Fiction about frightening and undesirable societies offers great opportunities for women, people of colour, and LGBTQA+ people to unpack the dangers of the present and envision their potential consequences for the future. Although dystopias make good stories, they can be so much more than just a narrative device, and function as a powerful socio-political tool. In her new novel Until We Fall, published by Jaded Ibis Press, Nicole Zelniker demonstrates just that.
Banksy, the artist, enjoying a little staycation in my neck of the woods? Leaving behind some new works for everyone to love and/or hate? The idea immediately caught my imagination. I had a few days off, so on a bus I hopped, to see for myself what all the fuss was about.
‘ve liked T.C. Boyle’s books ever since I first saw him perform at the UEA Literature Festival in 2012. I had just moved to the UK and had just started my PhD. I was excited, not just because of all the changes that had recently happened in my own life, but also because I felt as if I was now in the middle of it all. Whatever “it” was. A place where world-famous others magically appeared in packed lecture theatres to talk shop.
become a cliché to the point that they seem to have lost much of their ability to scare, I still can’t resist a good vampire story. For every boring, unimaginative Twilight rip-off, there’s a lesser-known gem lurking in the darkness somewhere, waiting to be devoured. Or, perhaps, to devour unsuspecting readers first. One such story is Necroscope by Brian Lumley.
Many will know George R. R. Martin from his Song of Ice and Fire series (better known as the TV series adaptation, Game of Thrones). I’ve always been intrigued by the premise of the series, I don’t like watching TV, and I haven’t read any decent fantasy in a very long time. But the books are so damn long and there are so many of them. Would they be worth it?
My love for horror has recently been rekindled. With yet another dreadful Saw instalment out there, one would almost forget that there’s still plenty of original stuff around. Not only that, older works are increasingly at risk of being forgotten. To support my own memory as much as anything, here’s a quick overview of some good books I’ve read in the past month.
Blackwater is a Southern gothic family saga, tracking the lives of several generations of the Caskey family, as they make their fortune in the fictional town of Perdido, Alabama. Connecting the many subplots is the story of Elinor, a woman who mysteriously appears during a flood, marries one of the Caskeys, and proceeds to rule the clan. Oh, and she’s also a river monster.
I only picked Kinflicks because of its slightly raunchy cover – a scantily dressed young woman jumping into the air, her face drawn into an expression of pure ecstacy. Turns out the book is actually a coming of age novel about Ginny, who returns to the Virginian town she grew up in to look after her dying mother. Oh, and also because her husband has thrown her out for what she insists was not cheating. Promising start.
I have done very little reading over the past few months, and even less writing, because, well, life. That and the library still being closed. Fortunately things appear to be taking a turn for the better and I have discovered a little community library I’ve been borrowing books from. It’s little more than an oversized cupboard in a green space aptly named Old Library Wood. A bit of research suggests that its presence is part of an ongoing effort to make the area a safer and more pleasant space for local residents. Of course books should be part of that. Books are always a good idea.
I’ve been looking around on Youtube for good karate content and am listing my favourite finds here for my own and everyone’s benefit. Even if you’ve never practiced a martial art before, they might introduce you to a new hobby, and who knows, maybe even a passion that will last you a lifetime.