Raising Steam by Terry Pratchett
The 40th ‘Discworld’ novel is a vast improvement on the rank ‘Snuff’. It marks the end of one era and the beginning of another. With all the continuity references it could almost be the swan song of the series. The steam train has been invented on the Discworld and thus the age of rail travel begins. Moist Von Lipwig has to oversee the building of the tracks as the Dwarves face civil war and Vetinari is Vetinari.
This was very good. Vetinari is devious, Moist is fabulously uneasy and resigned whilst Vimes is Vimes. There are an odd few continuity snarls though. Goblins are suddenly technology experts and Adora Bell is suddenly an expert on the clacks since childhood.
“He was speaking in his very low understanding voice.”
“Steaming molehill? Maybe cow eat bad grass.”
“Gave it a prod with the poker - rather too pointedly.”
“Strange and inexplicable things turn up around here almost every week.”
The Madness of Cthulhu Volume 1 edited by S.T. Joshi
A collection of tales inspired by H.P. Lovecraft’s novella ‘At The Mountain Of Madness’.
At The Mountains of Murkiness
An okay spoof of the tale.
The Fillmore Shoggoth
A dull AU tale that sees a band fiddle as the monsters come.
A weird tale of weirdness in an underground lake.
The Witness In Darkness
A Great Old One speaks in this dull tale.
“The Elder Culture.”
“Name sounds like a dying man’s cough, quite untranscribable.”
How The Gods Bargain
A very good tale about a man long affected by something he and his ‘friends’ found in the woods.
“Harley says you don’t like him.”
“I didn’t like him, so what was I going to say.”
“Sometimes he would chase kids off his land with unintelligible shouts, firing his shotgun in the air and generally filling a folktale niche in the history of any country-born boy.”
“To see it is to despair.”
A Mountain Walked
By Caitlin R. Kiernan. A field journal from 1879 tells of a terrible encounter. Very good.
“Reed would not look upon or speak of it.”
Diana Of The Hundred Breasts
In an ancient Turkish ruin, two brothers let something loose. Something the elder violently atheistic brother can’t cope with. This was excellent.
Under The Shelf
Explorers explore under the Ross Ice Shelf. This starts out well but turns crap.
Music makes madness or something. This was terrible.
Freaks and geeks stuck on a legendary ship encounter danger. This was full of exposition and women who are naught but damsels in distress, but is still okay.
A ghoul tells of his ‘friendship’ with a living man. Very good.
A very good sequel to ‘At The Mountains of Madness’.
“He made perfect sense. Albeit not the kind I wanted to hear.”
This was a bad tale of Old West horrors.
“He knew there was a worse place than Hell, and that he would in dwell in it forever.”
Written in bizarre style, this is a glimpse inside the mind of a dying madman. This was awful.
A Quirk Of The Mistral
In rural France, something has been found in a lump of coal. Good.
The Dog Handler’s Tale
A different take on the expedition from the classic novella. Good.