Tag Archives: aliens

Death Shall Come by Simon R Green. Review. 

‘Call me Ishamael’ you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that you were about to start reading Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick. But this is a series which is set to be a completely different type of classic. 

This is the second book I’ve read in the Ishmael Jones series by Simon R Green and the fourth in the series overall. Which answers the question do I need to read them in order? No. There is always a little background at the beginning that fills you in on who Ishmael is and what’s going on with him. 

Ishmael Jones (which isn’t his real name) is an alien who crash landed on earth 50 years ago, his spaceship turned him into something resembling a human and he’s since joined the service of a covert government operation led by the strict Colonel. 


The Ishmael books all feature a mystery which Ishmael and his endearing human girlfriend Penny have to solve. This time they’re carted off to the mysterious house of the Colonel’s wife’s family who hold one of the largest private collections of Egyptian artefacts in the world. Including a brand new mummy that they want to show off. 


The Ishmael Jones series is an excellent example of genre blending, imagine Scoony Doo meets My Parents are Aliens for grownups. Ishmael and Penny have an amusing relationship and the books are just generally very easy reads, they’re not particularly long and the mysteries are hard to solve because it’s usually something supernatural at work and hiding in plain sight. 


I’ve really enjoyed this series so far and hope there will be some more if only to determine Ishamael’s true origins. Will he ever know where he came from and why? 

Very Important Corpses, by Simon R Green. Review 

Thank you to Netgalley for my ARC 
This is one of those books that I shouldn’t have liked. Why? You ask. Because it’s completely ridiculous. But surprisingly, it works. 
Ishmael Jones is an alien. I’ll get that out there straight away. This is actually the 3rd book in a series about him but the first one I’ve read. I’m definitely intrigued to read some more of them now! Ishmael and his partner/girlfriend Penny work for ‘The Organisation’ a mysterious, well… organisation who sent Ishmael on jobs to rid the world of monsters and murderers and thinks that go bump in the night. In Very Important Corpses; Ishmael and Penny go off to Loch Ness to investigate the death of a fellow agent right in the middle of the meeting of a secret society. 

It wasn’t even that this book was particularly well written in terms of being some kind of literary genius. It was more that it was funny, witty, engaging, page turning and just about everything you could want from a book where the main character is a sort of alien detective. There’s a hint of mystery and thriller but tied in with the sci-fi genre making it extra interesting.

A delightfully easy read and I get the feeling the Ishmael Jones series is about to become my guilty pleasure! 
 

The War of the Worlds by H.G Wells

A bit of a retro review this morning on H.G Wells The War of the Worlds. It’s a book which has been on my ‘to read’ list for a while but as with everything it’s just took a back shelf (pun intended) for the more recent books I get sent to review and my university studies not to mention work! On top of this I’ve just taken on a volunteer role with the RSPCA (more on that coming really soon!)

Anyway, back to the main event. So The War of the Worlds, definitely falls into the science fiction category a genre I’m pretty fussy with. It has to be a certain style for me to like it and one of the other reasons I’ve not really looked at this book before, aliens just generally aren’t my thing…

However, having read and enjoyed The Time Machine last year I decided to give the author a chance and give this book a read and I was pleasantly surprised. The War of the Worlds is written in Well’s typical autobiographical style. Like The Time Machine the protagonist’s name is never revealed and it is written in the style of a diary-like autobiographical account of events. The reader is addressed throughout with their opinions sought out by the author.

The War of the Worlds  begins with the protagonist (implied to be Wells himself) engaging with a friend by looking through a telescope at the planet Mars and noticing some strange bursts and flashes from the planet. The reader is then thrown into the action with the first shell arriving in Woking and revealling the Martians: ‘Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely imagine the strange horror of its appearance. The peculiar V-shaped mouth with its pointed upper lip, the absence of brow ridges, the absence of a chin beneath the wedgelike lower lip, the incessant quivering of this mouth, the Gorgon groups of tentacles, the tumultuous breathing of the lungs in a strange atmosphere, the evident heaviness and painfulness of movement due to the greater gravitational energy of the earth–above all, the extraordinary intensity of the immense eyes–were at once vital, intense, inhuman, crippled and monstrous. There was something fungoid in the oily brown skin, something in the clumsy deliberation of the tedious movements unspeakably nasty. Even at this first encounter, this first glimpse, I was overcome with disgust and dread.’ (Wells, 1898, in John Walker, unknown date).

The story then follows the adventures of the protagonist and for some time the protagonists brother as London is attacked by the Martians and life as they knew it ceases to exist. I won’t go on and spoil the ending for those who haven’t but intend to read it as I’m a strictly no spoilers blog, however I will explore a little more about the story and the author.

As with the The Time Machine Wells writes with a sense of modernity which does not fit with the 1898 publication date of this novel. Well’s talk of invasions from Mars is in someways a little droll in its description of the slug like creatures and their creaking metal machines it seems almost unimaginative in this day age when we have the likes of Futurama, Star Wars and Star Trek demonstrating advanced and creative creatures far more human-like and intelligent creatures. But of course Wells was working within the limitations of his time and as such the creative process was still well and above other works of the period.

One of the most engaging and clarifying elements of the book for me was the knowledge Well’s already held of the self-made vulnerabilities of mankind. When meeting the artillery soldier after almost being buried alive, the soldier quips that ‘ It’s just men and ants. There’s the ants builds their cities, live their lives, have wars, revolutions, until the men want them out of the way, and then they go out of the way. That’s what we are now–just ants.‘ (Wells, 1898 in John Walker, unknown date). Further into the conversation with about The War of the Worlds which is the subject matter as well as the title, the soldier comments on the lack of importance behind the day to day life of man ‘ They just used to skedaddle off to work–I’ve seen hundreds of ’em, bit of breakfast in hand, running wild and shining to catch their little season-ticket train, for fear they’d get dismissed if they didn’t; working at businesses they were afraid to take the trouble to understand; skedaddling back for fear they wouldn’t be in time for dinner; keeping indoors after dinner for fear of the back streets, and sleeping with the wives they married, not because they wanted them, but because they had a bit of money that would make for safety in their one little miserable skedaddle through the world. Lives insured and a bit invested for fear of accidents. And on Sundays–fear of the hereafter.‘ (Wells, 1898 in John Walker, unknown date).

 

This sentiment is one continously repeated in present day. The idea that our lives are full of the drudgery of going to work, coming home, living lives we are unhappy with because they are safe and are what we know. I hope that like it did with me this has given you something to ponder on….

 

 

Book review – Aspeans the Invasion by Roy Dias 

This book mostly appealed to me because I have a brother with Asperger’s syndrome. I have read The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nightime and House Rules by Jodi Picoult. Both these books affected me deeply and educated me on my brother’s condition. I was keen to see if this book did the same. 
When I requested this book for review I didn’t realise it was the second in a series although it was very easy to grasp the storyline immediately and I don’t think I necessarily needed to have read the first. 
The storyline is summed up pretty much in the first chapter. A human called George is trying to kidnap the two sons of the love of his life who married his ex-friend. We (the readers) are immediately filled in on the situation which is going on with the aliens who want to use the DNA of the two Asperger’s brothers to gain entry to earth and destroy it. It’s very fast past and action filled from the beginning with perhaps a slight leaning toward an immature writing style. For me there also seems to be a little too much emphasis put on the condition for example the way that everytime one of the brothers speaks ‘avoiding eye contact’ is tagged onto the end. 

 There seems to be a lot of immediate introduction without much explanation for a lot of things such as the ‘unique powers’. Maybe that’s due to me not reading the first book. There’s a lot of time that gets zipped away as well, they drive for four hours with nothing happening, they switch on the radio and after a couple of hours decide to get back on the road. I feel those parts could be filled with something more engaging for the reader. at times it felt almost like a paint by numbers of understanding Asperger’s syndrome ‘he knew how difficult it was for her to emotionally connect with someone and bring them into her comfort zone’. This just didn’t feel right for me. Although it’s correct information it again feels a little immature as if it’s forcing the reader to feel and see what the narrator wants rather than showing us in a different way. 
So overall what did I think to the book? 
In some ways I found it disappointing, it didn’t do for me what the other two did. It was quite monotonous and one dimensional with the characters doing this, then doing this, then doing that and then doing this. I couldn’t no matter how hard I tried connect with the characters or the story. Maybe I should have read the first book beforehand but according to most reviewers who loved the book this wasn’t necessary. Maybe it was written this way intentionally as a lot of People with Asperger’s do enjoy monotony and routine so that could explain the structure and it might just be me not connecting with it. 
I did like the general idea of people with Asperger’s having superpowers and being portrayed as heroes rather than just people with a ‘condition’. However I don’t think this book was for me. As far as I can see from other reviews it’s a bit of a marmite book you either love it or hate it and unfortunately for me it was the latter. 

  

Review: Aspeans The Invasion by Roy Dias

This book mostly appealed to me because I have a brother with Aspergers syndrome. I have read The Curious Case of the Dog in the Nightime and House Rules by Jodi Picoult.

Both these books affected me deeply and educated me on my brother’s condition. I was keen to see if this book did the same.
When I requested this book for review I didn’t realise it was the second in a series although it was very easy to grasp the storyline immediately and I don’t think I necessarily needed to have read the first.
The storyline is summed up pretty much in the first chapter. A human called George is trying to kidnap the two sons of the love of his life who married his ex-friend. We (the readers) are immediately filled in on the situation which is going on with the aliens who want to use the DNA of the two Aspergers syndrome brothers to gain entry to earth and destroy it. It’s very fast past and action filled from the beginning with perhaps a slight leaning toward an immature writing style. For me there also seems to be a little too much emphasis put on aspergers syndrome for example the way that everytime one of the brothers speaks ‘avoiding eye contact’ is tagged onto the end.

There seems to be a lot of immediate introduction without much explanation for a lot of things such as the ‘unique powers’. Maybe that’s due to me not reading the first book. There’s a lot of time that gets zipped away as well, they drive for four hours with nothing happening, they switch on the radio and after a couple of hours decide to get back on the road. I feel those parts could be filled with something more engaging for the reader. at times it felt almost like a paint by numbers of understanding Asperger’s syndrome ‘he knew how difficult it was for her to emotionally connect with someone and bring them into her comfort zone’. This just didn’t feel right for me. Although it’s correct information it again feels a little immature as if it’s forcing the reader to feel and see what the narrator wants rather than showing us in a different way.
So overall what did I think to the book?
In some ways I found it disappointing, it didn’t do for me what the other two did. It was quite monotonous and one dimensional with the characters doing this, then doing this, then doing that and then doing this. I couldn’t no matter how hard I tried connect with the characters or the story. Maybe I should have read the first book beforehand but according to most reviewers who loved the book this wasn’t necessary. Maybe it was written this way intentionally as a lot of People with Asperger’s do enjoy monotony and routine so that could explain the structure and it might just be me not connecting with it.
I did like the general idea of people with Aspergers syndrome having superpowers and being portrayed as heroes rather than just people with a ‘condition’. However I don’t think this book was for me. As far as I can see from other reviews it’s a bit of a marmite book you either love it or hate it and unfortunately for me it was the latter.