Johnny and the Bomb (Johnny Maxwell, #3)

By Terry Pratchett

Rating: 3 stars

The last in the Johnny series, this one finds Johnny and friends time travelling to the 1941 blitz.

I enjoyed this book quite a lot. It’s quite slim and I was able to read it quite quickly but there’s a lot of ideas in it. And I smiled to see references to the Discworld and characters and ideas that would be re-used (with a fresh coat of paint) elsewhere.

I found Johnny himself interesting. Like Granny Weatherwax, he seems to have started off as a fairly ordinary person and become more powerful as time goes on. In Only You Can Save Mankind he was just a kid who’s computer game came alive while here he seemed to have more powers. Not that that’s a bad thing, but it’s a recurring theme in Pratchett’s work and I was interested to see it pop up again here.

Book details

ISBN: 9780552529686
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Year of publication: 1996

Does Anything Eat Wasps?: And 101 Other Unsettling, Witty Answers to Questions You Never Thought You Wanted to Ask

By New Scientist

Rating: 3 stars

This is a collection from the ‘Last Word’ column in New Scientist where readers pose questions, and their peers answer them.

I learned a lot of fairly useless information from this book (which is, of course, the best kind 😉 ) and had fun both with the breadth of questions and the knowledge of the general readership. A well-chosen set of questions (including what would happen if aliens stole the moon, whether nature has invented any wheels and how long a person could live on beer alone) keeps you entertained throughout.

Oh, and the answer to the titular question is yes, lots of things including birds, badgers, different types of insect and bears. And people too (wasp larvae are quite nice fried apparently).

Book details

ISBN: 9780743297264
Publisher: Atria Books
Year of publication: 2005

Journey to the Center of the Earth (Extraordinary Voyages, #3)

By Jules Verne

Rating: 3 stars

This was a fairly rip-roaring yarn of underground explorers finding vast lakes, giant apes and sea-dwelling dinosaurs all with a very Victorian flourish. The science has dated badly, but the sense of adventure is fresh. Although some of the characters can be annoying at times, it’s a book of ideas and adventure, not a character study.

Book details

ISBN: 9780553213973
Publisher: Bantam
Year of publication: 1864


By Paul Gannon

Rating: 3 stars

This book, about the history of codebreaking during the second world war, didn’t really grab me, I’m afraid. The eponymous machine itself was barely mentioned until almost half way through and it didn’t seem to have focus. That was the point, I suppose, it was providing an overview, but it was never really able to hold my interest properly.

It was interesting to learn about the different types of enciphering that went on during the war, though, and the fact that the British government, when it eventually got around to releasing the papers about them, went out of its way to downplay Colossus and the Ultra code by playing up Enigma.

Book details

ISBN: 9781843543305
Publisher: Atlantic Books
Year of publication: 2006

Hellboy, Vol. 2: Wake the Devil

By Mike Mignola

Rating: 4 stars

I really enjoyed this short graphic novel, the second in the Hellboy series. Although I wasn’t keen on the art in the first volume, I must admit that it’s grown on me. I very much like the hints of darker stuff to come and Hellboy’s dialogue is wonderfully dry and laconic (“lady, I was gonna cut you some slack ‘cos you’re a major mythological figure… but now you’ve just gone nuts”). Good stuff.

Book details

ISBN: 9781593070953
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Year of publication: 1997

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