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Book Reviews: Rebel + And Nobody Lived Happily Ever After, part 1

Vicky Peterwald: Rebel by Mike Shepherd
Economic dislocation and familial strife has led to a great rebellion. This is the final part of the Vicky trilogy. It sees her take on her reliably cynical, psychotically appalling stepmother. An unrecognisably ordinary Empire has been cast into darkness by an ambitious slut. Vicky wants the defeat the ambitious slut/evil Empress and restore the dictatorship utopia she is used to. Cue paranoid nativist plottings, ships flying around manically, gross evil caricatures with eccentric diction doing evil things, knowing gags and no real resolution.

I guess I’ll have to start reading the ‘Kris Longknife’ saga again to see if Vicky will triumph and rule the Peterwald Empire of macho-Leninism. This was good and Vicky starts wondering about the death of her brother of grateful remembrance. Also everybody talks about how wonderful Kris Longknife is. The ice armour and propulsion system in the spaceships still makes no sense.

Best Lines:
“Who wins a battle?”
“The winner?”

“State Security should machine gun them down. That would teach the likes of such people to accept what they got from their betters.”

“You were chummy, with General Zin before he got tossed out the window of State Security Headquarters.”

“The empress went back to her raving.”

And Nobody Lived Happily Ever After by Kate Farrell, part 1

Mea Culpa
An okay tale of a relationship in glossy decay. The slow realisation of this misalliance is unsparing and the ending ‘twist’ is a narrative quirk.

Helping Mummy
I’ve read a longer version of this in ‘The Screaming Book of Horror’. A little girl ‘helps’ mummy with her frustrating baby brother. This is a good creepy tale of familial relations.

A Murder of Crows
This is an inconsequential tale of a sad defeated village and the dark edged legend that it holds.

No Junkmail
An old woman’s dismissive response and objections to flyers sets on her on a dark trajectory. This was incoherent mulch and illogical nonsense.

All In A Row
This is another tale of rural horror. It features an argument, an angry and moody man, unendearingly theatrical weirdoes and a darker turn in the plot. This fails miserably and is not deftly plotted or compellingly multi-layered.

Best Line:
“Damp that stays like an unwelcome houseguest.”

Dad Dancing
Twin boys are mortified by their working class father. Their fragile sentiments lead to an ominous ending. Okay.

Best Lines:
“Due gratitude must be shown for the Lexus.”

“He often spoke like a character from a second-rate television drama.”

The Way And The Truth And The Life
An amoral man gets an unexpected visit. This is a tale of undeniable reality.

My Name Is Mary Sutherland
In this sit-trag, a sad troubled wildly unpopular girl’s happiness has long been stymied by her vile stepmother who lacks inner decency. Inherent anxieties lead to tragedy and the saddest pang. This was excellent, if cut down from a longer novella.

Best Line:
“Chattering women wearing too much make up,”

The Efficient Use of Reason
The shifting dynamics of childhood friendship lead to a sin of unexpected magnitude. This is a good tale of a troubling tragedy.

How I Got Here
A good morality tale about modern day dating.

His Family
A hospital horror story about a deranged porter and his hubristic delusions. Good.

The Sands Are Magic
A 1970s seaside holiday is rapturous until it unexpectedly goes hideously wrong leading to significant tragedy, desolation, sadness and resignation. Very good.
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