Tag Archives: Fiction

Focus – the nemesis of the Chaos Draft

It took me the best part of a decade to write the first draft of my book. That’s a long, freaking time.

In 10 years, a lot has changed, not least me. I’m a very different person to the borderline-alcoholic, early-20s buffoon that started scribbling down a scene on the tube. Now I’m a moderately sensible 30-something borderline-alcoholic, with a new-found love of reading.

As I’ve changed, my characters have changed, my plot has been twisted and my world has been turned upside down. There’s a beginning, a middle and an end – but their relation to each other is warped, as though light refracts through each Act.

Continue reading Focus – the nemesis of the Chaos Draft

The Hook – Donald E Westlake – [Book Review]

They say “Write what you know” – and if I was Donald E Westlake’s wife, I’d have been having kittens when The Hook came out in 2000.

That’s not to say I view all fiction as a reflection of its creator’s nefarious fantasies, but The Hook is so self-referential, the comparison is unavoidable.

Continue reading The Hook – Donald E Westlake – [Book Review]

Rogue Forces – Dale Brown – [Book Review]

Coverless edition of Rogue Forces
All these reviews are lies

I’m not usually one for hyperbole, but Rogue Forces may well be the worst book of all time. It’s certainly the dullest and most ineptly written trash I’ve ever come across. Certainly, whoever was reading it before me was so embarrassed, they tore the front cover off.

Why is it so awful? It’s difficult to know where to start, there’s so much to choose from. Continue reading Rogue Forces – Dale Brown – [Book Review]

Harvest – Jim Crace – [Book Review]

A book about peasant folk dealing with a change in management is not the kind of thing I generally would pick up, but Jim Crace is such a splendid writer, I’m glad I gave it a go.

Harvest, Jim Crace
Found in Arun Rass, a guesthouse in Kep, Cambodia

Set in an unspecified – but irrefutably English – rural landscape, the story tells the tale of a wheat farming community coming to the end of a harvest, and a change that ravages the farm within seven days. Continue reading Harvest – Jim Crace – [Book Review]

The Fall of Hyperion – Dan Simmons – [Book Review]

The Fall of Hyperion (1990) is the second instalment in Dan Simmons’ epic science fiction series, the Hyperion Cantos. The first, Hyperion (1989), is a glorious cacophony of ideas structured as a sci-fi Canterbury Tales-style pilgrimage, following seven men and women (and one newborn) on their Chaucerian voyage to the Time Tombs on the eponymous planet.

But the first book ends with no resolution. None. Our pilgrims arrive at their destination – the temple complex of the murderous Shrike monster – with each character’s motivations achingly clear, but alas, utterly unfulfilled. Continue reading The Fall of Hyperion – Dan Simmons – [Book Review]