A REVIEW OF GREAT LITERATURE
NEVERWHERE By Neil Gaiman
This book originated as a novelization of a BBC television serial from the 1990’s by Neil and comedian Lenny Henry. The plot and characters are almost the same as in the series, Except that the novel allowed Gaiman to expand and elaborate on certain elements of the story and restore a few changes made from the original plan for the televised version.
Although the novel has done very well, the television series did not do nearly as well suffering from very little international exposure, However it is by far my favourite TV series of all time and definitely worth the watch. The original book cover was art created for the TV series opening credits (Which are awesome) by long time Gaiman collaborator Dave McKean, seen above.The plot follows Richard Mayhew a Scottish gentleman who travels to London, Upon the start of the novel his life seems very ordinary (Isn’t that always the way). However upon meeting a apparently homeless girl he is drawn into a parallel London filled with places and people that have fallen through gaps in time. Bound together this parallel world has its own rules and an eery connection to the London underground map. There’s the girl, named Door, and people are trying to kill her. There’s an angel called Islington and Old Bailey who lives among the rooftops. There are intelligent rats and rat speakers, and an earl who holds court on an underground train, and more dangers and delights that are beyond imagining.If you have not been living under a rock you are probably aware of Mr Gaiman’s work even if you had not accredited it to him(examples of which are below). Neverwhere stands for me as the pinnacle of his body of work which is exceptional already.
Original Release – 1996
Recommended other works by same author –
American gods, Coraline, Stardust, Anansi boys, Smoke and mirrors, Fragile things, Sandman, Good Omens, Doctor Who episode “The Doctor’s wife” S6 E4.
TV series, Play, graphic novel, Audiobook.
Amazon link –
ENDER’S GAME By Orson Scott Card
Ender’s Game is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card. Set in Earth’s future, the novel begins on a future earth where the human race has barely survived two conflicts with a race of insectoid aliens, normally called “Buggers”. In preparation for an anticipated third invasion by the buggers, an international Space fleet maintains a school to find and train future fleet commanders. This school is known as Battle school and as the novel begins Ender Wiggin, the novels protagonist, is offered a place at this prestigious institution. Along side the main story through other characters the novel also portrays the political turmoil beginning on the planet that was supposedly subsided by the previous invasions.
The book originated as the short story “Ender’s Game”, published in the August 1977 issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact. Elaborating on characters and plot lines depicted in the novel, Card later wrote additional books to form the Ender’s Game series. Ender’s Game won the 1985 Nebula Award for best novel and the 1986 Hugo Award for best novel. Card released an updated version of Ender’s Game in 1991, changing some political facts to accurately reflect the times. A film adaptation of the same name directed by Gavin Hood and co-produced by Card himself is planned for release on November 1, 2013. I await this incarnation with anticipation and dread, put the difficulties of capturing this novel with all of its intricacies aside and there has still been some rather bizarre casting choices. Although I wish to be disproved, I’m calling it now, this film is likely to be a massive disappointment of “Prometheus” levels.
Release Date – 1985/1991
Recommended other works by same author – Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind, Ender in Exile, War of Gifts, Ender’s Shadow.
Adaptations – graphic novel, film, Audiobook.
Amazon link –
WORLD WAR Z By Max Brooks
World War Z is quite possibly the greatest post-apocalyptic Zombie horror novel. By Max Brooks, it follows up his 2003 book, The Zombie Survival Guide, a how to guide for the zombie apocalypse. World War Z is supposedly a collection of individual accounts in the form of first-person anecdotes surrounding the characters experiences of the zombie apocalypse. The set up for the book is that Brooks writes as an agent of the United Nations Postwar Commission, who published the book as a report a decade after the ten-year Zombie War. The United Nations supposedly left much of his research out of the official report, choosing to focus on facts and figures from the war rather than the individual stories that form the bulk of Brooks’ novel.
The audio book version, performed by a full cast including Alan Alda, Mark Hamill and John Turturro, won an Audie Award in 2007. A film based upon the book is in production, and is set for a June 2013 release. Unlike Ender’s game a film based on this brilliant book fills me with nothing but excitement.
Release Date – 2003
Recommended other works by same author – The Zombie Survival Guide
Adaptations – Audio book, Movie.
Amazon link –
LIES OF LOCK LAMORA By Scott Lynch
The Lies of Locke Lamora is a fantasy novel by Scott Lynch. It follows the adventures of a group of con artists known as the Gentlemen Bastards. They live in a city called Camorr, Imagine Hustle in medieval Venice throw in a complex system of gang culture and magic and you get an idea of this book.
The Lies of Locke Lamora is the first book in a projected series of seven, the third of which Republic of Thieves is due to come out some time in the next 12 months. It is by far the most wonderfully original and Intelligent fantasy novel i’ve read in a long time and I hope you too can soon enjoy the torture of waiting for future installments which Scott Lynch releases at destressingly long intervals.
Release Date – 2006
Other work by same author – Red seas under red skies, Queen of the Iron Sands.
Adaptations – Audiobook.
Amazon Link –
NIGHT WATCH By Sergei Lukyanenko
Night Watch is a fantasy novel by Russian writer Sergei Lukyanenko published in 1998. The story revolves around a confrontation between two opposing supernatural groups, known as “Others”, the Night Watch is an organization dedicated to policing the actions of the Dark Others and their counterparts the Day Watch, which polices the actions of the Light Others. The story follows primarily the life of Anton Gorodetsky a low-ranking member of the night watch who steadily gets entangled in the plans of the dark others which are way above his pay grade. It is a completely new and interesting look at the hidden paranormal world in plain sight idea that will have you screaming for more.
The novel is first in a pentalogy that continues with Day Watch, Twilight Watch, Final Watch, and New Watch. The first story of the novel, Destiny, was made into a successful Russian film, Night Watch, which, although keeping the characters and many of the events of the original novel, alters some significant elements of the story. It also had a sequel which completely diverged from the plot of the novels and had very little success.
Release Date – 1998
Other work by same author – Day Watch, Twilight Watch, New Watch.
Adaptations – Movie, English translation by Andrew Bromfield.
Amazon link –
SERIES SPECIAL PICK
THE DRESDEN FILES By Jim Butcher
The Dresden Files is a series fantasy/mystery novels written by Jim Butcher. Each story follows the point of view of the main character, private investigator and wizard Harry Dresden, as he investigates into supernatural disturbances in modern-day Chicago. Butcher’s original proposed title for the first novel was “Semiautomagic” Which gives you a good feel for the novels. Starting with Storm Front there are now 13 novels with number 14 Cold days due to hit stores November 27 of this year.
In 2007, a television series based on the novels, also called The Dresden Files, aired for one season on the American Sci-Fi Channel. It changed a few details which were quite grating and didn’t do well thus not meriting a second season. One great thing from the television series was the portrayal of Bob a spirit imbued with unfathomable amounts of information bound to a skull, who is also a fan of bodice ripper fiction and a disdain for most of humanity. What was a great character in this book series is wonderfully portrayed in the television adaptation by Terrence Mann (pictured below).
What is wonderful about this series is that once you pick up any of the novels you are instantly immersed even after multiple readings of the same one I still gain large ammounts of enjoyment from them. Upon reading them for the first they are engrossing to the point of damage to personal and professional life during the 2 days hunched over your copy. One of the most easy and enjoyable reads that i have ever experienced.
First Novel – Storm Front
Release Date – 2000-Present
Adaptations – TV series, Graphic Novel.
Amazon link – Storm Front (The Dresden Files Book One)