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.
Continue reading “Corona Crime – Robert Pimm (Review)”
If you only looked at Western bestseller lists and film rankings, you’d be forgiven for thinking that Egyptian mummies are the only fantasy storyline which Africa has ever produced. But you’d be wrong – and I was thrilled to see that Children of Blood and Bone has brought a long-neglected mythology into young adult fiction.
We need more African stories. There’s an incredibly rich tradition of storytelling across the continent, which remains largely unrepresented in Western publishing. Tomi Adeyemi’s novel seems to draw mainly on Nigerian culture and mythology for inspiration, but I hope it heralds a great variety of stories from a great many more countries.
Continue reading “Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi (Review)”
Hello and, er, hail Satan, I guess? One of the hallmarks of this three-season Netflix revival of Sabrina the Teenage Witch is how the writers have carefully amended every phrase to be more witchy. So we tell our enemies to go to heaven, commend our friends as hell-sent, and so on.
Like most of Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, the effect is unsettling, engaging… and it almost works. But not quite. Let’s talk about the good parts of Chilling Adventures, and the parts where it left me cold.
Continue reading “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Review)”
Let us turn to an under-theorized but much-loved genre, which I have just decided to name “Murderous Shakespearean Teens”.
We’re thinking of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited; we’re thinking Donna Tartt’s A Secret History; at a pinch, we might think of Peter Nowalk and Shonda Rhimes’ How To Get Away With Murder. There are not many more examples, although I suspect there are quite a few Murderous Shakespearean Teens sitting in a YA publisher’s slushpile somewhere.
These stories all share three central traits: violence (physical or otherwise), glamour, and youth.
Continue reading “Murderous Shakespearean Teens: a review of If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio”
I LOVE zombie films. This might come as a slight surprise because I normally leave the horror reviews to Dan. I can’t get through most scary movies without hiding behind the sofa and then having nightmares for weeks.
But there is just something about shuffling, brains-hungry, undead monsters which really works for me, as a movie concept. This may well have something to do with In The Flesh.
Continue reading “Battle of the zombies: In The Flesh versus The Cured”
The Ocean’s franchise is venerable and well-established. First there was the original Rat Pack movie in 1960. Then came the 2001 reboot, which established the modern style: slick, understated comedy, which didn’t waste too much time explaining the heist. You get to watch the characters muddle about and mess things up with insouciance; then you see the double-speed replay where you realize that, actually, they were in charge of the situation all along.
And the formula worked for two whole sequels, until it started to run out of steam. So the big Hollywood directors sat down and thought about how to regenerate the franchise once more.
Continue reading “Oceans 8 (2018): In a world without men”
How do you choose a new book? Most of us start by looking at the title or the cover. Each person has their own private code of colours, typefaces and titles which signal whether a book is bad – consciously or unconsciously.
I like geometric or abstract covers with well-chosen colours; I refuse to read anything with a title that begins “The Girl/Boy Who…” Most of all, I avoid books with one-word titles. These rules of thumb are usually quite accurate. I trust the authors and cover designers to do their job well, and help me find the books I like by creating covers that appeal to me.
But sometimes, you have to break your own rules: because a book comes highly recommended, or you’re in a rush to choose a book before your plane leaves, or because it’s personal. Fen, the first collection of short stories from Daisy Johnson, ticked all those boxes for me.
Continue reading “Fen – Daisy Johnson (Review)”