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Keeper of Dreams: Short Fiction

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This huge collection of short stories by one of science fiction's most beloved and popular writers is sure to please his millions of fans. Keeper of Dreams contains 22 stories written since 1990. From the opening science fiction tale, "The Elephants of Poznan," we see the hand of a master at work making a familiar idea new, strange, and wonderful. "Angles" takes a sideways This huge collection of short stories by one of science fiction's most beloved and popular writers is sure to please his millions of fans. Keeper of Dreams contains 22 stories written since 1990. From the opening science fiction tale, "The Elephants of Poznan," we see the hand of a master at work making a familiar idea new, strange, and wonderful. "Angles" takes a sideways look at alternate universes. "Geriatric Ward" is published here for the first time; it was originally written for the legendary Last Dangerous Visions. Keeper of Dreams contains science fiction, fantasy, and several of Card's mainstream fiction works. Included are two tales from the Alvin Maker universe, "Grinning Man" and "The Yazoo Queen." In addition to the stories, this book features new introductions by Orson Scott Card for each story, with commentary on his life and work. With the earlier Maps in a Mirror, this collection is a definitive retrospective of the short fiction career of the writer that the Houston Post called "the best writer science fiction has to offer."


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This huge collection of short stories by one of science fiction's most beloved and popular writers is sure to please his millions of fans. Keeper of Dreams contains 22 stories written since 1990. From the opening science fiction tale, "The Elephants of Poznan," we see the hand of a master at work making a familiar idea new, strange, and wonderful. "Angles" takes a sideways This huge collection of short stories by one of science fiction's most beloved and popular writers is sure to please his millions of fans. Keeper of Dreams contains 22 stories written since 1990. From the opening science fiction tale, "The Elephants of Poznan," we see the hand of a master at work making a familiar idea new, strange, and wonderful. "Angles" takes a sideways look at alternate universes. "Geriatric Ward" is published here for the first time; it was originally written for the legendary Last Dangerous Visions. Keeper of Dreams contains science fiction, fantasy, and several of Card's mainstream fiction works. Included are two tales from the Alvin Maker universe, "Grinning Man" and "The Yazoo Queen." In addition to the stories, this book features new introductions by Orson Scott Card for each story, with commentary on his life and work. With the earlier Maps in a Mirror, this collection is a definitive retrospective of the short fiction career of the writer that the Houston Post called "the best writer science fiction has to offer."

30 review for Keeper of Dreams: Short Fiction

  1. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

    I always have mixed feelings about Card's short fiction, and that continued with this book. Several of the stories were great; I especially liked the Hatrack River ones. There were some others, such as "Angles," that I would like to see developed into novels. Some of them felt a little unfinished. All in all, though, it was an enjoyable read, and the great thing about it being a book of short fiction was that I didn't stay up all night reading it, the way I usually do when I get one of his I always have mixed feelings about Card's short fiction, and that continued with this book. Several of the stories were great; I especially liked the Hatrack River ones. There were some others, such as "Angles," that I would like to see developed into novels. Some of them felt a little unfinished. All in all, though, it was an enjoyable read, and the great thing about it being a book of short fiction was that I didn't stay up all night reading it, the way I usually do when I get one of his books. The stories were still page-turners (I was never bored), but I was able to force myself to stop when I finished a story or two, instead of having to read the whole thing from beginning to end. There were definitely several 5-star stories, a couple that were 3-star, and maybe even one or two that I personally found 2-star stories, but overall I would put most of the stories in the 4-star range; hence the rating.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael Anderson

    Disappointing. I read Maps in a Mirror years ago and remember the stories to be consistently above average and as enjoyable as his novels were at the time. This book, not so much. Angles is wonderful, but several of the others seemed to be unfinished or otherwise didn’t go anywhere. Too bad.

  3. 4 out of 5

    stormin

    This is one of those reviews that I'm writing long after the fact as catch-up. I read the book back in October 2017 and I'm reviewing it in July 2018. I looked at the table of contents to remind myself of the stories that I'd read, but the stories stuck with me enough that several of them were still pretty vibrant almost a year later even though I'd made no particular effort to keep them in mind. Atlantis, in particular, is a great one. No one can tell a good shaggy god story like Card. Mostly, This is one of those reviews that I'm writing long after the fact as catch-up. I read the book back in October 2017 and I'm reviewing it in July 2018. I looked at the table of contents to remind myself of the stories that I'd read, but the stories stuck with me enough that several of them were still pretty vibrant almost a year later even though I'd made no particular effort to keep them in mind. Atlantis, in particular, is a great one. No one can tell a good shaggy god story like Card. Mostly, I was just really impressed by Card's versatility. I feel like a lot of the really great writers are like that. Stephen King comes to mind, for example. Sure, he did a lot of horror, but he's also written sci-fi, historical fiction, dramas, etc. Card is, if anything, more versatile, writing everything from pretty conventional sci-if (especially Ender's Game, of course) to weird fusion history/fantasy (Prentice Alvin) to biblical fiction and modern fantasy and a lot more. Sadly, something else I realized was that I only had volume 1 of this collection on Audible. That's about 220 pages (according to Google Books) when there are actually 4 more volumes and another 400+ pages I'm missing out on. That's a bummer, but I'm also sure I'll get back to them. I really enjoyed reading the entire collected words of Arthur C. Clarke, and I'd like to go through the entire collected works of a few more authors, as well. Sci-fi fiction is in my blood so deep that I really can't imagine the world without it. I don't actually talk about sci-fi that much from day-to-day, nor do I really have that much sci-fi stuff visible in my life. I'd even say that much less than 50% of what I read these days is sci-fi. But it's still home. And, among the genre, Orson Scott Card is probably the author who has meant the most to me. I hope he reads a story of mine one day.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Greer

    *I could only get my hands on the first volume of this collection (I think that's like the first 5 stories) so I'm only reviewing that until I find the other books. Orson Scott Card is such a legend. He's one of the most versatile writers I know of, and I've always enjoyed his approach to storytelling. So it doesn't come as much surprise that I enjoyed these short stories as much as I did. They're unique and creative, they keep me entertained, and they most always deal with serious topics laying *I could only get my hands on the first volume of this collection (I think that's like the first 5 stories) so I'm only reviewing that until I find the other books. Orson Scott Card is such a legend. He's one of the most versatile writers I know of, and I've always enjoyed his approach to storytelling. So it doesn't come as much surprise that I enjoyed these short stories as much as I did. They're unique and creative, they keep me entertained, and they most always deal with serious topics laying just underneath the surface of a less serious plot line. Probably my favorite from this collection, like many others have noted, was Atlantis, which was an incredible retelling of several very familiar stories into something entirely new and entirely believable. I'm grateful for writers like Orson Scott Card who were able to capture my attention as a young teenager and have held on to it as I continue to grow and reach out into the world.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Falbs

    There are a few real gems in this collection, but I was hoping for a little more science fiction and a little less of everything else (fantasy, serious lit, religious, Hatrack, etc.). It did give me some interesting insights into what it means to him to be a Mormon, and a couple of the fantasy stories had some interesting ideas behind them, but not much 'hard' science fiction. It's also a bit of a slog, I don't think it really needed to be over 650 pages long. I wish I'd just read the science There are a few real gems in this collection, but I was hoping for a little more science fiction and a little less of everything else (fantasy, serious lit, religious, Hatrack, etc.). It did give me some interesting insights into what it means to him to be a Mormon, and a couple of the fantasy stories had some interesting ideas behind them, but not much 'hard' science fiction. It's also a bit of a slog, I don't think it really needed to be over 650 pages long. I wish I'd just read the science fiction bit and stopped after that, but that's not really the way I read books. Once I get started, it has to be truly awful for me to put it down, and it surely wasn't that, it just wasn't really up my alley. There was one story in the lit section entitled "Feed the Baby of Love" that was truly amazing though, so I'm glad I did manage to get to that one.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    some of the stories were interesting and thought provoking, and as a result I am reading some of his other works. the Alvin Maker series is not my favorite, and I have a hard time investing in those characters, so I didn't finish reading at that point. In general, if I don't finish a book, I don't give it better than 3 stars. that may be misleading here because it is a collection of works rather than one story. there were several stories that I wanted more, so I think you can find some real some of the stories were interesting and thought provoking, and as a result I am reading some of his other works. the Alvin Maker series is not my favorite, and I have a hard time investing in those characters, so I didn't finish reading at that point. In general, if I don't finish a book, I don't give it better than 3 stars. that may be misleading here because it is a collection of works rather than one story. there were several stories that I wanted more, so I think you can find some real treasures in this anthology.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    Excellent. I'm admitted fan of Card and I was still surprised by how much I liked all of these stories. In fact, the Pastwatch short story was my whole reason for grabbing this collection was probably my least favorite, I liked the other stories that much. I can't make any judgement on the Hatrack section, however. I haven't ready Card's Alvin Maker books, so I didn't want to read those short stories. I'll have to circle back to those someday when I finally read the novels.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Craig

    There were some really interesting and entertaining stories in this collection. There were a couple duds too. Overall, it was well worth reading. Good pacing, none of his "speaching" from some of his later work!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Don Gubler

    Only for the insatiable Card fan.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shobha Prabhakar

    Picked it up randomly at the library and it was a pleasant surprise. Every short story ended with me wishing it hadn’t. Great collection!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Nicholas Bobbitt

    Again, Card is okay but not anything really to call home about. Maybe my tolerance for him is shot, but I remember liking this a lot more than I do.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    I had wanted to read this collection for a while, and I noticed that the Kindle priced had dropped to something reasonable, so I picked it up a few weeks ago. The stories cover a wide range of topics, with only two stories from one of Card's well known settings (the Alvin Maker setting), and with most of them previously unpublished or published in a limited manner. I quite liked all but the Alvin Maker stories, although I was a bit surprised to find that many of the ones in the first section I had wanted to read this collection for a while, and I noticed that the Kindle priced had dropped to something reasonable, so I picked it up a few weeks ago. The stories cover a wide range of topics, with only two stories from one of Card's well known settings (the Alvin Maker setting), and with most of them previously unpublished or published in a limited manner. I quite liked all but the Alvin Maker stories, although I was a bit surprised to find that many of the ones in the first section would qualify as horror or close to it, at least in my opinion. They were still very good and I enjoyed them, it just wasn't exactly what I was expecting. The last section of the book covers a few stories Card has written as Mormon stories, and despite his pages of disclaimers I personally enjoyed them significantly even though I am not Mormon at all. The Alvin Maker stories were okay, I guess, but they both centered around Alvin journeying with Arthuer Stuart, who is my least favorite character that Card has ever written, so I slogged through them just to complete them. Overall the stories were very good, covered a wider range than I had previously known of Card's work, and the notes and commentary included at the end of each story were interesting and provided a neat "behind the scenes" look at how writing and publishing can affect what stories are told and how they are disseminated.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Gold

    So here's what I like about Orson Scott Card: his universes are unique and well-detailed, his characters interact explosively, and his words don't get in the way of his stories. This book, as a short-story collection, clouds over some of Card's opportunities to shine. My favorite tales were set in a universe I already knew - that of his Alvin Maker series - because I slipped right back into a nicely-crafted world full of the details I love so much. But I found that the other stories all seemed So here's what I like about Orson Scott Card: his universes are unique and well-detailed, his characters interact explosively, and his words don't get in the way of his stories. This book, as a short-story collection, clouds over some of Card's opportunities to shine. My favorite tales were set in a universe I already knew - that of his Alvin Maker series - because I slipped right back into a nicely-crafted world full of the details I love so much. But I found that the other stories all seemed to be based on a moral-of-the-story idea or a predictable story arc, and these days I want to be surprised by my reading. Some ideas were better than others, and he openly admits in the notes following each story (an inclusion I appreciate) that some of the compositions were silly or hurried or incomplete. But there were two precursors to one of his more recent books, Magic Street, which I hadn't yet read, and watching Card crack his knuckles and start constructing another setting made me reach out and download Magic Street. I can never quite give up on authors I've loved, even when they disappoint me time and time again. OH MAN ALSO Mormon stories are included, reading those was weird but totally satisfied some odd voyeuristic instinct. They're intended for Mormons to read, but they seem to be ethical pastiches written for adults with mild learning disabilities.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Charli

    SLJ review: Adult/High School— The prolific Card published one short story collection, Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card (Tor, 1990), which supposedly included all of the short fiction he was willing to share. But apparently there are now a lot more selections, as demonstrated by this hefty volume. This compilation, composed of science fiction, fantasy, literary tales, and Mormon stories contains no clunkers. There is some truly innovative and wonderful storytelling here. SLJ review: Adult/High School— The prolific Card published one short story collection, Maps in a Mirror: The Short Fiction of Orson Scott Card (Tor, 1990), which supposedly included all of the short fiction he was willing to share. But apparently there are now a lot more selections, as demonstrated by this hefty volume. This compilation, composed of science fiction, fantasy, literary tales, and Mormon stories contains no clunkers. There is some truly innovative and wonderful storytelling here. Card's ability to create believable characters that readers come to care about remains his strongest selling point. Sometimes those characters happen into other worlds, as in "Space Boy" and "Dust." Other times they stay firmly grounded in this one, yet their stories give a new and different perspective on life. Teens who enjoy Card's earlier work, who like short stories, or who are just looking for a new world to lose themselves in can't go wrong here. Standout stories include "Space Boy," "Homeless in Hell," "Inventing Lovers on the Phone," and "50 WPM." Short essays give the origins of the individual selections.—Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI

  15. 5 out of 5

    DaughterDaDa

    Orson Scott Cards' "Keeper of Dreams" is a collection of his short stories previously published elsewhere. You might enjoy some of them (the quality of these stories is uneven) as an introduction to his style of writing; they are not all science fiction. One of the nice things about this collection is that he makes comments after each story in an afterword (which I usually read first). I liked the science fiction short stories in the first section of this book the best. "Angles" and "Space Boy" Orson Scott Cards' "Keeper of Dreams" is a collection of his short stories previously published elsewhere. You might enjoy some of them (the quality of these stories is uneven) as an introduction to his style of writing; they are not all science fiction. One of the nice things about this collection is that he makes comments after each story in an afterword (which I usually read first). I liked the science fiction short stories in the first section of this book the best. "Angles" and "Space Boy" were both pretty interesting and funny. The two stories that took place in a fantasy American frontier (Hatrack River) were funny but predictable, e.g., "The Yazoo Queen". Some of the stories in the other sections were a bit too weird for my taste, although "Homeless in Hell" had some interesting things to say. Card often injects a certain amount of weirdness and coarseness into his writing, which doesn't appeal to me.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cliff

    I am admittedly a huge Orson Scott Card fan. He is nothing, if not prolific, and this is his second collection of short stories. The notes he adds to each story help to provide a sense of place for each tale, and yield a look into his writing methods. But by the nature of them, it's hard to really get too much into them, because by the time you find yourself invested in the tale, it's practically over. This has the benefit of making it easy to find a place to stop, but it doesn't push you to keep I am admittedly a huge Orson Scott Card fan. He is nothing, if not prolific, and this is his second collection of short stories. The notes he adds to each story help to provide a sense of place for each tale, and yield a look into his writing methods. But by the nature of them, it's hard to really get too much into them, because by the time you find yourself invested in the tale, it's practically over. This has the benefit of making it easy to find a place to stop, but it doesn't push you to keep reading. Some of stories are amazing, "Atlantis" which is the supposed pre-cursor to his second Pastwatch novel practically demanded a full novel be written around it. The Hatrack River stories brought me squarely back into the world of Alvin Maker and now I'm itching to return to those books. But, in the end, these are just tidbits of tales, those looking to lose themselves into a book aren't going to find it for too long here.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Brian

    As excited as I was to read another collection of Card short stories, my excitement fell short of surpassing my disappoint. This is not as engrossing as maps in a mirror, nor any Card full length. Unfortunately many of these stories felt somewhat underdeveloped; several of them went on to become minor subplots in other novels, and having previously read them in that context was variously interesting and frustrating. Interesting to note the changes in adapting them into another story and As excited as I was to read another collection of Card short stories, my excitement fell short of surpassing my disappoint. This is not as engrossing as maps in a mirror, nor any Card full length. Unfortunately many of these stories felt somewhat underdeveloped; several of them went on to become minor subplots in other novels, and having previously read them in that context was variously interesting and frustrating. Interesting to note the changes in adapting them into another story and frustrating to essentially be reading the same story a second time in a less developed form. That said, the Alvin Maker stories far and away drew me in most fully, and for that matter, sometimes Card's half developed ideas can read better than other writers' best work.

  18. 4 out of 5

    John

    Technically, I did not read the WHOLE book. This book is a series of short stories and I read almost all of them. The ones that I left out were stories I had read before, or Christmas ones. Since we're in the middle of June, I wasn't really in the mood to read a couple of Christmas stories. But, since I read the vast majority of the book I feel that I can leave a small review. That being this was a great book, full of stories that can be read in one to two sittings. These stories range from the Technically, I did not read the WHOLE book. This book is a series of short stories and I read almost all of them. The ones that I left out were stories I had read before, or Christmas ones. Since we're in the middle of June, I wasn't really in the mood to read a couple of Christmas stories. But, since I read the vast majority of the book I feel that I can leave a small review. That being this was a great book, full of stories that can be read in one to two sittings. These stories range from the recently written all the way to the very beginning of Orson Scott Card's career. I'd recommend this book to almost anyone...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Kyrnin

    This is a great book of short stories by OSC. It's not all science fiction and there are no stories in the Enderverse. What I found most interesting were the "Mormon" stories he includes in the collection. I don't know much about that culture, and those four stories were an interesting glimpse. There are also two stories about Alvin Maker, plus a number of fantasy and science fiction stories. This is a very heavy book, so it was hard to read simply because the hardbound book was difficult to This is a great book of short stories by OSC. It's not all science fiction and there are no stories in the Enderverse. What I found most interesting were the "Mormon" stories he includes in the collection. I don't know much about that culture, and those four stories were an interesting glimpse. There are also two stories about Alvin Maker, plus a number of fantasy and science fiction stories. This is a very heavy book, so it was hard to read simply because the hardbound book was difficult to hold. An excellent prospect for the Kindle? :-)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ariel Celeste

    A large and interesting anthology of Card's work from his better known Ender and Alvin writing to unpublished or little known short stories to a few of his mormon stories. Some of them are great, some not so, a few even awful. He comments after each one and even points out which ones were flops or just didn't work, no matter how much he wanted them to. It was inspiring to see a writer I respect share his process as well as the good, the bad, and the awful. One story even felt very personal to me A large and interesting anthology of Card's work from his better known Ender and Alvin writing to unpublished or little known short stories to a few of his mormon stories. Some of them are great, some not so, a few even awful. He comments after each one and even points out which ones were flops or just didn't work, no matter how much he wanted them to. It was inspiring to see a writer I respect share his process as well as the good, the bad, and the awful. One story even felt very personal to me which was a nice change from his SF.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Kingston

    So far, the stories are seeming like Card has gotten a little full of himself, and thinks he's a genius, kind of like Shyamalan in that last movie. I have loved Card's storytelling in the past, but it's not as crisp in these. The invention is there, though. And, as usual, there's a heavy cosmic/religious overtone, if it's not the outright center of story. I have to say, though, that I loved the Noah story. It's a perfect example of (pretend) folk history, and how things get blown out of So far, the stories are seeming like Card has gotten a little full of himself, and thinks he's a genius, kind of like Shyamalan in that last movie. I have loved Card's storytelling in the past, but it's not as crisp in these. The invention is there, though. And, as usual, there's a heavy cosmic/religious overtone, if it's not the outright center of story. I have to say, though, that I loved the Noah story. It's a perfect example of (pretend) folk history, and how things get blown out of proportion through the ages.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Charlie Whitney

    Loved the initial short concepts but many definitely read as failed book ideas as Card readily admits. This is not to say they aren't good stories, but for the majority I can understand why they weren't translated into full length novels. My interest notably trailed off once I entered the literary section. The commentary, while very insightful, in some cases I'd wish I'd not read. Still, a pretty interesting read and at the very least makes a revisit to Enders Game a necessity.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Christensen

    I had read many of these stories already either in anthologies or online, but not all of them. I liked the Hatrack stories the best. I saved The Elephants of Poznan to read last as I had a strong reaction to it when I read it online; isn't it weird how stories can be different after time has passed and they are read a second time. It was still good, but a lot shorter than I remembered from before.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Aroura

    Over 600 pages worth of short stories and jam-packed with fascinating and diverse, but almost always moving, tales. (Sci-fi, fantasy, "mormon", and realistic) My favorites are "Inventing Lovers on the Phone", "Feed the Baby of Love", "Dust", "50 WPM", "The Yazoo Queen", and "Worthy to be one of Us". I would recommend this book to everyone just to read "Feed the Baby of Love" though. A very very powerful story!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    A pretty decent collection. Rating/reviewing anthologies is hard because I like some of the stories more than others, but most are 3-star or 4-star stories, I'd say. "Inventing Lovers on the Phone" was probably my favorite, although it's hard to say why I liked it so much. The collection is divided into science fiction, fantasy (these two categories are 2/3 of the book), literary, Hatrack River, and Mormon-themed stories.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    I shan't make the mistake of checking out a huge book of short stories from the library again -- how am I to dip back in and reread my favorites without a dogeared copy? Here, for my own reference, are some of those particularly worth re-reading: Homeless in Hell Inventing Lovers on the Phone Feed the Baby of Love Dust One thing that surprised me was that I rather enjoyed his "Mormon stories" in this volume -- I remember finding them all rather blah in his earlier comprehensive collection.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Wendy Lu

    brilliant. though i really shouldn't have gotten my hands on this the week of exams. 656 pages in a few days would've been fine any other time, but right now it probably wasn't the best executive decision...(goes back to study for ap stats' midterm) favorites, for future reference: Atlantis Dust Inventing Lovers on the Phone Christmas at Helaman's House Neighbors (four paragraphs in and i got it :D -- satire on nativity) Worthy to Be One of Us

  28. 5 out of 5

    Betsy Dion

    There were some great stories in this anthology. And despite being by the same author, there was enough variety that it did not feel repetitive. I liked the science fiction stories much more than the fanstasy stories, but I am not sure why. The small section of Mormon stories at the end were also quite interesting--there is a whole subculture there that I know almost nothing about. I also really liked the short bit after each story, giving some background on the idea/context/etc.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tracy

    These short stories were entertaining but I still have trouble reading short stories. I'm one who likes to get immersed in a book and you can't do that with a short story. Some of these stories were related to other books I've read by Card and it was fun to revisit those characters. It is like seeing an old friend again. The Mormon stories at the back made me homesick for Utah. I do miss the Rockies.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Keri-Lynn

    Not bad. All the stores were written by Orson Scott Card, not just edited or complied as some Sci-Fi short story collections I've read lately where his name was figured prominently. The stories were definitely a cut above and what I really appreciated was the author's personal note at the end of each story giving a little background on it and/or what inspired it. Some were excellent, some were good, and there was only one I didn't bother finishing.

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