I’ve been trying to make use of the slightly more free time I’ve had over the summer to catch up with some reading. One of my ‘resolutions’ if you want to put a term to it was to read more fiction. I enjoy reading, but always find myself reading non-fiction design or science books. So I’m pleased to say the last two books I have read have been fiction.
The first of the two is a book called “My Goat Ate Its Own Legs” by Alex Burrett. Its is a book comprised of numerous short stories. The tales in this books (I use tales because many are reminiscent of exotic myths) are often very dark, surreal and a little disturbing. But always with an element of humour – however black it may be. I think its is very like something my friend Adam Huntington would write if he wrote a book, so you will get an idea of it if you know him. I would have a look at some of his tweets to get an idea if you don’t know him, as some of the book can be a little confrontational.
I have to confess that it was the title and beautiful die cut cover which originally caught my eye, but on closer inspection it sounded like a very intriguing read. I was not disappointed. Burrett is obviously a very creative person, and I found myself fascinated by some of the worlds and obscure narratives he created. With stories of God’s Ex-Wife and holidays to Hell each story is as captivating as the last. I would definitely recommend this title, but its maybe not suitable for those easily offended. Try and get a copy if you can, and its so easy to read as a bonus.
The most recent book I have read is called “How To Survive in a Science Fictional Universe” by Charles Yu, and is based around the main character Yu who is a Time Machine Repair Man. The story is a mix between part autobiography of the character Yu, and his relationships with software operating system TAMMY and dog (which does but doesn’t exist) and their problem of getting stuck in a time loop. This unfortunate situation arises when Yu, in a panic, shoots his future self in the stomach before fleeing into “subjunctive space-time”.
The story is ok. It takes a while to really get into it, and is regularly punctuated by contextual information about the science fictional universe, which seems a little distracting and redundant. I feel that all the scene setting should have been embedded into the narrative, but thats just me. Unfortunately this ‘regular punctuation’ is the only type present. Yu seems to have a slight aversion to full stops, instead preferring commas, leading to very long sentences which become difficult to read.
I also feel there is too much of the book devoted to introspective commentary from the main character which doesn’t advance the plot or really add that much to the personality of the character. On the whole, I quite enjoyed the book, but I wouldn’t recommend it. There are many more original mainstream sci-fi novels aimed towards the less ‘geeky’ reader. The storyline is a little slow, and is really used as a vehicle to justify the documenting of this character, Yu’s, fictional past relationships with his parents. Neither aspect of the book is that deep or convincing unfortunately.
Thats two fiction in a row, it might be time for another meaty non-fiction, but Tim has been suggesting some nice sounding fiction too to mix it up. A trip to waterstones is in order!