…SF addict …

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

The witches are back, well 2 of them are, and there's strange goings on at the opera house...people are disappearing, there's a strange low rumbling from the basement and that chandelier looks like an accident waiting to happen...
Its hard to review a Pratchett book without giving away the plot so I won't say anymore other than its a very funny book and no matter what happens, the show must go on...


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lords and Ladies-Terry Pratchett

This is one of Pratchett's Witches book, the previous being Witches Abroad (1989).
In this book Magrat Garlick, the youngest of the 3, is to be married to King Verence and must learn how to Queen. Meanwhile the Lancre Morris Dancers are preparing for an entertainment for the wedding party and helped by much intake of alcohol (Scumble) they inadvertently awaken the Elves from within the stone circle. Elves are bad. But they have style and glamour which helps to win over the people of Lancre who don't really believe they're harmful. The witches know otherwise and along with Ridcully the slightly incompetent wizzard, who can't spell wizard properly, must set about convincing people about the true nature of said elves and doing something about them...

Utterly silly and typically Pratchett. Good stuff.


Monday, January 29, 2018

Casino Royale-Ian Fleming

This is the first book featuring James Bond who, over the years has become an icon of all that's right and good, a sophisticated hero of our times etc. So I was kind of looking forward to reading about him. The book begins in the middle of the action, then jumps back a little to give some background on the case, and a little info on Bond himself. At first Bond comes across as cold, distant and unemotional. If he were a real person today he'd be branded a misogynist-his attitudes towards women were quite shocking. I mean we all know Bond is a womaniser, a ladies man, but in the book he comes across as disliking the fairer sex quite strongly. Near the beginning, when he is presented with a woman as a cover, (Vesper Lynd) he states that women are for recreation, that they have emotional baggage and need to be looked after. He clearly believes that a woman belongs in the kitchen, and in the bed, but not on a dangerous job. Anyway... let's say he thaws somewhat as the book progresses and begins to fall for miss Lynd, and this softens him up somewhat, and he is able to get on with the job in hand as it were....to say anymore would give too much away, but I'm sure by now most will be familiar with the plot featuring the french-named villain Le Chiffre and the counter-agency SMERSH (which goes on to feature in later books), and the dealings at the casino. The one aspect of the book that was slightly annoying was the copious use of french words and terms with no explanation. I kept my phone handy to act as translator! But on the whole not a bad book, if rather short at under 220 pages. But it was Fleming's first foray into fiction, and as regards the seemingly sexist attitudes, well this was written in the early 1950's, it was a different world back then. Some of the scenes are fairly violent- the torture scene that I remembered from the film is pretty much as it is in the book-it pulls no punches. Bond is no hero for boys-this is an adult world!
I will definitely read more Bond books. The sad thing is that Fleming died in 1964-two years after Dr No was filmed! So all those films that we have grown up with, well many of them were based on stuff not written by Fleming. And thats the thing. Bond lives on. People continue to want to see Bond rid the world of evil, in style, and so new stuff gets published. Even Sebastian Faulks, author of seminal war story Birdsong, has written at least one Bond book.
Long may he reign. And remain shaken, not stirred...