Books catchup

Ever horror fan on the planet should read Wrath James White. It's that simple. And by that I mean every horror fan, not you if you enjoyed Twilight and thought the vampire's were cute. I'm talking about your out and out horror fan - the one who enjoyes reading about eyeballs popping and limbs being ripped away from torsos.

I've read White novels now, the first Succulent Prey was highly disturbing (in a good way, honest), and now this The Resurrectionist. He actually manages to write original fiction. Here, his lead big-bad has the power to bring people back to life. Sounds like a wonderful gift doesn't it and not something you'd associate with the villain in a horror book. But just you see what use White has him put this power to. It's really creepy.

Simon Clark's Ghost Monster suffers straight from the off from that title. The story is a pretty basic ghost / possession tale where the main problem is that the ghosts are those of absolute psychopaths - literally, they were in an asylum before they died. As books go it's okay, nothing more. The characters are friendly enough, the plot decent enough, the action okay enough - but only barely. Clark is capable of a lot more than this, so if you've never read his stuff before don't judge him on this alone.

Moving to science fiction...

Orson Scott Card's Ender in Exile is as well written as every OSC book. He certainly knows his craft and his characters - he should know the second with this being the ninth or tenth Ender book - I lose count.

It's advertised as a direct sequel to the original Ender's Game book and tells the story of what happened to Ender between Ender's Game and the start of original sequel Speaker for the Dead. Only problem is I really didn't care.

I think Ender's Game is one of the finest science fiction novel ever written. It is near perfection. I've felt the other books that came after it were not even close. For one thing I didn't find the political side of the stories even remotely interesting, so to find a book where much of the focus is on the political machinations of Ender's elder siblings and I'm not going to be a fan.

OSC is a great writter - I've read many of his books and enjoyed the majority. But he's surely milked the Ender series enough by now. I want something original Orson, you got that?

On the other hand with Mike Resnick what I tend to want is the familiar. And yes I am aware that's double standards but go figure.

Resnick tells tall tales of the future. He gives you over the top characters performing over the top acts in galaxy spanning adventure stories that are written at break neck pace.

This latest book, Starship: Flagship is the final book (of five) in the Starship series. This series has seen decorated space navy officer Wilson Cole being court-martialled for saving the day (and a few million lives), rescued from the brig by his crew before heading into exile and attempting to make a living as a pirate without breaking his ethical beliefs. Then plying his trade briefly as a mercenary before deciding he needs to make a stand against the opressive nature of the Republic he used to serve.

This novel sees this transformation from loyal soldier to revolutionary come to its conclusion when Cole leads his force of a few hundred ships (most of which are not war ships) against the entire space navy with its more than three million ships.

It's big; it's over the top; it's in many ways implausible. Resnick doesn't care about how his spaceships work (FTL, yeah it exists. How does it work - no clue and there's no problem with that). Likewise he's not going to tell you about the inner mechanisms of the weaponry, how the government is organised, the biology of the alien races or any of the tech advances you might encounter along the way.

And it's a damn good thing he doesn't. Explanation would only get in the way and spoil the flow of his legends. And that's really what he's getting it. This is fun stuff.

Now I'm not for a moment going to tell you that this is sf of the highest calibre. I don't think Resnick was trying to write a sure-fire award winner here. He's just out to entertain when he writes stuff like this and he definitely has done.


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