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Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card

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Maps in a Mirror brings together nearly all of Orson Scott Card's short fiction written between 1977 and 1990. For those readers who have followed this remarkable talent since the beginning, here are all those amazing stories gathered together in one place, with some extra surprises as well. For the many who are newly come to Card, here is chance to experience the wonder o Maps in a Mirror brings together nearly all of Orson Scott Card's short fiction written between 1977 and 1990. For those readers who have followed this remarkable talent since the beginning, here are all those amazing stories gathered together in one place, with some extra surprises as well. For the many who are newly come to Card, here is chance to experience the wonder of a writer so versatile that he can handle everything from traditional narrative poetry to modern experimental fiction with equal ease and grace. The brilliant story-telling of the Alvin Maker books is no accident; the breathless excitement evoked by the Ender books is not a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In this enormous volume are forty-six stories, plus ten long, intensely personal essays, unique to this volume. In them the author reveals some of his reasons and motivations for writing, with a good deal of autobiography into the bargain. Contents: Introduction (Book 1: The Hanged Man, Tales of Dread) • essay by Orson Scott Card Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory (1979) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Quietus (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card Deep Breathing Exercises (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card Fat Farm (1980) / short story by Orson Scott Card Closing the Timelid (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card Freeway Games (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card A Sepulchre of Songs (1981) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Prior Restraint (1986) / short story by Orson Scott Card The Changed Man and the King of Words (1982) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Memories of My Head (1990) / short story by Orson Scott Card Lost Boys (1989) / short story by Orson Scott Card Afterword (Book 1: The Hanged Man, Tales of Dread) • essay by Orson Scott Card Introduction (Book 2: Flux, Tales of Human Futures) • essay by Orson Scott Card A Thousand Deaths [Tales of Capitol] (1978) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Clap Hands and Sing (1982) / short story by Orson Scott Card Dogwalker (1989) / novelette by Orson Scott Card But We Try Not to Act Like It (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card I Put My Blue Genes On (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card In the Doghouse (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card and Jay A. Parry The Originist [Foundation] (1989) / novella by Orson Scott Card Afterword (Book 2: Flux, Tales of Human Futures) • essay by Orson Scott Card Introduction (Book 3: Maps in a Mirror, Fables and Fantasies) • essay by Orson Scott Card Unaccompanied Sonata (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card A Cross-Country Trip to Kill Richard Nixon (1980) / novelette by Orson Scott Card The Porcelain Salamander (1981) • short story by Orson Scott Card Middle Woman (1981) / short story by Orson Scott Card The Bully and the Beast (1979) / novella by Orson Scott Card The Princess and the Bear (1980) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Sandmagic [Mither Mages] (1979) / novelette by Orson Scott Card The Best Day (1984) / short story by Orson Scott Card A Plague of Butterflies (1981) / short story by Orson Scott Card The Monkeys Thought 'Twas All in Fun (1979) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Afterword (Book 3: Maps in a Mirror, Fables and Fantasies) • essay by Orson Scott Card Introduction (Book 4: Cruel Miracles, Tales of Death, Hope, and Holiness) • essay by Orson Scott Card Mortal Gods (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card Saving Grace (1987) / short story by Orson Scott Card Eye for Eye (1987) / novella by Orson Scott Card St. Amy's Tale (1980) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Kingsmeat (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card Holy (1980) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Afterword (Book 4: Cruel Miracles, Tales of Death, Hope, and Holiness) • essay by Orson Scott Card Introduction (Book 5: Lost Songs, The Hidden Stories) • essay by Orson Scott Card Ender's Game [Ender Wiggin] (1977) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Mikal's Songbird (1978) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Prentice Alvin and the No-Good Plow [The Alvin Maker Saga] (1989) • poem by Orson Scott Card Malpractice (1977) / short story by Orson Scott Card Follower (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card Hitching (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card Damn Fine Novel (1989) / short story by Orson Scott Card Billy's Box (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card The Best Family Home Evening Ever (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card Bicicleta (1977) / short story by Orson Scott Card I Think Mom and Dad Are Going Crazy, Jerry (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card Gert Fram (1977) / short story by Orson Scott Card Afterword (Book 5: Lost Songs, The Hidden Stories) • essay by Orson Scott Card


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Maps in a Mirror brings together nearly all of Orson Scott Card's short fiction written between 1977 and 1990. For those readers who have followed this remarkable talent since the beginning, here are all those amazing stories gathered together in one place, with some extra surprises as well. For the many who are newly come to Card, here is chance to experience the wonder o Maps in a Mirror brings together nearly all of Orson Scott Card's short fiction written between 1977 and 1990. For those readers who have followed this remarkable talent since the beginning, here are all those amazing stories gathered together in one place, with some extra surprises as well. For the many who are newly come to Card, here is chance to experience the wonder of a writer so versatile that he can handle everything from traditional narrative poetry to modern experimental fiction with equal ease and grace. The brilliant story-telling of the Alvin Maker books is no accident; the breathless excitement evoked by the Ender books is not a once-in-a-lifetime experience. In this enormous volume are forty-six stories, plus ten long, intensely personal essays, unique to this volume. In them the author reveals some of his reasons and motivations for writing, with a good deal of autobiography into the bargain. Contents: Introduction (Book 1: The Hanged Man, Tales of Dread) • essay by Orson Scott Card Eumenides in the Fourth Floor Lavatory (1979) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Quietus (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card Deep Breathing Exercises (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card Fat Farm (1980) / short story by Orson Scott Card Closing the Timelid (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card Freeway Games (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card A Sepulchre of Songs (1981) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Prior Restraint (1986) / short story by Orson Scott Card The Changed Man and the King of Words (1982) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Memories of My Head (1990) / short story by Orson Scott Card Lost Boys (1989) / short story by Orson Scott Card Afterword (Book 1: The Hanged Man, Tales of Dread) • essay by Orson Scott Card Introduction (Book 2: Flux, Tales of Human Futures) • essay by Orson Scott Card A Thousand Deaths [Tales of Capitol] (1978) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Clap Hands and Sing (1982) / short story by Orson Scott Card Dogwalker (1989) / novelette by Orson Scott Card But We Try Not to Act Like It (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card I Put My Blue Genes On (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card In the Doghouse (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card and Jay A. Parry The Originist [Foundation] (1989) / novella by Orson Scott Card Afterword (Book 2: Flux, Tales of Human Futures) • essay by Orson Scott Card Introduction (Book 3: Maps in a Mirror, Fables and Fantasies) • essay by Orson Scott Card Unaccompanied Sonata (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card A Cross-Country Trip to Kill Richard Nixon (1980) / novelette by Orson Scott Card The Porcelain Salamander (1981) • short story by Orson Scott Card Middle Woman (1981) / short story by Orson Scott Card The Bully and the Beast (1979) / novella by Orson Scott Card The Princess and the Bear (1980) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Sandmagic [Mither Mages] (1979) / novelette by Orson Scott Card The Best Day (1984) / short story by Orson Scott Card A Plague of Butterflies (1981) / short story by Orson Scott Card The Monkeys Thought 'Twas All in Fun (1979) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Afterword (Book 3: Maps in a Mirror, Fables and Fantasies) • essay by Orson Scott Card Introduction (Book 4: Cruel Miracles, Tales of Death, Hope, and Holiness) • essay by Orson Scott Card Mortal Gods (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card Saving Grace (1987) / short story by Orson Scott Card Eye for Eye (1987) / novella by Orson Scott Card St. Amy's Tale (1980) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Kingsmeat (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card Holy (1980) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Afterword (Book 4: Cruel Miracles, Tales of Death, Hope, and Holiness) • essay by Orson Scott Card Introduction (Book 5: Lost Songs, The Hidden Stories) • essay by Orson Scott Card Ender's Game [Ender Wiggin] (1977) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Mikal's Songbird (1978) / novelette by Orson Scott Card Prentice Alvin and the No-Good Plow [The Alvin Maker Saga] (1989) • poem by Orson Scott Card Malpractice (1977) / short story by Orson Scott Card Follower (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card Hitching (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card Damn Fine Novel (1989) / short story by Orson Scott Card Billy's Box (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card The Best Family Home Evening Ever (1978) / short story by Orson Scott Card Bicicleta (1977) / short story by Orson Scott Card I Think Mom and Dad Are Going Crazy, Jerry (1979) / short story by Orson Scott Card Gert Fram (1977) / short story by Orson Scott Card Afterword (Book 5: Lost Songs, The Hidden Stories) • essay by Orson Scott Card

30 review for Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card

  1. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    5.0 stars. I have not read all of the stories in this collection, but have read the following: The Elephants of Posnan - 5.0 Stars Unaccompanied Sonata - 4.5 stars Freeway Games - 4.0 stars Lost Boys - 5.0 stars (wish I could give it 6) Quietus - 3.5 stars The Best Day - 4.0 stars Fat Farm - 5.0 stars (superb) Ender's Game - 4.5 stars Lost Boys is one of the most chilling short stories I have ever read and stayed with me long after I had finished it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Quintin Zimmermann

    I find that there are very few authors that have mastered the art of writing short fiction. This collection is divided into five distinct chapters: Dread, Human Futures, Fables and Fantasies, Death, Hope and Holiness, and Hidden Stories. Each chapter opens with an Introduction and closes with an Afterword, the genesis and thought processes behind each story in the particular chapter. There are a few absolute gems in this collection, but there is also, sad to say, a lot of drivel. For me personal I find that there are very few authors that have mastered the art of writing short fiction. This collection is divided into five distinct chapters: Dread, Human Futures, Fables and Fantasies, Death, Hope and Holiness, and Hidden Stories. Each chapter opens with an Introduction and closes with an Afterword, the genesis and thought processes behind each story in the particular chapter. There are a few absolute gems in this collection, but there is also, sad to say, a lot of drivel. For me personally, the bad outweighed the good.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Walden

    How do you review a collection of short stories? Honestly, I have no idea. Every collection has its high points and its low points. And it's not like iTunes where you can pick and choose what to buy, or where you can realistically read only the good stories and skip the stories you know you won't enjoy (for who knows your tastes as well as you do?). Pretending to be able to derive some aggregate rating for all of them seems nearly impossible. Keeping that in mind, I rate this as a five for two r How do you review a collection of short stories? Honestly, I have no idea. Every collection has its high points and its low points. And it's not like iTunes where you can pick and choose what to buy, or where you can realistically read only the good stories and skip the stories you know you won't enjoy (for who knows your tastes as well as you do?). Pretending to be able to derive some aggregate rating for all of them seems nearly impossible. Keeping that in mind, I rate this as a five for two reasons. One, there are some good stories in here -- no surprise, Card's a talented writer. My favorites (ignoring "Ender's Game", which evokes such different feelings due to its publication as a standalone novel that I feel best not considering it here) were "Kingsmeat", "A Thousand Deaths", "Fat Farm", "Sandmagic", and "Eye for Eye". (No, I didn't pick those because my tastes run macabre, although you might be forgiven for thinking so.) "Holy" also ranks up there for demonstrating how we can have empathy for even the most disgusting of customs. I also enjoyed "A Cross-Country Trip to Kill Richard Nixon" (although I wouldn't say it was otherwise notable) because of the chord it strikes in me regarding how we give too little honest consideration to our political enemies, no matter how well-meaning yet wrong-minded -- or even malign -- they might be. I also enjoyed the brief "Damn Fine Novel" just because I think so much of what's considered "good" literature now (and which literature classes have long forced students to read) is really quite awful. But two, and far more importantly, Card includes backstory and discussion of every short story presented. Sometimes it's just where he got the inkling for the story; other times it's the mechanics of how he got the story published; other times it's much more personal. I can't and won't claim to be well-read concerning short story anthologies, but I've never seen anything like this before. This extra commentary provides significant additional value. The stories here are interesting, some more so, some less so. But the commentary that accompanies them is what makes this book worth the cost.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Daniel

    OSC doesn't pull any punches. Every short story in this volume is packed with thought provoking and interesting elements. Characterization is rich despite the short format.

  5. 4 out of 5

    David

    5 stars is a rating I offer to books that are superb. They might have flaws, but they are completely overwhelmed by the whole achievement. Awarding a star rating to a massive short story collection (40+ hours of unabridged audio) is a difficult task. There are 46 short stories, and not all of them are good. However, most of them are good or decent. There are a few duds that I could count on one hand, and those are heavily outnumbered by the masterpieces in the collection. My favorites include: Dee 5 stars is a rating I offer to books that are superb. They might have flaws, but they are completely overwhelmed by the whole achievement. Awarding a star rating to a massive short story collection (40+ hours of unabridged audio) is a difficult task. There are 46 short stories, and not all of them are good. However, most of them are good or decent. There are a few duds that I could count on one hand, and those are heavily outnumbered by the masterpieces in the collection. My favorites include: Deep Breathing Exercises - a Bradburyesque tale of terror that is simple in its dread. Freeway Games - with a demented twist that would make Stephen King proud. Lost Boys - some elements that probably inspired M Night Shymalan. A Thousand Deaths - an excellent allegory on courage and dying In the Doghouse - a humorous variation on alien invasion Unaccompanied Sonata - one of the finest tales in the collection, about not being able to do what you were born to do. A Cross Country Trip to Kill Richard Nixon - a lesson in hatred and seeing the other side of a story The Bully and the Beast - my other favorite. Excellent fairy tale with wonderful allegory The Princess and the Bear - Card's fantasy stories are the best among his works in short form Saving Grace - the irony of miracles Eye for Eye- the most suspenseful and adventurous of them all. This reminded me of vintage Dean Koontz. This collection is divided into 5 sections: horror, sci-fi, fantasy, faith and death, and bonus (which include short stories that were later expanded into novels). The fantasy section was the strongest overall, but the first 4 sections all had wonderful works. The 5th section is interesting, but some of the stories failed to grip. The biggest strength of this short story collection are Card's introductions and afterwords to each section. Anybody who has ever even thought about creative writing could learn so much from just reading Card's thoughts behind each story. His description of what makes good horror versus bad horror is so illuminating and seemingly obvious that it's a shame more authors don't follow suit. His evaluation of how good religious works differs from the more typical "inspirational" literature is also eye opening. Fans of the author will enjoy this best, but readers wanting an introduction to Card will find this a good place to begin.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Christie Skipper Ritchotte

    It's a very cool thing to have all of Orson Scott Card's short stories compiled in one place. I'm not sure what it would be like to read this from cover to cover without having read his short stories before. I've read and owned the individual collections as they came out through the years, and they're all here. So many of these stories are perfect examples of what's great about short stories. My favorites are the risky tales filled with the palpable sense of dread the author seemed to have a dir It's a very cool thing to have all of Orson Scott Card's short stories compiled in one place. I'm not sure what it would be like to read this from cover to cover without having read his short stories before. I've read and owned the individual collections as they came out through the years, and they're all here. So many of these stories are perfect examples of what's great about short stories. My favorites are the risky tales filled with the palpable sense of dread the author seemed to have a direct line to. There are those I didn't like, and a couple I actively hated. I find that my favorite authors are often the most polarizing--there isn't much middle ground when you're a risk-taking author. I'm a fan of Card's earlier works that explored the fantastic and strange, stories that understand that people are the most fantastic, horrifying and strange of all creatures. Here are the risks I don't really see in the newer work; the author's fire is white hot and exploratory, although I should also say that I'm probably not the target audience of Card's current writing. If, like me, you liked the earlier books from Ender's Saga, and the others of his novels that focused a bit less on religious themes, this is the collection for you. Maps in a Mirror delivers well-developed characters, unusual places you might love to visit and others you're glad you don't have to, Card at his best, in my opinion. Those stories that weren't my cup of tea were overpowered by the ones I'll never forget, thus the five stars. (Review based mostly on memory, to be updated when I have read this cover to cover, as a single collection. I have not yet read the personal essays.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Standback

    The best all-around short story collection I've ever read. Card's stories have so much meat and human emotion in them, they're a joy to read over and over. I'm hard-pressed to find other stories that equal the strength and directness of Card's short work, and with such skill and intensity. In addition, Card's many essays - one per story, plus a few longer ones introducing each section - add lots of great personal insights - about writing, about reading, and about life in general. This one isn't j The best all-around short story collection I've ever read. Card's stories have so much meat and human emotion in them, they're a joy to read over and over. I'm hard-pressed to find other stories that equal the strength and directness of Card's short work, and with such skill and intensity. In addition, Card's many essays - one per story, plus a few longer ones introducing each section - add lots of great personal insights - about writing, about reading, and about life in general. This one isn't just for Card fans - it's for everybody. A small taste of the standout stories: A Thousand Deaths: A rebel is tortured until he repents - by killing him over and over. Saving Grace: A remarkable story of faith and acceptence. But We Try Not to Act Like It: When government-mandated entertainment is responsible for keeping citizens social and well-balanced, a recluse who just doesn't fit in finds himself horribly trapped. Middle Woman A fable of an ordinary woman granted three dangerous wishes. Unaccompanied Sonata: A musical prodigy can't contain himself in the well-ordered society he lives in. As you can see, this book is full of imagination and variety. A true gem.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Hallie

    This short story collection is a) satisfyingly large, b) well organized and c) has copious amounts of forewords and afterwords explaining the inspirations behind stories, the author's opinion on science fiction as a genre, random trivia, etc. Not all the stories in it are masterpieces, and in fact a good number of them (especially the pure fantasy ones) are kind of hilariously bad, but some of them really stood out. Particular favorites include "Quietus," "A Sepulchre of Songs," "The Monkey Thou This short story collection is a) satisfyingly large, b) well organized and c) has copious amounts of forewords and afterwords explaining the inspirations behind stories, the author's opinion on science fiction as a genre, random trivia, etc. Not all the stories in it are masterpieces, and in fact a good number of them (especially the pure fantasy ones) are kind of hilariously bad, but some of them really stood out. Particular favorites include "Quietus," "A Sepulchre of Songs," "The Monkey Thought 'Twas All in Fun," and "Saving Grace." One of my favorite things about Card's scifi is the way the scifi elements are a device of the story and not the point of it. At least in his better work, he isn't there to talk about aliens or spaceships so much as philosophy, human identity, the search for God - in sum, all the things "serious fiction" is about, just using the conventions of science fiction as tools. And since I kind of like the spaceships and aliens and such, that suits me just fine!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    This is a very interesting collection of short stories. They span Orson Scott Card's career and represent many different genres. Some stories are great and some are not so great. Card's commentary on how the stories came about and got published make even the not-so-great stories well worth the read. In the commentary, he mentions writers that inspired him or gave him ideas. I find it interesting to see what authors another writer reads. I added several books and authors mentioned in the commenta This is a very interesting collection of short stories. They span Orson Scott Card's career and represent many different genres. Some stories are great and some are not so great. Card's commentary on how the stories came about and got published make even the not-so-great stories well worth the read. In the commentary, he mentions writers that inspired him or gave him ideas. I find it interesting to see what authors another writer reads. I added several books and authors mentioned in the commentaries to my reading list. Included in this collection are a few stories that Card refers to as Mormon Fiction. I really enjoyed those stories. They offer a view into the Mormon world that I had not been exposed to. If you like Card, this book is a must read. If you are interested in the writing process, this book is a must read. I would recommend this book for anyone, as it gives you a taste of many different genres, and insight into how stories are written.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cherie

    My longtime favorite. I think that the short story form sometimes helps to pare the idea down to it's meat, and it does so here. One of the short stories (Lost Boys) later became a much less wonderful novel. You will find elements and ideas and glimpses of all his following work here too. Forty six stories, arranged by genre into 5 books and Card adds a little biographical sketch to most, explaining where he was in his life and how that informed, formed, the story. If you read Card at all you wi My longtime favorite. I think that the short story form sometimes helps to pare the idea down to it's meat, and it does so here. One of the short stories (Lost Boys) later became a much less wonderful novel. You will find elements and ideas and glimpses of all his following work here too. Forty six stories, arranged by genre into 5 books and Card adds a little biographical sketch to most, explaining where he was in his life and how that informed, formed, the story. If you read Card at all you will see that in an author's mind nothing is ever lost, old stories evolve into the next story, and a new idea mates with an old one. I have taken one story from this to build my own life around, The Best Day, a fable about moving forward and loving all of life, the best day, as well as all the worst too.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    This collection is mostly excellent but a bit uneven, especially toward the end. This makes sense as it includes Card's early, less-polished work. I was surprised by the number of different genres and story types Card has been able to write in successfully, especially by the caliber of the horror stories in the first section. I also very much appreciated the introductory and closing essays of each section, in which Card talks about his writing process and each story. This anthology is almost wor This collection is mostly excellent but a bit uneven, especially toward the end. This makes sense as it includes Card's early, less-polished work. I was surprised by the number of different genres and story types Card has been able to write in successfully, especially by the caliber of the horror stories in the first section. I also very much appreciated the introductory and closing essays of each section, in which Card talks about his writing process and each story. This anthology is almost worth buying just for those craft essays. I certainly don't plan to reread every story in this collection, but there are many I anticipate gladly coming back to.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Christopher Read

    I didn't like this book. Card does an excellent job of writing, as usual, and some stories were quite fascinating. Unfortunately on the whole it just seemed a little too dark and disturbing for me to really get into it. I'm all for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and stories that make you think, and as far as I'm concerned, Card will always be one of my favorite authors. No author will ever be able to rally fans though every single time with every single piece of literature they publish, and this one didn't do I didn't like this book. Card does an excellent job of writing, as usual, and some stories were quite fascinating. Unfortunately on the whole it just seemed a little too dark and disturbing for me to really get into it. I'm all for Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and stories that make you think, and as far as I'm concerned, Card will always be one of my favorite authors. No author will ever be able to rally fans though every single time with every single piece of literature they publish, and this one didn't do it for me.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Mac

    This is a really odd collection of stories. The first one is just flat out weirdly badass. There's another one about a music genius that's amazing, and another one about this guy that continually clones himself that is absolutely fantastic and there's another about a guy who's killed like 20 times that will make science fiction nerds drool. Mostly I think Card is goofy and overly (almost forcibly) religious in his work...but his imagination makes up for it a lot....so I guess we're cool.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jen Jenson

    Yeah, I'm finished with this. I normally like Orson Scott Card, I didn't read what this was about, before starting. If I had realized it was a bunch of short scary/mentally messing with you stories I would have not started it. I had insane dreams last night! I'm good. I think the ones I read will give me enough psychotic nightmares to last me a lifetime.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sherie Davis

    I haven't read all of this as it's a short story collection but the ones I have read are great. Very thought provoking like all of his other work I've read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cirque

    Some stuff in here is absolutely amazing, alot of it is kinda average. You should google the story "The Porcelain Salamander" because it's very very good.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Luke Paulsen

    The most impressive thing about Orson Scott Card and his Maps in a Mirror collection is the sheer variety. Most other short-story writers that I've read stick to a few well-established tropes and tricks, re-using them from story to story. Card emphatically doesn't. He has his favored motifs, to be sure-- super-talented kids being the most obvious example-- but all his stories work differently. The characters are different and I'm never quite sure what to expect. This even extends to genre. Card The most impressive thing about Orson Scott Card and his Maps in a Mirror collection is the sheer variety. Most other short-story writers that I've read stick to a few well-established tropes and tricks, re-using them from story to story. Card emphatically doesn't. He has his favored motifs, to be sure-- super-talented kids being the most obvious example-- but all his stories work differently. The characters are different and I'm never quite sure what to expect. This even extends to genre. Card writes horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and religious literature with equal panache-- each getting its own volume, more or less, in this massive 42-story collection. He even dives into specialized sub-genres like fable, fairy-tale, cyberpunk, dystopia, and ghost story without batting an eye. So what unites all the stories? Card's distinctive style. He goes places you wouldn't expect. He isn't afraid to look the crazy, violent, uncomfortable, and disturbing full in the face. He's always trying to get you to some payoff beyond the action (which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't). He takes notice of unexpected things like family and nationality and religion, and does so in unexpected ways. And through all this, he pays careful attention to the bread and butter of storytelling-- plot, suspense, character, pacing-- in a way that many writers in his genres don't. As I mentioned, the stories sometimes worked for me and sometimes didn't. Those that didn't were merely interesting (though sometimes... problematic). Those that did-- "Holy", "Dogwalker", and "The Bully and the Beast" stood out in particular-- were every bit as good as the best of Card's novels (i.e. the first three Ender books and Lost Boys). As an additional treat we get the original, short-story forms of four excellent Card novels (Ender's Game, Lost Boys, Prentice Alvin, and Songmaster). Those I couldn't so much judge on their own, but fans of the books they're based on won't want to miss them. All in all, it's a huge collection and an impressive one, and Card's introductory essays (written specifically for this book) have plenty of insight to offer. Card is admittedly an acquired taste, but if you've appreciated his other works, this is a collection you won't want to miss.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Paul Lunger

    "Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card" is one of the most bizarre collections of short stories I have perhaps ever read from an author who I have always been a fan of. This collection published in 1990 is 5 volumes of the fiction that Card published in various magazines & other platforms in the period from 1977-1989. Each subset of the fiction at times can be beyond confounding as we the reader get a glimpse into the extremely dark & gory side of the author to a sense of wonde "Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card" is one of the most bizarre collections of short stories I have perhaps ever read from an author who I have always been a fan of. This collection published in 1990 is 5 volumes of the fiction that Card published in various magazines & other platforms in the period from 1977-1989. Each subset of the fiction at times can be beyond confounding as we the reader get a glimpse into the extremely dark & gory side of the author to a sense of wonder & amazement. The works themselves also are as short as 3 pages & some go well into the 30s. It's interesting at times in some regards to see just what types of science fiction & fantasy that Card was writing over the years & while there are at times far more misses than hits in this collection it does contain at least 1 nice surprise in the original short story "Ender's Game" which would eventually become the beloved series that it is today. If the book does have a drawback it's that each of these 5 pieces contains both an introduction & an afterword which at times makes things seem as if this book should've been published in 5 parts instead of 1. There's also a bit of arrogance in the intro to book 5 which explains that some of these items were only available in a certain edition on purpose which also detracts from this book. Overall, this is a "unique" collection of stuff from Card, but also one I'd really only recommend for the die hard fans.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lexie

    I was really impressed by the first three "books" in this anthology. Especially Card's fantasy. Like I really want to read more fables from Card; I thought they were really well-thought out and strong. OSC's wit and style have the chance to shine in the short story medium. However, I was disappointed by the last two books. They were boring and forgettable. The anthology ended with a few 3 page stories in a row--leaving no room for memorability or future thought-provoking. The organization was th I was really impressed by the first three "books" in this anthology. Especially Card's fantasy. Like I really want to read more fables from Card; I thought they were really well-thought out and strong. OSC's wit and style have the chance to shine in the short story medium. However, I was disappointed by the last two books. They were boring and forgettable. The anthology ended with a few 3 page stories in a row--leaving no room for memorability or future thought-provoking. The organization was the downfall for sure. There weren't any *bad* stories, some were just more forgettable than others (the memorable short stories are THE BEST). Ones I LOVED: Lost Boys, Unaccompanied Sonata, The Bully and the Beast, all of OSC's introductions and afterwords I liked pretty much all of the first three books and the Ender's Game part. Ones I didn't get: But We Try Not to Act Like It, The Monkeys Thought Twas All in Fun, I Put My Blue Genes On The rest were forgettable :/ but I love OSC and the first part was just SO STRONG

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    I originally read this collection of short stories by Orson Scott Card when I was a teenager. I have read it so many times that I could probably tell some of them to my toddler daughter from memory. I love Orson Scott Card's ability to create tales that read almost as fables; this ability shines through particularly well in short story format. Many people either love Card or hate him. He has received much negativity due to his views on same-sex marriage, or rather, for stating those views public I originally read this collection of short stories by Orson Scott Card when I was a teenager. I have read it so many times that I could probably tell some of them to my toddler daughter from memory. I love Orson Scott Card's ability to create tales that read almost as fables; this ability shines through particularly well in short story format. Many people either love Card or hate him. He has received much negativity due to his views on same-sex marriage, or rather, for stating those views publicly. To the point of people actually boycotting the movie Ender's Game. I haven't seen the movie, but not because I'm boycotting it. I just happen to love the book Ender's Game so much that I'm still a little afraid to watch the movie. I disagree with that particular stance (same-sex marriage = bad), but inasmuch as I have read so MUCH of his work, and have come from a very religious upbringing myself, I UNDERSTAND the kind of life and upbringing that created his belief structure. I respect the right of any person to hold to whatever belief system they choose. I make a small hobby of reading an author's entire body of work (particularly fiction authors), and then reverse engineering my perception of what makes said author tick; their belief structures, what they love, what they hate, their politics, passions and fears, their understanding of the world around them, their interpretation of history. Almost anything and everything about an author can be teased from what they write, because in the end, a person can NOT write what they don't know, or understand. I think it's more fun to do this particular type of analysis with fiction authors, because I love rebelling against the concept that there is nothing to be learned from fiction, particular fantasy and science fiction. There is MUCH to be learned. So along with my love of reading, I combine my love of understanding PEOPLE. And by reading (a lot), I begin to understand. This can't be done with an author that has released a single book. Well, it can be done, but only in sketch. For a more intimate understanding, there must be MUCH writing to dissect. Particularly prolific authors are the most fun. My most recent project was Anne Rice. I read or re-read everything she's ever written this year (except her autobiographical Called Out of Darkness: A Spiritual Confession, because I wanted to unlock the Anne Rice puzzle without resorting to being told anything straight out). Now that's one interesting woman. But I digress. Orson Scott Card. And Maps in a Mirror. When I first read Maps in a Mirror, I didn't know Card was a Mormon. I didn't know he was against same-sex marriage. I just knew that he had written a series of books that ranks among my favorite of all time (Ender's Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and Children of the Mind were all that were published at the time, this was long before the Shadow series came about), and certainly a BOOK (Ender's Game) that has been one of my favorite works for almost as long as I can remember. Ender's Game is a book you can keep going back to as you get older and continue to get something new from it. It's truly awesome. Maps in a Mirror, as I mentioned, is a collection of short stories. From a VERY fertile mind. Unlike some, knowing that he has beliefs that I disagree with has absolutely no affect on my enjoyment of his skill as a writer. His writing speaks for itself (and for who he is as a person). And for that matter, a person having one, or two, or ten opinions on things I disagree with has nothing at all to do with whether or not I like that PERSON. I respect even those I disagree with, as long as they have a reason for their opinions that isn't just parroting the party line (which is why politics are so meh), that is truly heart-felt or reasoned out. And yes, a faith-based reason for disagreeing with someone counts, because I respect the fact that people who HAVE faith have... faith. I believe that Orson Scott Card is a genuinely GOOD person (GOOD = continually trying to improve his understanding of the world and better himself as a human being) who happens to have some opinions that I disagree with. Because I've read almost everything he's ever written. This isn't sounding much like a review of Maps in a Mirror, but I've been checking "Read" on book after book by Card as I work on my Card-Entire-Body-Of-Work-Readthrough and I simply chose this book to review because I felt that what I had to say about Card needed to be said. If anyone stopped their child from reading Ender's Game because they knew that Orson Scott Card disagreed with same-sex marriage, it would be a damn shame. Because Ender's Game is a book EVERYONE should read. Maps in a Mirror is, in the end, a collection of short stories. But those stories, individually and collectively, are excellent. I have my favorites, naturally (Unaccompanied Sonata, Kingsmeat are just two), but I would highly recommend the collection as a whole. There is something in this collection for everyone. Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Speculative Fiction, you name it. If you like a good yarn, if you enjoy reading stories that you will REMEMBER for decades, even a few that resonate with your entire being, you should read this collection. Read a story a month. Stick it in your bathroom. Stick it on your coffee table. But read it. It's worth it. And even if you don't enjoy every story, there are some absolute gems that will stay with you forever. Orson Scott Card is a master storyteller, and you would be doing yourself a disservice if you denied yourself the joy of reading some of the best short stories he has ever written.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joseph Young

    It's interesting to read Card's old work and see how he's progressed. To be honest, I found his first stories brutal and about punishment. It seems like he writes about horrible people and how they get their come-uppance, in different ways. The subsequent chapters are somewhat less harsh, and more enjoyable. I did quite enjoy his Foundation tribute.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Don

    Did not finish. Got bored really quickly after the first dozen tales. May had been the next thing to the invention of sliced bread for some folks, but...no thanks, as it did not do anything for me entertainment-wise. His early stories are sort of bland and I refused to let this get in the way of taking the time—my time—I could had used in reading something more to my likings. Period.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Bobbitt

    Card is certainly an author who I believe is better at writing short stories than novels. However, I don't like this enough to keep it on my shelf. Too much exposure to Card's other works and disappointment at the same? Maybe.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Short stories by the author of Ender's Game. There are mysteries, sci fi, fantasy. Some that could be described as fairy tales. Some stories were better than others. Interesting if you like the author.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    Interesting thoughts and story ideas throughout the book. 'The Originist' is hands down the best story in this book. I was impressed with the writing and how easily and well it could fit into Asimov's 'Foundation' series. I liked reading the novelleta 'Ender's Game' as well.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ben

    Particularly the Monkey Sonatas collection is excellent. This is to the Science Fiction genre as whiskey is to alcohol.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Terry

    Best stories: Originist, Ender's Game, and Unaccompanied Sonata

  28. 4 out of 5

    Tobreth Hansen

    my favorite just might have been the essay he reads at the beginning about stories

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan Mitchell

    As in all short story anthology collections, some stories were great, and some were okay. Worth reading if you enjoy Card’s other works.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Seth W.

    Long book. Well worth it for the aspiring writer simply to read the essays between the short stories.

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