Tag: Structure

Dan Simmons – Hyperion | Review

Title: Hyperion

Author: Dan Simmons

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 484

Rating: 4/5

To begin with, I wasn’t too sure that I was going to like this one, because it’s one of those books where it sort of throws you straight into the world and if you can’t keep up, that’s your own problem. I usually find that’s quite off-putting, and it comes down to the strength of the story. Here, the story was easily enough to keep me going.

But there’s also the fact that it was extremely well written. It’s one of those books where I would have read to the end regardless of my actual enjoyment just because I wanted to learn what I could from the writing style. I also think this is definitely one that you could re-read and because of the new perspective, you’d get an entirely different experience.

Another thing that I liked was the structure of the book itself. It was reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, although I haven’t actually read that and so I don’t know how valid the comparison is. When you combine the structure, the worldbuilding and the quality of the writing as a whole, you’re on to a winner.

It’s just a little heavy duty, although I’d argue that it’s easier to read than Dune was. That’s partly because you can break it up into the individual microstories, and also because there’s a pretty constant pace throughout, whereas I found that Dune sometimes felt a bit “stoppy and starty”. I think they’re both must-reads if you’re a serious sci-fi fan, although perhaps not if you’re only a newbie to the genre.

I’m somewhere in between, in that I’ve read my fair share of sci-fi but I don’t particularly enjoy it above any other genres. Horror is much more up my street, and so reading this has made me keen to try out The Terror, although I think I’m going to have a little wait between the two. I’ve also read one of Simmons’ novellas in a collection called Dark Visions that he was in with Stephen King and George R. R. Martin, and I found the same thing then. I need a bit of downtime after reading Simmons.

Still, I’m glad that I picked this up and I will probably continue with the rest of the series, although I have no plans to do it immediately and I might not get to it in time to join in with the readalong that’s happening on BookTube. For me, that’s fine, because it seems as though Simmons is an author who’s like a fine wine that should be savoured and enjoyed every now and again, instead of with every meal. And that’s just fine.

I’d say overall, if you’ve been thinking about giving this book a try, you should. If you haven’t, don’t. It lived up to my expectations, I guess.

Learn more about Hyperion.

 


David Mitchell – Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse | Review

Title: Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse

Author: David Mitchell

Type: Non-Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 326

Rating: 4*/5

 

David Mitchell - Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse

David Mitchell – Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse

 

I suppose the first thing to point out here is that this is by David Mitchell the comedian – and not the novelist who wrote Cloud Atlas. I’d actually recommend reading both of them, but for very different reasons.

This book isn’t necessarily a typical book as such, because it’s basically just a collection of different columns that Mitchell wrote for newspapers. Despite that, it does sort of follow a narrative structure – at least, as much as this sort of book can. He’s done a good job of bringing them together in to some sort of order, however arbitrary, and it works well.

The problem is that as soon as you’ve read the first fifty pages, you pretty much know what to expect for the rest of it. It’s different to other books, which are able to repeatedly hook you in with an intense story line. Here, the best you’ll get is a laugh every few pages and the lingering sense that you’ve learned something.

 

David Mitchell

David Mitchell

 

The interesting thing about David Mitchell is that he’s a sort of hero for the cynical, which is probably why I liked this so much. It’s not for everyone, but it’s great stuff if you’re a fan of his or if you tend to lean more to the left when it comes to politics.

My main gripe with this book is the presentation. It felt too text-heavy, and the different columns weren’t particularly well-separated. That only really affects the book’s aesthetics, but I’ve always thought that aesthetics are important. For the average reader, it might be enough to put them off – especially because the newspaper column style starts to get repetitive.

Overall though, I thought this book was lots of fun – and when I wasn’t laughing, I was nodding my head in agreement.

 

David Mitchell

David Mitchell

 

Click here to buy Thinking About it Only Makes it Worse.

 


Newsletter Signup

Get special offers, new book news, cover reveals and more!