Other Reviews

This page contains examples of some of the other reviews I’ve written for various outlets during my career – including book and television reviews.

5 GREAT NOVELS BY PHILIP K DICK

Five_great_novels

There’s something about being faced with a volume whose cover proclaims in large and luridly pink lettering that it contains 5 Great Novels by Philip K Dick – a book five centimetres thick (that’s two inches in old money), cumbersome … Continue reading

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ALBEDO ONE 31

albedo31

This is an unusual issue of Albedo One as the Irish magazine devotes the majority of its space to the six stories shortlisted for the inaugural Aeon Prize – a short-fiction competition organised by the people behind Albedo One and … Continue reading

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ANALOG – NOV 2007

analog

For a reader who hasn’t been down these paths in a long time the first question was whether the strange odour in the air when opening the pages of the latest issue of Analog (Vol. CXXVII, no. 11 – November … Continue reading

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BACK TO THE VORTEX

backtothevortex

Facts are good! Facts are great! No, facts are fantastic! Aren’t they? Facts are what fans really want. With facts you can reduce everything down into neat categories that can be wrapped in laminated plastic and store for eternity. Take … Continue reading

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BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: RAZOR

bsg_razor

The real strength of the current incarnation of Battlestar Galactica (BSG) has been its ability to use its futuristic setting and the basic conflict humans and machines to place its characters in realistic, morally complex and ethically challenging situations. Its … Continue reading

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BATTLESTAR GALACTICA: SEASON 2

battlestar_galactica

Television drama rarely specialises in big ideas. Amongst the comfortably circumscribed crises that litter soaps, medical dramas and police procedurals there is little room for questions about religion, identity or politics. Which is what makes the new incarnation of Battlestar … Continue reading

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BEAUTIFUL MONSTERS

beautifulmonsters

On page 41 of Beautiful Monsters, David McIntee’s book on the Alien and Predator franchises, the author claims that Ridley Scott’s Alien is not a science fiction movie because: “Science fiction is about humanity, and how it might develop under … Continue reading

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DEATH’S HEAD

deathshead

David Gunn’s debut novel, Death’s Head, isn’t going to win prizes for originality. Its galaxy-spanning setting, cast of stock characters, and plot that has a super-powered hero planet-hopping to save damsels in distress and prop up tottering empires, rehashes every … Continue reading

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ESSENTIAL SCIENCE FICTION FILMS

pesff

In the introduction to The Pocket Essential Science Fiction Films, John Costello mentions one of my favourite books about sf films, Bill Warren’s Keep Watching The Skies. I have shelves full of film encyclopaedias that have been rendered more-or-less redundant … Continue reading

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GRADISIL

gradisil

Gradisil is a novel of undeniable ambition. Adam Roberts has constructed a cast of complex, difficult characters and worked them into a dense plot that curls and twists itself around a set of intricate and challenging ideas. From one angle … Continue reading

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HOW TO LIVE SAFELY IN A SCIENCE FICTIONAL UNIVERSE

How-to-live-safely-in-a-Science-Fiction-Universe

Don’t judge a book by its cover is sound advice. Even wiser words might be a warning that readers shouldn’t judge a book by the blurb a publisher puts on the cover. Even so, Audrey Niffenegger ‘s prominently displayed claim … Continue reading

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LAND OF THE HEADLESS

landoftheheadless

Do you want to know how smart Adam Roberts is? His latest novel, Land of the Headless takes its name from a story you don’t know by a writer you’ve never heard of, whose lasting claim to a footnote in … Continue reading

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LISEY’S STORY

liseysstory

Stephen King stopped being a “writer” decades ago. These days Stephen King is a giant, steamrollering, cash-making machine that trawls across the landscape of our ecologically over-burdened planet raking off a vast slice of humanity’s combined wealth before one day … Continue reading

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REVIEW OF CURVE OF THE EARTH ON ARCFINITY

My review of Simon Morden’s The Curve of the Earth is now online at Arcfinity. I quite enjoyed the first three novels, but this was a bit disappointing – though I’m still hoping the later volumes could bring a return to … Continue reading

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REVIEW OF THE HAMMER BY KJ PARKER

This review was published in Vector 268 The Hammer by KJ Parker In most fantasy novels Gignomai met’Oc – the Loki-ish third son of a great aristocratic clan – would be the novel’s shadowy villain. He steals from his family … Continue reading

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REVIEW: EXISTENCE BY DAVID BRIN

I did not like David Brin’s Existence. It is a book so distressingly unpleasant that it left me wondering – and this is no exaggeration – whether I had had enough of the whole of science fiction. I suppose you … Continue reading

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REVIEW: THE PEACOCK CLOAK BY CHRIS BECKETT

The thing that I like best about Chris Beckett’s short stories in general, and this new collection, The Peacock Cloak, in particular is the rage that is bubbling under the surface and that occasionally erupts from the page. Not all … Continue reading

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REVIEW: THE ROOK BY DANIEL O’MALLEY

Daniel O’Malley’s first novel, The Rook, won the 2012 Aurealis Award for best SF Novel published by an Australian and comes laden with praise from writers like Charlaine Harris, Charles Yu and Lev Grossman. I found it hard to understand … Continue reading

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THE TERROR

the-terror

There is something huge out there in the dark. Something vast and terrible and relentless that will not let you escape. It demands your attention. It wants you to worship it. Yes Dan Simmons’ new book is so huge it’s … Continue reading

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WORKING FOR THE DEVIL

working

It’s only fair to Lilith Saintcrow that I begin this review by admitting that I fall well outside the target demographic for Working for the Devil. This novel’s tale of spunky women battling/shagging demons is targeted precisely at a post-Buffy … Continue reading

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