I originally received this to review, but have actually bought a copy in the meantime because I took too long about getting to it — and some of my friI originally received this to review, but have actually bought a copy in the meantime because I took too long about getting to it — and some of my friends were very enthusiastic about it.
I’m actually finding this one a difficult one to review, anyway. The prose is great, and the interweaving of the plots, the character arcs, and the way the different time periods are handled… all of that worked very well for me. The set-up of the world, too: the plague, the way people survive, the existence of something like the Travelling Symphony (though it did remind me of Genevieve Valentine’s Mechanique). It just… doesn’t seem to be sticking with me. I finished it last night and I’m already forgetting details and connections.
Maybe part of it is that I didn’t really form an emotional connection to anyone. The way it shifts between central characters caused that, somewhat: I was never sure who was coming back, who was incidental. And sometimes the characters were just… drifting through their lives without purpose. The actor, for example, his hopping between wives and his callousness to his friends; he’s a well-written character, and yet not one I can be passionate about.
I think maybe what it really lacked for me was a sense of destination. “Survival” is all the characters aim for, and there’s no one unifying thing that they’re all drawn toward, so that their coming together feels unimportant. I don’t usually need some big epic event as a book’s climax, but it didn’t seem like this had a climax — it was more a character study, a world study, which normally I would enjoy, but because I didn’t really connect with any of the characters, it didn’t elevate the novel beyond “well, objectively I can see it’s well-written”.
I hesitate over giving it a rating, because I normally rate by enjoyment, but also by a sense of ‘okay, I’ll take a star off for x and y’. I don’t want to dock it stars, though, and yet it doesn’t merit the highest accolades I’ve given to books like The Goblin Emperor. I’m going to have to go with three stars (‘liked it’) — which is not to say it’s not a good book, maybe even a five star book in some ways, but it just can’t touch the involvement I’ve had with books I’ve given five stars.
Originally posted here (with interesting conversations in the comments!)....more
I think I've only read one Philip K. Dick book before, and that was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and I didn't really get on with that. I wondI think I've only read one Philip K. Dick book before, and that was Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, and I didn't really get on with that. I wonder now if that was due to different interests at the time, not settling down with it enough... because I did enjoy Radio Free Albemuth, and it's making me want to try going back to Do Androids Dream and to some of Dick's other work, and have another try.
It's a smooth read, confidently written, and easy to follow -- which as I recall, was my problem with Do Androids Dream; I just couldn't keep a handle on what was happening and why, for whatever reason. I was braced for that with this book, but actually, it unfolded reasonably easily. The sci-fi aspects are well done, and the dystopian setting is sketched in so that you can imagine the whole world from the little bits you do see. There's something very 1984 about it, obviously, but with -- well, I won't spoiler it.
The discomforting thing is really the fact that this is semi-autobiographical, and Dick really believed this, or some of this anyway, was happening to him. When I didn't know that -- I didn't know much about Dick, other than something about Harlan Ellison saying he used drugs? -- it was fine, but once I did, I found myself looking for what he was trying to say with it, trying to find his line between fact and fiction.
The bad news is, I'm pretty sure he was bonkers. The good news is, I don't think it was a harmful kind of bonkers, and he could tell me about Valis all day if he wanted. I'd probably just feel a little cringy at the total disconnect from reality, outside of a science fiction novel. In a way, if Dick really did believe all that... well, he lived in a universe that was full of different possibilities. You've got to envy him that a little....more
Had this from NetGalley aaaages ago, and finally got round to reading it now. It's something very much in the vein of 1984, with some aspects clearlyHad this from NetGalley aaaages ago, and finally got round to reading it now. It's something very much in the vein of 1984, with some aspects clearly riffing on that, and it gives me really major déjà vu about something I've read before (but which I suspect was published since). It's one of McDonald's earliest novels, published in the year I was born, and yet I don't think it's gone out of date as speculative fiction so often can.
In a way, I found it predictable: once you know the roles of certain characters and how they fit into society, you can see how it's going to end. That doesn't diminish the fun of the ride, though: this is a quicksilver, frenetic book, a strange new world. I love the concepts here, filched from mythology and jumbled back up to make something new: Lares and Penates, household gods, mixed in with stuff straight out of 1984.
While I didn't like this as much as I liked The Broken Land, and the writing style isn't always entirely for me (too disconnected, jumbled, like an abstract painting), I think it's worth a look, particularly if you enjoy dystopian stories. The last chapter or so is all a bit of a rush; a lot suddenly happens in a few words, and I could've enjoyed seeing it unfold more completely, but I like what's sketched in for us as the result of the climax of the story....more
I can't remember why I originally requested this. I think I was originally drawn by the idea of the twenty-five interlocking stories. There's plenty oI can't remember why I originally requested this. I think I was originally drawn by the idea of the twenty-five interlocking stories. There's plenty of dystopia out there, but this seemed like it could be a new way of looking at the idea -- new by way of a different structure, if not in terms of ideas. In the end, it didn't come together for me: the eARC I downloaded was badly formatted, which didn't help, but editing seemed weak and the writing wasn't anything special.
I'm normally pretty demanding of short stories, so perhaps it's not particularly surprising that ultimately I was unimpressed. It lacked polish, really, and that combined with the fact that there was nothing particularly unique in these stories meant I struggled to finish it, even skimming it. I still like the idea of the structure, but it didn't work here....more
Wouldya look at that, I finally finished reading this? I'm not entirely sure why I stopped: it's not a hard read, and the short chapters pull you on tWouldya look at that, I finally finished reading this? I'm not entirely sure why I stopped: it's not a hard read, and the short chapters pull you on through the story pretty well. There's some gorgeous writing, and the whole structure of it -- the mix of POVs, tenses, etc -- makes it pretty absorbing as you try to figure out all the whys and wherefores. Some of the imagery is just... disgusting, visceral, beautiful, all at once.
The characters are not exactly likeable, but fascinating: Elena, who you slowly come to understand; Bird and Stenos, with their yearnings; Boss, with her strange abilities...
All in all, it's an interesting read, and it'll stick in my mind, but not a favourite, I think....more
I've been on a binge of acquiring lesbian fantasy lately, and this came enthusiastically recommended. It's okay -- I finished it, and there were someI've been on a binge of acquiring lesbian fantasy lately, and this came enthusiastically recommended. It's okay -- I finished it, and there were some powerful scenes. But I didn't feel like I knew enough of the whys and wherefores of the world to get involved in it. The characters could've been interesting -- Bren with her moral dilemmas, her alcoholism, mostly. But I didn't really feel it: for a medic like she's supposed to be, I'd need a lot more background to believe she'd do what she does here in the first place. If I'd had that, she would've felt more three dimensional and compelling.
Not sure if I'll read the other books. I do wonder if they get better, but I wouldn't pick them up if I wasn't actively looking to read more lesbian lit....more
I started off very intrigued by the idea of this world -- the idea of a world where humans develop into a situation where aliens are already among us.I started off very intrigued by the idea of this world -- the idea of a world where humans develop into a situation where aliens are already among us. Are, in fact, in control of us.
But really, it's just another fairly typical dystopia, in the execution, and the narration started to drive me up the wall. The short, snappy sentences.
I'd have liked Engn a lot more if it wasn't so clearly a product of recent trends -- steampunk, dystopian fiction, YA with the boy-boy-girl triad at tI'd have liked Engn a lot more if it wasn't so clearly a product of recent trends -- steampunk, dystopian fiction, YA with the boy-boy-girl triad at the centre... (Not saying that's deliberate at all: that's just something that happens.) But it was still pretty fun, if a bit predictable in many ways (e.g. who escapes, when certain people meet, people's identities -- partially because it's very convenient). And I think it'd be less predictable to a less experienced reader.
Overall, the setting is quite interesting, but my favourite thing was the accuracy of descriptions from the point of view of characters -- e.g. Finn, who has never been to Engn before, comparing what he sees to things he does know, the boles of trees, and jumps he used to make between branches...
Not highly original, but fun. I wasn't going to give it a fair chance, I don't think: if it weren't a promotional copy I was sent to review honestly, I wouldn't have finished it. I don't know that I'd have missed out that much, but it did convince me to keep going....more
The Space Merchants has a very 1984 feel: the underground movement, the profession of the main character... but it's very different as well. A similarThe Space Merchants has a very 1984 feel: the underground movement, the profession of the main character... but it's very different as well. A similar situation, if you like, but with a capitalist society taken to the extremes rather than a socialist one. I'm surprised at people saying it feels outdated; I'm with the people who feel it still seems surprisingly relevant for something written in the 1950s.
It's a very quick read, and one worth reading not so much for characters or relationships, but for the way the idea plays out....more
I've played this game, it's called Assassin's Creed.
Okay, I think this novel came out before Assassin's Creed, and there are some obvious differences,I've played this game, it's called Assassin's Creed.
Okay, I think this novel came out before Assassin's Creed, and there are some obvious differences, not to mention plenty of other examples in all sorts of media that did this story already, but it was really all I could think while reading the opening chapters. I did a little more research and decided not to continue reading this, since I wasn't that impressed with it. It's a library copy and someone else reserved it, so I'll return it ASAP so it can find a more appreciative audience.
(I do appreciate the worries about our surveillance culture. If you haven't thought about that sort of thing, you might find it eye-opening... On the other hand, you might just read 1984: it's less technologically up to date, perhaps, but it's the same message on that front.)
P.S. Good going with the stereotyping about Romani in the very first chapter! I've sure never heard that about "Gypsies" being thieves before.
I know I was reviewing each section separately, but I decided I wasn't going to finish this. All in all, it wasn't keeping my attention as much as I wI know I was reviewing each section separately, but I decided I wasn't going to finish this. All in all, it wasn't keeping my attention as much as I would've liked -- Juliette is a great character, but otherwise, meh, and the plot wasn't so original or well put together that I couldn't spend my time poking holes in it, even to the extent I read it. Combine that with learning what the end is from a helpful reading group member and I was severely sceptical... It isn't bad, and with an editor the workmanlike prose could even have turned out to be a good thing for it, but...
Then I was linked to a post from the author's site, in which he is a misogynistic, ablist jerk. And this is where I regret contributing financially to his success. I could forgive the insensitive, arrogant post where he proves himself as bad as the person he's denigrating, if he was willing to accept the criticism in the comments, but no.
My star rating is for what I've read so far, and not influenced by Howey's personal opinions. The fact that I broke off and didn't finish it, on the other hand...
Edit: As I posted that, I was directed to an apology. To me, it still misses the point and is just an "oh shit, I annoyed potential readers" reaction....more
The idea of being blind scares me quite a bit. Not as much as cancer, maybe, but it's up there. Unfortunately, it's quite likely that I will. Which maThe idea of being blind scares me quite a bit. Not as much as cancer, maybe, but it's up there. Unfortunately, it's quite likely that I will. Which made reading this very uncomfortable for me, because although I know it won't happen like this for me, still... Anyway, Blindness is a very evocative book: the breathless style, which I now know is typical of Saramago's work, suits the story very well, and so does the namelessness of all the protagonists. All of it serves to create that formless blankness of the blindness described in the book.
If you've read other post-apocalyptic stuff, especially The Day of the Triffids, this will seem familiar in many ways. The decay of society, the lengths people have to go to -- yes, that's all been done before, but it's worth reading Saramago's version for the unique details he picks out, the unique style of the story.
There are some really gorgeous bits as well as the really awful books. Of course, there is a lot of reference to disease, some fairly graphic violence, and there's a pretty horrible mass-rape scene, so if those things might cause you harm, best to avoid this one. I found it worth it, myself....more
I really wanted to like this book. Other people spoke so highly of it. But it felt so familiar: the themes, the characters (barely sketched out as theI really wanted to like this book. Other people spoke so highly of it. But it felt so familiar: the themes, the characters (barely sketched out as they were), the whole setting... Parts of the writing are beautiful, but overall to me it felt too moralising, too typical. The idea that cloning will destroy individuality and thus creativity doesn't seem fresh -- though goodness knows, I haven't tried to work out the chronology of that idea: for all I know, Wilhelm was the first. It just didn't work for me, and in the descriptions of the clones in the first section of the book, I couldn't help but think of The Midwich Cuckoos...
It's an easy enough read, and I think deservedly a classic, but I think perhaps it would have had more impact on me if I'd been alive when it first came out. To me it feels outdated, I'm afraid, and it isn't high on the things I value in narratives. I didn't dislike it, but I won't be singing its praises either....more
Quite enjoyed reading this one, though it was difficult to keep in mind the original story and match things up. The idea of Wales as the ideal home ofQuite enjoyed reading this one, though it was difficult to keep in mind the original story and match things up. The idea of Wales as the ideal home of a guerilla army isn't hard to take: it's the way the Welsh have always fought, as far as I know.
One really good quote: "There's enough ammo on half a library shelf to bring down any tyrant - remember that, though I hope you never need it."...more
An intriguing idea leads to an interesting collection of stories, which in their ambiguities and twistiness make me wonder if I'd use this machine. IAn intriguing idea leads to an interesting collection of stories, which in their ambiguities and twistiness make me wonder if I'd use this machine. I mean, I'm scared of cancer, but getting a slip saying I die of a car crash doesn't mean I'm free from ever getting cancer.
Some of the stories are better than others, and there's a bit of repetitiveness if you read it all in one go, but for the most part there's interesting stuff here, and I enjoyed the collection....more
I'd never heard of Frances Hardinge before, and I have no idea how I came across this on the Kindle store, but I'm so very glad I did. It's an enchantI'd never heard of Frances Hardinge before, and I have no idea how I came across this on the Kindle store, but I'm so very glad I did. It's an enchantment of a book -- I think I said something similar, recently, about Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, and I can see the similarities there: the long games being played in both plots, the dazzling strangeness of the worldbuilding, the magic of it all. But at the same time, they're very different stories: it's just something about the flavour that's similar.
A Face Like Glass is marketed as YA, but I don't think you should see that as a discouragement. It's not one of those YA books that slots neatly into the ranks of the YA books that've come before: it's something wild and entirely itself. The same goes for the fact that I've tagged it as dystopia -- it doesn't follow the current dystopia tropes either. It felt like a breath of fresh air for me.
I got hooked on it from Amazon's preview, which is worth a look: it's a slowish start compared to the pace the book gets to near the end, but if you're intrigued by it, you're in for a wonderful ride. I loved every scrap of it, to the extent where I'm almost afraid to look for Frances Hardinge's other books in case they aren't as good. I love Neverfell and I love the bizarre details of the world and all the weird concepts like people being unable to perform expressions without learning them and...
Basically, it's a heck of a ride. Best impulse buy of my year, up to and including my big plush Moomin. Possibly excluding only the ticket I bought to the screening of Avengers Assemble that got me hooked....more
I haven't read all of this. I've read about the concept, and I tried to read it, and I tried to hang on for the promise at the end that "she uncoversI haven't read all of this. I've read about the concept, and I tried to read it, and I tried to hang on for the promise at the end that "she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe". But I couldn't. I'm going to guess I'm going to be called too sensitive and so on, and told that it's just fiction, but whatever. I'm in the "Big 3", the supposedly horrific mental illnesses, twice. Anxiety and depression. (Ranked with schizophrenia?) That doesn't make me not a normal person, and it's certainly not in my genes. "Craziness" isn't a life sentence, nothing about it is inevitable -- you get the gist. Whatever the intent of the author, this just reinforces a ton of harmful stereotypes about us Crazies.
This may have turned out to completely echo my sentiments, I don't know, but judging from the other reviews, it didn't....more
I heard a lot about this book, and I couldn't quite believe that anyone would actually take this premise and run with it. So I downloaded a three chapI heard a lot about this book, and I couldn't quite believe that anyone would actually take this premise and run with it. So I downloaded a three chapter preview. To be fair to the book, I didn't find it in itself terribly written: predictable, and nothing that stands out from the crowd, but there is some world-building there and despite my horror at the premise, I could have read more without wanting to stab my eyes out.
I didn't want to, however, because the whole idea is so breathtakingly offensive. It's supposed to 'turn racism on its head', by making people of colour the ones with privilege and white people the underprivileged, forced to wear blackface. It's so appropriative of the experiences of real victims of racism, and so obviously written by someone who has held privilege all their life. It's heavy-handed and clunky, and just... I can only assume from reading it that the author is one of those people who talks a lot about reverse racism and denies the real amount of privilege they have.
It doesn't come across as the kind of book that could shed any new light on the issue of racism, or exorcise any demons. The people of colour are stereotyped and unsubtle, most of them barely even two dimensional. They're just evil, and you're meant to swallow that.
I don't really have words for how problematic I find this book. It could seem as if the author is saying, stop talking about the bad things white people did in the past, because if you were allowed to rule us, you'd be as bad or worse, and this is why we can't let you have power over us.
Obviously, I haven't read the whole book, but when the very concept is so troubling to me, I'm not going to pay for the full book and read it.
ETA: Realised I didn't say anything about the concept of white people being "Pearls" and black people being "Coals". I hear that there is actually some reason behind that in the author's mind (pearls are not valuable in this society; coal is) but that doesn't make it feel any less problematic when reading the book, especially as that is never articulated....more
I've been meaning to reread this so I could go and read Catching Fire and Mockingjay for ages, and then when I'd seen the film I did buy the Kindle edI've been meaning to reread this so I could go and read Catching Fire and Mockingjay for ages, and then when I'd seen the film I did buy the Kindle edition (having given my original copy away to my sister, fie on me). I've seen the film a bunch of times since -- my sister and I both have massive crushes on Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, which I'm going to use as my excuse.
Anyway, the film is very good in places -- I thought the riot section was particularly well done, even though it wasn't reflected in the book, because it reflected concerns the audiences have after the student riots in London, the Occupy Wall Street movement, all the other riots and rebellions around the world over the last couple of years... But I do love the touches unique to the book, too, like the District 11 gift to Katniss of bread. As someone pointed out at the time, it's disappointing that that didn't get into the film, because we don't actually see much hunger in The Hunger Games, as a film. The book does this much better -- Katniss is constantly thinking about food, and she actually has to deal with the consequences of near-starvation: she gets thinner, she gets ill when she eats too much too fast... We see her dying of thirst, too. So all in all the book makes you a lot more aware of the physical challenges facing her.
An author recently tweeted about The Hunger Games -- I think it was Nnedi Okorafor -- saying that it was nothing special, essentially, because Katniss wins by being a pretty girl and falling in love. But isn't that what those protecting her want the Capitol to think? We are the Capitol, in a way, and more so when we fail to recognise that Katniss is packaged up as a commodity for us, and resisting that almost gets her and Peeta killed. She survives initially because she can climb, hunt, think, and then she has to start playing games with the sponsors to get money to survive. Surely that isn't the traditional pretty-girl-gets-a-boyfriend-happy-ever-after story? And she's never in more danger -- or more dangerous -- than the moment when she and Peeta almost defy the Capitol with their double suicide.
Katniss doesn't survive because of her looks, or because of Peeta, but because she learns to manipulate. She uses the tools of the Capitol against them -- wits, Cinna's expert styling help, even the way the Gamemakers choose to portray her.
I really don't see, myself, how that story can be dismissed as simply another ditzy YA heroine getting the boy and the reward. There are undoubtedly flaws with The Hunger Games, both book and movie, but I don't think Katniss fails to be empowering because "her only resource is her looks"*.
*N.B. That's the closest to a direct quote of the original comment I can find, since I'm either looking in the wrong place for the original tweet, or it's been deleted. That quote comes from a conversation I was having with someone else about the tweet......more
I don't think I can exactly say I "liked" A Clockwork Orange. It was difficult to parse the language without careful attention, and I didn't really waI don't think I can exactly say I "liked" A Clockwork Orange. It was difficult to parse the language without careful attention, and I didn't really want to pay close attention to a story about hurting, raping and eventually killing people. Maybe I've had Ludovico's Technique used on me, because that kind of thing just makes me feel sick.
Still, "Nadsat" is pretty amazing as a made-up language, and especially the way that it is understandable if you pay attention. And the narrator's voice is distinctive: no one sounds quite like Alex. And the idea of the world, the themes explored, are worth picking it up for.
But. Those faint of heart (or stomach) might want to give it a miss....more
There's a sense in which all post-apocalyptic novels feel the same. In all of them, we see society collapsing, torn apart by the pressure of finding aThere's a sense in which all post-apocalyptic novels feel the same. In all of them, we see society collapsing, torn apart by the pressure of finding a way to survive. The Death of Grass is no different, but it's very well written and well structured. There's a Chekhov's gun or two, a good structure which takes us from calm gentility to the feudal need to survive terrifyingly believably, terribly fast. It's horrible, but you can understand the characters, understand their decisions.
And if you can read it and say with assurance that you'd never even think of doing those things, I think you're probably lying to yourself. Personally, I doubt I'm capable of such ruthlessness, but I can't swear I wouldn't allow someone else -- say, my father -- to do it for me. It's easy to wring your hands and call your protector a tyrant, but not so easy to walk away from that protection.
So, yeah, well-written and definitely worth a read if post-apocalypse worlds or human nature are your interest....more
I just lost my first attempt at this review. Gah. Basically: I think the plot arc is perfect and concludes the trilogy just right. The course of the rI just lost my first attempt at this review. Gah. Basically: I think the plot arc is perfect and concludes the trilogy just right. The course of the rebellion makes sense, the actions of Coin and Snow make sense, even the actions of the various former victors and most of the other supporting characters.
Three things bothered me, though. One was that with Katniss as the narrator, her PTSD-induced haze, her lost wanderings, bog down the plot. I think it was pretty well portrayed (painful for me to read, in fact), and it's good to see the consequences of the things Katniss experiences actually explored in fiction. But she's powerless a good bit of the time and that weakens the story. We don't see moments of real, high drama, and sometimes we do but only through Katniss' emotional haze. It's effective in one way, but it makes it difficult at the same time, and I think few (if any) writers could pull it off.
Two: The resolution of the love triangle. It was already starting to bother me in Catching Fire, but now it really did. I didn't know who I wanted Katniss to end up with, but I didn't want it to be easy, I didn't want it to be a foregone conclusion by the time Katniss got round to making a decision. I wanted the hurt to be visceral and real.
The characterisations of Gale and Peeta have wandered from the believable, which doesn't help -- more in Peeta's case than Gale's, admittedly. I started calling him St Peeta.
Three: (view spoiler)[The death of Prim. (hide spoiler)] It seems almost... gratuitous. How much more pain can we inflict on Katniss Everdeen, our martyr-hero? I suppose it makes sense as a decision for the characters, seen that way, but god, Collins is a hard woman.
For the most part, I think I enjoyed it. The last couple of chapters felt rushed, after the slow build of the rebellion. I wasn't immensely happy with the way the characters acted in the last... 20% or so of the book. But it concluded the trilogy well and logically.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I expected to feel a lot less... ambivalent about this, from what people have said. There've been those who think it isn't as good as the first book,I expected to feel a lot less... ambivalent about this, from what people have said. There've been those who think it isn't as good as the first book, and those who thought it was an improvement, but I'm just kind of left helplessly shrugging and saying, well, it was fun to read, and there were a few awesome moments and a few kick-in-the-teeth moments ((view spoiler)[Cinna (hide spoiler)]), but I wasn't really engaged by the Peeta-or-Gale argument (which to me is a) obvious and b) already decided, since I know the plot of Mockingjay) and the idea of Katniss going back into the arena again, still being narrated by her, really failed to draw much of a response at all from me.
I may even come out liking the films more than the books, at this rate. Partly because Jennifer Lawrence is gorgeous, partly because it gives us other perspectives and other voices (to a limited extent -- the camera's practically stuck to Katniss, yeah, but you do get some glimpses outside her point of view). I liked Haymitch's role here, and I sort of wish that he had been the one to go into the arena with Katniss -- that would have given both him and Peeta new roles, and given Katniss a new situation to react to.
Still, I don't feel like I got much more from this than from reading a summary, which is sort of unfortunate. Onward to Mockingjay in hopes of some further kicks in the teeth...["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I received this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted and expected to like it; it's a reissue of a book published in 199I received this book on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I really wanted and expected to like it; it's a reissue of a book published in 1990, and offers a more female viewpoint on the story of nuclear apocalypse and survival, even regrowth. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get into it: the pace is slow, the writing feels stodgy, and it feels more than a bit judgemental about Christianity -- or Christians, at least. I don't see any reason why the more Christian a character professes to be, the more dogmatic and intolerant they behave. I'm very close to some very serious, devout Christians: whatever they believe about me (the fact that I'm a Unitarian Universalist, the fact that I have a same-sex partner), they treat me with compassion and understanding.
As for the writing, it's little repetitive tics that give it the sense of stodginess and clumsiness. Every other chapter for at least the first quarter of the book starts by telling us what 'Mary Hope' is doing -- bludgeoning the reader over the head with that pointed surname. To me, the structure of alternating present first person and past third person chapters felt clumsy too: quite often the one introduces the other, and yet little happens in either to justify taking up a whole chapter, let alone two.
I like the idea, but I think it would have been better served by simplicity of language, structure and style....more
The Kraken Wakes is similar in tone to Wyndham's other invasion books -- The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos. Similar in plot, too, I suppThe Kraken Wakes is similar in tone to Wyndham's other invasion books -- The Day of the Triffids and The Midwich Cuckoos. Similar in plot, too, I suppose, but I just don't get tired of this kind of story, apparently. There are similar themes in play about two intelligent species inevitably coming into conflict (which also arises to some extent in The Chrysalids).
The whole management of the media bit amused me rather, and made me wonder to what extent it's really true that any individual reporters would be trying to do that balancing act. Particularly when I see headlines like 'Paralysed dog taught to walk again' and 'Invisible hearing aid' when I'm watching my sister read the paper at lunch, for some reason, and it seems so very incongruous with the life or death stuff I'm reading... I just have to imagine them carefully deciding how much truth readers can take about, say, how the dog became paralysed.
Oh, except the sinking of a Russian ship that popped up on my twitter feed, from CNN, just as I was reading about the mysterious disappearances of ships in The Kraken Wakes -- that I could picture being carefully handled and spun by the reporters.
The ethics of these characters is particularly noticeable, I suppose, with the recent discovery of The News of the World's little breaches of ethics.
Once again, this rides the line between horror and SF, I think -- through both horrific imagery and a sense of the uncanny when ships disappear and strange things happen to them. It's not that scary though -- partially, I think, due to the measured pace and tone, and the fact that it's written after the events have taken place (so the characters must, perforce have survived)....more