I used to love short stories. A collection of Asimov or Clarke or Bradbury short stories? I was a happy camper, as a kid. But something happened along the way. Suddenly, I just had no desire to read short stories at all. I don’t know why. Maybe it was that I wanted a longer commitment with the book I was reading, something that was going to keep with me past 30 or so pages. Or if I were going to invest my emotions as a reader with characters, I wanted them to stay with me for hundreds of pages.
Perhaps that’s one reason I loved the Night’s Dawn trilogy by Peter F. Hamilton. Published in three books in the UK (nine in the US), each of the books (The Reality Dysfunction, The Neutronium Alchemist & The Naked God) is more than 1,000 pages long. Now that’s a commitment! Of course, I’m a pretty fast reader, so that’s another reason a 1,000 page plus book goes over well with me. It’s going to last a bit longer.
Hamilton’s trilogy is rich with characters and really is a page turner. And unlike Kevin J. Anderson’s Saga Of Seven Suns series (seven novels, I’ve done the first five), you don’t feel like it’s stuffed with filler. I do like Anderson’s writing, but each novel seems to barely progress things.
But suddenly, I’m back in the groove with short stories. I’ve had this copy of Counting Up, Counting Down — alternative reality short stories by Harry Turtledove — on the “to read” bookshelf for ages. For whatever reason, I finally dusted it off this week and started in. I knocked off the first story and found I really enjoyed it, that didn’t mind that it was going to come to an end so quickly. It may have been brief, but I enjoyed it — as the other ones I’m reading. It’s nice to rediscover the joys of short stories.