Monday, 22 August 2016

United States of Japan

& The Man in the High Castle
Peter Tieryas, 2016
(August 2016)



The first time I read The Man in the High Castle was way back, before I ever imagined I might end up living in Japan. Reading it a second time, it became apparent that there was a hell of a lot I missed, in terms of both the Japan-related stuff and just as a side-effect of being younger and dumber. The plan, however, was merely to refresh my memory before moving on to United States of Japan, which is something of a tribute/homage/reimagining of Dick’s seminal work. I wasn’t really going to talk much about the latter, except to the degree it informs USJ.

Friday, 19 August 2016

Voyage of the Basilisk & In the Labyrinth of Drakes

(August 2016)




I’ll refer you back to my previous comments about needing a bit of a breather after reading The Vegetarian, and what better way than with Marie Brennan’s Darwin genderswap mind candy? I mean, it’s a superior sort of mind candy, certainly, but it’s exactly the sort of world you can sink into without having to challenge yourself to analyse every detail, should you so wish. And I so wished.

Monday, 15 August 2016

The Vegetarian

(August, 2016)
  


Neither a pleasant nor an easy read. Extraordinarily well written, but in many ways that just makes it worse.

Friday, 12 August 2016

The Devourers

(July 2016)



Early (well, more like halfway through) contender for book of the year. There is so much going on here, so once I’ve given due prominence to the utterly raw and visceral nature of book as a whole, I’m going to retreat into a bit of philosophising while I try to get the rest of my thoughts in order.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Saga & Sex Criminals

Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan, 2016
Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
(July 2016)



I continue to love Saga. It is, as befits its name, now a sprawling soap opera of a thing with supremely engaging characters and at least two or three genuinely laugh out loud moments in each volume. Ghüs remains a joy every time he appears on the page, and god help me but Prince Robot is somehow hilarious, despite having proven to be an utter bastard.
  

Monday, 25 July 2016

Ambient

(July 2016)
  


The first of Womack’s Dryco series, or at least the first one he wrote. Ambient is the book to which Random Acts of Senseless Violence serves as a prequel, and while that story described polite society’s shockingly rapid descent into dystopia, the one we’re talking about here gives us the shit show already in full effect.
  

Friday, 22 July 2016

Karen Memory

(July 2016)
  


A hugely enjoyable steampunk western, which inevitably leads me to draw comparisons with Molly Tanzer’s Vermilion, not least because that too was driven by a queer woman in her teens with a gloriously engaging narrative voice.

Friday, 8 July 2016

City of the Iron Fish

(June 2016)




Gothic New Weird with a healthy dollop of bildungsroman and one of the most gratingly pretentious protagonists I’ve encountered since Catcher in the Rye. In fact, I’m not even sure it is a bildungsroman, but there’s such a strong connection in my mind between the annoyance I feel for both Holden Caulfield and Thomas Kemp, the narrator of this book, that maybe I’m just collapsing them both in to each other.