Tuesday, December 14, 2010

REVIEW: Sympathy for the Devil Ed. Tim Pratt

The Stories:
  • The Price - Neil Gaiman
  • Beluthahatchie - Andy Duncan
  • Ash City Stomp - Richard Butner
  • Ten for the Devil - Charles de Lint
  • A Reversal of Fortune - Holly Black
  • Young Goodman Brown - Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • The Man in the Black Suit - Stephen King
  • The Power of Speech - Natalie Babbitt
  • The Redemption of Silky Bill - Sarah Zettel
  • Sold to Satan - Mark Twain
  • MetaPhysics - Elizabeth M. Glover
  • Snowball's Chance - Charles Stross
  • Non-Disclosure Agreement - Scott Westerfield
  • Like Riding a Bike - Jan Wildt
  • Bible Stories for Adults, No. 31: The Covenant - James Morrow
  • And the Deep Blue Sea - Elizabeth Bear
  • The Goat Cutter - Jay Lake
  • On the Road to New Egypt - Jeffrey Ford
  • That Hell-Bound Train - Robert Bloch
  • The God of Dark Laughter - Michael Chabon
  • The King of the Djinn - David Ackert and Benjamin Rosenbaum
  • Summon, Bind, Banish - Nick Mamatas
  • The Bottle Imp - Robert Louis Stevenson
  • Two Old Men - Kage Baker
  • ...With By Good Intentions - Carrie Richardson
  • Nine Sundays in a Row - Kris Dikeman
  • Lull - Kelly Link
  • We Can Get Them For You Wholesale - Neil Gaiman
  • Details - China Miéville
  • The Devil Disinvests - Scott Bradfield
  • Faustfeathers - John Kessel
  • The Professor's Teddy Bear - Theodore Sturgeon
  • The Heidelberg Cylinder - Jonathan Carroll
  • Mike's Place - David J. Schwartz
  • Thus I Refute Beelzy - John Collier
  • Inferno: Canto XXXIV - Dante Alighieri (trans. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)
"Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and faith"
[Sympathy for the Devil by The Rolling Stones]

An anthology of short stories, named after one of my favourite songs, all with the devil in his many guises as the theme... how could I resist such a book! Sympathy for the Devil contains 35 short stories and 1 excerpt from a poem. It is an enticing mix of horror and humour, classic tales and modern reimaginings, drawn from a wide range of authors both familiar and new. This is a book with something for everyone.

While the broad mix of stories means that almost everyone who reads this anthology will find something to their taste, the downside is that there are also a number of stories that do not appeal. Such is the way with a large collection of varied writings all based around a theme. Certainly I found that it was a tough challenge to read this book straight through and instead elected to read one story at a time, which meant it took me several weeks to complete. A word of advice... there are some stories (Theodore Sturgeon's The Professor's Teddy Bear, The God of Dark Laughter by Michael Chabon and Jay Lake's The Goat Cutter, for example) I would not recommend reading last thing at night;  terrifying and disturbing dreams are likely to follow!

I enjoyed most of the stories and, as with any anthology, some are weaker than others. I particularly enjoyed Elizabeth Bear's post-apocalyptic Las Vegas in And the Deep Blue Sea and would love to read more of Harrie and her world, indeed I would say this was my favourite. In contrast, I found it very difficult to finish Faustfeathers by John Kessel, which was written as a play and I just didn't get the joke. On the other hand, On The Road To New Egypt by Jeffrey Ford had me laughing out loud. There are authors I want to read more of, having enjoyed their contributions: Kelly Link, Kage Baker, Holly Black and Natalie Babbitt. And there were writers I was already familiar with – Stephen King, Robert Bloch, China Miéville and Neil Gaiman, for example – whose stories reminded me why I liked them in the first place.

Sympathy for the Devil is a well thought out anthology, with an eclectic mix of stories all devil-related. The mix of classic and modern authors showed how the imagery of the devil has infiltrated our culture and that, despite our high tech lifestyle, the basic primaeval fears remain the same.

Rating: 7/10

Reviewer: Cara
Copy: Bought online

Title: Sympathy for the Devil (Anthology)
Editor:  Tim Pratt
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Night Shade Books (10 Aug 2010)
ISBN-10: 1597801895
ISBN-13: 978-1597801898

1 comment:

Yagiz said...

Interesting. I like this theme so I should probably read this book.

Related Posts with Thumbnails