glen

Apr 242017
 

If I had any problem with The Girl with All the Gifts it was the same as I’ve seen elsewhere: It’s very good, but it’s Yet Another Zombie Book.

This, despite being in the same universe, goes way beyond that. The hungries (zombies) aren’t the main feature: here it’s the humans, and what happens to them, and humanity’s discovery of new and different types of hungry, and how we may be wired to screw it all up, always and forever. This book is a real joy – it stands alone, and, if you have a heart, its strings will be tugged.

Apr 192017
 

Ed note: This was written in 2013 and just turned up in my drafts folder. Oops. Have it now!

Jesus and the Eightfold Path

Somewhere between the manger and gathering fishers of men, Jesus grew up. Lavie Tidhar presents us with a Jesus learning from three wise men: Pig, Monkey, and Sandy, from the Chinese classic Journey to the West. What Tidhar does, in this very fun, silly, and easy-to-read novella is blend of myth, history, and fancy. The thing that I love about this is Tidhar’s ability to be irreverent, researched, and respectful, all at the same time. This slim volume is fun, insightful, and highly entertaining. It could easily have been none of those things – if you get a chance, read it.

 

You *might* be able to get it here (UK), but the publisher says it’s out of print.

Mar 292017
 


This book is an astonishing gamble of object desire and fervent hope: that there are people out there who are filled with a combination of a love for language, the theatre, and Shakespeare that they’ll make a market for a book like this.

It’s by no means perfect: it’s riddled with continuity errors, anachronisms, and character inconsistencies – much like Shakespeare – and, much like Shakespeare, it just doesn’t matter.

The characters are full-of-themselves as only final year art conservatory students can be – and Rio captures this weird world with aplomb – especially the ego masking the fear of your own empty soul.

n.b. Released 11th April in the US and June in the UK. Worth preordering.

Mar 022017
 


 
I missed these books the first time they came around – and on @kameronhurley’s recommendation, had a watch of the telly series, and thought it might be worth a read. It is.
Take one part big idea space opera, add top worldbuilding and pretty progressive politics, and shake it together with a lot of space explosions and you have Leviathan. It won a rake of awards. It’s gripping and a fast read- but intelligent enough that you don’t feel like you’ve lost a brain cell nor are the authors trying to show off their intelligence. It’s fun and it’s good.

Feb 282017
 


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What more can be said about this book? It won the Booker. Irvine Welsh called it amazing. I’ve finally got round to reading this book, and it… I don’t even know how to describe it. The style and craft of it is mind-blowing. There’s a bit of lush, prose, and just when you’re thinking that it’s quite beautiful in its own New Yorker-wannabe way, the writer tells us how crap it is. James layers patois, style, culture, and language and makes it looks easy, when it’s actually the sweat of a master at work. It’s worth savouring every single minute

Feb 202017
 

Poor, poor Rupert keeps dying. After managing to wriggle his cannibal chef’s hat out from under the thumb of the Kindly Ones, Ao Qin, and all the supernatural spirits in Kuala Lumpur, Rupert’s got a new mission: London – the Greek gods he’s on loan to are hungry and there’s a dearth of good cannibal chefs.

As you’d expect, Rupert’s not just elbow deep in viscera, but neck deep in shit – figurative and literal. Bullets appear at seemingly random moments and poor Rupert can’t seem to stay dead – even if he wanted to. This book is twisty-turny and bloody (ha!) good.

Feb 082017
 

Kameron Hurley’s all-female universe of tentacled worlds and the cycle of life is absolutely and utterly insane. I read the entire thing torn between “what the hell is going on here” and “I’m really enjoying whatever it is”.  Zan wakes up, a warrior without a memory, given conflicting information from those who insist they are her sisters. She must fly off and infiltrate another world – the Mokshi, the only world that has left its orbit, and can take them to freedom. I toyed with wondering if this is a meta-narrative about bacteria, but whatever-tf it is, it is absolutely excellent.

Feb 062017
 

Poor Rupert Wong is in it deep: his Boss has him by the short-and-keeps-you-in-hell, the Dragon King can’t be denied, and he just keeps on dying. It’s a difficult life, caught between the powers that be in Kuala Lumpur. Khaw’s book takes on a world where pantheons live side by side – without comfort – and, it seems, everyone’s due a trip through Diyu. The writing is … look, Khaw makes funny, ridiculous, terrifying, and mashups look easy, when it’s not. It’s bloody good, and Khaw is a writer to watch. Especially if you’re poor Rupert Wong. Dying. Yet again.

Feb 022017
 

This is my favourite read from 2016, hands down. Lee has created the most inventive space opera universe… imaginable. The Hexarchate is an empire who can alter the laws of reality by enforcing belief on a population: altering the calendar. The Hexarchate is brutal, and its six factions don’t even trust each other. A calendrical crisis forces the Hexarchate to unearth a long-dead General, Shuos Jedao — frozen as a ghost after massacring his own army, as a last-ditch gambit to save a critical fortress. The story gets odder and, yet, most comforting. It’s a mind-blowing read – and contains kimchi.

Jan 302017
 

 

Cat Webb/Claire North is angry – a good thing. She’s written this book that’s a little bit about everything – the end of the world, the world going to shit, our fears and hopes and dreams, and not a little kidnapping.

This book is a serious level up from Webb/North. It’s a little abstract, sensitive, and almost completely unputdownable and unsatisfying in the most satisfying way – you’ll want to read it again immediately.

Charlie’s new job is as Harbinger of Death. He goes ahead of Death – sometimes as a courtesy, sometimes as a warning, & makes the world a little bit better.