Tag: Historically

Haruki Murakami – Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World | Review

Title: Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Author: Haruki Murakami

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 404

Rating: 3.5/5

 

 

This one’s a difficult one to review because it’s so bizarre, and indeed that’s something of a barrier-to-entry to begin with. It took me a hundred pages or so to get absorbed in the story, and I actually started it out as a bedtime book because I wasn’t too excited about it. But then I got hooked, and by the end of it I was enjoying it, although I still didn’t really know what was going on.

That’s kind of a good thing though, because it means you could pick it up for a second and a third time and find something new every time. But at the same time, it was also pretty good just on the initial read, and it almost reminded me of Stephen King’s Dark Tower books, although King’s series is a lot better.

Part of the problem here might be the translation, which in this instance was done by Alfred Birnbaum. I’ve never heard of the guy before, but you could definitely tell the difference between Birnbaum’s voice as a translator and Jay Rubin’s voice, who I’m more familiar with. There were even a couple of typos here and there, which I quite frankly wasn’t expecting from a book published by Vintage.

 

 

The story itself is basically a magical realism story, and it’s a genre that I’ve not had much love for historically. To be honest, I don’t think this one has changed my mind, but that’s probably not a bad thing. Some genres you love and others you don’t, and it just sucks for me that Murakami wrote so much in a genre that I don’t care for when you consider that I’m hoping to slowly work my way through all of his stuff.

And so I guess that brings me up to the end of this review, and I’m just sorry that I don’t have more to say about it. I can also see why this is a popular book amongst Murakami’s fans, and I wouldn’t rule out re-reading it again in the future. But in the meantime, I need to work my way through the rest of his stuff, and so re-reads are out for now. Wish me luck, there’s more to come.

 

 

Click here to buy Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World.

 


Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter – The Long Earth | Review

Title: The Long Earth

Author: Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 432

Rating 5/5

 

 

Wow, this was something else. I’d actually been putting it off for a while because historically, I haven’t found Pratchett to be at his best when writing with other people. For example, I hold the unpopular opinion that Good Omens is one of his worst, although that might be because I find Neil Gaiman to be pretty hit and miss to begin with.

Here, though, I shouldn’t have worried, because I thought that both the concept behind the story and the overall execution were fantastic. I particularly liked the way that the authors had thought everything through to its logical conclusion, which I’ll be talking about at length in my YouTube review. It was quite frankly insane, and I loved how much of it was based on science and the concepts that are pretty cutting edge today.

I think one of the things that put me off about this book was the blurb, which didn’t really sell it to me. I’ll try to give a summary of my own instead. Imagine that there are millions upon millions of versions of the earth that are each accessible like going from one card to another in an infinite deck of cards. Each of the worlds is uncolonised, but you have to step from one to another in order and so the further away you go from base earth, the longer it takes to get back.

 

 

Once a device is created which allows people to hop between the different earths, we experience a new type of frontierism in which anyone can expand into any world. The only limitation is that you can’t carry iron across, and most people can’t hop worlds quickly without having a cooling off period in between as they vomit and readjust. This leads to seem interesting developments including groups of pioneers who aim to travel hundreds of thousands of earths away.

This is one of two books that I was reading at the same time where they had the potential to be in my top ten books of the year, and this one is in the running for my overall favourite. I’m also looking forward to cracking on with the rest of the series, and I suspect I’ll be moving on to the rest of the series soon enough. It was just a genuine pleasure to read and I liked the way that the story simultaneously ended and set itself up for a sequel. Excellent.

 

 

Click here to buy The Long Earth.