Are you ready for another amazing time travel adventure? Of course you are. We’re only going a short distance, so you won’t need a packed lunch for this trip. Maybe just a cookie or ten. Let’s go!
It’s March 2017. Hopefully you remember that far back, unless you weren’t born yet. In which case, congratulations on learning to read before the age of two. I’m pleased you’ve found my blog. Anyway…
Dune by Frank Herbert (1965). I admit to being disappointed with this book. I know it’s a sci-fi classic and has influenced other writers. But it was too long and the plot wasn’t interesting enough to keep my attention. Plus, the edition I read (Hodder & Stoughton’s 50th anniversary edition) was full of typos, some of them quite strange.
The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (1951). I’ve read this collection of short stories a few times, finally getting rid of my old paperback edition because the pages were musty. The concept holding the stories together is that a man was tattooed by a witch and he is destined to be alone because other people get spooked by the tattoos, which come to life at night to tell the stories. There are some very good ones, which today seem a little outdated.
The Bolter by Frances Osborne (2008). A fascinating biography of Idina Sackville (the author’s great-grandmother). Divorced five times, she scandalised society with her adventurous life. I’d never heard of Idina before reading this, but I found the book very interesting.
The Railway Children by E. Nesbit (1906). This children’s classic is a rewarding read, following the adventures of three children whose father is unfairly imprisoned. With their mother, they move to a simpler lifestyle in the countryside and make friends with the locals, spending a lot of time by the railway until the story’s inevitably happy conclusion.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (1979). The first in the ‘trilogy of five’, this comedy sci-fi is full of improbable coincidences and eccentric characters. Arthur Dent, a bemused Englishman, is trying to stop his house from being flattened. However, the Earth itself is about to be destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Arthur is saved by his friend Ford Prefect (who turns out to be an alien) and they hitchhike around the Universe.
The Hourglass Factory by Lucy Ribchester (2015). I think I liked this one, but can’t remember much about it, except that a female journalist was one of the main characters. Maybe there were suffragettes and circus performers too. Let’s class it as historical detective fiction.
The War of the Worlds by H G Wells (1898). Not actually one of my favourite Wells novels, but in terms of influence and ideas, it’s a brilliant book. Wells describes realistically (for the times) what might happen if aliens invaded. The writing is in a reportage style and was given more of an emotional angle, plus actual names for the main characters, in later musical and film adaptations.
Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay (1967). This book is an oddity. If you watched the recent TV mini-series (which, by the way, adds a lot more to the book’s thin plot), you’ll know that the story focuses on the mysterious disappearance of three schoolgirls and their teacher while on a picnic outing in Australia. You’ll also know that the mystery is never solved. In a way, it’s a good story and definitely worth reading, but it’s also irritating because nothing much happens and of course the ending is inconclusive.
Shall we go back to the future now? I hope you enjoyed the trip.