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How To Talk To Girls At Parties by Neil Gaiman

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How To Talk To Girls At Parties

by Neil Gaiman

• Word count: 5097
• Page count: 10

How To Talk To Girls At Parties is another excellent science fiction short story from master story teller Neil Gaiman. It is about a couple of teen-aged boys who go to a party to meet girls, only to find that the girls are much different than they imagined.

Do you remember what it was like being a teenager? Sometimes talking to members of the opposite sex was a huge challenge. In this 2007 short story (which was nominated for the 2007 Hugo award for Best Short Story) a pair of boys discover that girls truly are different than boys – just how much different they never knew.

The story follows Enn, a shy boy whose friend encourages him to just talk to girls. While at the party, with his friend away schmoozing girls, Enn talks to three very nice but strange girls. As he focuses on “making a move” on the girls, he learns some amazing things about their lives.

We both attended an all-boys’ school in south London. While it would be a lie to say that we had no experience with girls — Vic seemed to have had many girlfriends, while I had kissed three of my sister’s friends — it would, I think, be perfectly true to say that we both chiefly spoke to, interacted with, and only truly understood, other boys. Well, I did, anyway. It’s hard to speak for someone else, and I’ve not seen Vic for thirty years. I’m not sure that I would know what to say to him now if I did.

Where you can find How To Talk To Girls At Parties:
How To Talk To Girls At Parties originally appeared in Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders – a collection of short stories and poetry by Neil Gaiman.
• You can read a nice HTML version online for free at Neil Gaiman’s website.

Neil Gaiman is a prolific and widely talented writer. You can learn more about him on Wikipedia.

If you like this story you will probably also like Neil Gaiman’s A Study in Emerald.

5 thoughts to “How To Talk To Girls At Parties by Neil Gaiman”

  1. Not his best, but well-worth reading–or you can listen in a nice podcast at where I found it first.

  2. Thanks for pointing the podcast – I didn’t know about it.

    I agree that it isn’t one of his best, but still an interesting story none-the-less.

  3. The first time I read this, when Fragile Things was released, I wasn’t impressed. A close friend had the same feelings about it and we were both surprised at the awards it was up for. Then one day he called and said he had heard the story on audio and had a complete opinion shift on it. Later on I purchased the audio collection for myself and when I heard Neil read the story I liked it much, much better than I had before. Hearing him read it and putting everything in the light of the way he meant for it to be read honestly made a big difference. I agree with you both, it isn’t one of his best as he has some amazing ones out there, but I’ve often felt that even a mediocre Gaiman short story is far better than many other author’s good short stories. He really has a way with the medium.

  4. Thanks Carl,

    I find it fascinating how listening to an audio version of a short story can make such a big difference – but it is true, and I have experienced that effect myself. I haven’t heard Neil Gaiman read this story, but I would like to give it a try. Thanks for pointing that out.

  5. Not sure if you’ve had the pleasure of listening to Neil read any of his stories, but if you haven’t it is an activity that I highly recommend. He is a natural reader and can make any story he tells sound wonderful. He engages you as a listener in such an amazing way. I think he just won an earphones award or something like that from Audiophile for his reading of his newest novel, The Graveyard Book. It is well deserved as it is a lovely experience listening to him read it.

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