Friday, January 22, 2016

Black Dog, by Neil Gaiman

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(Horror) A young American man wanders into a gloomy English village where legend tells of a spectral black dog which is the harbinger of death. (13,600 words; Time: 45m)

Rating: ★★★★☆, Recommended
Recommended By: SFEP

"Black Dog," by , appeared in Trigger Warning, published on by .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

Pro: It's delicious to reread the story once you know that Cassie is a ghost; so many of the things she says take on a completely different meaning. E.g. When they're on the hill, not far from where her body lies, and Shadow says that she must be cold, she replies "I'm cold," and adds "But, up here, I'm used to it."

Once we realize that Cassie is a ghost, it's not long before we deduce that Ollie murdered her, and even that her body is in the Gateway to Hell. It's still a shock that Ollie entombed her alive, though. (Just like the mummified cat in the tavern.)

Shadow's very plain way of speaking and thinking is charming, and it's good that even though he gets divine advice, he ultimate solves his problem himself.

Con: Those who didn't read American Gods will probably be a bit confused about Shadow's relationship with goddesses like Bast. Unlike American Gods, there is no one in the story who engages us emotionally.

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