Tag: Introductions

Isaac Asimov – The Bicentennial Man | Review

Title: The Bicentennial Man

Author: Isaac Asimov

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 256

Rating: 4.5/5

What we have here is another cracking little collection of Isaac Asimov’s short stories, along with Asimov’s introductions to the stories for a little additional context. There were actually one or two here that I’d already read and so I skipped past those, although I did read the introductory essays as they were different.

I’ve also read a full length novel that Asimov co-wrote with Robert Silverberg and which is based on the titular short story here, but it was nice to go back to the original. I also heard that Asimov wasn’t really involved in the novel, which I can believe because it was published not long before he died.

Asimov’s short story collections are always a lot of fun, and while I’m still yet to find one that’s as good as I Robot, I can’t exactly be mad about it because that book is a masterpiece. I love Asimov’s work and I love the way that he sets up his three laws of robotics only to knock them down again by looking at the different ways in which they can be subverted.

That means reading Asimov feels like so much more than simply enjoying a little science fiction escapism. It’s almost philosophical, and it asks the reader a lot of questions about what it means to be human, as well as what it means to be a robot. I’d definitely recommend picking it up.

Learn more about The Bicentennial Man.

 


Alan Bennett – A Private Function | Review

Title: A Private Function

Author: Alan Bennett

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 308

Rating: 3.5/5

This book basically brings together the screenplays for five of Bennett’s different movies: The Old Crowd, A Private Function, Prick Up Your Ears, 102 Boulevard Haussmann and The Madness of King George. As is to be expected with any compilation like this, I liked some of the screenplays more than others, and by all accounts they were better as stage plays anyway.

Still, I’m glad that I picked this one up, and while I’ve changed my mind and I doubt I’ll be watching all of the movies that were made out of this, I’ll be checking out one or two of them. I think it’s also pretty cool because Bennett is at his best when he’s writing dialogue, at least in my opinion, and dialogue automatically shines in screenplays.

I also think that some of my favourite parts of this book were the introductions to the different screenplays, but then I’ve always liked getting a little extra context on what I’m reading. Strangely, though, that only really applies when I’m reading an author talking about their own work, as otherwise I like to go in pretty blind.

All in all then, I’m a fan of Alan Bennett’s work and so I was pretty happy with it, and with five screenplays in a single collection, there’s a lot here for you to enjoy. Even if you don’t like one of them, you’ll probably like the others.

And if nothing else, it’s a fascinating insight into the way that films are made and the changes that are made along the way. For example, he wrote stage directions for pigs, but obviously there’s no way of ensuring that pigs actually follow them. So yeah, a fun, recommended read. Have some fun!

Learn more about A Private Function.