Wednesday 30 January 2013

Mizora: A Prophecy

A Mss. Found Among the Private Papers of Princess Vera Zarovitch: Being a True and Faithful Account of her Journey to the Interior of the Earth, with a Careful Description of the Country and its Inhabitants, their Customs, Manners, and Government.
Mary E. Bradley Lane, 1889
(January 2013)

I’ve not read a huge amount of 19th Century speculative fiction, but that which I have has always impressed me with the way the authors refused to dick about before getting on with the story.

Chapter One
              Brought low by circumstance, I was set upon by ne’er-do-wells and cast adrift in a strange and wondrous land.

Monday 28 January 2013


Ahmed Khaled Towfik, 2009 [Chip Rossetti, 2011]
(January 2013)

You may have noticed that I’ve been making more frequent book posts of late. There are a few reasons for this.

Friday 25 January 2013


Brian Aldiss, 1961
(January 2013)

              Obeying an inalienable law, things grew, growing riotous and strange in their impulse for growth.

So ‘growing’ very much the theme, then.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

When all you need is a knife

Taro Aso, current finance minister and deputy prime minister of Japan, has spoken of his annoyance with what he perceives as the negative impact of certain sections of Japan’s elderly population. His opinions chime with those of a significant body of commentators who feel that the allowances made for some older members of Japanese society are excessively generous and forgiving.

“The problem won’t be solved unless you let them hurry up and die,” said the 72-year-old former prime minister.

Monday 21 January 2013

Channel SK1N

Jeff Noon, 2012
(January 2013)

I loved Jeff Noon’s books when I was younger. Late teens, early twenties: Vurt, Pollen, Automated Alice. In all honesty I can’t remember much about the actual stories themselves; just the realization of how weird stuff could be if someone really let their imaginations go was startling enough, added to the cracked distortions possible in making the Manchester I kind of half knew as a hum-drum Northern city into this shifted, liminal zone where the future really was possible. And not just possible, but cool.

Friday 18 January 2013

Johnny Come Lately

My supplies are running low. Pretty soon I’ll be calling up my bro to arrange another shipment. It’s not something I like doing. It’s awkward for him and I’m always worried about exactly how customs will react, but needs must. There just aren’t any decent local suppliers and anyway, I’m really not sure about the quality of the locally available product.

Wednesday 16 January 2013


M. John Harrison, 2002
(December, 2012)

I have no idea how to start talking about this. While I was reading it, my wife and I had a conversation. What happened was this:

Monday 14 January 2013

A Town Called Pandemonium

Anne C. Perry and Jared Shurin (eds), 2012
(December 2012)

Well, it was inevitable really. The 21st Century has finally clawed its way into Kamo Manors and I ended up with a kindle for christmas. I promptly downloaded half a dozen books in various promotions and giveaways. So not a problem cashwise, but I’m not exactly short of stuff waiting to be read as it is. This can only end badly.

Friday 11 January 2013

This Little Piggy…

I have chilblains. How the hell do I have chilblains? I’m almost certain it’s chilblains. It’s either that or gout.

Wednesday 9 January 2013

All You Need is Kill

Hiroshi Sakurazaka, 2004 [Alexander O. Smith, 2009]
(December 2012)

A poignant, deftly wrought meditation on the tenderness of loss and the fragility of the human spirit, following four generations of the Hoshizaki clan as they progress from humble basket-weavers in rural Aomori through personal tragedies and triumphs to a tentative acceptance of modernity and the implacable inevitability of social change and personal evolution. A character is called the Full Metal Bitch.

Monday 7 January 2013

Snakes and Earrings

Hitomi Kanehara, 2004 [David James Karashima, 2005]
(December 2012)

You remember when you were in school and had to write an essay, but knew you really had nothing to say? How you’d try to make it seem like it was longer by writing really big, double spacing, and leaving even more space after the margin than there was before it (I know, handwritten essays, how terribly 20th century)? Well, that’s exactly what the publishers have done with this book.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

The Cold Commands

Richard Morgan, 2011
(December 2012)

              ‘Do I look like a fucking slave to you?’ he asked them.
              And though, finally, they would bring him down with sheer weight of numbers, none who heard him ask that question lived to see the dawn.