Posts tagged with "books"
Review: The City & The City

On its surface, China Miéville’s The City & The City is a police procedural-type murder mystery set in an Eastern European city-state called Besźel. A woman is discovered dead in an alleyway, and it’s up to Inspector Tyador Borlú to find out whodunnit. Once “dead hooker” is ruled out, the case soon escalates into an international incident between Besźel and its unfriendly neighbour, the city-state of Ul Qoma, and things get more tangled from there, as is customary for the genre. But the murder mystery’s not really the point. It’s fun...

Review: Infinite Jest

The best way I’ve found to describe David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest is as the literary equivalent of Homestuck or Arrested Development (especially season four). It’s long and digressive and as it goes on it produces more and more material for self-reference and references that material in rich and unexpected ways. It’s humorous but never laugh-out-loud humorous, and at some points it’s just a slog to get through. It’s about a film called “Infinite Jest” that viewers...

Review: Taft 2012

Taft 2012 is a short novel by Jason Heller that poses the question “What if William Howard Taft, an unsuccessful and largely forgotten one-term US president who failed re-election in 1912 ran for office again in 2012?” The book deserves some praise for actually following through with the absurd but amusing premise, for making some interesting points about politics and American politics in particular, and for humanising and redeeming a humorous, slightly embarrassing footnote in history. Most people might make a joke about Taft running for elections in 2012 after his...

Review: Deep Sounding

Deep Sounding by Brandon Carbaugh is a self-published Amazon Kindle novel about dwarves. For various cultural reasons, that doesn’t sound like an endorsement, but most of the usual complaints about self-published Tolkienesque fantasy thankfully don’t apply in this instance. Carbaugh knows how to write, and he also knows how to stand out in an oversaturated genre with interesting and novel twists on an old set of tropes. The novel is made up of two almost unrelated stories. The first is about Bardan, an old...

Review: The General Zapped an Angel

I do a fair bit of travelling by airplane, and I’ve found the best thing for a journey that isn’t long enough to encompass a novel is a collection of short stories. You can keep it in your hand luggage and read a few stories every time you take you a trip, so you don’t really have to remember where you were or have the trip end to early to finish the story you were reading. Plus if it’s an old-fashioned dead-tree book you can sit and read it while everyone...