Black Orchid

By Neil Gaiman

Rating: 4 stars

This is a lovely pre-Sandman tale by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. It’s about a superhero called Black Orchid. Unfortunately she dies in the opening pages, so it’s really about what happens afterwards. It’s quite grim, but also touching, and quite sweet in a way. Definitely worth reading.

Book details

ISBN: 9780930289553
Publisher: DC Comics
Year of publication: 1990

Light Speed and Beyond

By William E. Adams

Rating: 1 star

This is actually one of the worst books that I’ve ever read. I picked it up because it was free at EasterCon. That should have been my first warning. The whole book is also written in a courier-type italic font which really didn’t help.

It’s supposedly about the first post-lightspeed journey and what happens to the astronauts involved, but it’s incoherent, there’s no sense of tension at all (since I had no idea of what was happening) and it’s incredibly badly written. The only consolation is that it’s quite short (less than 100 pages). But it was only sheer effort that kept me going. It’s really not worth it at all.

Avoid like the plague.

Book details

ISBN: 9781403340290
Publisher: Authorhouse
Year of publication: 2002

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell

By Susanna Clarke

Rating: 5 stars

I loved this book. Yes, it’s big, but I found it very easy to read, despite the mock-19th century style. The story is set in the early 19th century in an alternative history where magic has been common in England, although it has now faded and all that remains are “theoretical” magicians, who are more historians of magic than practitioners. Into this world come Mr Norrell, the first “practical” magician in over 300 years, and his pupil Jonathan Strange.

I loved the pacing of the story, the way that strands were started and slowly came together as the story moved on and the sense of history that there was (and I found that the footnotes really helped in this regard).

If I had read this book this time in time, I would certainly have voted for it in the Hugo awards.

Book details

ISBN: 9780747579885
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Year of publication: 2004

Cosmic Crusade

By Richard Saxon

Rating: 2 stars

This book concerns a young member of a race of highly developed beings discovering a lone planet on the edge of the known universe without a sun, whose inhabitants live underground, having hollowed out the interior to survive some unnamed catastrophe in the distant past.

This was an odd book. It tried to cover some quite large topics (namely, the meaning of life) but I felt that it seemed to come up with too “easy” answers. It was an okay read, but nothing special.

Book details

ISBN: 9780723550976
Publisher: World Distributors (Manchester) Ltd
Year of publication: 1964

The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge (Stainless Steel Rat, #5)

By Harry Harrison

Rating: 3 stars

This was a fun, moderately mindless action book. Special agent Slippery Jim DiGriz is called in to infiltrate and stop a race who are successfully mounting interstellar invasions, something unheard of until now. He does it on a recently-invaded matriarchial planet where the women are all beautiful and don’t wear very much.

I enjoyed this book. There wasn’t much to it, but it was a nice easy read, certainly what I needed after The Bulpington of Blup.

Book details

ISBN: 9781857984996
Publisher: Gollancz
Year of publication: 1970

Powered by WordPress