User Profile

David Hughes

Joined 1 year, 7 months ago

Grumpy Scottish late career librarian living in Dublin and working in Further Education. Open scholarship enthusiast. Shill for Big Library. Power-hungry gatekeeper. King of infinite space. He/him/his. I read a lot. I "like" (some) sport, politics, walking and my family. Happy to be here and eager to see what happens next ...with everything.

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David Hughes's books

Keith Rosson: Road Seven (2020, Meerkat Press) 5 stars

“Good. Let me ask you something, Brian. Do you believe in this stuff?"

5 stars

Disillusioned PhD student Brian take a gig assisting former alien abductee and current monster hunter Mark Sandoval in his investigation of a unicorn sighting on an island off the coast of Iceland. While the unicorn proves elusive, maybe there's Something Else lurking in the surrounding woods and why exactly is there a US military base on the island? More importantly, will both men face up to the real monsters they're running from from? There's a lot to unpack in this wonderful novel which defies classification. Maybe a horror/magical realism/family drama mashup; it covers so many bases and it covers them so bloody well. I really loved the "first there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is" nature of the preternatural elements of the book. There's a big reveal, in passing, because that's not really what the novel's about. The worst monsters are in ourselves: literally and …

David Neiwert: Red Pill, Blue Pill (Hardcover, 2020, Prometheus) 4 stars

Useful primer

4 stars

Perhaps a bit out-of-date now (but only a little), but an interesting introduction to the allure and consequences of conspiracy theories with a heavy emphasis on the far right. Thankfully includes ideas for deradicalisation. Perhaps also, there could have more more written about who stands to gain from promulgating conspiracy theories as it's bloody obvious that these don't arise in a vacuum. Gains a star for talking to media researcher Mike Caulfield and mentioning the SIFT technique for evaluating information sources, which is far more useful than the CRAAP test.

A. J. Hackwith: Library of the Unwritten (2020, Titan Books Limited) 4 stars

In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren't finished by …

Charming, despite itself

4 stars

Perhaps too long, the plot meanders somewhat, a big reveal is predictable bur nevertheless this is charming and engaging. Not sure why Hell has a library in the first place, but I'll throw my hat into the ring to take over the role and commence digitising all those books.

Lena Nguyen: We Have Always Been Here (2021, DAW) 4 stars

Misanthropic psychologist Dr. Grace Park is placed on the Deucalion, a survey ship headed to …

Awful and frankly, insulting

1 star

The best thing I can say about this is that it is decently written in part; there's the kernel of a good story here and Nguyen does enough to make you want to keep turning the pages, but as mentioned in enne's review below, the science is laughable. Take the book description for example - "an icy planet in an unexplored galaxy". Really? Ok fair enough, I can let that pass - maybe Eos is in an unexplored galaxy, but then very early on there's this, which stopped me completely:

"She’d brought a MAD—a Mood-Altering Device that shot soothing gamma rays into a patient’s eyes". There's nothing soothing about DNA damage, burns or radiation sickness!

Nguyen uses scientific jargon without appearing to know or care what the concepts mean and I found it really jarring. At best it demonstrates a lack of research, at worst it suggests a belief that …

Roy Jacobsen, Don Bartlett, Don Shaw: The Unseen (2017, Quercus) 5 stars

The island is there. The island is always there

5 stars

The best novel about life on a Norwegian island in first half of the twentieth century ever written. The book tells the story of the Barrøys, who live on a small island north of the Arctic circle .Nothing much happens; there are births, deaths, coming and goings but the rhythms and cycles of island life take centre-stage and are exquisitely delineated . Quite simply one of the best novels you're never read