Monday 30 January 2017

Kolymsky Heights

(January 2017)

A surprisingly nostalgic reading experience, this. A ripsnorting thriller praised by a number of authors I like (Philip Pullman, Alastair Reynolds) and which, despite being set in the early 1990’s, has a distinctly Cold War feel that threw me right back into the Tom Clancy novels I ploughed through as a teenager. It’s also utterly ridiculous.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Sky Burial

(January 2017)

This is one of those ‘non-fiction’ books, like, say, In Cold Blood or Tokyo Vice, wherein you’re not quite sure exactly how much trust you should place in the ‘non’.

Monday 23 January 2017

Half-Resurrection Blues

(January 2017)

Everyone wants coffee except Dr. Tijou, who prefers tea.

I'm struggling to explain why I found this line is so funny, but it provided my first book driven LOL of 2017: a good three or four minutes of guffawing about tea. I am, however, going to give an explanation a bash, because if nothing else it's going to be a good way of working through exactly why I enjoyed this book so much.

Wednesday 18 January 2017

Signal to Noise

(January 2017)

The first book of the year gets 2017 off to a mixed start. On the one hand, this garnered a fair amount of praise and I can see why: it's well written, thoughtfully plotted, and the characters are only too believable. But on the other, it also served to remind me that coming of age stories really aren't my cup of tea at all. If I were less of a middle-aged curmudgeon I'd be able to praise this for more that its technical execution, but as it stands I'll just say that if pig-headed and self-obsessed teenagers are what floats your boat then you could do a lot worse than this.

Monday 16 January 2017

Count Zero

(December 2016)

So I finally acquired a replacement copy of this, and it was good. In the light of having read most of Gibson’s other stuff it was a little underwhelming, to be honest, in that it’s a very, very obvious bridge between Neuromancer (the plot’s essentially a carbon copy) and the Bigend ‘cool hunting’ books, and it doesn’t manage to execute either aspect quite as well as those it links together. Judged as a stand-alone work, however, it’s a very slickly executed piece of cyberpunk, which is only to be expected, I suppose.

Wednesday 11 January 2017

Hammers on Bone

(December 2016)

A lovely little noirish Lovecraft/Chandler mash-up set, hilariously, in early 21st century Croyden. Well, I say 'lovely'…

Monday 9 January 2017

The Gunslinger

(December 2016)

I'm pretty sure I've read some Stephen King before, but I'm not sure what. I know I've read The Running Man, but I'm not so sure about stuff he's written under his real name. I've a vague recollection of a book featuring about a rich writer and a terrifying lake, which doesn't really narrow it down all that much.

Friday 6 January 2017


(December 2016)

Steampunk alternate history in the Belgian Congo. With a premise like that you know things are going to be interesting, at the very least.