Fantasy writer Neil Gaiman hosts a Halloween special featuring two of his own stories and a classic by John Collier.
The title says it all in “When We Went to See the End of the World by Dawnie Morningside, Age 11¼.” Gaiman says he imagined a young girl writing an essay for school, but the story has the wistful, unintentional irony of a grown world viewed through a child’s eyes. SHORTS regular reader Kirsten Vangsness, a star of the television series “Criminal Minds,” is a friend of Gaiman’s, and demanded to read this. Good thing too.
Gaiman himself reads John Collier’s eerie “Evening Primrose,” about a secret society that inhabits a large department store. He says it’s a pity that Collier isn’t better known, as he was the creator of many an eerie tale, as well as other works including the screenplay for “African Queen.” “Evening Primrose” has been adapted in a number of other media, notably as a musical by Stephen Sondheim; for the radio series “Escape;” and by the BBC. It was originally published in 1951 in the collection Fancies and Goodnights.
The program finishes with another Gaiman story, “July Tale.” It was part of a crowd-sourced fiction project that he did in conjunction with Blackberry, asking people to write in response to questions he posed Twitter. The result was “Calendar Tales,” a story for each month of the year. In this one, a lovesick husband builds an igloo out of books. (Gaiman’s tweet was “What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen in July?”) Gaiman reads.
A Halloween extra!
Neil Gaiman did a special studio recording of another one of the calendar tales. In this one, “June Tale”, an exasperated ‘tween recounts the endless quarrelling of her parents, but between the lines, there seems to be love.