The Girl with All the Gifts

41ocj6lep0l-_sx316_bo1204203200_The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey

This is good un. Its set in a post-apocalyptic world, where a new fungal human parasite has emerged. The fungus is passed on via biting. It emerged a decade or two previous, and has the unfortunate property of turning infected humans into zombies. You get bitten, your brain is promptly colonised, and within a few hours: near eternal life; just enough brain-power, and more than enough will, to dementedly chase down anything that moves; plus good endurance and speed.

The new fungus caused the main collapse of civilisation within weeks/months of emergence. The book is set a couple of decades after Collapse. There is possibly still a last city outpost of humans in ex-Britain called Beacon, but [spoiler alert!] we never actually get there, so whether or not Beacon still exists is unclear. It may have also have fallen six months before we begin. The rest of the country is zombie-central.

The main character is a young girl, who we find taking classes in a strange high security barracks. She has perhaps twenty odd classmates. We follow her through her strange prescribed days, and witness her developing a rather intense and lovely crush on her (tasty?) human teacher.

It becomes clear to the reader, long before the Girl or even before the resident scientist and security attempt to cut out the Girl’s brain, that she must be a second generation zombie (aka Hungry). As their world dissolves into further chaos, eventually it falls to the Girl with all the Gifts to decide the best path for the world’s remaining human and Hungry residents.

I really did enjoy this book. Its warm – the characterisation is great – there is plenty of quiet humour in there too.  Do read it if you can.

Anansis Boys by Neil Gaiman

Anansi_BoysSo yes, I did buy another copy, and still oddly have not seen my original.  Bit of a mystery where its gone. Anyway, it was indeed rather good. But it seems a while ago since I read it, so while I do really think Gaiman is a great writer, the only bit which stuck in my head is the transformation of the rather evil boss cum-murder into a stoat, and his subsequent entrapment in a cave with Tiger, where he can be reincarnated and perhaps daily eaten by the cat.

But, yup. Its a good un; including the ending.

Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman

51hds3bzh8l-_sx310_bo1204203200_And this one, another Gaiman book, I can remember particularly the introduction. With typical oddness and humour, it consisted largely of a drawn out complaint that he was constantly asked to write short stories about sex. And then (ultimate introduction cop-out?) he put another short story into the into, in place of an actual intro. Mind you, that introduction short story is good: a disturbing Dorian Gray-esque take on marriage.

I also liked the cat-devil story. Hmm, but too many other wonderful (and sometimes rather disturbing) short stories to mention. Its yet another good un.

Do Androids dream of Electric Sheep? by P.K. Dick

51e1prketol-_sx327_bo1204203200_Somewhat continuing the older classics idea, I am currently reading this.

Its about lies? Confusing, rather brilliant, and also extraordinarily annoying for its utterly 1960s sexist take on women (who are thus far, 100 pp in,  only ever there as interest for the men). It makes it quite hard to read a book when the apparent women-problem is quite so all pervasive.

On the more positive side, I suppose it does however emphasise the massive forward strides in fictional as evinced by comparison with The Girl with all the Gifts, plus other recent sci-fi?


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