The Prophecy of Bees by R.S. Pateman
A surly teen full of self-aggrandisement, a corrupted soul, shattered ideals and a past filled with betrayal is forced to move to the countryside by her chirpily annoying mother. Amid mild fury and emotional displacement the teen becomes gravely concerned that there is a curse on their new home. Her supernatural proof mother sees it as a paranoid delusion and yet another example of her daughter’s rigid opposition to her.
So unfolds a tale of thinly conceived characters and unstately pacing that has no inspired strangeness and this leaves you aggressively annoyed. The daughter annoys, her mother is full of critical words, the threat is ephemerally sketched and the ‘twist’ is a tad overcooked. The ruthless, immoral and terrifying villains are not guiltily compelling and their unattractive behaviour is the pastiest milquetoast evil. This books leaves you rapidly disenchanted. The cold ending does not impress and this was lamentable.
“I wonder if he was Stagcote’s village idiot.”
“Too timid and too apologetic to be noticed.”
“We need to put our modern-day logic behind us.”
“How could I be afraid of a cushion?”
“The people here are crazy people.”
Experimental Film by Gemma Files
Chronically anxious hot garbage mess Lois Cairns is caught in a downward spiral. She’s full of disappointment at her career and her autistic child. Then she gets on the track of a silver nitrate silent film and goes looking for the legacy of an unknown female filmmaker and the malign influences that drove her. There is a threat from entirely outside the world Lois knows and it hungers. This was a creepy and excellent fractured narrative about the unfathomable expression of a myth.
“She disappeared from both the train and from official record, completely and irrevocably.”
“Have to stop the car at one point because a random heard of beavers is crossing the road.”
“Showed up with rocks in their pockets, which they planned to use for self-defence if and when the audience attacked them.”
“The extent to which it already disturbed me began, at length, to disturb me even more.”
“They may hear them whispered somewhere, recognize themselves, and come calling...”
“To look has been your first mistake.”
“If she didn’t want to see what she was looking at, let alone let it see her.”
The Man From UNCLE #6: The Dagger Affair by David McDaniel
This came out in 1965 and is considered the best of aprox 25 tie-in novels based on the TV show. It’s good. There is a teletype, whatever that is. Thrush suck the air out of everything, Solo falls over a lot, Illya is stealthy and snarky. This was not brilliantly conceived but was arresting. Strutting Thrush members are risible and repellent, Solo is commandingly volatile and the big bad DAGGER are overwhelmingly lurid. Tried old macho tropes are trotted out as Thrush and UNCLE have to unite to take on the evil DAGGER whose original intention is to plunge the world back into the Stone Age. The roguish charmer Solo and remote Illya do their usual fun stuff.
“It could be inconvenient if our best agents were murdered in their beds some night.”
“Illya made a face at him and the two of them settled down in the car to clean their guns.”
“Down-shifted like a truck-driver.”
“The Technological Hierarchy for the Removal of Undesirables and the Subjugation of Humanity.”
“Hitting and being hit by an apparently inexhaustible supply of total strangers.”