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


(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.

Monday, 4 July 2016

The Book of the City of Ladies

(May 2016)

There is a woman who occasionally crops up on my twitter feed who spends a large part of her time responding to men with anime avatars asking “BUT WHAT HAVE THE WOMENZ EVER DONE FOR US?” by sending them explicit lists of accomplished women in science, politics, the arts, and such like. A service that is both valuable and depressing in its necessity. This book is basically the mediaeval version of that, made even more depressing because apparently we’re still having these arguments more than half a millennium later. Plus ça change.

Monday, 27 June 2016

City of the Beasts

(May 2016)

Back when I was a teenager and still took rugby, or indeed anything other than childcare and the concomitant challenge of trying to fashion some sort of ‘me time’, seriously, the two best clubs in England were Bath and Leicester. Growing up near the latter, they were, and still are, my team of choice (indeed, I was briefly a member of their protozoan academy, in the brave new world of those immediately post-amateurism days). While the Underwood brothers were clearly the star attractions, the members of the ABC club (the world being neither brave nor as yet new enough to convince the Tigers to adopt numbers instead of letters on their shirts) were the kind of club stalwarts who inevitably rose to fan favourite status, and of whom none were more stalwarty than Darren ‘The Baron’ Garforth.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Love in a Fallen City

Eileen Chang, 1943-47 [Karen S. Kingsbury, 2007]
(April, 2016)

I read this straight after Occupied City, and to be honest I was expecting to get a bit more of a compare/contrast thing going. That I’m finding that harder to do than expected is, I guess, a function of the luxuries afforded by both time and distance, as well not living under an occupying military administration.