Thumbs down for 20,000 Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne, translated by Anthony Bonner. Science fiction.
There’s a reason why Verne is always abridged. (Yes, the edition you read and kind of liked was almost definitely abridged; it just didn’t say so.) Well, I sought out and read the full version, and good God is it unreadable. Though each page is fine on its own, put them together and it’s absolutely one of the most boring books I’ve ever read.… >> Read more
Thumbs down for Boneshaker by Cherie Priest. Science fiction.
This book had so much going for it. First of all: steamtech, zombies, Victorian Seattle? All kinds of awesome. Secondly, I have friends who liked it (one of whom was kind enough to lend me her copy, so I hope she’ll forgive me for giving it thumbs down). Lastly, I saw Cherie Priest speak at Steamcon and she was a hoot.… >> Read more
Thumbs down for Ring by Koji Suzuki. Horror.
I found this filed in the Literature section of the bookstore where I bought it, but please, if Ring is literature than so’s my grocery list. Though it didn’t seem much like Horror, either, as it wasn’t scary (to me), unless you count a prosaically creepy denouement. (Pity; I thought it would be appropriate to read something scary at Halloween.) Sub-mediocre writing and/or translating, but when the investigation picks up, the pages turn fast.… >> Read more
Thumbs down for Kokoro by Natsume Soseki. Literature.
Sometimes you just can’t wait to finish a book so you can write a bad review of it. God, was this one of those books. In the first section, a dull and faintly irritating student chooses as his Sensei (teacher) a man who is patently without wisdom and thus unworthy of the role.… >> Read more
Thumbs down for The Woman In The Dunes by Kobo Abe. Literature.
Oh God I hated this book. I thought that I hated Battle Royale (see my review); as it turned out, I don’t. That was badly written, but a positive joyride compared to this book. The Woman in the Dunes was well-written, sometimes very beautifully so, but I have not one existential bone in my body and therefore it was downright excruciating to read.… >> Read more
Thumbs down for Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. Science fiction.
It wasn’t the self-proclaimed “violent exploitation” that got to me; frankly, that was just unorginal video-game-style blood and guts. It was the fact that the writing is some of the worst I’ve ever read in a professionally published novel. I don’t know whether it was the author or the translator, but to quote from the book itself: “Damn, this was bad.” And let’s not forget the bouts of utter ridiculousness: apparently the author thinks bulletproof vests make you invincible.… >> Read more
Thumbs down for Snakes and Earrings by Hitomi Kanehara. Literature.
This book’s main endearing quality is that it’s short. Also that it makes no emotional impact, which is a good thing, because some unpleasant things happen in it (murder, tongue piercings, explicit BDSM). It was not actually so bad that I wanted to put it down, but other than the faint interest of the fact that things do not go as they would in a “Western” novel, it’s completely forgettable in every way.… >> Read more