Ender’s Game (1985) – Orson Scott Card

This book won both the Hugo and Nebula awards. It is usually rated very highly in “Best of Science Fiction” lists and reviews. It is well written and easy to read. Some parts of it are exciting, other parts are emotionally moving. A lot of praise has been heaped on it. But something about it just didn’t work for me.

Ender is only six years old at the beginning of the story. He is just a young child and it is (mostly) written from his point of view. Being a child and undergoing the experiences he does is one of the main themes of the story. It’s the fact that he is a child that is supposed to make his treatment all the more shocking. Yet for me, he doesn’t feel like a child. He is too intelligent, too calculated, too strategical to ring true. I realise he is supposed to be advanced for his age but I couldn’t connect with him. Continue reading


The Peripheral (2014) by William Gibson

It’s the middle of October and I’m waiting for my next “All Hallow’s Read” book to arrive, which gave me time to finish William Gibson’s latest novel, The Peripheral. I picked up a copy when I was over in Manchester in August. It was part of a “buy-one-get-the-other-half-price” deal at Waterstones, and my other choice was The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell.

I’ve read most of Gibson’s novels before, starting with Neuromancer (1984) when I was a teenager. (Can’t believe it was published over 30(!) years ago. That makes me feel old.) I skipped the other two novels that make up the Sprawl trilogy, and got back into him with 1993’s Virtual Light. Since then I’ve read all of his works except The Difference Engine, the latest ones being the Blue Ant trilogy. Continue reading

Hell House (1971) by Richard Matheson

All Hallow’s Read – Day 12

I finished reading this over the weekend. It didn’t really scare me but I enjoyed the story, despite its limitations. The characters aren’t particularly rounded but they each have their own voice. The house itself could have been more of a character, but perhaps the author left it in the background in order to focus on the four main characters and their reactions to the haunting.

The book is certainly a product of its time, (1970~71), with its titillating sexual scenes and treatment of the female characters. Some will find it too exploitive and it could easily offend. But I wanted to read a haunted house story that got me turning the pages, and that is what I got. Continue reading

All Hallow’s Read – Night 7

October 7th 2015

The weekend breezed by without my reading so much. I’ve been getting into the first season of ‘Hannibal’, watching a couple of premier league footy matches, and generally spending too much time in front of the pc screen. There are just too many ways to get distracted.

I sat down properly with Hell House last night and read until I went to bed. There have been more scares and more titillation, with a couple of thrilling action scenes. One of the main characters gets stuck in a kind of sauna in the house and starts to hear something strange. Continue reading

All Hallow’s Read – Day 3

20151003_071552October 3rd 2015

It’s a bright, sunny morning on day 3 of my All Hallow’s Read. The sun has extinguished all thoughts of ghosts from my mind. Can you picture a ghost in the sunshine?…

I’m on page 88 of Matheson’s Hell House. I’m limiting my reading of it to after sunset and am also endeavouring to read some right before I go to sleep. I want to see if it will slip into my dreams or not. Or maybe I’m just being cocky and setting myself up for a fall. I got a bit distracted last night with the final two episodes of Walking Dead season 5. The second half of that season was great. Anyway, I’m aiming to read more tonight. Continue reading

All Hallow’s Read – Night 1


October 1st 2015

I’m starting my All Hallow’s Read tonight. I’ve been looking forward to this since I ordered the book the other day. I’m not a big fan of horror any more. I want to see if it can still chill me like it did when I was a teenager. Back then, I went through a Lovecraft phase as well as enjoying some of the books by King, James Herbert and Shaun Hutson – anyone remember ‘Slugs’?…

‘Hell House’ by Richard Matheson arrived in the post today. It was published in 1971. It’s the book that kept popping up on the lists of best horror stories I was checking. That and King’s ‘The Shining’, which I haven’t read either. Maybe next year. Continue reading