movies, etc already out there, even the ending wasn’t a big shock. So I don’t know what the “honest truth” part was really about, unless it’s more a commentary on something like The Walking Dead show only, then I can see some points.
But still, for a few minute read, I was mildly entertained, even if it was a big confusing for having some forward moving story to it.
Have you read any short stories this week? Do you know of any short stories to suggest to me or my readers? Feel free to share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments on this post or more privately through the contact page, if you want you’d like to type something longer up.