The Snow (2004) by Adam Roberts

“The snow started falling on September 6th, […] And at the beginning people were happy.” (p.1)

 

691923Imagine if it started snowing in September and didn’t stop. As the snow piled up deeper and deeper, how would the World governments react? How long would it take before society collapsed? Adam Roberts explores this scenario in his 2004 novel The Snow, a book which starts well but seems to lose its way around halfway through.

Roberts sets his story in present-day London. The main character is Tira, a Londoner who initially reacts the same way as everybody else. She stays at home waiting for it to stop. But when it doesn’t, she decides to go looking for help rather than waiting for help to find her. From here we follow her journey as she attempts to survive the snow. Continue reading

Neuromancer (1984) by William Gibson – A 3rd Reading

“In the nonspace of the matrix, the interior of a given data construct possessed unlimited subjective dimension; a child’s toy calculator, accessed through Case’s Sendai, would have presented limitless gulfs of nothingness hung with a few basic commands.” (p.63)

 

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Harper Voyager 2015 edition

 

As part of my 2017 William Gibson Read-Along, I reread Neuromancer in February. This was my third time to read it. (I posted a review on this blog in November 2015 after reading it for the second time.) So, this is more of an update than a new review.

Am I crazy to read the same book 3 times? Maybe, maybe not. What I will say is that after my third reading I’ve upped my rating of the novel from 4 to 5 stars. In my opinion, Neuromancer is a staggering piece of fiction that deserves all the praise and plaudits it has picked up since its publication all those years ago. But instead of waffling on with my own thoughts on this seminal work, I will post some quotes about the book by critics and authors made over the last 30+ years. Continue reading

Batman: Night of the Monster Men (2017)

“Mother of — Those things’ll kill us! Get out of my way!” (p.47)

 

Co-written by Steve Orlando, Tom King, Tim Seeley, James Tynion IV. Art by Riley Rossmo, Roge Antonio, Andy MacDonald.

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Graphic Novel Cover by Riley Rossmo

The first crossover storyline from the DC Rebirth titles ‘Batman’, ‘Detective Comics’, and ‘Nightwing’. A massive storm approaches Gotham City, prompting Batman and his newly-formed team to evacuate some of its citizens. At the same time, something is stirring in the city’s morgue, something strange …

This is a Batman Rebirth tale for Halloween. It has huge, sumptuously-designed monsters running amok in Gotham City. Batman, needing all the help he can get, joins forces with a team of heroes including Batwoman, Nightwing, Duke Thomas, Gotham Girl, Spoiler, Orphan, and a reformed(?) Clayface. It is an interesting crew of characters carried over from the recent Detective Comics Rebirth storyline: ‘Rise of the Batmen’.

As the Bat-team pits their fighting skills and wits against the mutant monsters, Gotham’s citizens become increasingly aggressive in their evacuation site. Could this have anything to do with a briefly-glimpsed villain from Batman’s past? Or is it something from the storm that is affecting them? Continue reading

What’s Your Choice for World Book Day ’17?

This is my physical TBR pile going into March. If you had to choose 1 book to read next, what would it be? Please post your answer in the comments section below:)

(Adam Roberts’ Adam Robots and Brian Aldiss’s The Secret of this Book are short story collections.)

The Wolf in the Attic (2016) by Paul Kearney

“Above the silent rooms on the third floor there is an attic. I know this because I have stood outside and studied the house, the way you study a person’s face to tell if they are telling the truth or a lie.” (Loc 696)

 

the-wolf-in-the-attic-9781781083628_hrNorthern Irish writer Paul Kearney has written a number of novels beginning with A Different Kingdom in 1993. He went on to write The Monarchies of God series (1995-2002), and The Macht trilogy (2008-2012), which are both rated highly on book review sites and blogs. The Wolf in the Attic was released in May, 2016.

England, 1929. Anna Francis, a 12-year-old refugee from Greece, lives with her father in a big, old house in Oxford. She is taught by a home tutor and confides in her doll Penelope. After witnessing a shocking event in the fields near her house, she becomes mixed up in a strange adventure involving her father, a couple of well-meaning Oxford professors, the Romany, and a mysterious group known only as “the Roadmen”. Continue reading

The Sheriff of Babylon (2016) by Tom King and Mitch Gerads

“You hear?! Do you hear!?! We’re all cowboys! Pow! Pow! Pow!” (Vol. 2: p.41)

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Volume 1: Bang. Bang. Bang.

Baghdad 2003. Chris Henry, a military consultant from Florida, is training a new police force. When one of his trainees is found murdered, Henry teams up with experienced local policeman Nassir, and their investigation begins.

This is a brutal, powerful and emotional look at the early effects of the War on Terror in Iraq. Writer Tom King is ex CIA and has spent time in the country. He writes of what he knows. You can feel his experience coming across in the writing.

There is a gritty realism to a lot of the scenes and dialogue, and this is backed up by the artwork. It has a cinematic look to it, from the covers to the interiors. At times the artwork is shocking in its graphic detail. The reader is exposed to the blood and guts of violence, ranging from gunshot wounds to brutal beatings. This is not for the squeamish. Continue reading

The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories (2017) Edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin

“Indeed We created man from dried clay of black smooth mud.  And We created the Jinn before that from the smokeless flame of fire”
(Quran 15:26-27)

Up until quite recently, I was only familiar with the word “genie” as a descriptor for supernatural beings that have a reputation for living in old lamps and granting wishes. The stories in this collection use either “djinn”, “jinn” or “genie” to represent these entities that are very different from the Robin Williams-voiced, cute, animated character seen in Disney’s Aladdin. So, what are these mysterious, misrepresented creatures? Here is what the website “islamreligion.com” says about them:

“The Jinn are beings created with free will, living on earth in a world parallel to mankind.  The Arabic word Jinn is from the verb ‘Janna’ which means to hide or conceal. Thus, they are physically invisible from man as their description suggests.”
(Source: islamreligion.com. Link here.)

the-djinn-falls-in-loveIn The Djinn Falls in Love & Other Stories, editors Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin have compiled a wonderfully varied collection of 22 tales of “Djinn” from authors including Nnedi Okorafor, Sami Shah, Monica Byrne, Claire North, Kamila Shamsie, Kirsty Logan, K.J Parker, Saad Hossein, James Smythe and Neil Gaiman. It was nice to find a mixture of writers I knew as well as ones who were new to me; one of the great things about short story collections.

And what a collection this is. I haven’t enjoyed a short story collection as much as this in a long time. This is a wonderful book and a book full of wonders. Every tale is well told. It’s a cornucopia of enchanting tales that sheds light on the human condition as well as the supernatural Djinn. It was difficult to select a favorite so I’ll write a couple of lines about the stories that really stood out for me. Continue reading