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Posts Tagged ‘Book’

Derek, Tim and ‘Trol’ are three ageing rebels, hitting their fifties. Disillusioned by the way the world has turned out and the frustration of their teenage dreams of a better life or a revolution.

All they have left are stories of past glory and pints of cheap beer at one of the last punk-pubs in London.

Watching a riot unfurl on television, to no point and no effect, their frustration boils over and they decide to do something futile and stupid, a grand, nihilistic gesture of futility.

Comedy, social and political satire, and frustration all meet in this story of a ‘revolutionary caper’

 

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Gaiman’s latest is a bit of a puzzler. It was intended to be a short story originally and then ended up being a novel but, in the process of becoming a novel it has ended up feeling a bit stretched and threadbare. ┬áIt might have worked better, in my humble opinion, as something of more moderate size but I imagine it’s harder to sell smaller books – even for Mr G.

The story follows the misadventures of a young boy (in what seems to be the 1960s) in rural England. He’s drawn into things beyond his understanding, a victim of circumstance and curiosity and the strangeness that follows it.

For those of us brought up in rural England (in the 70s and before) – and on a diet of weird Children’s television that the BBC sought to fuck us all up with – the book is rather nostalgic. Filled with little familiarities. Neil’s a little older than me though and not all of it quite jibes, though there’s a bit of a feeling that it’s a Famous Five book that’s been given an heroic dose of mescalin.

It’s weird, strange, unusual – even for Neil – otherworldly and trippy but somehow also unsatisfying. There’s an adventure, but it’s a memory and the protagonist is largely a helpless pawn in the affairs of other, incomprehensible things. There’s touches of Lovecraft as well as Blyton, hints of science, allusions to the confusing world of quantum mechanics, a subtle reference to the triple-goddess. It’s a lot of things.

The naive, child’s viewpoint cushions the blow a little – because to a child a great many things are incomprehensible but it can’t save the feeling, by the end of the book, that everything in it might as well not have happened.

I’m glad I read it, but it’s a bit personal feeling and a bit self-indulgent.

Also something nasty happens to a cat early on, and I love cats.

So apologies to Mr Gaiman, but I didn’t like this one that much.

Style: 4
Substance: 2
Overall: 3

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Twelve digits, the best genetics science can buy, a PHD from the University of Life and a roaring muscle car. Almost everything a Science Hero could need to put the world to rights and to explore its mysteries but, perhaps, something remains that he could put to good use. A partner and – perhaps – a little humility.

Doc Osmium is the short, neo-pulp tale of a two-fisted scientist unravelling a chain of uncanny coincidence that leads him back to… well, you’ll just have to read to find out.

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