VIEWS FROM WEST PID

What fires up our imaginations to write and draw stories for this dog blog? Everything and anything, really. Read on…

Books:

Okay, so either the weeks are trotting round too quickly, or, I am too slow at reading a straight line – either way, I ain’t done my homework on ‘new’ titles so I’m gonna give a review of some of my fav books of all time: genre by genre.  All the following are fabulous reads and set the bar for authors [of same genre] to follow.  Obviously, the Mutt-0-Meter is switched off for this review…


ADVENTURE FICTION: The Descent – written by Jeff Long (2002)

  • Publisher : Gollancz; New edition (14 Sept. 2000)
  • ISBN-10 : 1857989295
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1857989298

In a cave in the Himalayas, a guide discovers a self-mutilated body with the warning “Satan exists”. In the Kalahari Desert, a nun unearths evidence of a proto-human species and a deity called Older-than-Old. In Bosnia, “something” feeds upon the dead in mass graves. So begins mankind’s shocking realization that the underworld is populated by another race of beings. (courtesy Amazon.com)

My take: part Arthur Conan Doyle [for rip-roaring adventure], Joe Hill (for the sheer horror], and Homer [for a literary tale of pure epic quest] Jeff Long writes like his life depends on it.  It is high adventure for the literary-minded.  Beware however, read only in daylight if you have a phobia for getting lost in dark spaces. (note: cannot find this on Kindle, so you may need to go the old school books of wood route).


HISTORICAL FICTION:  Shogun – written by James Clavell (1986)

  • ASIN : 0340766166
  • Publisher : Hodder Paperbacks; 1st edition (2 Dec. 1999)
  • ISBN-10 : 9780340766163
  • ISBN-13 : 978-0340766163

Clavell’s tour-de-force; an epic saga of one Pilot-Major John Blackthorne, and his integration into the struggles and strife of feudal Japan. Both entertaining and incisive, SHOGUN is a stunningly dramatic re-creation of a very different world. Starting with his shipwreck on this most alien of shores, the novel charts Blackthorne’s rise from the status of reviled foreigner up to the heights of trusted advisor and eventually, Samurai. (courtesy amazon.com)

My take: If I could take one book to a desert island (oh, please, please strand me on a desert island within walking distance of a shopping mall) I would not hesitate to make Shogun my first and only choice.  This was the book that inspired me to stop working like a donkey in London (in the mid-80s) and travel the world.  [72 countries to date…]  Clavell’s mastery of character dialogue, juxtaposed with what the character is also thinking, made for a fun read.  Pure masterclass in adventure the size and weight of a doorstops.


SCIENCE FICTION: Excession – written by Iain M. Banks (1996)

  • ISBN-10 : 185723457X
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1857234572
  • Publisher : Orbit; New Ed edition (15 May 1997)

Two and a half millennia ago, the artifact appeared in a remote corner of space, beside a trillion-year-old dying sun from a different universe. It was a perfect black-body sphere, and it did nothing. Then it disappeared. Now it is back. (courtesy amazon.com)

My take: Okay, okay…if I could just take 2 books to a desert island… Iain M Banks was a brave new voice in Sci-Fi, with AI-powered spaceships the size of small countries doing all the fast talking, often with considerable wit, psychosis and fatalism. Backed up by some ‘heavy lifting’ weaponry.  What’s there not to like about all that? Mind-blowing!

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