Humorous, light, and of course Dark Lord approved, Wynne Jones's 'Tough Guide' is both enjoyable for the casual reader and for the writer. Although noHumorous, light, and of course Dark Lord approved, Wynne Jones's 'Tough Guide' is both enjoyable for the casual reader and for the writer. Although not a novel per se, it functions more as a dictionary to all the cliches and commonalities of fantasy writers, from the significance of a character's eye colour to the role of various individuals in a team.
Good to flick through and laugh at and for reference....more
First of all, I think it should be noted that if you don’t know what a ‘redshirt’ is, this probably isn’t the book for you. Perhaps you should try bruFirst of all, I think it should be noted that if you don’t know what a ‘redshirt’ is, this probably isn’t the book for you. Perhaps you should try brushing up on your Star Trek knowledge, first. But I’ll explain it, anyway. Redshirt is the title given to the expendable crewmen (and women) who are killed off on away missions in science-fiction - particularly Star Trek - as a dramatic plot device to increase the tension around the main characters.
Most of the time, these characters barely have a line or two before they are killed off by terrible flesh-dissolving plagues, or giant marauding alien badgers. In a sense, it’s quite logical: if you or I were to be pinned to the side of a ship by an unexploded mine, or exposed to a gas that makes all of your organs shut down over the course of 48 hours, we would probably die.
But on the Intrepid, there are some people who are just lucky enough to get cured with less than fifteen minutes to spare, and manage to make it back to their station on the bridge just in time ti save the day and not get sucked into space by the inevitable hull breaches on decks 6 through 12. Coincidence? The crew doesn’t think so.
As a result of the increased mortality around the senior officers, the crew of the Intrepid have cultivated a healthy distaste for away missions, even going so far as to eerily disappear, moments before either Captain Abernathy or science officer Q’eeng enter the room. Unfortunately, no one has told the new crew about this handy little survival technique.
The book follows several of the new crew of the ship as they realise exactly how weird their situation is (including ice sharks, exploding heads, doppelgängers, and a very well-informed yeti) and desperately come up with a plan to fix it once and for all, stopping any more people from unnecessary and frankly appalling deaths. I mean, ice sharks? What’s the biology behind that?
It must be noted that you don’t have to be a die hard fan to enjoy this book, but a little background certainly can’t hurt. Certainly enough background to get this book’s more comedic moments. But if you’re a fan of Star Trek or of science-fiction in general, you will enjoy this. Laugh along with it, fall inside it (not literally. Careful of the black holes) and you’ll discover that you have far more empathy for those redshirts than you knew you could.
A well-written and semi-autobiographical book, short and to the point, in which the author explores some of his own guilt about his own schooldays guiA well-written and semi-autobiographical book, short and to the point, in which the author explores some of his own guilt about his own schooldays guilt. Our protagonist - never named - is an aspiring writer desperate to win his school's writing competition and meet his idol Ernest Hemmingway, but finds the task to be much harder than he originally envisaged. The school magazine, his friends' own lives, and the ever-present writer's block seek to overcome him, but he finds a way to both solve all his problems and win the competition: cheat.
The book is admirably short considering it's subject matter, sticking to the point as much as possible while still allowing the protagonist his much-needed audience sounding board for his conerns over his lack of inspiration and self-denial. It explores the boarding school genre through the companionship, or lack of, amongst its male American students and is both engaging and stimulating in the questions it raises.
It's not a book I would have chosen to read, I must confess, had it not been course material, but it was enjoyable, nonetheless....more
This is a quaint little book. Easy to follow and to read, it moves along at a brisk enough pace with some humorous moments and pulp-y type plot line.This is a quaint little book. Easy to follow and to read, it moves along at a brisk enough pace with some humorous moments and pulp-y type plot line.
Although, perhaps 'Sherlock Holmes meets Bertie Wooster' would be a better tag......more
Rast and Bron are hired to kill orcs for a group of villagers when their cattle start to go missing. Thinking of it as easy pay, they accept and headRast and Bron are hired to kill orcs for a group of villagers when their cattle start to go missing. Thinking of it as easy pay, they accept and head out to intercept their mark, but something else intervenes...
For a short story, I think it's well done. There's just enough character building for the story to make sense without making it too long, and the characters are likeable and hospitable enough.
As someone who, I know, over exaggerates a lot in writing, I think a bit more character building between the two sets of brothers would have been nice. Also, there are a few places where punctuation has been missed, which impacted how it read it a little. ...more