A few days ago I finished John Wyndham’s The Kraken Wakes. The book was written in 1953, so some elements come across as being rather dated, though for 1953, and for John Wyndham, the lead female character comes across as being surprisingly modern, especially considering that the book is set in the present rather than in a distant future. Over all I would describe it as an interesting book with a good build up but a rather disappointing ending. It is on the slow end of the spectrum, but that too feels like a deliberate choice. The story is similar to H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds, but seeing how the threat here comes from the deepest parts of the sea, the author is free to go for the old ‘the scariest monster is the one you can’t see’ trope. Anyway, the first two parts of the book, while well written enough, didn’t appeal to me all that much, however that changed when I reached the third and final one (even though this post is rather short, I’m inserting a break here because the rest of it contains spoilers). Continue reading
I just finished Stephen Baxter’s The Time Ships (1995). This semi-official sequel to H.G. Wells The Time Machine (it was authorized by Wells’s estate) makes for an interesting read, but unfortunately it also feels something like a doughnut. It begins well enough, but even though I liked the seventh –and final– book as well as the epilogue, books five and six felt somewhat tedious, out of place and out of character. And before we go any further, a fair warning: while I usually try to avoid spoilers in these reviews, in this particular instance it won’t be entirely possible for me to do that. No, I won’t be giving away the ending of the book, but I am going to be commenting on some of the specifics regarding both the characters and the events it depicts.
Now, as a sequel to a book that was written a hundred years prior, the author had the not insignificant challenge of trying to merge two styles and two moral codes into his work: Wells’s and his own. This is something that, at least for the first four books, he mostly manages to accomplish. The one place where I feel he gets into trouble is when it comes to the Morlocks. Continue reading