Thursday 8 August 2013

So it looks like my week for competitions - I must buy myself a lottery ticket and get 3!

First off I got a mail from the fine folk of Angry Robot to say I'd won their pre-competition competition for correclty guessing that RFAD stood for "Robot for a Day". I'll be getting a goody bag from them which is cool.

Then even more exciting news! my story An unexpected return won the Dodo short story competition over at Hodderscape here:

I'm off to 9 worlds (  tomorrow so watch out for my convention report next week...

In other news here's a couple of reviews:

Eat him if you like Jean Teule


Based on a historic incident from the summer of 1870 this small but powerful book tells the tale of an incident when a town seemed to lose its mind and become a howling bloodthirsty mob. Alain de Moneys, a well-liked young nobleman visits the local fair before he goes off to fight in the Franco-Prussian war. An overheard comment about the war, badly misconstrued leads to de Moneys being targeted by an angry mob. If you don’t like graphic descriptions of violence and torture then this book is really not for you even though the unremitting darkness is sometimes tinged with ghoulish humour. This is a car crash of a book, it makes you wince, it may even turn your stomach but a sense of grim fascination draws you ever on.

Overall – powerful, sad, gory, horrific yet compelling reading

The last banquet Jonathan Grimwood



The book begins with Jean-Marie Charles d’Aumont as a penniless orphan eating dung beetles and when a passing noble takes pity on him and gives him Roquefort his future, as a creature of taste as the ultimate sense, is born. The book follows his life from this inauspicious start through his school years, his training to be a soldier, his friendship with a couple of nobles and his later career as master of the menagerie at Versailles. His life rushes along, with lifelong friendships made and loves found and lost, towards the 1790’s and the advent of revolutionary France. He corresponds with Voltaire and meets Benjamin Franklin and always throughout all his experiences he explores the world of taste. Peppered through the book are recipes, my favourite being the one for Wolf’s Heart (although, of course, I haven’t had the chance to try it). It is a large stage and our players have some difficulty filling it, there is a lack of dramatic exploration of the historic backdrop as our narrator remains firmly on the sidelines. However it does have lots of drama at a human scale and throughout it is Jean-Marie’s quest for taste that makes the book. Grimwood, through Jean-Marie, looks dispassionately at pre-revolutionary France seeing both the good and the bad and Jean-Marie's dislike of Versailles comes through in his often graphic descriptions of e.g. people defecating in the flower beds or urinating in the corridors.

Overall – A fantastic idea competently executed but didn’t have that extra spark to make it great, yet is still a tasty treat.

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