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Showing posts from January, 2013

Stephen King's 99c Kindle Single - Guns

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When Stephen King became aware his early book Rage, about a school shooting, may have become an 'accelerant' for copycat crimes, he demanded his publisher remove it from sale.

It is as just as well he has that story of righteous action to draw on otherwise his fiction laced with horror and violence may be seen by some as discrediting his just released Kindle Single, Guns.

Described by The Washington Post as a 'passionate call for greater gun control' Guns is a fascinating entry into the US gun control debate by one of the world's most popular author and in an innovative new form of publishing.

The idea of 'singles' being short stories or in this case, an essay, that can be read in one sitting is making a comeback thanks to digital publishing.

That King could release so quickly a 'book' length response to a current issue and for just 99c is one of the first main stream examples of how the changing face of writing and publishing might impact policy an…

Book review: Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

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The reason I have found first Wolf Hall and then Bring Up The Bodies so compelling is that I really like Thomas Cromwell.

That's not the only reason, of course. There's also the 'speaking picture' of Mantel's text, transporting readers to Henry VIII's Tudor England so completely that to read almost any other novel in close proximity is to feel you have been reduced to the Sunday comics.

But from the moment we are introduced to Thomas, the brawling, suffering blacksmith's son, we come to believe in his intrinsic goodness and more, his undefeatable strength. Perhaps he is the superman of literary historical fiction, a character we find comfort in because what ever happens, he will keep evil from his door.

Of course, evil closes in during Wolf Hall with the death of his beloved wife and daughters but still he runs a cheery house of wit and curiosity. He still seems the better person, even when he allows himself to sacrifice further lives in his quest to prote…

Book review: Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe

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If Tom Wolfe says he wants to come to Sydney to research a new novel, watch out.

Apart from anything else, his recent novel Back to Blood, is a withering and unrelenting (if fictional) disclosure of the throbbing heart and sweating soul of Miami.

The Miami Herald  ran a story 'Tom Wolfe tells us how crazy we are' and considering The Miami Herald features in the book in a complex but not particularly flattering way, I think they are being magnanimous. I'm not sure the Sydney Morning Herald would be as relaxed.

In any case, I believe Wolfe's fourth novel is a success and once you acclimatise to his trademark stream-of-consciousness (I wish I was as conscious of my thought processes as some of his characters are) you will discover this is one of the better books you will read.

Wolfe scythes through the complex and tribal race relations of Miami - white 'Americanos', black Americans, Cubans, Haitians, Russians and more - using three dimensional characters who are n…