Book Review – The Reality War: The Slough Of Despond by Tim C. Taylor

The Reality War by Tim C. TaylorImagine a world run by giant lizards: lizards who wear clothes, drive cars, get married and form governments.  Imagine that warm-blooded, scale-less human beings do not even exist.  That is the reality which fights for existence when Raslan Saravanan, a human time traveller born in 2951 but living in the 1990s, makes a choice.  The wrong choice.  His decision rewrites history and allows alternative realities to become possible.

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Book review: Not So Stupid! by Malorie Blackman

“The Devil seethed with fury; to be summoned in this way was galling but he had no choice.  The Book of Old had been found and the invocation spell had been executed correctly.

‘Your wish?’ he roared.

Mrs Engell, who stood before him, did not flinch.  The sight and sound and smell of the Devil was nothing compared to what she had been through in the last twenty-three years of marriage …”

(From ‘Detail’)

As a child and then as a teenager I read a lot of books by Malorie Blackman and enjoyed them all.  Her stories are exciting, her characters are genuine, and I always felt that her writing voice was speaking to me as to another adult, rather than talking down to a child.

This collection of short stories is one which will never leave my book shelf.  I’ve re-read them many times and they never get dull.  The first story – ‘Skin Tones’ – begins as an imagining of life after death in a sort of hate-filled Purgatory, and the second –‘Dad, Can I Come Home?’ – is set at the end of a futuristic outer-space war, so you quickly become accustomed to expecting the unexpected and opening your mind to the increasingly inventive stories thrown your way.

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Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

I’m a big fan of sci-fi and dystopian novels.  I love the way that a good writer can create a complete world of fantasy and then sell it to the reader as if it’s reality.  I’m the perfect reader for this type of novel as I get completely absorbed and really believe in the story, however crazy it gets.

First published in 1968, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is set in a future where Earth has been almost destroyed by war.  Vast numbers of people have emigrated to Mars, but some have chosen to remain behind on Earth.  Rick Deckard, the main character, is a bounty hunter living in San Francisco who tracks and ‘retires’ androids for a living.  One day he gets his dream break and is given the chance to prove himself in his job, but the closer he gets to the androids he must destroy More

Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence

This is another book I received recently from Waterstone’s ‘Read and Review’ offer.  It’s also another example of how the scheme persuades me to read books I may not otherwise have picked up: while you obviously don’t have to put your name down for every book, it’s a great risk-free way to try something new (well, risk-free in terms of not spending any money on it… obviously there’s the risk of wasting your time reading it but I rarely hate a book that much).

Prince of Thorns is the first in a new trilogy of fantasy novels.  Fantasy’s something I’ve not really tried before, although I love old sci-fi stories.  This is supposedly a British alternative to A Game of Thrones: again, not something I’m too familiar with but that might give you a rough idea of what to expect. More