Monthly Archives: February 2011

Quicksilver: Baroque Cycle Book 1, Neal Stephenson (HarpurCollins Publisher 2003: {Brilliance Audio, 2010; Narrator: Simon Prebble}

What do you get when you combine Oliver Cromwell, Blackbeard the Pirate and Sir Isaac Newton? A very good novel by Neal Stephenson. Quicksilver is the first of a trilogy that is highly enjoyable, though like other of Stephenson’s works, it does sometimes read like an enormous info-dump. I can’t say this book is for everyone, but for that growing number of speculative fiction fans who want to think deeply about their reading, I highly recommend this book.
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Posted in Alternate History, Political Drama, Post Modern, Series, Strong Characters, Thoughtful, Unique or Imaginative World | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón [Translation: Lucia Graves] (Orion Books, 2004)

Part mystery, part romance, part literary fiction The Shadow of the Wind is thrilling, gripping and touching in a way that I can only dream of writing. The language used is delicate, precise and flowing (both in the original Spanish and in it’s marvelous English translation). In brief, it is the tale of a boy who is entrusted with the guardianship of the last copy of a book, and how he unravels the mystery surrounding it and its enigmatic author. It is a complex story, but an easy read. I highly recommend that you buy the book and become enchanted.
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Posted in Crime Thriller, Espionage, Mystery, Ripping Yarn, Romance, Spy Thriller, Strong Characters, Unique or Imaginative World | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Terminal World, Alistair Reynolds (ACE Books {US}/Gollance{UK};2010)

Terminal World is an enjoyable action novel that combines elements of Science Fiction with Steampunk to come up with an interesting new world. It takes place in a world dominated by “zones” that physically limit the degree of technology that works in the region. Central to these zones is the city of Spearpoint, a spire rising from a flat plain to heights beyond the atmosphere. At the base of this pinnacle only preindustrial technology works, but as one ascends so does the level of technology until one at last reaches the ultratech level of the post-human Angels. When a pathologist named Quillion receives a message from an angel dying of zone sickness, it forces the doctor to leave the city and enter the wild lands of mixed tech zones beyond. Continue reading

Posted in Cyberpunk, Post Modern, Ripping Yarn, Science Fiction, Steampunk, Ultratech, Unique or Imaginative World | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Pirate Latitudes, Michael Crichton (Harpur; 2010).

Pirate Latitudes is a swashbuckling adventure from a master of Ripping Yarns, that does not quite fulfill its potential, nor the genral quality of Crichton’s usual writing. Indeed, reading the teaser excerpt from The Great Train Robbery in the back of the book, one cannot help but contrast the two novels and feel Pirate Latitudes comes up somewhat wanting. Continue reading

Posted in Alternate History, Ripping Yarn | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments