1. People of the Thunder by Michael and Kathleen Gear (prehistorical). Sequel to People of the Weeping Eye.
2. One by Conrad Williams (science fiction/horror). I do like a good post apocalypse book, and this one was very enjoyable. The first half of the book is pretty straight post-apocalypse/disaster novel, whilst the second half introduces the horror elements. The transition is on an absolutely killer line: “Why is no-one decomposing?”
3. Fires in the Dark by Louise Doughty (historical). The story of a Romany family in Czechoslovakia from the 1920s to the end of the Second World War. Gripping stuff. I must find some of her other books.
4. Country of the Blind by Christopher Brookmyre (crime). Another Jack Parlabane mystery with all the hallmark black humour and scheming madmen.
5. Quite Ugly One Morning by Christopher Brookmyre (crime).
6. Boiling A Frog by Christopher Brookmyre (crime).
7. Be My Enemy by Christopher Brookmyre (crime).
8. One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night by Christopher Brookmyre (crime).
9. Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks by Christopher Brookmyre (crime).
10. Not the End of the World by Christopher Brookmyre (crime).
11. Amazulu by Walton Golightly (historical). The story of Shaka’s rise to power as King of the Zulus, told as a series of tales set during different periods of his life and reign.
12. The Dark Bright Water by Patricia Wrightson (modern fantasy). This is the sequel to The Ice Is Coming, which I read as a kid, as it was marketed in this country as a young adult’s book. This is the American edition and appears to be sold as an adult book over there which makes sense to me, as it certainly reads with a far more adult sensibility than the Philip Pullman I’ve read. It’s about a young aboriginal man, Wirrun, and his quest to find out what is disturbing the spirits of the land all across Australia.
13. Journey Behind the Wind by Patricia Wrightson (modern fantasy). The final one in the trilogy.
14. The Death of Grass by John Christopher (SF).
15. Principles of Angels by Jaine Fenn (SF).
16. Buffalo Girls by Larry McMurty (western/historical).
17. Cattle Annie & Little Britches by Robert Ward (western).
18. Suddenly in the Depths of the Forest by Amos Oz (fantasy). No elves, wizards or undead hordes. Harrumble!
19. Black & White by Kessler & Kittridge (superhero).
20. Stealing Light by Gary Gibson (SF).
21. The A-Men by John Trevillian (SF). Has some good characters, but unfortunately the main hero is not one of them and he gets bigger and bigger chunks of viewpoint as the novel goes on. The basic premise annoyed the hell out of me too. It takes several standard cyberpunk tropes (corporates have taken over from governments in running the Earth; the corporates supply all basic human needs; the corporates decide to migrate to another planet) but then goes one ludicrous step too far. Namely, when the corporates depart, all electricity, water, gas, etc is switched off and thus no-one is supplying the teeming billions with power or food any more. Presumably because the corporations in question have decided that they don’t want to earn any money any more.
22. The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (military SF).
23. In the Company of Others by Julie Czerneda (SF).
24. Hidden in Sight by Julie Czerneda (SF).
25. The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman (fantasy). No elves, wizards or undead hordes. Harrumble!
26. The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas (fantasy). No elves, hardly any wizards and no undead hordes. Very cool and very vicious dragons.
27. The King of the Crags by Stephen Deas (fantasy). Second volume in what will doubtless be a trilogy.
28. Betrayed by Brenden DuBois (thriller).
29. The Seedling Stars by James Blish (SF).
30. The Island of Lost Souls by Martyn Bedford (SF pretending to be a mainstream novel).
31. The Complete Hammer’s Slammers, Volume 1 by David Drake (military SF).
32. The Complete Hammer’s Slammers, Volume 2 by David Drake (military SF).
33. The Complete Hammer’s Slammers, Volume 3 by David Drake (military SF).
34. The Dolphins of Pern by Anne McCaffrey (SF).
35. On the Beach by Nevil Shute (SF).
36. Babylon Babies by Maurice Dantec (SF).
37. The Bridge of Birds by Barry Hughart (fantasy). Recommended by trailingvortex, and a splendid read it is. Very funny and definitely not Comparable to Tolkein at his most Ripped Off.
38. Nine Tomorrows by Isaac Asimov (SF). An anthology of short stories. Good stuff, but they really show their age in places, especially on the gender roles front. Like the one where everyone has their brain scanned at 18 to see what their ideal job is. The only woman who is mentioned as employed is a Registered Housewife or something along those lines. And it is assumed that if the hero gets the Metallurgist job he is hoping for, then women would be lining up to marry him.
39. The Midwich Cuckoos by by John Wyndham (SF).
40. The Night of Knives by Jon Evans (thriller).
41. The Little Stranger by Sarah Walters (mainstream with gothic and horror touches).
42. Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (mainstream with gothic and fantasy touches). A wonderful book.
43. The Prince of Mist Carlos Ruiz Zafon (fantasy). This was in the adult section of my local library, but appears to be a kid’s book. Has a lot of interesting imagery, but doesn’t explain rather a lot…
44. Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel (prehistorical).
45. Cold Skin by Albert Sanchez Pinol (horror pretending to be mainstream). Very Lovecraftian, but with less purple prose and more shagging.
46. Bitter Enemies by Kris Slokum (thriller). I picked this up at the Bristol Natural History Festival, where the author had a stall.
47. Red Earth and Pouring Rain by Vikram Chandra (mainstream). Lots of fascinating stories within stories, encompassing a swathe of India’s history, plus the experiences of Indians abroad.
48. White Is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (supernatural/horror). Spooky and psychological rather than gory or in your face horror.
49. The Founding by Dan Abnett. This is the omnibus of the first three Gaunt’s Ghosts novels, set in the Warhammer 40K universe. Fun stuff, though it was about 300 or 400 pages in before I encountered a female character who got dialogue.
50. The Guns of Tanith by Dan Abnett. Another Gaunt’s Ghosts novel.
51. Empire of the Ants by Bernard Werber (SF).
52. The Regiment by John Dalmas (military SF).
53. Evolution by Stephen Baxter (SF).
54. The White Mare by Jules Watson (historical). Bit too much on the romance-y side in places for me.
55. Dawn Stag by Jules Watson (historical). This is supposedly the 2nd in a trilogy, but the story finishes, and the last chapter is a “40 years later” sort of affair. I can only imagine that the third volume is about the protagonists’ children or grandchildren…? Not sure if I can be bothered to find out.
56. Nemesis by Lindsey Davis (crime/historical). A Falco novel.
57. The Phantoms of Breslau by Marek Krajewski (crime/historical).
58. Without Warning by John Birmingham (SF). Entertaining, though not as gripping as his World War 2.0 trilogy.
59. The Laughing Corpse by Laurell Hamilton (horror).
60. Von Neumann’s War by John Ringo & Travis Taylor (SF). Bit too much gun porn, hacker porn and physics porn in it for me. I kept skipping pages of it to get back to the plot.
61. Flesh & Blood by John Harvery (crime).
62. The Memoirs of Wild Bill Hickok by Richard Matheson (western). Very funny – a Flashman style take on Hickok, where he becomes famous more by accident than design.
63. Conquistador by S.M. Stirling (science fiction). A bloke discovers the entrance to a parallel world in 1946 and sets out to colonise it. Starts out gripping, but the latter half of the book flags a bit from large chunks of “look how great our [insert social, economic or agricultural practice here] is compared to yours”. It also gets a bit irksome that EVERYTHING that people from our world eat in the parallel Earth tastes fantastic compared to our food. My copy appears to be missing the chapter where it presumably explains that only gourmet chefs and owners of Michelin starred restaurants were allowed to colonise the parallel Earth…
64. Angel of Death by J. Robert King (crime/supernatural). A cop is investigating a serial killer. So is the Angel of Death… And then it gets complicated.
65. Skin by Mo Hayden (crime).
66. The Genesis Secret by Tom Knox (thriller). The crime and police investigation aspects are great. The archaeology starts okay and then degenerates into pseudo-science and bonkers motivations of the Bonekickers sort. “If the world knew what we’d found at this archaeological site, Judaism, Christianity and Islam would instantly cease to exist!” Look mate, if the Theory of Evolution didn’t cause religion to vanish overnight, then a few standing stones and the site of an ancient battle certainly won’t.
67. The Culled by Simon Spurrier (SF). A fun post-apocalypse novel. Glad Si Spurrier keeps the 2000AD style of black humour even when he’s not doing 2000AD stuff.
68. Strange Relations by Philip Jose Farmer (SF). Short story collection.
FICTION I DIDN’T FINISH
1. Moxyland by Lauren Beukes. I was looking forward to reading this, but I found all the characters irksome or unengaging, so it turned out to be rather a slog. Gave up about 6 chapters in.
1. Mud, Blood and Poppycock by Gordan Corrigan (military history). An entertaining and informative examination of all the pop culture myths about the Western Front in World War One – the Lost Generation, incompetent generals, etc.
2. The Unknown War: The Eastern Front by Sir Winston Churchill (military history). This was part of my reading list for the battlefield tour of Southern Poland that I’m going on in June. As I knew next to nothing about the Eastern Front in WW1 it was utterly fascinating. It’s a completely different style of war from the Western Front – trench warfare was virtually unheard of, cavalry was used to good effect (a mere shout of “The Cossacks are coming!” sent some Austrian units into panic) and armies marched about the countryside trying to find each other.
3. Buffalo Soldiers 1866-91 by Ron Field (military history).
4. Commanche 1800-74 by Douglas Meed (military history).
5. God and Gold: Britain, America and the Making of the Modern World by Walter Russell Mead (history, economics & politics).
6. British Science Fiction & Fantasy: 20 Years, 2 Surveys edited by Paul Kincaid & Niall Harrison.
7. Glass & Glassmaking by Roger Dodsworth.
8. The Eastern Front 1914-1917 by Norman Stone (military history).
9. The Horse in the Ancient World by Ann Hyland (history).
10. The Kaiser’s Holocaust: Germany’s Forgotten Genocide and the Colonial Roots of Nazism by Casper Erichsen & David Olusoga (history). Gripping and appalling all at the same time.
11. Mothers and Others by Sarah Blaffer Hrdy (evolution). A fascinating analysis of human evolution, based on the traits that humans have in abundance (sharing food, kindness to strangers, infanticide by mothers, people other than mum helping to raise kids, babies forming attachments to people other than mum), and which other primates usually lack. The book analyses how these traits manifest and what use they were during our evolution.
12. Confessions of a Part Time Sorceress: A Girl’s Guide to the Dungeons & Dragon’s Game by Shelley Mazzanoble (gaming). A humorous introduction to D&D. The chapters where she recounts her non-gamer friends opinions and prejudices are hilarious. The rest has a smile now and then, but has a tad too much D&D trivia and “My character is sooo kewl” for me.
13. The Humans Who Went Extinct by Clive Finlayson (evolution). From the cover and blurb I believed this was all about the Neanderthals, but it is really a look at the whole of human evolution.
14. Howls of Imagination: The Wolves of England by Paul Williams (history & folklore). A look at how England’s native wolf population was perceived when it existed and in the centuries after they became extinct.
1. Planet Karen: First Contact by Karen Ellis. A collected edition of strips from the webcomic of the same name. I’m in some of them!
2. Dead Run by Cosby, Nelson & Biagini (SF).
3. The Surrogates: Flesh & Bone by Robert Venditti & Brett Weldele (SF). Prequel to the fantastic graphic novel, The Surrogates, and also very good.
4. The Crossed by Garth Ennis & Jason Burrows (horror).
5. Robots by various – an Accent UK anthology (SF).
6. The Haunted Tank by Frank Marraffino & Henry Flint (fantasy/war). A modern take on a very silly concept – a tank haunted by the ghost of an American Civil War general.