Cecily's book reviews

In general I've written reviews of every book I've read since I joined GoodReads (RIP) in May 08, along with one or two I read prior to that. More recent reviews tend to be longer (sometimes a tad too long?). I always carry a book, though I don't get as much time as I'd like to get engrossed - life is busy, but in a good way. Too many of my favourite authors died without writing enough! Apart from reading, and writing about reading, I enjoy Scrabble, good restaurants, woodland, and attending the theatre.

The Seeds of Time

The Seeds of Time - John Wyndham Varied short stories by John Wyndham, some from before WW2 and some decades later, and still fresh, 20 years since I last read them.

Chronoclasm is a thoughtful (non-action) time travel paradox.

Time to Rest is a pastoral tale, where a human loner travels the Martian canals, living a tinker's life.

Meteor is a pre-war adventure. Although basic plot is obvious from the start it presents an interesting slant on how one's insular perspective (life, experience, body) skews one's objectivity and ability to interpret what is around us when we are in an unfamiliar situation.

Survival seems like a cliché, but of course it predates most of the sci fi films it brings to mind - and it has a good twist. Like other Wyndham works, some of the characters express very misogynistic views, albeit perhaps typical of the time. It also has a prescient insight into the power of tabloid media and the power of celebrity (as in Midwich Cuckoos).

Pawley's Peepholes is the story I remembered most vividly from my first reading of this collection. It is a comic slant on time travel, with satire of the media and its approach to "truth".

Opposite Number is about parallel universes, with an original ending.

Pillar to Post is, like Meteor, about disorientation when one cannot even begin to understand one's circumstances, but it is a more complex narrative. It also posits that the end of the world could be that it "just died... of government-paternalism" because there would be so much order, there would be no need to adapt. Life is an accident and maybe survival is too.

Dumb Martian is good because, finally, a man with no respect for women gets his comeuppance.

Compassion Circuit is a very short exploration of the relationship between humans and personal robots.

Wild Flower is completely unlike the others, being rather twee, like its title.

And after all these years, I think Pawley's Peepholes is still my favourite (though perhaps not the best).

Currently reading

The Illustrated Gormenghast Trilogy
Sebastian Peake, China Miéville, Mervyn Peake
Mervyn Peake