Saturday, 29 May 2010

Book Review from The Mumpsimus Blog: Greybeard by Brian Aldiss

A melancholic story of the sterilisation of humanity by nuclear testing and the consequential collapse of civilisation by veteran science fiction writer Brian Aldiss. Read the excellent review from The Mumpsimus Blog.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Book Review: Hello America by J.G. Ballard

With Hello America I have now read all of J.G. Ballard's novels (except the disowned and out of print Wind from Nowhere.) I was unable to find a decent review of this minor work of J.G's; a straight forward post-apocalypse adventure yarn, but packed with Ballard's characteristic imagery and obsessions. Read the rather geeky Wikipedia entry here.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Book Review from Jouissance: First as Tragedy, Then as Farce by Slavoj Zizick

The End of Underground Man (as we know it)

Due to a change in my work pattern (I now work on a Friday) and a lack of free time, I'm discontinuing Underground Man in its present form. From now on it will contain links to reviews of books, films and music that have inspired me and blogs, websites and articles I have found on the Internet. From time to time my own writing might appear but basically I'm using my blog as a personal recording of my own peculiar interests-hopefully though some one out there will find it of interest.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Book Review: The Stories of Ray Bradbury: Volume 1

Ray Bradbury is probably the most successful writer whose work consists mainly of short stories. The bulk of the stories collected here come from the 1940's & 50's when short story magazines were a popular form of entertainment, from pulp fiction to serious literature. If you want a master class in the art of writing the short story of any genre, then this is the book for you. Sometimes the style is too deliberately poetic and the dated nature of much of the tales-see The Wilderness (relating to gender) or The Big Black and White Game (relating to race)-can be grating to a modern reader. For those who love the fantastic in literature Bradbury's stories are a must. They are the down to earth type of fantasy though, mostly set in small American towns, imbued with nostalgia for his childhood in the 1930's, even those stories set on Mars collected in The Martian Chronicles. He is labelled a science fiction writer, but Bradbury is not interested in science & technology but on emotions of wonder, wistful sadness or fear-a few of the stories collected here are not fantasy but tales of small town life. I was surprised at how dark & melancholy Ray Bradbury is-I was expecting to be irritated by folksy sentiment-& my favourite stories are his horror tales; for instance The Playground. which is a sort of reversal of childhood nostalgia, or The Skeleton, a hypochondriacs' nightmare & The Next in Line, a terrifying tale drawing on fear of death and being far away & estranged in a foreign culture.