Tuesday, 22 September 2015

A selection of thoughts on Paul Cornell's A Better Way to Die

A Better Way to Die by Paul Cornell

A Better Way to Die - By Paul Cornell

I picked up a (signed numbered, limited edition hardback) of this at Nine Worlds and have been dipping in and out of it since. I'm a slow reader of short stories, generally squeezing them in between novels. I'm a big fan of the short form though and it's a pleasure to read someone who obviously approaches the short form with care and attention.

Of course, as with any collection or anthology, there are stories that hit the mark immediately and stories that don't, and stories that creep up on you days later when you realise that your subconscious has been chewing it over. (this especially happened with Ramesses on the Frontier - From The Book of the Dead )

Cornell's entire professionally published stories are here in the hard back version (the paperback has less stories apparently) and it's a hugely interesting journey to take part in. At the end of most stores is an authorial blurb about where the story came from. These are gold, I love it when authors do that and when it isn't a themed collection, and is pretty much a biographical one, then those notes are pretty much required.

It was nice to see that Cornell was ever experimental and had a large palette. I've read, and enjoyed, the Shadow Police and based on this short story collection would track down more of his work.

It's hard to highlight individual stories but I must admit that my fabourites were: The Occurrence of Slocombe Priory, a really fun tale in the style of MR James, with some unexpected visitors, More & The elephant in the room which were set in the wild cards universe and One of our bastards is missing a Jonathan Hamilton story (of which there are several in the book) -  there is apparently an audio version of this story which I'll have to track down.

Recommended.


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