Sibilant Fricative by Adam Roberts
How could a book reviewer resist this collection? Adam Roberts, the author of e.g. Yellow blue tibia (which I reviewed previously) and By light alone also writes reviews, and pulls no punches. In this collection of reviews and essays of SF (Sibilant & Fricative respectively) he casts his eye over a variety of books and films. I confess to reading the reviews completely out of order, going through the ones of books and films I had already seen and some I had reviewed myself. This was to get a “baseline” for the books and films I’ve not yet got to so that I know what Roberts likes and doesn't and where he agrees and disagrees with me so that I can see what I need to add to the TBR & TBW piles.
He reviews PKD, Ballard, Pynchon, Mieville, Bova and many others in the SF section, as well as Star Trek & District 9 films and Tolkein, Le Guin, Rothfuss and notably all of the Wheel of Time in the Fantasy section. He reviews with great insight, sly humour and occasionally in the style of the book he is reviewing. The vast majority of the reviews are very entertaining and some are thought provoking, the best are both. For example Roberts sets himself the task to review The Wheel of Time which starts better than he expected but then rapidly becomes a massive chore. Along the way we get a class on how to write well, and why Jordan doesn't and thoughts about epic fantasy, fandom and a brief meta discussion about reviews. This, in addition to the essay on the “Two Hobbits” is worth the entry ticket alone, and there is so much more entertainment within.
I started keeping note of some of the more out-leap-y examples of WoT-style … But after 120-pages of this I exhausted the patience necessary to interrupt my reading with jotting examples down in my notebook. I wanted to get through the damn thing as soon as possible. That’s not to say that the writing gets any better, for it does not
If you like reading reviews – and you must do if you’re reading this one right? Then I highly recommend this collection to you.
Overall –Erudite, entertaining, intelligent collection of essays and reviews.