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Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Review: 2061: Odyssey 3 by Arthur C. Clarke

• February 3, 2017

2061: Odyssey Three by Arthur C. Clarke My rating: 3 of 5 stars I enjoyed this book a lot but only as a continuation of a great story rather than for itself. It relies on sidetracks, infodumps and a lot of goodwill from the reader to succeed. There’s a lot to love in it, but […]


Review: Of Time And Stars by Arthur C. Clarke

• January 1, 2017

Of Time and Stars by Arthur C. Clarke My rating: 3 of 5 stars After a while I started to notice a pattern in many of these stories: framing device, really cool idea expounded clearly and elegantly, completed by a humorous punchline that completely deflates the neatness of the tale’s execution. I think I prefer […]


Review: The Physician by Noah Gordon

• December 24, 2016

The Physician by Noah Gordon My rating: 5 of 5 stars The story of Rob Cole, orphan, who leaves 11-th Century England and travels to Persia to become a physician. It covers twenty-odd years of his life and is brilliant. View all my reviews


Review: Dark Prince by David Gemmell

• December 22, 2016

Dark Prince by David Gemmell My rating: 4 of 5 stars Follows the mostly-historical Lion Of Macedon by being mostly-fantasy but still a great yarn for all that. Here, Mr Gemmell explores the complex nature of Alexander the Great by basically saying “a demon done it.” That’s damning the book as less than what it […]


15 Kids Books Ian Likes

• December 11, 2016

This article appeared the other day and one of my mates on Twitter (the fabulous @NinjaBookSwap) posed her own top 15 in response. Well, I thought about it and thought about it, and eventually managed to come up with my own top 15 as well. I hope you enjoy – and tweet to @shutupbanks your […]


Review: Trouble With Lichen by John Wyndham

• October 30, 2016

Trouble with Lichen by John Wyndham My rating: 3 of 5 stars I read this slim volume in pretty much one sitting. It has a great central idea: that a compound based on an exotic lichen can extend human lifespans. And Mr Wyndham has clearly done a lot of thinking about the implications such a […]


Review: Fly By Night by Frances Hardinge

• October 24, 2016

Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge My rating: 5 of 5 stars “That is a very charming story, Mosca. Never tell it again.” I hate animal sidekicks. People writing about animal sidekicks very rarely dwell on details like feeding, caring for, cleaning up after them or just the obnoxiousness that some animals can have. By […]


Review: Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco

• October 24, 2016

Foucault’s Pendulum by Umberto Eco My rating: 5 of 5 stars This book sets out to mock the fetish that some people have for conspiracy theories and “alternative” history and science and then proceeds to turn its own central thesis on its head and then – as a twist – turn that on its head […]


Review: The Chrysalids by John Wyndham

• October 24, 2016

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham My rating: 5 of 5 stars Mr Wyndham finally takes a break from “reporting” on events from a distance and gives us a story told from closer to the event. And the story is improved – the stakes raised, the adventure more vivid – as a result. This is a […]


Review: World Drama by Allardyce Nicoll

• October 24, 2016

World Drama by Allardyce Nicoll My rating: 4 of 5 stars First up, a niggle: the title is wrong. Apart from just over 70 pages, this hefty tome never leaves Europe, and it details the many, many centuries of Asian theatre with a couple of patronising chapters about how it has had an influence on […]