Archive for suicide

THE OCEAN AT THE END OF THE LANE By Neil Gaiman – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 30, 2015 by stanleyriiks

How does he do it?

As a reader he manages to captivate, inspire and surprise me. As a writer he terrifies me. How can I compete?

Our narrator is a middle-aged man who visits what’s left of his childhood home and remembers a brief episode: after he sees a man commit suicide in their family car, he runs away to the house at the end of the lane, and in that house is a family of women, including a young girl slightly older than him, who have been there since the Doomsday book was written (who have a duckpond that they call an ocean). After a magical trip with the young girl our narrator returns home to find things have changed… When he gets a new nanny, she turns out to be some form of magical creature and is intent on imprisoning him in the attic.

Gaiman weaves tales like no one else. This book most reminded me of Hansel and Gretel, it’s a modern-day fairy tale. It’s riveting, absorbing, poignant, intelligent, and captivating. It’s a fantasy like a Roald Dahl book. A book of memory and the fantastic, it’s beautiful and heart wrenching.

Mr Gaiman is a true genius. It’s impossible to review his books with any kind of critical eye because he just sweeps you up in the story and characters. This isn’t his best book, American Gods and Anansi Boys both have more depth, and I’m not sure any book could better The Graveyard Book. But this is an amazing book. It’s simple and straightforward and brilliant. It’s short and insightful and poetic.

The modern teller of fairy tales has created another masterpiece of fiction.

I will follow Mr Gaiman (not in the stalker sense, just his writing!) wherever he goes and I have no doubt I will enjoy every step.

Fantastical genius.

SLANT By Greg Bear – Reviewed

Posted in Reviews, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by stanleyriiks

Midway through the 21st century there is a huge reliance on psycho-therapy using nano-technology monitors to keep society sane and well-adjusted.

A billionaire commits suicide after spending an evening with a Yox (latest immersive technology) pornstar and escort.

A man is regularly visiting the Omphalos, a strange building filled with the dead who are waiting to be brought back to life when the technology arrives.

Jill is a Thinker, a massive super intelligent computer.

Mary Choy is a Seattle Police Detective trying to find out the truth about the billionaire’s suicide.

Then people’s therapy monitors start to break down, sending society in a paroxysm of depression and mental instability, a group of criminals plans to invade Ompholas and steal the treasures within, the pornstar is attacked, Jill is hacked, and Mary Choy starts to literally fall apart.

This is what SF is all about. Great ideas and good plotting. The characters are merely there to give us some focus, not really to get attached to. There are some really good ideas, most of which aren’t outdated despite this book being ten years old. The plotting is where the book really shows its strength, as the various separate strands come together in a complex climax. OK, so you can see where most of this is coming from before the end, and there aren’t really any surprises, in fact there nothing really spectacular at all. This is good solid SF, some nice ideas, some good plotting, decent characters, but nothing special, nothing memorable. All the right ingredients, but really nothing to make it stand out.