Snow Crash

A spec fiction novel that was almost too much!

  Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson Imagine, if you can, a world where the worst thing that can happen to ordinary folk is your pizza not arriving within thirty minutes of placing the order. That is such a bad thing, that the head of the Mafia, Uncle Enzo, who runs the Cosa Nostra Pizza business Read More

1968-club-1

It’s the 1968 Club – #2

Chocky by John Wyndham It’s been too long since I read or re-read any John Wyndham novels. I’m sure I have read Chocky before, but to be honest it must have been decades ago and I couldn’t remember anything that wasn’t in the blurb, so I started afresh with this short novel in its latest Read More

Keyes & Pope

Aug/Sept Book Group Report: SF & Naval books

Our book group didn’t meet in August as nearly everyone was on hols, so last night we had two books to discuss. The way we pick our books is to  chose a theme two months ahead, then research and next month  present our suggestions, of which one gets picked eventually. SF: Flowers for Algernon by Read More

Eminent Hipsters Donald Fagen

20 Books of Summer #4 The Nightfly writes…

Eminent Hipsters by Donald Fagen Steely Dan is one of my favourite bands. It was all the fault of Mick at our Youth Club, whom I adored from afar. This was the mid-1970s and he had a copy of the Dan’s new fourth album Katy Lied (1975). Fagen has a rather distinctive voice which is hard Read More

set-phasers

Two shorter non-fic reviews

I’ve been reading a lot of non-fiction lately – including some absolute crackers that deserve a whole post to themselves – and I don’t mind saving them to write about for the new year. Meanwhile, today I have two shorter non-fic reviews for you… Set Phasers to Stun by Marcus Berkmann If you’ve read this Read More

europe-in-autumn

Catch-up – two shorter reviews

My pile of books read but not reviewed yet is taller than I like, so here are two shorter reviews to catch up a little. Europe in Autumn by Dave Hutchinson Only Hutchinson’s second novel, but you can tell the author has been writing other stuff for ages. Europe in Autumn, published in 2014, is the Read More

stolen-time

The Bookish Time Travel Tag!

I was tagged in this meme which is on it’s travels around the bookblogs by Kaggsy, but it was started by The Library Lizard. I couldn’t not give it a go… 1. What is your favourite historical setting for a book? If you did the stats on books I’ve read, it would probably come up Read More

long way to a small angry planet

Great Characters, Great Adventure, Great Space!

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers This SF novel has been one of the great discoveries of recent years – a self-published kickstarter debut that was picked up by a big publisher and then longlisted for the Baileys Prize earlier this year. The book is now shortlisted for the Arthur C Clarke Read More

zero k

Too cryogenically cool to love outright

Zero K by Don DeLillo I’m not entirely new to reading Don DeLillo. I like the idea of reading DeLillo and I have read the first quarter of his 1971 debut, Americana, for my Annabel’s Shelves project. I was really enjoying it; it started well – we were introduced to top TV executive David Bell – who, if he’d been Read More

all the birds

Science vs Magic in a Dystopian World

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders The minute I read the tag-line on the press release for this book, I knew I had to read it: ‘A witch, a scientist and the end of the world’. This novel tries to do something that is not often seen in genre fiction – melding fantasy and Read More

grasshopper jungle

Something ‘that scares me’…

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith One of the few remaining squares on my summer(!) book bingo card has been crossed off with this novel. I find few ghost stories truly scary and own few horror novels of the type that would Read More

martian

It’s a love / hate thang …

Republished into my blog’s original timeline from my missing posts archive. The Martian by Andy Weir One square in my Book Bingo card is ‘Hated by someone you know’. That one was so easy to fill, for a few weeks ago my pal Simon Savidge tried to read The Martian and he ended up not Read More

acceptance

The Southern Reach Trilogy – #3

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer What began in Annihilation, follows on in Authority, concludes in Acceptance. Although I’ll give scant details of what happens below, discussing the third part of a trilogy will necessarily reveal small facts you may prefer not to know if you intend to Read More

Authority

The Southern Reach Trilogy #2

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive   Authority by Jeff Vandermeer I had been planning to eke out my reading of Jeff Vandermeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy over three months but, after the comments on my post about the first volume (see here and third volume here), I couldn’t wait Read More

annihilation

The Southern Reach Trilogy

Republished into its original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer Having just read Annihilation, the first volume of Vandermeer’s series known as The Southern Reach Trilogy, I think I’m really going to enjoy the other two parts, Authority and Acceptance. This trilogy was published last year – with three months between volumes. They’re lovely Read More

We

The book that inspired 1984 and Brave New Worl

This post was republished into it’s original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin Translated by Clarence Brown So, I finally read the book that inspired Orwell’s1984 (my brief write-up here).  Many other dystopian novels have similarities, including Huxley’s Brave New World (my review here) although Huxley said he was actually inspired by HG Wells, Read More

Carew

To infinity …

The Explorerby James Smythe This brilliant novel’s beginning happens near the end of the story… Cormac Easton is the only remaining living astronaut on the spaceship Ishiguro. Cormac is not even a proper astronaut – he’s a journalist; his part in the team is to observe and document the voyage, to blog and film and send the Read More

I am Legend

One man against a world of vampires …

This post was republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson I am Legend was first published in 1954; it was Matheson’s third novel. His fourth would go on to make cinematic history – The Shrinking Man would become a huge film hit as The Incredible Shrinking Man in 1957.  I remember adoring Read More

brave-new-world-first-edition-cover

Of baby factories, orgy-porgy & Shakespeare – Yes, it’s that dystopia!

This post was republished into my blog’s original timeline from my lost posts archive. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley This week, having re-visited one dystopian novel I previously read as a teenager (click here), I was able to fit in another of the biggies of the genre in time for our book group discussion Read More

fatal-eggs

The mad scientist and his red ray

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Fatal Eggs by Mikhail Bulgakov Translated by Roger Cockerell Pre-blog, back in 2006, we read The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov in our book group and I loved it. This novel about the devil coming to a town of Read More

full_moon_02_20001

The Hopkins Manuscript by R C Sheriff

Chicken Licken was right in this dystopia! Last weekend was Persephone Reading Weekend hosted by Claire and Verity. I did start my Persephone reading at the weekend, but didn’t finish until yesterday. But what a book I chose – one of the few by male authors, and a dystopian bit of science fiction to boot – yet it fits Read More

meat-tree

New Stories from the Mabinogion #4

The Meat Tree by Gwyneth Lewis. The Meat Tree is the fourth in the series of contemporary retellings of stories from the medieval Welsh story cycle The Mabinogion commissioned and published by Seren Books.  See my reviews of the other titles in the series here and here. Gwyneth Lewis is an interesting author: firstly a poet, she has written a book-length poem about Read More

Carew

Stalin & UFOs – a philosophical SF thriller

Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts. This novel was short-listed for the Arthur C Clarke Award for Science Fiction novels last year, but it’s really more of a philosophical thriller and a commentary on the fall of Communism than out and out science fiction.  It’s dark, thoughtful, thrilling and hilarious by turns and I loved Read More

Fledgling

More modern vampires

Fledgling by Octavia E Butler Fledgling was the last choice for the season of the ‘Not the TV Book Group’, and the lively discussion was hosted by Kim at Reading Matters. Published shortly before the author died, Fledgling is another different and slightly SF take on the vampire novel. Shori looks like a twelve year old black girl, but is actually Read More

donovans_brain_poster_02

A Science Fiction Noir Classic from 1942

Donovan’s Brain by Curt Siodmak When I was writing my post the other week about my reading history I tried to remember my favourite Science Fiction books from my teens. John Wyndham’s The Chrysalids was one, Asimov’s Fantastic Voyage was another, but my absolute favourite from back then was Donovan’s Brain by Curt Siodmak.  This Read More

Carew

Book Group Report – The Death of Grass

The Death of Grass by John Christopher A while ago I reviewed The Death of Grass by John Christopher (click here for the review. On Monday we discussed it at our Book Group, and it was a big hit. Unusually, everyone really enjoyed it, and although this meant no arguments, we did have a lively Read More

Death of Grass

But darling the virus won’t affect us, will it?

The Death of Grass by John Christopher The 1950s saw an explosion of science fiction and cultural dystopias. In 1951 there was John Wyndham’s ground-breaking novel Day of the Triffids, followed by Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 in 1953. Then there was Quatermass on the television. William Golding’s classic Lord of the Flies was also published Read More

Carew

Book Two of the Chaos Walking Trilogy

The Ask & the Answer by Patrick Ness Warning: If you haven’t read the first book in this trilogy The Knife of Never Letting Go, (reviewed here) – don’t read this, rush out and get a copy Book One, then read the second. Book two starts immediately where the first left off; teenagers Todd and Read More

Carew

Another brilliant dystopia in this coming of age novel

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness This novel for early teens+ was short-listed for the 2009 Carnegie Medal, and won the vote of the boys shadowing the award at the school where I work. I have to say it was a fantastic read for adults too, being multi-layered and thought-provoking – putting Read More