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When I saw the presence of this book, I greeted it with an air of casual indifference. I've never been a huge fan of short stories; not enough meat to them. I prefer my books like I prefer everything else: Epic. Moderation shows a lack of commitment. Some of these though… wow.
With this installment, I find I'm forced to revise my stance: I'm now not a fan of BAD short stories. It seems that a truly talented writer such as Martin can cram all the character development and plot progression required for a genuinely good tale into 45 pages. Sir, I’m sorry to have doubted you.
I picked this up while patiently twiddling my thumbs awaiting Dance of Dragons, the rest of the Mallorean, Memory of Light, etc. (Martin, if you ever read this: For the love of all that's holy: finish this series! Without dying halfway through. And without more prequels. We've lost WAY too many incredible sagas midway recently).
I have to say that I was actually ignorant of the prolific nature of Martin's repertoire. He's been all over the place, genre-wise, and appears equally talented across the board. It’s also quite a treat to have Martin himself narrating the autobiographical portions of the book. You really come to know the man behind the Songs, and get a good idea of not only the struggles he overcame becoming a writer, but also the varied successes and triumphs that you’re (most likely) unaware of (I had no idea he won awards for comic book scripts, for example).
All in all, this was a fantastic purchase. I heartily recommend it. If you’re a diehard Fantasy/Sci-Fi fan, this is your cup of tea. If you’re looking to learn more about one of the best writers of modern day, you’re in for a treat. If you’re seeking a long, involved, multi-part drama a la the Wheel of Time, Song of Ice and Fire, etc., then you may want to pass… but I’d recommend giving this a shot anyway.
39 of 39 people found this review helpful
Like other George R.R. Martin fans, I've been waiting for the next installment of his excellent fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. But I think this collection of Martin's short fiction will tide me over, at least for a while.
I was skeptical at first--short fiction, OK, but I wasn't expecting great quality from stories authored so long ago. After all, the first selection, "Only Kids Are Afraid of the Dark," was written when the author was a teenager. A few minutes in, though, I knew that this wasn't just a curiosity that only the most rabid fans would enjoy. You'll recognize all the things you love Martin for--action, adventure, compelling dialogue from characters you can immediately understand and care about.
It was almost too much to hope for, but it's true: Martin has clearly had the magic that long. Things only get better from the first story on, with more short pieces that made it almost impossible to turn off my player and rejoin the rest of the world. I was expecting mostly fantasy, but many genres are represented here: horror, science fiction, space opera, even a story from Swedish history that made me wish Martin would write a textbook.
Regular Audible listeners will also recognize some of the audiobook world's best narrators: Scott Brick, Claudia Black, Erik Davies, and the incomparable Roy Dotrice, the man who brought to life the first three books of A Song of Ice and Fire. The production values are excellent, too.
All that would have been enough, but the real treat is Martin himself, who offers memoirs about his early interests and his writing life. This adds a whole other dimension to the stories, and Martin is so honest and open, it's almost like listening to an old friend.
Any Martin fans out there wondering whether to use up a credit for this volume--stop wondering and click that "Add to Cart" button. You won't be disappointed, I promise. I'm already loading up Volume II.
26 of 30 people found this review helpful