‘The Outsider’ by Albert Camus

A little literary fiction for you today, The Outsider by Albert Camus. It's a classic, for many reasons, but perhaps most of all because it's disarming, desolate and unforgiving. Our protagonist, Meursault, is an unconformist. Existing in the realms of dysfunctional emotional disconnection, he experiences both the death of his mother and his engagement with a [...]

‘The Girl With All The Gifts’ by M. R. Carey

Zombie fiction has become almost unfashionably in vogue this year, but The Girl With All The Gifts changes that, breaking every cliche. It's got the pseudo-scientific theory and political commentary of World War Z, and is as unputdownable as Sci-Fi blockbuster book of the year, The Martian. Protagonist, little girl Melanie, is a very special child. Kept in a compound [...]

‘Descent’ by Ken MacLeod

Descent is the story of Ryan and his friends in a near-future world, where Scotland is independent, CCTV sees all and augmented reality is on the rise.  It's sold as an alien abduction adventure, full of government coverups and conspiracy theories, but it's actually much subtler than that. As teenagers, Ryan and his friend Callum are caught [...]

‘Anathem’ by Neal Stephenson

I have been told by many people that Neal Stephenson is an acquired taste.  To which my response is normally, "Then you should acquire it." To me, he's the height of intellectual science fiction, without taking it into the realms of abstraction as achieved by someone like Gibson, or lending it the academic dryness you [...]

‘Mort’ by Terry Pratchett

The Discworld Novels are no-doubt familiar ground for sci-fi and fantasy fans everywhere. I am late to the party. Whilst I devoured the witches books as a teenager, seeking out any story that contained pointed hats in between Harry Potter releases, I don't think I fully appreciated what Terry Pratchett was about until quite recently. His dry, [...]

‘Mister B. Gone’ by Clive Barker

Spoiler alert: This review contains massive plot spoilers about Mister B. Gone. For some years, I was under the false impression that Clive Barker wrote exclusively in the fantasy genre, and had no idea he wrote horror at all. However, when I was a teenager, I discovered his huge collection of horror works and, while horror is [...]

‘The Coral Thief’ by Rebecca Stott

Another historical fiction novel for you this week, this time Rebecca Stott’s The Coral Thief. Set in Paris in 1815, just after the expulsion of Bonaparte but before the status quo had been restored, it follows the adventures of a highly ambitious medical student named Daniel Conner as he undertakes a placement in the Jardin [...]