Nova Scotia: New Scottish Speculative Fiction

By Neil Williamson

Rating: 4 stars

I really enjoyed this collection of short stories about Scotland or written by Scots. The hit to miss ratio was really quite good. There was the odd story that I completely failed to get, but those were more than balanced by the whimsical Pisces, ye bass (about a Glasgow hard-fish protecting its pond), the ideas-packed A Case of Consilience and the wonderfully meloncholy Lest We Forget. A great collection.

Book details

ISBN: 9781841830865
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Year of publication: 2005


By John Varley

Rating: 3 stars

This is a book about time travel. It’s told from the perspective of two of the protagonists, one from the 1980s and one from the distant future, where they come back in time and grab people from big disasters where they would otherwise have died.

The core of the book is a time paradox that I think that I understood, but with time paradoxes, I’m never entirely sure. It was an enjoyable book with a confusing ending (as books about time travel often have).

Book details

ISBN: 9780441006779
Publisher: Ace Books (NY)
Year of publication: 1983

The Sandman: Endless Nights

By Neil Gaiman

Rating: 4 stars

This is a collection of seven graphic stories, one about each of the Endless (Dream’s family from the Sandman series). I really enjoyed this book. Each story “fit” very much into the character that was its focus (“15 Portraits of Dispair” was particularly odd). Chronologically, it went all over the place, from one story set billions of years in the past, to ones set after Sandman and it was nice to get a glimpse of Delight in one of them (pre-Delirium).

The stories are all illustrated by different artists, and although the styles are very different, they’re all excellent, particularly Frank Quitely’s art for Destiny’s story. This is a great book but perhaps not the best place for a Sandman virgin to come to the world.

Book details

ISBN: 9781401201135
Publisher: Vertigo
Year of publication: 2003

The Palace Of Eternity

By Bob Shaw

Rating: 3 stars

It’s the Future and Humanity is at war with an inscrutable alien species. A war which they’re losing. The book focuses on one man, who had previously fought in the war and is now a mechanic on a remote planet far from the front.

Bob Shaw is an excellent writer with a great gift for words. I have to say that I saw the “twist” coming from the start of part two but it was nice seeing how it got there.

Book details

ISBN: 9780330029629
Publisher: Pan Books
Year of publication: 1969

A Hat Full of Sky (Discworld, #32; Tiffany Aching, #2)

By Terry Pratchett

Rating: 4 stars

This is a children’s Discworld book, with everything that entails. It was good, but still suffers a little from some of the moralising and almost-but-not-quite smugness that pervades Pratchett’s later DW books. I can’t decide if it’s better than The Wee Free Men or not, but I’m still looking forward to hearing more about Tiffany Aching.

Book details

ISBN: 9780552552646
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Year of publication: 2004

Castle in the Air (Howl’s Moving Castle, #2)

By Diana Wynne Jones

Rating: 3 stars

A fun little book, being a sort-of sequel to Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones doesn’t seem to do ‘real’ sequels) focussing mostly on an entirely different set of characters, but with ones from the previous book popping up towards the end. I enjoyed it, although I do think that it laid on the Arabian stereotypes a little heavy.

Book details

ISBN: 9780006755302
Publisher: HarperCollins Children'sBooks
Year of publication: 1990

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