Retrospective for Year One – Oct. 2015 to Nov. 2016

 
It’s been a year since I started reviewing books on this blog, so I thought I would write a retrospective post to celebrate. It all began with Richard Matheson’s 1971 horror novel Hell House which I chose to read for Neil Gaiman’s All Hallow’s Read. His idea was to gift a scary book to a friend for Halloween:

 

“I propose that, on Hallowe’en or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they’ll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they’ll enjoy.

I propose that stories by authors like John Bellairs and Stephen King and Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell and M R James and Lisa Tuttle and Peter Straub and Daphne Du Maurier and Clive Barker and a hundred hundred others change hands — new books or old or second-hand, beloved books or unknown. Give someone a scary book for Hallowe’en. Make their flesh creep…”

-Neil Gaiman, Blog Post “A Modest Proposal (That Doesn’t Actually Involve Eating Anyone)”, Saturday October 23rd 2010.

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Why Yet Another Book Review Blog?

Short & simple answer: It’s my hobby.

fantasy-bookshelf

Fantasy Bookshelf (c) Photowall.co.uk

I started this blog after being inspired by reading some fantastic reviews by bloggers who have now become friends. As you know, there is so much brilliant content drifting out there waiting to be discovered. If we only had the time we wanted, we could read and comment on all those little gems we keep coming across. If we had more time, we could read all those books in our tbr piles, both physical and wish-listical. And we could update our own blogs more frequently than we currently do so.

I’m struggling to manage a post per week. This didn’t really bother me until I found myself starting to feel a bit guilty about it. Wait a minute; this is my hobby, right? So why do I feel like I haven’t done my homework and it’s time to go to school?.. Continue reading

‘2016 Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge’

 

(c) Worlds Without End.com

Here are the rules: read 12 books by 12 new-to-you women authors in 12 months. One of your author choices should be totally random. Have a friend pick one for you and you pick one for your friend.”

On the wonderful Worlds Without End website they offer a number of Reading Challenges each year. This year, I am joining three of them. The one I am looking forward to the most is the ‘Women of Genre Fiction Reading Challenge’. The main reason for this is my unintended neglect of reading female authors up until now. I have only read a few works by authors including Ursula K. LeGuin, Hope Mirrlees, Margo Lanagan, Virginia Woolf, Susanna Clarke and Mary Shelley. Compared with the number of works by male authors that I’ve read, it’s pretty paltry.

There are a number of lists of recommended books by “women of genre fiction” available on the net, but I decided I’d rather ask my fellow speculative fiction bloggers for their suggestions. I put the word out on Twitter and got enough responses for two years of the challenge. Thank you! Continue reading

The Moment of Eclipse (1970) by Brian Aldiss

I can’t help believing that these things that come from the subconscious mind have a sort of truth to them. It may not be a scientific truth, but it’s psychological truth. -Brian Aldiss

 

This is the first Brian Aldiss work that I’ve read. It won the BSFA award in 1971. It’s a collection of fourteen short stories he wrote between 1967 to 1970. It includes ‘Super-Toys Last All Summer Long’ which was the inspiration for the movie ‘A.I.

I didn’t know much about Aldiss or his writing, but I’d heard his name before. Coincidentally, just before I began reading this book I saw him in a Phillip K. Dick documentary I watched on youtube. He came across very well and spoke highly of PKD.

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The British Science Fiction Association’s Best Novel Reading Challenge

Phew! That’s quite a mouthful.

Having been inspired by a number of bloggers who have undertaken various “Book Award Reading Challenges”, I have decided to attempt my own. Here is the challenge I am setting myself. I am going to read all of the Best Novel winners of the British Science Fiction Association’s Awards. I will need to read 46 books, (so far), to complete this challenge. One of which I am currently reading, 1974’s winner ‘Inverted World’ by Christopher Priest. Five of the books I have read before so will experience for the second time. For each book I complete I will write a *spoiler-free* review and post it on this blog.

And here is Wikipedia’s brief entry on the BSFA Awards:

‘The BSFA Awards are literary awards presented annually since 1970 by the British Science Fiction Association (BSFA) to honour works in the genre of science fiction. Nominees and winners are chosen based on a vote of BSFA members. More recently, members of the Eastercon convention have also been elibigle to vote.’                                                                                                     [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BSFA_Award] 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

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