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Showing posts from October, 2016

The Memory, Sorrow and Thorn Trilogy, by Tad Williams

I mused recently, rashly and publicly about the derivative nature of most fantasy fiction opuses. Unfortunately, for me, I was guilty of a sweeping generalisation that left me open to a convincing challenge, which duly arrived courtesy of Deborah Beale on Twitter, or @MrsTad as she is known. She told me in not so many words that I was a buffoon and to go away and read Memory, Sorrow and Thorn by Mr Tad before making any further egregiously similar mistakes, tenderly qualifying her praise with the caveat that it's a slow starter. So, having being goaded into committing what amounted to two months of my reading time to this trilogy (or tetralogy if you wanted to buy the last volume in two constituent parts, Siege and Storm), I have come to the conclusion that I was right all along.
That is NOT to say that these three/four novels are diminished by the presence of archetypal characters, races, situations and events and which are to be found littered throughout such luminary fantasy wor…

The Dog Of The South by Charles Portis

Charles Portis currently serves as my literary palette cleanser. Between long, meaty meals of literary or indeed any sort of fiction wherein my patience and stomach is tested to the max, a sweet, sharp bowl of Portis resets my flagging will ready for the next serving. His sorbet is a particular blend of surrealism and realism, all usually hung on a mythological hero quest.

Ray Midge is just one such 'hero', whose own personal quest might carelessly be derided as rather meaningless–he's out to find his car, and with it, his wife and her ex-husband with whom she's run off. Not that he particularly wants her back; he just loves his Torino. With only a box of silver cutlery and his credit card receipts he tracks the fugitives to Mexico, where he meets dyspeptic dipsomaniac Dr Reo Symes, owner of the eponymous and defunct bus The Dog Of The South, and who requires a ride to Belize to see his mother so he can talk her into bequeathing to him a plot of land in the middle of a …

The Résumé by Simon L. Read

Firstly, I must disclose that I read this at the behest of someone who may or may not be the author. I assume he is, although it's not clear. It was made available for free in return for a review of equally ambiguous nature.

"The planet had become a giant sheet of framed paper, unquestionable."

So relates the unreliable narrative of Tedwin torX Jnr, detective and possessor or the titular résumé. It is one of many shallowly profound statements that ping around this surreal concept novel, a time-travelling parody of a police procedural and dated futuristic Dada-esque nonsense piece. The forward, by a fictitious film historian, places this as a novel written in 2016 that somehow influences a film of the same title released in 1994, the references to which seep into the public consciousness and become ubiquitous in the years that follow. The action kicks in straight away with the archetypal 'chief' chewing out our narrator before unloading a shotgun into his own face. …