I decided to start posting to this community again after a few years break. I only read 55 books last year and I'm going to be very busy at work for the next few months, so I need to push myself if I'm going to read 50 books this year.Book 1: "Black Butterfly" by Mark Gatiss'Now, Now, Delilah,' I said, sipping gingerly at the brandy. 'You're sounding petulant again.'
'Well,' she drawled, 'not like the bloody old days, is it? Stuck behind desk fiddling with paper-clips. I bet you'd give a year of your life just for a nice juicy assassination!'
I shook my head. 'Time to bring down the curtain, Delilah.'
But scarcely had the words left my lips when I felt a sudden heat on mt cheek, and my smeary glass exploded as a 9mm bullet slammed not the bar.
For the third book in the series, we have skipped forwards to 1953 and the end of Lucifer's career. Lucifer has risen to be "Joshua Reynolds" (the pseudonym of the spy master in charge of the Royal Academy), but he is facing retirement and the Royal Academy is about to be absorbed into MI6. When an old friend dies in a car crash due to uncharacteristically risky driving, and a pillar of the establishment suddenly goes crazy, firing a gun in a crowded bar and stealing Lucifer's car, Lucifer follows a suspect to Istanbul and gets drawn into one last case.
It was quite funny, but I don't think the plot hangs together as well as in the first two books.Book 2: "Popes and Phantoms" by John Whitbourn'Gods with no worshippers,' commented Slovo. 'How terribly sad.'
'We aim to change all that, Admiral,' said the condottiere with quiet confidence. 'We may ally ourselves with atheists and Elves, radical humanists and Roman-Empire nostalgists - in fact anyone who rests uneasy under the present dispensation. However, we never for one moment lose sight of our ancient objective.'
Usually I prefer alternate history to be realistic, but this one is definitely on the fantasy side, featuring revenants, elves, vengeful ghosts, and a new regime in hell, as well as both past and future gods (in the manner of Neil Gaiman's "American Gods"). It's the story of Admiral Slovo, a former pirate turned papal troubleshooter, who is really working for a far-reaching and highly-connected secret society called the Vehme (i.e. the Illuminati). When I read "The Dragon Waiting", an alternate history that is set at a similar date, I found the vampires and magic irritating and off-putting, but strangely the fantasy elements didn't jar at all this time, maybe because. of all the anachronism and wordplay.
"Popes and Phantoms" reminded me of Julian Rathbone's historical novel "Kings of Albion", as both authors seemed to be playing games with the text to amuse themselves. There was a similar use of anachronism, and a lot of wordplay, including a particularly good pun on Te Deum/tedium, and the author also slipped in some film titles; I noticed "Death in Venice" and "Apocalypse Now" but their may well have been others. Maybe that's why the fantasy elements didn't jar - the sheer amount of puns and anachronisms meant that there was no way you could kid yourself that this was an account of events that could have actually happened.Book 3: "Retromancer" by Robert Rankin'You have a plan, do you not?' I said.
'Naturally. Twelve cases and we win the war.'
'Twelve cases, I see.' And I did. Well, sort of.
It is always twelve cases, as I have told you before. It is always to do with time and it always involves the solving of twelve Cosmic Conundra. It is what I do and what I am.'
'And I will be proud to aid you' I said.
The teenage Jim Pooley is surprised when his aunt serves him bratwurst for breakfast one morning rather than bangers. When he ventures out into the streets of Brentford, he finds that apparently Germany won the war and he seems to be the only person in Brentford who knows that history has been changed, and wonders if this could be because Hugo Rune had already interfered with his time-line, so that their year-long adventures in Brighton (as chronicled in "The Brightonomicon") appeared to have taken a single day. After a run-in with the German authorities, he finds himself
waking up in World War II London, and working with Rune to re-set history and ensure that the Allies win the war. This involves investigating twelve cases under the aegis of the Ministry of Serendipity, whose secret headquarters are underneath Mornington Crescent tube station.
A great improvement over Necrophenia, which I read a couple of months ago.DNF: "Doctor Who: The Coming of the Terraphiles" by Michael Moorcock
My brother gave me this book for my birthday, and even had it signed by the author for me. Unfortunately, even though it features the Doctor and Amy meeting Jerry Cornelius, I couldn't get into it as I'm not into TV spin-offs. Book 4: "The Lovecraft Necronomicon Primer: A Guide to the Cthulhu Mythos" by T. Allan BilstadAbdul Alhazred made his mark in the world of Lovecraft because of what drove him to insanity, and the actions of this unbalanced writer continue to shock and dismay to this very day. (I am referring to Alhazred here, not myself as the unbalanced writer. Remember that I have a certificate stating I am not insane, something that Alhazred sorely lacked).
A short guide to the Cthulhu Mythos and its inhuman monsters. The good thing about this book is that the author doesn't include spoilers. He doesn't say which stories feature which monster, and in the one case where it is unavoidable ("The Dunwich Horror"), he doesn't describe the monster at all, and just suggests that you should read the story. The bad thing about it is the arch tone of the author and his continual facetious comments about not having been driven mad by his studies of the Cthulhu Mythos, while implying the opposite.Book 5: "The Making of the Representative for Planet 8" by Doris LessingWhen we looked up at that wall, we could see how the ice had come pressing down and over its top. A dirty greyish white shelf projected from our wall: it was the edge of a glacier. If the wall gave, then what could stand between us and the ice and snow of that interminable winter up there, whose shrieking winds and gales kept us awake at nights, while we huddled together under the mounds of thick hides? But the wall would not give. It could not . . . Canopus had prescribed it, Canopus had ordered it. Therefore, it would stand . . .
But where was Canopus?
If we were to be rescued in time for our peoples to be saved, then that time was already past.
Planet 8 in the Canopean Empire was a paradise and its people were happy, until an unprecedented snowfall ushers in a dramatic climate change. The Representatives try to keep things going and help their everyone to adapt to the new conditions, but they are fighting a losing battle. ( Collapse )
A short, sad book. So sad, in fact, that I may be giving it less start than it deserves, just because I found it depressing.
NB: The Doris Lessing book is the fourth in a series of five. I read the first three last year and you can find them in my personal LJ if you're interested, under the bookreviews tag.