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The Last Astronaut by David Wellington

This starts out well but turns decidely tepid. NASA, Space Force and KSpace are involved when an alien object shows up. SpaceX is not mentioned in this used future. An astronaut, Jansen, was disgraced and brought down NASA when her Mars mission ended in disaster.

Decades later when the alien object enters the solar system, perpetually aggrieved people have to make first contact. This is choppy, illogical and heroic moments are stolen. The Mars mission casts a long shadow, people have gloomy outlooks and commit the most awful and unforgivable of sins. People crave approval, idiots inflame and cause chaos and turn into nefarious villians.

There are sinister manifestations in space and idiots justify their idiot actions. People battle to be believed, idiots are cruel and unrighteous, KSpace have unquestioning reverence for themselves and people are seemingly unconcerned with logic. This was utterly utterly dreadful.

This is not a tale of how icons are created and then forgotten about or moral shortcomings or a woman haunted by regret and lifelong torment expunging her torment. This was not emotionally complex. There is no desperate uncertainty just destructive action that leads to consequences people don't like.

This book will be unremembered. People have an inability to get anything done, are terrified of regret and fear a hostile force. There are damning findings, things that set lives on a different course, emotionally traumatic events and decisions that are fatal to the validity of the plot.

People have pity and suspicion, cause self-perpetuated problems, ignore calculated risks with favour and can't deal with their own shame. The trust that people would have had in Jansen, that is gone. Earth in the future is a society that has reached a ripping point and gone sailing over. This is emblematic in the fact that 'Stars Wars' has been forgotten. The tale of first contact turns out to be knock off of the famous 'Star Trek' ep 'The Doomsday Machine'.

Best Lines:

“Jansen didn't like that look.”

“Moral calculus.”

“An environment so different from Earth-”

“Hero fantasy.”

“Gave it some actual thought and consideration.”

“They'll eat the ground out from under the wreckage of our cities.”

“Deeper inside the crust than any human has ever gone.”

“Kill vehicle.”

“Long before we stood up on two feet. Before the dinosaurs, or even the trilobites.”

“A long, long time after we're gone.”

“Until there are no planets left.”

“Long cold silence.”

“Heart beat just once in a thousand years.”

Gaslight Gothic: Strange Tales Of Sherlock Holmes edited by J.R. Campbell and Charles Prepolec, part 1

The 4th in the series.

It Is Not The Cold Which Makes Me Shiver

An introduction.

Best Line:

“An embarrassing alcholic, lunatic, artist father practically locked away as a secret in the attic and a mother with a questionable realtionship with a lodger.”

The Cuckoo's Hour

This is a dark tale of a murder, a will, a treasure hunt and dark family secrets in an old dark house. This was incredibly engaging.

Best Lines:

“Brought ill to our family,”

“Familial fondness.”

“Peter once tried to have him committed in order to take his fortune from him. Ironic, really, that is Peter himself who is now in the sanatorium.”

“Meet with some dark fate,”

The Spirit Of The Place

By David Stuart Davies. This reads like a rip off of M.R. James' 'Casting The Runes'. I think I've read this before. The phrase mind creature is used without irony. This is of no psychological significance as Holmes defeats the overmighty baddie and mocks wrong doers. Davies' medicore work is frequently applauded as excellent. This was medicore and it has no requsite dread.

Best Lines:

“Time for me to keep quiet and make no effort to engage him in conversation.”

“The schemer falls into the pit he digs for another.”

Father Of The Man

By Stephen Volk. Holmes meets Edgar Allan Poe who is pretending to be Dupin in Paris having faked his death. Holmes narrates how Poe won fame and then surrendered it. Poe is morally indefensible. A Pinkerton shows up. Poe is a loss at life and there is an over-eagerness to discern profound insight. There is no contrition, no logic and this was dull, boring and unexciting. This was not unsettling or upsetting.

Best Lines:

“Mistook my silence for deep contemplation.”

“Hellish consequences.”

The Strange Case Of Dr. Sacker And Mr. Hope

Watson tries to help Holmes when he cracks up. The outcome of this action is to his detriment. This is of course a 'Jekyll' ripoff. Holmes damns himself and his BFF. This wasn't subtly horrifying or disconcerting, just an abominable banality.

Best Lines:

“Received me with an indifference bordering on contempt.”

“The parade of importuners tramping up and down my stairs day and night, those street ragamuffins he employs as scouts and spies,”

“Gallantry personified.”

“Even forgiven him for putting bullet-holes in my wall when that fit of monarchist fervour overtook him.”

“I remember him with little fondness.”

“Area-sneak and second-story artist.”

“Abundant spite.”

“Keeping vigil against my return.”

“If I do not comply with his wishes, the consequences may be dire.”

“It won't hurt. Well, not much.”

The Ignoble Sportsmen

Vengeance is sought using cursed talismans with homicidal dury. This was sedate.

The Strange Adventure Of Mary Holder

By Nancy Holder. This is a sequel to 'The Adventure Of The Beryl Coronet'. People are not at all well treated in this story. Holmes and Watson are peoples only help in a wicked world. There is exposition and ethical implications and loaded consequences. There is emotional introspection and the duo try to interpret the intent of a woman.

Best Lines:

“Cast her out of society.”

“See what she had accepted instead!”

“I should have refused him entry into this house!”

“What need had he of me?”

The Lizard Lady Of Pemberton Grance

This was a quite stupid tale of a gruesome murder. This was full of exposition.

The Magic Of Africa

This was a dull cultural manifestation. This was a ridiclious conscious construction. Dark facts are revealed.

Best Line:

“Burgled by midget thieves.”

Judgement Day by Nick Sharman

Evil has a child's face in the 80s tale of possession which is dreck.


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