Torchwood: Slow Decay by Andy Lane
This 2007 novel is set in season 1. Gwen and Rhys’ toxic relationship takes centre stage and I respectfully demur from caring. A weight loss clinic implements a strange way to shed excess weight. Someone eats a Weevil; the show’s later seasons omitted the Weevil plot. Rhys thinks he looks like Colin Farrell and Gwen decides to spice up their love life with stolen alien tech. It just causes an argument. Why did TPTB make Gwen the ‘linchpin’ of the show? No she bloody wasn’t! This novel’s focus on Gwen and Rhys defuses any interest in the whole caboodle. This was totally inadequate and inherently implausible.
“Gwen thought parmesan smelled like puke.”
“We look for the things that have been blown in on the breeze between worlds, and if necessary we eradicate them.”
Federations edited by John Joseph Adams, part 1
Vast. Epic. Interstellar.
From the editor who gave us ‘By Blood We Live’, ‘The Living Dead 2’, ‘Wastelands’ and ‘Brave New Worlds’ comes this collection of tales of vast interstellar societies.
Mazer In Prison
By Orson Scott Card. This is a prequel to ‘Ender’s Game’ and tells of how Battle School came to be. Terrible.
Carthago Delenda Est
An odd little tale of a collection of Ambassadors waiting for the ship from Carthage to come. Okay.
“Their atmosphere is too heavy for people with spines. They look like jellyfish, no mouth, and it took us a hundred and ten years to figure out their language; the dictionary they sent us was just an anatomical sketch.”
An utterly ridiculous tale.
An article on the amending of vocabulary turns into a dark, horrifying tale about terraforming. This is a creepy, excellent tale with a disturbing ending that indicates worse is to come.
“Just because something “did exist,” it did not mean it “should exist.”
By Lois McMaster Bujold. A sequel to the 1st ’Vorkosigan’ novel ’Shards of Honor’ and is a slice of life set amongst the Personnel Retrieval and Identification crew in the aftermath of the short Escobar/Barayar war. A man and a woman work their sad profession and there is a not unexpected discovery. Excellent.
“Vor, too, one of those warrior-class fellows.”
“Homicidal-class loonies or worse.”
“What a strange world you must live in, inside your head.”
Someone Is Stealing The Great Throne Rooms of the Galaxy
By Harry Turtledove. A tale full of puns and a hamster. Someone should have prohibited this crap from ever being published.
A rebellion on a prison planet has unexpected varied consequences. This was good and a nice take on the superfluity of fate.
First contact with aliens isn’t like the movies, ok.
“I can’t believe that dude is still alive somewhere out in space.”
Twilight of the Gods
Wagner’s ‘Ring Cycle’ in space on a massive damaged spaceship populated by madmen. This was okay.
“Eschew this thing! Cast it away!”
“The shattered planet called War Storm.”
“Of the Apocalypse there has been no sign for thirty years.”
“This old dribbler.”
“Darkened places which had known no light for years beyond count.”
A creepy little tale of a plague star-ship. Ok.
“It was all for nothing. All that blood. For nothing.”
An odd little tale about suicide in the future.
Spirey and the Queen
Pulp sci-fi, about a war that isn’t what it seems.
Pardon Our Conquest
An odd little tale about the aftermath of a war.
A tale of soldiers, a bio weapon and the terrible consequences of a broken promise. Good.
“It’s like having a roommate. Living with you in your head forever, and you can’t break the lease.”
“I have to live with that.”
“So does he,”
“He gave me a shrivelling look of black anger and downright hatred.”
Growing Rich by Fay Weldon
This 1992 novel was adapted from Weldon’s six part ITV miniseries. Carmen, Laura and Annie are three gawky teenage girls living in an arse end of nowhere town in East Anglia. They long to escape before the town smothers them. Unfortunately the devil overhears their hopes and dreams. The devil is currently acting out the role of driver to local bigwig Sir Bernard Bellamy. The driver is already confident of Sir Bernard’s soul and now he sees the chance to get Carmen’s. However she proves to be a challenge.
Years pass. Sir Bernard ascends to ever greater social and economic success. Laura grows bored, unsatisfied and miserable with marriage and children. Annie goes to New Zealand with her love only to be eaten up by self doubt and self hate. Carmen fights temptation in all its forms. But the driver thwarts her at seemingly every turn. He dooms to her a thankless job in a frozen chicken factory, the man she loves literally forgets she even exists and her slobbish family become even more slobbish and demanding. Eventually Carmen may be worn down and have no choice but to assent. This was good, well written and has an ambiguous ending. It is actually better and more substantial than the ineffective TV version.