Mar 162015
 
100 word review: Wolves, by Simon Ings

This is a troubling book, a dark imagining of a future five minutes from now, or five minutes ago. It’s a portrait of technology entrepreneurs, recalling the heady late 90s Internet boom “before it was cool”, and the heady and terrifying successes that could come about. It’s a story of augmented reality, something a little […]

Mar 042015
 
Reflections on Kitschies judging

We read 198 books for The Kitschies in 2014 – lots of data on the breakdown here – and I’ve got a LOT of thoughts, and at least some appeals to publishers. Doing this is a labour of love: Yes, you get free books, and free books are always good, but it will stress your […]

Feb 272015
 
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, by Becky Chambers (Self) (Gold Tentacle)

The Kitschies‘ first self-published shortlisted book, and a debut to boot. Chambers had put together a fun, silly space opera that’ll keep you up at night reading by the light of your Kindle (if not by a torch under the duvet), and this is how you should read this book: like you’re young again, and […]

Feb 262015
 
Memory of Water, by Emmi Itäranta (Voyager) (Gold Tentacle)

Another dystopia, this time with a woman – seventeen year old Noria – becoming one of the world’s only, if not first, tea masters. Water is the world’s most precious resource; created from desalination plants and completely managed by distant imperial masters in New Qian. Noria is entrusted with a deep secret, one that could […]

Feb 262015
 
The Girl in the Road, by Monica Byrne (Blackfriars) (Gold Tentacle)

A set of devices that gather power from the waves stretches from the coast of India to Djibouti. A woman leaves her old life behind to walk this bridge, illegally, crossing to a new life, searching for something. In parallel, in an earlier life, a young girl escapes death or slavery in West Africa, heading […]

Feb 252015
 
Viper Wine, by Hermione Eyre (Jonathan Cape) (Gold Tentacle)

The court of Charles I, the crux of time when the Enlightenment was just on the cusp of beginning and modernity would start its relentless march of progress. This book is at once playful, erudite, maddening, insightful, wickedly funny, and absolutely insane. The modern world echoes back across time into the lives of people: boxox […]

Feb 252015
 
The Race, by Nina Allan (NewCon Press) (Red Tentacle)

Allan’s almost-debut The Race is an odd beast of a novel – four parts that link together across ideas of reality and illusion, structured almost like a surrealist French film but in its bones a deeply British novel, of the working-class type whose loss has recently been lamented in the press: there are tones of […]