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Prayers to Broken Stones [Hardcover]

Dan Simmons
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

November 1990
A woman returns from the dead with disastrous results for the family who loves her.... An old-fashioned barbershop is the site of a medieval ritual of bloody
terror.... During a post-apocalyptic Christmas celebration, a messenger from the South brings tidings of great horror.... From a ghostly Civil War battlefield to a combat theme park in Vietnam, from the omnipotent brain of an autistic boy to a shocking story of psychic vampires, journey into a world of fear and mystery, a chilling twilight zone of the mind.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From the Publisher

A woman returns from the dead with disastrous results for the family who lovesher.... An old-fashioned barbershop is the site of a medieval ritual of bloodyterror.... During a post-apocalyptic Christmas celebration, a messenger fromthe South brings tidings of great horror.... From a ghostly Civil Warbattlefield to a combat theme park in Vietnam, from the omnipotent brain of anautistic boy to a shocking story of psychic vampires, journey into a world offear and mystery, a chilling twilight zone of the mind.


--This text refers to the Paperback edition.


Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Well-Written Speculative Fiction Feb. 29 2004
Format:Paperback
Due to his big-selling science fiction novels, Dan Simmons is usually lumped into that category. My edition of this paperback even has an unbelievably inaccurate cover illustration featuring an astronaut, though only one of the stories here even remotely involves space travel. The varied works in this collection of short stories firmly place Simmons in the more inclusive genre of speculative fiction, with an ethic similar to that of his hero Harlan Ellison. There are a couple of clunkers here, like the rushed and unfocused anti-televangelist yarn "Vexed to Nightmare by a Rocking Cradle," plus an unnecessary TV script. But otherwise the selections here are well written and very compelling, with Simmons specializing in the humanistic side of the supernatural. Highlights include a highly disturbing tale of death in the family in "The River Styx Runs Upstream," two tales about the inescapable horrors of war in "E-Ticket to "Namland" and "Iverson's Pits" (covering the Vietnam and Civil Wars, respectively), and the outstanding psychic murder suspense of "Carrion Comfort." This collection is a great introduction to a writer who doesn't get enough credit for the variety of his ideas. [~doomsdayer520~]
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great short fiction Oct. 26 1998
Format:Paperback
If you're not in the mood to sit and read an entire novel, Dan Simmons' short stories are a great way to pass time. He is a very gifted writer and I have read everything he has written. I especially liked "The River Styx Runs Upstream", and "Vanni Fucci is Alive and Well and Living in Hell." The former a horror story along the lines of Stephen King and the later hilarious. Also included is the novella to Carrion Comfort which, in novel form, one of the best horror novels ever written. I recommend anything and everything by him, especially the Hyperion novels, Summer of Night, and Carrion Comfort.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best short stories I have read June 27 1997
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Dan Simmons continues to weave intricate tales in "Tales to Broken Stones". A collection of 13 short stories, Dan Simmons displays his impressive writing skill in multiple genres. While one or two of the stories were a bit boring, most riveted me to my seat while I read them. The commentary on each of the stories by Simmons helps set the tone.

Included in this book are the short stories that inspired Simmons's Hugo award winning Hyperion and his high aclaimed(and intensely scary)Carrion Comfort.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice variety Sept. 22 2002
By Glenn McDorman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Although this is mainly a collection of Simmons's early horror work, there is an astonishing amount of variety. There are classic ghost and vampire stories, science fiction horror pieces, science fiction work, and a few stories which defy categorization. As a whole the collection is fun, with the author's introductions as interesting and entertaining as the stories themselves. Each story is well written and enjoyable to read. If you've been disappointed with much of Simmons's recent work, you won't be with this collection.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great short fiction Oct. 25 1998
By Doug Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
If you're not in the mood to sit and read an entire novel, Dan Simmons' short stories are a great way to pass time. He is a very gifted writer and I have read everything he has written. I especially liked "The River Styx Runs Upstream", and "Vanni Fucci is Alive and Well and Living in Hell." The former a horror story along the lines of Stephen King and the later hilarious. Also included is the novella to Carrion Comfort which, in novel form, one of the best horror novels ever written. I recommend anything and everything by him, especially the Hyperion novels, Summer of Night, and Carrion Comfort.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best short stories I have read June 27 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Dan Simmons continues to weave intricate tales in "Tales to Broken Stones". A collection of 13 short stories, Dan Simmons displays his impressive writing skill in multiple genres. While one or two of the stories were a bit boring, most riveted me to my seat while I read them. The commentary on each of the stories by Simmons helps set the tone.

Included in this book are the short stories that inspired Simmons's Hugo award winning Hyperion and his high aclaimed(and intensely scary)Carrion Comfort.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Adequate Collection; Evolution of Simmons Into Novelist June 19 2005
By Eiji Hirai - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I've read and have been impressed with Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos and Carrion Comfort, and wanted to explore his short stories to see if they were up to his novel's quality.

Unfortunately, the short stories are mostly from his earlier years and aren't really up to the incredibly high standards he's set for himself with the Hyperion series, Carrion Comfort and other novels.

The stories are adequate, but none of them really stick in the mind after a while. If they were from any other author, I would say there "good" though not excellent, but knowing Simmons, I'd rate them as "just ok". Some of the stories seem to be more concerned with hammering the reader with the "message" rather than telling a good yarn. This is most evident when his rant (err, story) against televangelists. I agree with Simmons viewpoints, but didn't care much for the story.

However, this collection does offer some interesting glimpses into his novels. First, "Remembering Siri" is word for word, a chapter in his later Hyperion novel, and this is where it started. Second, "Carrion Comfort" is probably the best short story in the collection (and hence, the last story in the collection) and this forms the first chapter of Carrion Comfort, the novel. Again, this is where it started. Third, "Eyes I Dare Not Meet in Dreams" forms the basis of his later novel The Hollow Man, with exactly the same characters and premise. You can also see his fascination with the US space program in "Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds", which was marred by getting the "message" across at the expense of storytelling. He explores the US space program from a different angle later on his novel Phases of Gravity. Lastly, there is a "story within a story" in "The Death of a Centaur" about a teacher telling kids a fantasy story. The story involves Raul (err, Raoul Endymion) guiding an unlikely band of characters to save the universe, battling the Shrike (yes the Shrike) and Wizards (err, The Pax) who are out to get them. The story is, well, standard fantasy fare, but it's interesting to note that he uses this story as a basis of his later Endymion novel.

So this collection is interesting if you're interested in "forensic" analysis of where some of his later great novels came from, but as storytelling tales in themselves, they're ok, not great. Having read both his novels and short stories, I recommend reading more of his novels before plunging into his weaker short stories.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a sample-platter of Simmons May 23 2008
By Kevin N. Alexander - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Dan Simmons is known to write some very heavy books. Which makes it all the more fascinating to read this, a collection of his short works. For someone who might not be familiar with his writing, this anthology is a mostly excellent place to start, and gives you an idea of the broad style and genres this author works in.

I won't give a breakdown of all the stories. Suffice to say they compliment his novels very well, and in many cases are direct starting points for his books. Inside this collection you will find a Horror, Sci Fi and a hint of the fantastic. They don't all click (as tends to happen in collections you will enjoy some more than others), but they are all uniformly creative, and do not generally repeat themselves (Although I suppose the inclusion of 2 tales of Evangelism, although different, may qualify as a repeat to some).

I was reminded a little of Clive Barker's Books of Blood, which also shows a wide variety of imaginative scenarios, and many references to classical literature.

I would easily recommend this collection to fans of short stories, if nothing else because they are all unique and far removed from the formulaic 'twilight zone episode' stories that often constitute short stories. Simmons almost always paints on a large canvas, and his short stories are no exception. Not every story is perfect, but what is rare about this anthology is that Simmons uses the short story in so many varieties of application that you can't help but be impressed with the man's talent. Very entertaining.
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