Tag Archives: science fiction

When it’s a jar

By Tom Holt

Statement: This is the third Tom Holt novel I have read, and I must say I really enjoy his writing. Even though I enjoyed it, it took me a wee while to get into the book (I kept distracting myself with chic-lit and other stuff which didn’t help). I didn’t have this problem when reading Barking or Blonde Bombshell. The plot kept repeatedly building towards something exciting, then suddenly turning back to the seamingly mundane. This was just a plot device, so “bare with” fellow readers. I laughed out loud at times, and you’ve gotta love a novel that makes you laugh.

Plot: Strange things keep happening to Maurice Katz. People keep telling him he is a hero for one thing, with seems contrary to Maurice’s perception of his life (unsuccessful, just hanging onto his job etc). Extraordinary things keep happening, and Maurice steadily tries to ignore them until his reluctant inner hero steps out to save the world. And then there’s the bloke who keeps waking up in a jar.

Writing: Modern prose, good flow, funny

Thoughts: I love the balance of modern day London to the various parallels mutliverses. And the humour of course.

Read if:  … you like Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, Ben Aaronovitch, Terry Pratchett.

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Wake

By Elizabeth Knox

Well. Wrap your eyeballs around this novel. I finished reading Wake last night and it was a really unpredictable read. The novel centres around the 13 survivors (plus a mysterious 14th) of a strange madness/sickness that struck the small coastal settlement of Kahukura near Nelson. At first I thought it was really disjointed, that I didn’t know what was going on as it jumped from character to character, just like the characters in the novel … then had the well, duh moment! The reader doesn’t know what’s going on because the characters don’t know what’s going on.

It’s about death, it’s about survival, about how people cope or don’t cope in horrific situations. A word to the squeamish, it can be a bit grizzly in parts. So it’s like Elizabeth Knox’s novels in that it is set in ordinary, everyday settings where major other worldly things happen.

Would I recommend it. Absolutely. It was a quick read for me, and would have been quicker if I hadn’t been reading two books. I like to read a book on the train and something funny or “non-stressful” before bed … although I have been reading Terry Pratchett at night and he can be funny but deep. I belted through Wake as I have belted through all of Elizabeth Knox’s novels, except Black Oxen. I was at a Book Council event where Elizabeth Knox said that she was most (and I am paraphrasing here) proud of was Black Oxen. Didn’t really grab me … the different parts felt too different. Mind you, I haven’t finished it, and I was reading it when I was a very new mother during those early morning feeds, so I really should finish it before I pass too hard a judgement.

Elizabeth Knox talks about Wake in her blog.

The cover art actually depicts scenes from the novel, and was illustrated by Dylan Horrocks, the creator of Hicksville.

Cover art for WakeCover of Wake by Elizabeth Knox

The Restaurant at the end of the Universe

By Douglas Adams

I have wanted to read this book for ages … well since I read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Oddly enough I kept forgetting that I wanted to.

This book didn’t disappoint. What is disappointing is that my original post on this book failed to publish on WordPress, so I need to re type it.

Arthur Dent, Trillion, Ford Prefect, and Zaphod Beeblebrox are where we left them at the end of Hitchhiker’s Guide, in the fabulous stolen space ship Heart of Gold. Arthur and Trillion are the last two human beings left in the world, as Earth has been blown up to “make way for a highway”. The Vogons (who blew up Earth) and others want a tidy job, so the novel begins with them trying to finish off Arthur and Trillion off. Zaphod summons his dead great grandad to get them out of this bind and this is where the fun begins.

To read more about the late Douglas Adams his official website.

A diversion about book stores. I picked up my copy in the fabulous Kinokuniya Singapore. Start hyperventilating now. OK, so maybe Kinokuniya is the Japanese equivalent of evil Fox books, but they really are awesome. I found The Restaurant by wandering through this fabulous shop. I wasn’t looking for it, but it was strategically placed so I might buy it. The selection is fabulous. They have branches all over Asia, and also in Sydney (where I have weighed down my suit case before).

All of the books I bought for myself were unintentional ambled past and caught my eye. And no, browsing online just doesn’t net the same result.

I found books for the wee boy (Star Wars related) and a book I was looking for for the big boy (New York Drawings by Adrian Tomine).

Flood and Fire

By Emily Diamond

Fantastic children’s novel set around London and Cambridge after the collapse of today’s society.   This is actually the second novel in the series, but I didn’t even know about the first.

Flood and Fire follows the story of Lilly, Lexy, Zeph, Cat and PSAI – the only working computer in existence.   Lilly, Lexy and Cat has escaped the pirate like reavers, and are trying to get to safety in Greater Scotland.   Young Zeph is now head of his Family, and is trying to hold it together against other families.  He has been given a terrible task … find and turn in his friends Lilly and Lexy.

Meanwhile, people have found out PSAI and would like to harness his power for their own ends.   Much of the technology that we know of today no longer exists.   It has been destroyed and outlawed.   The last counties in England are run by a Prime Minister who covers the , London is ruled by the Families, and Greater Scotland covers much more of the Great Britain than it does now.

It was fast paced, well written and would be a good read for say year 5-8.

The Hunger Games

By Suzanne Collins

How great is this YA series!   I saw the add for the movie, and mentioned how cool it looked and my colleague told me it was a series of YA novels.   Of course, that may be why the movie look so cool.   I have only read the first in the series so far The Hunger Games , but have the second book, Catching Fire ready and waiting.

Set in the future, what was the USA is controlled by one city, Capitol City.   It is a world of extreme haves and have nots.   Capitol City has all the wealth and all the power, while the 12 Districts live in poverty and work slavishly.   Capitol City’s control became even more extreme after they crushed a the districts rebellion 74 years earlier.   As punishment, a boy and a girl from each region compete in a live televised to-the-death “game”.   Contestants are chosen by way of ballot, called the reaping.

This year Katniss Everdeen’s little sister, Prim, is selected … and Katniss volunteers to take her place.

It is well written and pay, and I am looking forward to reading the next book.