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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Dark Entries by Robert Aickman

Book 68, Dark Entries, is a series of "dark" stories in the style of Edgar Alan Poe.

The first couple of stories I found ok, the last few I was turning the pages dutifully and struggling to even follow the plot. I must admit I don't like the short story format because by the time I am really interested, it's finished! Some of these short stories are quite long, but overall I found them rather dull and award Dark Entries 3 out of 10.

Next up I continue with Science Fiction, with another book of short stories, except these are ghost stories.

I wouldn't call ghost stories science fiction but, in the name of variety, I will read this book anyway.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Made to Kill by Adam Christopher

Book 67, Made to Kill, has to be one of the worst books yet on this project.

Supposedly a science fiction book in the style of Asimov/Dick, it's a private detective story set in an alternative history when robots have been a failed experiment and there is just one left who happens to be a private detective.

I cannot express how poor this book is. The science is appalling, this robot seems to come straight out of the 1950s, the plot is beyond awful, some Soviet conspiracy to take over America, and the style of writing is dreadful, I believe this book was followed up by two others to make a trilogy. I cannot even concede of the mind set of anyone who could enjoy any of these books - they can't be human! I read hundreds of science fiction books when I was young but this was poorer than any of them. It scores 1 out of 10, it failed to contain even a good sentence.

Next up I return to Science Fiction, the first named shelf in this section anyway, for a book of short stories, by Robert Aickman, who is supposedly a classic horror writer - albeit one I have never heard of even though he wrote in "my" era of the 1980s.

I briefly wrote a few science fiction short stories when I was 18, none of them were published, but it was the nearest I ever got to being a writer. Let's see if he's any good.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Anchoress by Robyn Cadwallader

Book 65, The Anchoress, I am afraid falls under the same problems so many historical novels do: lack of plot.

What I usually find happens is the author finds a minor historical figure whose story interests them, does lots of research, and then comes up a book dripping with "facts" but where not much happens. This is one such book. Great idea, great start, interesting opening, and you keep turning the pages, and, just, nothing happens! The end finally comes and you wonder, "was that it?!" So many historical novels suffer this problem, it's actually quite rare to find a good one, so I generally avoid them I have to admit. Overall The Anchoress scores 5 out of 10.

Next up I head to an unnamed bookcase, bookcase 67, which is next to the Science Fiction section and contains a miscellaneous set of books which look like science fiction

I used to read loads of science fiction between the ages of 16 and 22, after which I gradually got bored of it. The cover says Adam Christopher's book is part Asimov, part Dick. I was a big Asimov fan about 16, and a big Dick fan about 20. Let's see if the passage of time has whittled down any interest I have in this book.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

If I Fall, I Die by Michael Christie

Book 65, If I Fall, I Die, was a real disappointment. I liked the idea of the book about a mother and her son who never leave the house until one day the son goes outside and gradually makes his way in the world.

As a general rule I look "coming of age" books, but this one was just too strange. It started ok when Will emerges from the house and start to go to school. Gradually I lost track of what the story was about. It goes off into a tangent about his mum's past and how his family were all destined to die young on working on the docks in Toronto. Will, and his native Indian skateboarding mate, follow the same path. I totally lost track of who the characters all were and was just glad when it finished. Overall it gets 2 out of 10, good start, but I lose my way.

Next up I return to Bookcase 65 as I realised If I Fall, I Die was actually from Bookcase 66!

The Anchoress reminds me of a novel I read about the eponymous The Anchoress of Shere, a nearby village where there was an eponymous Anchoress in the middle ages. I really liked that book. Hope I do this one!