Painted Love — Rob Thurman

Painted Love, written by Rob Thurman.In the anthology, Carniepunk.

An enjoyable little story where our narrator, Doodle, follows a sociopath around a travelling carnival.

But all is not as it seems with Doodle, and it’s a really good twist to the ending.   I’d definitely be interested in reading more stories from Doodle if Rob ever gets around to writing a series.

Rob’s Page

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Mummy and George Go to the Park — Gaie Sebold

Mummy and George Go to the Park, written by Gaie Sebold.In the anthology, Nice Day for a Picnic.

I only got this anthology for Gaie’s story, as i’m quite the fan boy.

An interesting short in that it just implies something rather than spoon feeding you it.   I believe the whole anthology is about strange picnics and if Gaie’s story is anything to go by i think i might just have a go at a few more of them when i feel like a quick read.

So the whole thing is just Mummy’s voice speaking to George as they go to the park for a picnic, which seems quite normal at first, but as Mummy keeps on speaking to George as they go through their park visit we begin to realise that things aren’t quite normal.

It’s certainly different, but really enjoyable.

Gaie’s Page

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The Girl who Leapt Through Time — Yasutaka Tsutsui

There’s two short stories in this book and i’ll review each of them separately below.

The Girl who Leapt Through Time

A short while ago i read The Maid, which was my first trip into the writing of Yasutaka, and i thoroughly enjoyed it: so much that i decided to collect every book of his i could find and read them in published order.   And so i began with The Girl who Leapt Through Time from 1967.

What doesn’t get a mention when approaching this book is that it’s a children’s book, i would perhaps place it around 11-12 year old level, so that’s something to bear in mind if you do decide to read it.

So it’s very simple writing and a rather simple story about some children having a bit of a crazy time with time travel and teleportation.   I felt the best thing about this was it’s simplicity in it’s writing because as an adult you don’t have to think about anything and can just breeze along with the story itself, and it’s quite a good little story.

So yeah, i’m more than happy to have come back to Yasutaka’s earliest book that’s so far been translated into English.   Definitely worth a read if you’re a fan of his writing, or if you just want a quick and easy read of some temporal sci-fi.

The Stuff that Nightmares Are Made of

This is quite a different story to the previous one.   Once again, it’s another children’s book, but this time dealing with the theme of repressed trauma manifesting as unexplained fears.

Although it’s a book for children, i do feel that there’s a few things for most adults to learn here as well, especially parents, whose words and actions can create all kinds of unintended consequences for children.

And that’s me done with this book.   The Maid was next in the original publishing time line of Yasutaka’s translated books, but i already read that, so next up will be Paprika, which i hope to get around to reading some time soon as i’m really enjoying Yasutaka’s writing.

Yasutaka’s Page

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The Windup Girl — Paolo Bacigalupi

This book is awful.

Well, at least the first 12% of it was.   It was so awful that i really just couldn’t be bothered to wade through any more of the trudging, depressing, miserable writing.   I feel i gave it a fair go because if a writer can’t sort his mess out in the first 12% of a book then the book can be deleted as far as i’m concerned.

All we get are depressing characters that you really have no inclination for any level of empathy towards, you just wish they’d all go away and someone interesting turn up, but no one does.   Just miserable, depressing people who drink alcohol and smoke and live in a kind of steampunk dystopia which hasn’t been explained as to how all this mess came about.   In fact, it all just feels totally messy, disjointed and made up by someone who really hasn’t made any attempt at understanding whatever genre this is supposed to be.

So, at the end of 12%, NO THANK YOU!


Paolo’s Page

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A Change of Heart — Gaie Sebold

A Change of Heart, written by Gaie Sebold.In the anthology, Wicked Women.

A quick trip to visit Babylon Steel, yeah, you remember her.

Sadly it’s just a short, but us Babylon Steel fans will take any words we can get from Gaie on this wonderful character.

This time Babylon takes on a necromancer, or two.

Super good, but just so wish Gaie would write a few more Babylon Steel novels.

Gaie’s Page

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Skin Magic — P. Djèlí Clark

Skin Magic, written by P Djèlí Clark.You can find this in the anthology, Griots: Sword and Soul.

I was hoping for more of the similar and i wasn’t disappointed.

Once again we’re thrown right into North-African/Middle-Eastern folk lore kind of stuff with Djèlí’s incredible writing that just keeps dragging you along without a pause.

Djèlí’s writing is so refreshing, and i’m so looking forward to reading many more of his stories in the future.

P. Djèlí Clark’s Page

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Inhibitor Phase — Alastair Reynolds

It had been a bit of a wait since Galactic North but now that Inhibitor Phase has arrived, was it worth the wait?

Well, ok, i’m gonna get my rant out of the way before i go any further.

To begin, we find ourselves on one of the few remaining human colonies that the Inhibitors haven’t got to, that of Sun Hollow.   We’re lead to believe that the people of Sun Hollow live inside a star scoured planet where resources are incredibly tight and the struggle to survive is always right on the edge.

Ok, that’s fair enough.

So why, oh why, oh why the fuck, does Alastair have to put sheep farming into this already over-stretched and under-resourced ecosystem?   This is the most imbecilic thing that is possible to write into this situation.   Where, for a start, do the sheep get their feed from?   Surely, if there are resources enough to keep a viable gene pool of sheep going just so these idiots can taste mutton every day then Sun Hollow must be a paradise to live with resources and space aplenty.

I put the question to anyone who disagrees with me: how many calories of plant foods does it take to make a calorie of mutton?

And as there is absolutely no nutritional need for Homo sapiens, or any other monkey/ape to eat dead animals, why would the people of Sun Hollow be throwing good plant food (that humans do need to eat) away like this?

Yes, Alastair, you screwed up royally on this one.

Anyway, rant over.

The rest of the book is good though, picking up after the events upon Hela that we left off in Absolution Gap, we get to meet Scorpio and Aura again with a new bunch of interesting characters thrown into the mix.

And best of all is that the ending certainly leaves things well and truly open for further books in the series: which i do look forward to as long as Alastair realises that there is no place for animal agriculture in the future of humanity because Homo sapiens have no nutritional needs that can be met by eating dead animals, and animal agriculture is the biggest contributor to environmental destruction on the planet Earth so it certainly won’t be part of any future space colonies that we set up, unless we want them to fail miserably.

Alastair’s Page

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Media Death Cult

For those who enjoy sci-fi (and some fantasy too), or anyone just venturing into these great genres, then you may wish to have a perusal of this really super duper Youtube channel that a friend of mine suggested to me.

Yes folks, it’s Media Death Cult.

I know, he reads those real books made out of murdering trees and everything, but hey, at least he’s making up for it with the entertainment value.

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A Blade to the Heart — Gaie Sebold

A Blade to the Heart, written by Gaie Sebold.

Available in the anthology, Legends.

So far i’ve really enjoyed reading Gaie’s books but, sadly, i just feel this short fell a little short.

While i do think the redemption thing can be good fodder to build a story around, i just think in this case it’s all got a bit too rushed.   Probably would have been much better as a novella, at least.

But, ho hum, every favourite writer has to write at least one thing that just doesn’t work for the fangirl/fanboy reader: does anyone remember The Girl in Red?

Gaie’s Page

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Pan’s Labyrinth — Guillermo del Toro & Cornelia Funke

This is one super good, dark fantasy/fairy-tale.

Set in 1944 at the end of the Spanish Civil War, with Franco’s troops continuing their brutal repression of anyone and anything that stood in their way.   It gets rather violent, brutal and nasty, and caught in amongst all of this is our protagonist, Ofelia, a young girl who has grown up with the horrors of war all around her.

This is not a book for children, or for the faint of heart looking for a nice fantasy/fairy-tale read, but it’s certainly worth a read if you can handle a fair bit of brutality.

Guillermo’s Page Cornelia’s Page

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