Maps In A Mirror Hardcover – Oct 15 1990
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From Publishers Weekly
This hefty, definitive collection contains all of Card's short fiction except for those in his common-theme book ( The Folk of the Fringe ) and those few he says he wants to bury. Which still leaves 46 tales of horror, fantasy, SF, philosophy and Mormon life. "Dogwalker" throws an electronic nod to the cyberpunk genre, while "I Put My Blue Genes On" is an early precursor to newly emerging biopunk. "Lost Boys" is a straightforward, most terrifying horror tale. The five stories with Mormon settings form a pastoral still-life contrasting with the justified cruelty of the rescued humans in the SF entry "Kingsmeat." Available only in this hardcover edition (not due to be included in the later paperback version) are the pre-novel versions of the Nebula- and Hugo Award-winning author's Songmaster , Ender's Game and Prentice Alvin. A series of introductions and afterwords offering Card's thoughts on his life and his writing are as absorbing as the stories. BOMC and QPB selections.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The award-winning author of Ender's Game ( LJ 2/15/85), Speaker for the Dead ( LJ 2/15/86), and the "Alvin Maker" series demonstrates his talent for shorter fiction in this collection of 46 stories that range from fantasy and sf to horror and theological speculation. Included are stories written for a Mormon readership as well as rarely published titles and early versions of stories that later became novels. Detailed introductions and afterwords reveal insights into the thought processes of one of the genre's most convincing storytellers. An important volume; for most libraries.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
This collection will take you everywhere. From fantasy, to science fiction, to horror, and art. I highly recommend Maps in a Mirror. Get it today, and you'll be hooked on OSC!
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Card's short fiction has always exceeded in power, beauty, and universalism the long fiction which he produces at such a prolific rate. This is mainly due to his tendency to explain nuances of his characters in his longer works literally, rather than allowing the reader to understand them through diligent observation. In his short fiction, however, he routinely abandons this "lowest common denominator" method, much to the empowerment of his prose.
The appeal of Card's work is similar to that of film wunderkind Steven Spielberg. At his worst, he is unflinchingly manipulative, such as in the story "Lost Boys," the original source for his later popular novel (cf. "The Color Purple"); at his best, his narration remains remote enough not to overpower with sentimentalism, as in "Unaccompanied Sonata" (cf. "Schindler's List"). A few works seem to be unnecessary literary exercises taken to extremes ("Damn Fine Novel") but, as is Card's trademark, a constant theme of sin/redemption runs through most of the stories. While drawing upon the Mormon experience, Card is unafraid to avoid simple moral chiaroscuro in favor of the gray areas for which good fantastic fiction is so well tailored.
The perfection of some of these tales lies in the simplicity of the telling. Card seems to have adhered to the ethic that informs Native American and Far Eastern oral traditions, wherein the narrator becomes only an instrument for the audience, and never intrudes as either arbitrator or alibi. It is in their peculiar mixture of triumph and tragedy that Card's stories delight, whether described through whimsy or dread.
The book's five segments, roughly described respectively as horror, science fiction, fantasies, parables, and miscellanea, comprise most of the author's published (and some unpublished) works up from 1977-1990. Particularly recommended: "Unaccompanied Sonata," "Quietus," "The Porcelain Salamander," A Plague of Butterflies," "Gert Fram."
The book is divided into sections, each with a unifying theme: horror, classic science fiction, fantasy, parables, religion & ethics, and a mix of miscellaneous works. "The Changed Man," "Flux," "Maps in a Mirror," "Monkey Sonatas," and "Cruel Miracles" were also published as individual paperbacks, but "Lost Songs," which contains, among other things, the original short version of "Ender's Game," is only available in the comprehensive hardcover edition.
Every facet of OSC's brilliance is displayed in this collection. His longer works, while also brilliant, have an unfortunate tendency to lag at points, but in short form he shines. Though not all the stories are of equal quality (hey, everyone has bad days), none are bad, and many are things of beauty and power. My personal favorites include "A Thousand Deaths," "Freeway Games," "Saving Grace," "Kingsmeat," "The Porcelain Salamander," "The Best Day," "I Think Mom and Dad Are Going Crazy, Jerry," and, of course, "Unaccompanied Sonata."
Be aware: some of these stories contain graphic and disturbing images. They also contain disturbing ideas. But no one writes speculative literature better than OSC at his best, and this book has a lot of his best.
Some of the stories tend toward long-winded philosophy and moral arguing, which certainly isn't bad, but can become a bit tedious. Still, all of Card's gems are here, as well as many other less famous stories. There's nothing more enjoyable than being able to sit down and delve into a short story that you know you'll be finishing in one sitting. The short story is a world apart from the novel, and Card certainly does the style justice.
"Eye for Eye" and "Kingsmeat" are among the best pieces of short fiction I've ever read the two of them alone are worth the price of the whole collection.
"Unaccompanied Sonata." The point: suffering for your vision will be recognized, and the suffering is worth it. This is the first piece of work I read by Card, when it came out in Omni in 1979. I didn't even remember his name, and it wasn't until ten years or so later, and after I had read Ender's Game and many of his other works, that I made the connection. Even as a young teenager in 1979, this writing spoke to me like few I had ever read. Maybe the writing plays to the secret beliefs we all have that we're misunderstood geniuses; I don't know. I just know I loved it. Rating: Outstanding.
"Cross-County Road Trip..." The point: the country, in the form of Siggy, needed catharsis and understanding of Nixon, and would be able to achieve it. I take Card at his word that this is the main point of the story. It's interesting to read, but not worth too much as a prism for introspection or even as social commentary. Rating: Good.
"The Porcelain Salamander." The point: love sometimes calls for the ultimate sacrifice, and we should always remember that sacrifice. This story seems almost childish on the surface, but invites reflection. Card really does a masterful job of saying what he wants to say, then getting out, and not being too maudlin. Rating: Excellent.
"Middle Woman." The point: ordinary people, even in extraordinary circumstances, are capable of resolving their own problems. This is in one sense the most humanistic of Card's stories, in that it clings to the belief, which I happen to share, that humans are capable of solving their own problems without reference to metaphysical intervention. Rating: Outstanding.
"The Bully and the Beast." The point: good hearts are overlooked by the mainstream of society, while evil hearts are often celebrated. The point actually gets a little lost in this story, because Card gets carried away with the tale itself. However, he never loses the thread of his point, and in the end, the tale is extremely engaging. Rating: Excellent.
"The Princess and the Bear." The point: true love and false love may be confused in the beginning, but will eventually show themselves for what they are. This story is highly readable, but may not be suitable for children, despite its cutesy title. I don't know if I agree with the premise of this story, but it is told in a very enjoyable manner. Rating: Excellent.
"Sandmagic." The point: revenge is bitter and takes the soul of he who practices it. Once again, Card does not waste time in this story, and deviates little from his theme. Card's point is a point well taken, although I frankly cheered while Cer gets his revenge on Nefyryd. But that's probably a character flaw in myself, rather than a flaw in Card's writing. Rating: Excellent.
"The Best Day." The point: the search for happiness for its own sake will be fruitless; happiness is found indirectly if at all. Card does an adequate job bringing his point home in a short amount of time. I don't know if I agree with this philosophy, but I think it was well presented and worth reading. Rating: Satisfactory.
"A Plague of Butterflies." The point: I'm not sure, perhaps the point is that decisions of momentous consequence sometimes must be made by a person whose conventional morality stops him from doing the right thing. I agree with Card that you really do need to read "Wyrms" to more fully appreciate the story . I don't agree with him that he needed to be more faithful to magical realism, since (a) Card can do anything he wants, he's the writer and (b) magic realism is a writing form that has been considerably abused by many writers, particularly Gabriel Marquez, and why compound the abuse? Overall, this story is too disjointed and abstruse for all but hard-care Card fans, and its theme is muddy at best. Rating: Satisfactory.
"The Monkey Thought `Twas All In Fun." The point: misunderstandings lead to tragedy, even where everyone involved has the best of intentions . Card was way, way too long making his point, and was self-indulgent and needlessly flamboyant in his storytelling. Rating: Unsatisfactory.