It's only lately that I managed to read Gaiman's earlier short story collection thanks to the fact that he recently paid a visit to the Philippines. I was surprised to find that many of his talks and speeches were drawn from the introduction of this book and it's not often that I talk about introductions but this particular one is worth reading and is integral to the collection as any of the short stories and poetry featured. There's a lot that's packed into Smoke and Mirrors, with over twenty nine short stories/poems, but some have been reprinted in his other collections. Nonetheless, there's a variety of themes and topics tackled, everything from Cthulhu-inspired narratives, re-imagining of existing myths and fairy tales, and urban fantasies. If I were to pick three memorable stories, they'd be "Foreign Parts", a chilling tale that slowly builds up, "Murder Mysteries", easily a story that I could nominate as a modern myth, and "Snow, Glass, Apples" which is an enjoyable retelling of a familiar fairy tale. Aside from that, I wouldn't say that the other stories are as compelling as these--especially compared to his newer short stories--but they are well-written at the very least. Personally, Smoke and Mirrors is perhaps not the best short story collection out there but die-hard Gaiman fans will want to grab a copy and as I said before, the introduction of this book is indispensable.
1 - There are better ways to spend your time.
2 - Ho hum books, usually typical of its genre. Probably only recommendable to die-hard fans.
3 - A cut above the rest, usually with one or more elements that sets it apart from the norm.
4 - Highly recommended and is easily a pioneer of the genre.
5 - A classic or it will be.