Tag: Fresh

Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter – The Long Utopia | Review

Title: The Long Utopia

Author: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 448

Rating 3.5/5

 

 

At this point, I’m pretty much just continuing to read these books to see what happens next. It’s not as though there’s anything specifically wrong with it, it’s just that I think the series was best right at the start when all of the ideas were still fresh. The idea of people being able to step from one world to another is a solid one, but there’s only so much that you can do with it. By this point, the concept no longer feels freeing, because a lot of the possibilities have been explored by now. Now it feels as though the story line itself is being dictated by its own constraints, and that could be a problem – especially for the last book.

Still, I’m enjoying myself enough, and I will be picking up the last book in the series. I’ve also come around to the way in which huge amounts of time pass between each book, because while it does get annoying just to discover that so-and-so broke up with their wife between books or whatever, it does at least mean we get to see each of the characters throughout their entire lifetime.

And the writing itself is pretty good, and I’m still enjoying the sense of humour as well. In fact, if I were to judge this as a standalone instead of as part of a series, I’d probably be a little more optimistic about it, because it is a good book. It’s just that this one and the last one had nothing on the first series, and we’re now getting to the point at which it feels as though they’re just tying up loose ends and following the science to its inevitable conclusion, instead of just telling a story.

 

 

But it still has all of the good stuff that made me love this series, including a whole heap of references to popular culture, popular science and popular psychology. This is one of those rare fiction novels where it actually feels as though you’re learning something when you’re reading it, and you come out the other end feeling much more intelligent than you did when you started.

So would I recommend this one? Of course I would, although I can also see how it might not be for everyone and there’s really no point skipping straight into it. Instead, you should start from the beginning and just keep going, especially if you find yourself enjoying it. What more could you want? Give the series a go – you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Click here to buy The Long Utopia.

 


Agatha Christie – The Thirteen Problems | Review

Title: The Thirteen Problems

Author: Agatha Christie

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 320

Rating: 4*/5

 

Agatha Christie - The Thirteen Problems

Agatha Christie – The Thirteen Problems

 

This book takes its title from the fact that it’s a collection of thirteen short stories featuring the inimitable Miss Marple. And as you might remember from when I read Miss Marple’s Final Cases, I’m a big fan of Miss Marple short stories. It feels like it’s almost the perfect length for something that features her. After all, she’s at her best when she’s brought in at the end of a case and asked to provide a solution. She lets everyone else do the preliminary work so that she can just come in at the end and tell people what actually happened.

This wasn’t quite as good as Miss Marple’s Final Cases, but it was still pretty fun all the same. The only thing that I wasn’t too keen on was the almost repetitive nature of the stories. Somebody would tell the start of the story and then they wouldn’t have an ending, because real life doesn’t work out like that. Luckily, Miss Marple would always be on hand to tell you what actually happened.

That means that the setup to the stories felt kind of formulaic, but the stories themselves felt fresh and original. I feel like I’d read one of them before somewhere because I was able to figure out how something happened. It involves the colour of a flower changing on a strip of wallpaper and I’m convinced I’ve seen that used before somewhere.

All in all these are some fun short stories and I do love Miss Marple, possibly even more than I love Hercule Poirot. And, because these are all standalone short stories, you can also read this book as a standalone. It’s as good as any other Marple book to get started with and I enjoyed it more than some of the novels.

 

Agatha Christie

Agatha Christie

 

Click here to buy The Thirteen Problems.