Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Keeper of Dreams, by Orson Scott Card


This book is a collection of short stories that span a number of years in Mr. Card's career. I read his Ender's series years ago, and I've enjoyed his Women of Genesis works as well.

I don't usually read a lot of short stories for the simple reason that they are short. When I want an escape, I want to be gone for a while. I want to see how a character changes over time, a plot that isn't easy to puzzle out and place that are rich and varied. A short story usually just gives you a little taste of a new place, person, situation. I guess I just don't like teasing.

On the other hand, if you don't like a short story, it's over soon with little time wasted. I found some cool stories in this collection, but there were a couple I didn't like. Both of them had a moment where a sexual assault was taking place and then stopped (thank goodness)by someone who had the guts to intervene. I know ugly things happen. I use reading as a way to rejuvenate

The stories I really liked were:
Atlantis: a reimagining of Noah's story. (Science Fiction)
Space Boy: gives new meaning to a science fiction staple of space travel; the worm hole.(Science Fiction)
Homeless in Hell: would you believe Santa never makes it to heaven? (Fantasy)
God Plays Fair Once Too Often: God and Lucifer make a wager. (Mormon Story)
Christmas at Helaman's House: When a house you built isn't home. (Mormon Story)

After each story, the author explains a little about how he came up with the idea. It could have been a place that impressed him, or two disparate ideas coming together in a strange way, or simply a request for a story from a publisher wanting a collection of short stories.

I'm still not a fan of short stories. However, I now see how an idea may not work as a whole novel. For those moms who like to read, but can't carve out enough time for a novel, might try a short story collection as a brief breather in between diaper changes and dinner preparation. I hope Mr. Card doesn't take offense, but some days, the bathroom is the only place I can get some peace and quiet behind a locked door.

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