Empire of the Sun by JG Ballard - 4 out of 5
This is the semi-autobiographical tale of young Jim & his experiences in Shanghai in the aftermath of Pearl Harbour. Set over several years we see Jim growing up from a naïve boy, through troubled adolescence, into an emotionally damaged young man.
To start with, the war comes to Jim's world & he finds himself wandering about alone & abandoned by virtually everyone, this bit of the book almost comes across almost as a post-apocalypse story, as he begins his search for his parents.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson - 4 out of 5.
I'd not read any Neal Stephenson before & was lulled into a false sense of what I'd be getting by a preposterous (if strangely compelling) Pizza Delivery opening scene. Set in an alternative present day, our main man is one Hiro Protagonist, a samurai sword wielding computer geek.
There is some great technology depicted throughout the book, The Metaverse itself, the RatThings, Reason (a big gun) and some stuff that pre-dates things we all now use, such as wireless broadband & even Google Earth.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - 3 out of 5
I'm trying to work my way through the SF Masterworks series and this is number 25.
The book is written in the form of Progress Reports (basically diary entries) & follows the progress of a mentally retarded man (Charlie) with a low IQ who undergoes an experimental operation to boost his intelligence.
Aside from the “experimental operation” angle, there is very little SF in this novel, it could easily pass for a main stream book.
It may seem a bit early to be having a pre-christmas sale but with all the uncertainties of the postal system why not get those orders in now and be sure of getting your favorite Golden Sprouter thier perfect christmas gift safely tucked away ready for under the tree....
Better yet, why not grab them while they are on special! These items are all reduced for a limited time only (or until stock is gone) and will revert to full price on the 10th of December.
4 stars - author Toby Frost
This is the second of the chronicles of space captain Isambard Smith.
Where the first book is a tribute to just about every sci fi sci fi book and film ever made, this one is mainly a tribute to Dune.
The evil Ghast empire has taken the tea producing planet of Didcot and the British Empire is likely to fall without the moral fibre generated by its much needed tea. The tea must flow!
With his crew, Captain Smith must muster an army to take on the Ghasts and the fanatical Edenites.
5 Stars on this one - Author Toby Frost
I loved it! Space Captain Smith is desperate to 'have a metal at Gertie (the evil Ghast Empire) and show it his crack' (but the other way round). The British Empire with all its hang ups about foreigners combined with its belief of supremacy is catapulted into the future making for a hilarious romp where tea is the staple and a handlebar moustache is not for hanging on to.
Captain Isambard Smith if a lovely mixture of morality, pomposity, decency, bravery and a complete inability to cope with women.
3 stars on this one - Author Philippa Gregory
Ex-historical re-enactors should never read historical novels!
I found this rather ordinary. It's the story of a young woman with the power of witchcraft in the age of Henry VIII. She flees her home in a nunnery as it is burned to the ground, leaving the woman she considers to be her mother to die in the flames. She goes on to fall in love with the man who burned the nunnery to the ground.
A very short newsletter this month as I just wanted to share some things that aren't in the next magazine (with you in the next 7-10 days) but might be of interest - these have appeared on the website so if you have seen them already, sorry
Retromancer Proof Copy.
Robert is to be the special guest at this event. As the name implies, it wll take place in Alton, Hampshire and over the weekend of the 2nd and 3rd of October.
On the Friday Robert will be the guest speaker and be handing out prizes then on the Saturday he will be at The Little Green Dragon Book and Art Shop during the day where he will be signing books and in the evening he will be the guest of honour at the Wordfest dinner.
You can find out more HERE
A weekend of steampunk with Robert as the guest of Honour.
More details HERE