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Summer Tales: Reading #1

Summer Tales was launched to create virtual communities for students taking classes remotely promising short mental breaks from coursework through a fool-proof method of distraction.

Why Should You Read This Story?

Neil Gaiman is one of the most prolific authors of fantasy and young adult fiction today and has published across a wide range of genres.  If you've enjoyed comics like Sandman or novels like Good OmensAmerican Gods, and Coraline -- or if you've ever felt nervous at a party or awkward around a crush -- come enjoy his Hugo Award-nominated short story about two boarding-school boys attempting to talk to girls (or so they think)!  Gaiman uses hints of supernatural forces at work to capture the anxiety and confusion of being a teenager, trying to play it cool when you're only dimly aware of what's really going on...

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About the Author

Neil Richard MacKinnon Gaiman (born Neil Richard Gaiman, 10 November 1960) is an English author of short fiction, novels, comic books, graphic novels, nonfiction, audio theatre, and films. His works include the comic book series The Sandman and novels Stardust, American Gods, Coraline, and The Graveyard Book. He has won numerous awards, including the Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards, as well as the Newbery and Carnegie medals. He is the first author to win both the Newbery and the Carnegie medals for the same work, The Graveyard Book (2008). In 2013, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was voted Book of the Year in the British National Book Awards. [Wikipedia]

He is the author of 2,734 works in 9,217 publications in 32 languages and 209,648 library holdings .[WorldCat]

                                                                 

Audiobooks by Neil Gaiman (Open Culture)

  • Coraline (Read in its entirety by Neil Gaiman and friends) - Video
  • "A Study in Emerald" - Free iTunes
  • "Orange" (read live) - Free Video
  • "Other People" (read by Neil Gaiman) - Free Video
  • The Graveyard Book (read by Neil Gaiman) - Free Video
  • "Troll Bridge" (read live, starts at 4:00 mark) - Free iTunes
  • "The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury" (read by Neil Gaiman) - Free Stream
  • "The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains" - Free MP3

The Short Story: How To Talk To Girls At Parties by Neil Gaiman

You know . . . I think there's a thing. When you've gone as far as you dare. And if you go any further, you wouldn't be you anymore? You'd be the person who'd done that? The places you just can't go. . . . I think that happened to me tonight."
Synopsis

Thirty years after a party that changed his life, Enn reflects on the night, the "girls" he met, and the circumstances that made him and his friend run as far from those "girls" as they could. Nominated for the 2007 Hugo award, Neil Gaiman’s short story uses science fiction to explore familiar teenage rites of passage and feelings of awkwardness and confusion.

Talking Points - Reflection Pool

Sample discussion questions

  1. For people who've felt awkward at a party before -- what makes parties awkward in general?  What seems to be making Enn feel awkward here?
  2. What is the narrator's (Enn's) relationship with Vic like?  How can you tell?
  3. Read back over what the "girls" say to Enn.  What does it mean?
  4. What makes the story funny?  What moments amused you?  What moments did you find relatable?  (And how can a story about aliens be "relatable" in the first place?)
  5. After the boys run out of the party Vic says “You know . . . I think there's a thing. When you've gone as far as you dare. And if you go any further, you wouldn't be you anymore? You'd be the person who'd done that? The places you just can't go. . . . I think that happened to me tonight."  What do you think Vic means by this?  What kinds of "things" or "places" are like that?

Searching for More from the Author

The following links take you to "canned searches" in various databases.
TIP: Look at our search strategy in the top box and in the left panel to ace your next paper.

Neil Gaiman at RUL

  • Movies are available from the Libraries online, including Coraline (RU restricted) - until 01/31/2021.

Adaptations

If you enjoyed How to Talk to Girls at Parties, take a look at these visual adaptations:

Graphic Novel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Movie (1 hr 42 min) - 2017

Nevertheless She Persisted

 

 

 

On International Women’s Day, several of the best writers in SF/F today reveal new stories inspired by the phrase “Nevertheless, she persisted”, raising their voice in response to a phrase originally meant to silence. Here are two of our favorites:

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