Reviews and Comments

Ian Betteridge

Joined 1 year, 7 months ago

Journalist, writer, and purveyor of fine internet laws. Not yet a meme.

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Becky Chambers: A Closed and Common Orbit (Paperback, 2017, Hodder & Stoughton) 5 stars

Once, Lovelace had eyes and ears everywhere. She was a ship's artificial intelligence system - …

Having read “A long way to a small angry planet” last year, I finally got around to finishing the second in the Wayfarer series. I have to say it took me a while to warm to it – it was one of those books I picked up, read a bit, then dropped for a while in favour of something else – but eventually I not only finished it but really enjoyed it. There are some really interesting themes here: parenthood, identity, what it means to be a person, and they are all handled beautifully (one part had me in tears). Definitely recommended, and the good bit is it’s a standalone story so you don’t have to have read anything else in the series first, even though it follows on from events in “A long way…”.

M. John Harrison: Settling the World (Paperback, 2020, Comma Press) 4 stars

Harrison has always been an exceptional short story writer, as this collection demonstrates. Some of the stories are just weird: what might happen, for example, if it became fashionable (and not deadly) to smash an axe into your face? Others act as preludes to some of his longer work. All of them, though, are worth your time if you like acrobatic writing of the highest order.

Antony Johnston: The Organised Writer (AudiobookFormat, 2021, Tantor and Blackstone Publishing) 3 stars

A short book full of extremely sensible advice about making the jump from being an occasional writer to a professional one. It manages to cover, in a really clear way, simple methods for getting yourself to write regularly (the key to making a profession of it), organising your time and finances, and organising your workspace. I'd definitely recommend it, even if you're not a writer but want to be serious about any creative work.