The Cavern – Alister Hodge

When the opal miners heard strange tapping sounds in the tunnels, they thought it was a subterranean creature stalking them. They called it the “miners’ mother” and left offerings of blood to keep it away. Now the mines are closed, the offerings neglected and a long-dormant creature stirs hungrily in the dark.

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Subnautica (Review)

I have, for unknown reasons, always been drawn to the deeps. If a film/book/game is set underwater, regardless of other considerations (genre, quality, etc.), I am interested. Something about the bizarre half-lit world down there is endlessly fascinating to me. Subnautica, therefore, is absolutely my kind of thing.

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The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller (Review)

I picked up this book partly on the recommendation of a friend and partly because I was oddly charmed by all the negative reviews. While overall, reviews of this book are fantastic, there is a constant thread of negative reviews from people who are both astounded and enraged at the very idea that Achilles might have been anything other than a 100% heterosexual all-American hero.

I struggle to picture these reviewers; who are these people with a deep knowledge of Greek mythology, storied pedigrees in literary analysis/classics/history, and no awareness whatsoever of not just any subtext but also the past few millennia of discourse? They are so very, very angry and I would love to meet one.

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Dangerous Curves – Larkin Rose (Review)

Lacey is an ex-NASCAR photographer haunted by her memories of a fatal crash. Kip Sellars is a troubled NASCAR driver with a bad reputation and a death wish. The two have almost nothing in common except their mutual contempt, lust, and complimentary backstories (both involving witnessing the brutal death of a loved one in a racing accident).

When they are forced to work together to rehabilitate Sellars’ public image, Lacey and Sellars have no choice but to confront both their traumatic pasts and the undeniable attraction between them.

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Petit : The Ogre Gods – Hubert Boulard & Bertrand Gatignol (Review)

The giants are getting smaller. Once, they were titanic near-immortal beings, warriors and philanthropists. Now, each inbred generation is smaller than the last, and as they decline physically, they decline morally as well, becoming more brutish, more cannibalistic, and more obsessed with restoring their diminishing size. They rule swinishly over a half-ruined city where humans are food and servants.

Petit is the youngest and smallest of the giants, shunned by his own race and feared by the humans for his violent outbursts and occasional consumption of human flesh. The book follows his growth to adulthood in a decaying society, navigating the brutal ogre court and his own divided nature.

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The Nest – Gregory Douglas (Review)

The small fishing community on Yarkie Island leads a peaceful, picturesque existence, far from the bustle of the modern world. Simple, honest folk lead the same simple lives as the generations before them

The only part of Yarkie that isn’t picturesque is the local dump. Here, modern pesticides have created something far worse than the squabbling rats. Something organised, and hungry, and filled with hate.

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Corona Crime – Robert Pimm (Review)

Book cover for Corona Crime. A baby's hand with a hospital tag reaches out from a background of glittering blue and orange squares.

I’m very proud to announce that this is possibly the first book I have reviewed in the same year that it was released. Normally, here at IP, we prefer to be at least a couple of decades behind the times. Corona Crime is a very new novel – but it is set three centuries into the future. (I don’t like 2020 and I refuse to stay in it, literarily or otherwise.)

Sadly, based on this novel, things will not have improved much by the 24th century. A lot of science fiction is intended to be a mirror of our own world, showing us what democracy (or communism, or free markets, or racism, or nuclear war) would look like in another galaxy far, far away. Corona Crime does something much more direct: we have the same problems, in the same world, except they’re a lot worse because we’ve done nothing to fix them. The rich still live off the poor, male lives are still more valuable than female, and countries like Poland and Vietnam are still getting it in the neck from countries which are larger and better-resourced.

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