Tell Tales

The way I read collections and anthologies is to pick and mix. I may read just one story from a book before looking elsewhere – and I have many, many books on the go at any one time. In order to share my reading pleasure I will, from time to time, highlight a particularly strong story in a thread I’ve termed Tell Tales.

“Tower of Babylon” by Ted Chiang can be found in his collection Stories of Your Life and Others (Picador £8.99). This is the lead story in the book and was originally published in Omni in 1990. Like almost all stories from Omni (the ones I’ve read, anyway), it is an outstanding and powerfully written tale. As one would expect, coming from such a publication. Read more here.



Hekla’s Children reviewed

Over on the Piper at the Gates of Fantasy website I’ve reviewed the new novel by James Brogden, Hekla’sChildren:

Quite simply, I fell in love with this novel almost instantly. I admit some may think I’m somewhat biased: I’ve known James Brogden for many years and have included some of his short stories in the magazines I edited for the British Fantasy Society, as well as publishing a collection of his finely crafted short stories (Evocations, The Alchemy Press). However, and trust me in this, if I hadn’t enjoyed Hekla’s Children I wouldn’t have read it so quickly and thus you wouldn’t be reading this review.

Pop over to Piper to read the full review and then buy, read and savour this fabulous novel.


Back again!

I have neglected some of my websites over the recent weeks —  months, even. Most of my energy/ attention has focussed on The Alchemy Press (and it was a busy 2015 with new books, launches at conventions, and the like). So then, this the first post on this website since June last year. It’s brief, but a start.

Pop over to Piper at the Gates of Fantasy to see another of my neglected websites, now with a new post, a review of The Death House by Sarah Pinborough:

” Sarah Pinborough’s science fiction novel is set in a dystopian future/alternate world (it’s not obvious which and it’s not important), in a house that resembles an approved school on an isolated island somewhere far from civilisation. It’s a place where “Defective” children are housed until they die from the illness triggered by their defective genes, a place where there is only one way out – on a gurney, their existence then wiped away. It’s a bleak scenario and yet, despite the death that awaits the inmates, it is a coming-of-age story that bubbles with the promise of life.” Read the full review here.

The Book Thief

I watched The Book Thief last night, a movie directed by Brian Percival and starring Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, and Sophie Nélisse as the girl Liesel. The film is set in a small German town during WW2.

In 1938 Liesel is taken from her communist parents and given to a “proper” German family (but it turns out that they are not quite as proper as the Nazi’s would wish). It takes some time but eventually Liesel is able to call Hans and Rosa (Rush and Watson) her Mama and Papa. The story continues throughout the war years, during which Liesel befriends Rudy, discovers books (and steals them – borrows them, actually – from the Bürgermeister’s house), and meets Max, a Jew on the run from the Nazis. And learns to fear the latter.

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We Still Kill…

We Still Kill the Old Way (DVD 2014)

This short review includes a spoiler. I won’t give away the ending but to be honest it’s not that difficult to anticipate the movie’s outcome – who wins, who loses. Since I quite enjoy British crime drama (well, not the cosy-crime type), and since the DVD was for sale at around £7.00, it seemed a good idea to buy and watch.

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