B

 

BACH, Richard     

 B+      Jonathan Livingston Seagull  1972     Short Story

Ultra optimistic anti-Ecclesiastes parable: every discipline is eternally meaningful

 

BADDIEL, David   

 B-       Time For Bed        1996     Novel

Offensive static overwhelms talented signal

 

BAGLEY, Desmond  

 B-       Windfall     1982     Action

      OK start but descends to lazy farce

 

BANK, Melissa

 B-       The Wonder Spot        2000     Short Story

in ‘Speaking With the Angel’; Ed. Nick Hornby

A woman’s romantic daydream about an ideal night

 

BANKS, Iain (Iain M. for SF)

 B+      Espedair Street     1987     Novel

Anecdotes, soul-searching and recovery of depressed fictional ex-rock star

 

 B        Consider Phlebas (Culture series) 1987     SF

Great start, impressive mythos, laboured & silly final third

 

 B        Canal Dreams       1989     Novel/Action

Ably realised genre hybrid, but I admired this book more than I enjoyed it

 

 B+      The Player of Games (Culture series)  1989     SF

Sophisticated and striking ‘Culture’ novel

 

 A+      Use of Weapons (Culture series)    1990     SF

      Brilliant style, mood, climax: stinging best of series

 

 B+      Feersum Endjinn (Culture series-ish)   1994     SF

Potentially great book (ride, ideas, characters) reduced to very good by plot

 

 B        Inversions (Culture series) 1998     SF

Clever structure but less compelling than usual

 

 B+      The Business  1999     Novel

      Hi-tech business woman moves between 1st and 3rd World

 

 A-       The Algebraist      2004     SF

      Banks is very good.

 

BANVILLE, John  

 C        The Untouchable        1997     Novel

Engaging trip bloated to tedious journey

 

BARKER, Pat  

 B+      Regeneration   1991     Novel/War/Historical Fiction

Insightful WW1 profiles from well researched imagined psychological counselling sessions with the ‘shell-shocked’

 

BARRY, Dave       

 B        Dave Barry’s Guide to Life      1991 (1984; 1985; 1986; 1987) Humour

(Contains: "Dave Barry's Guide to Marriage and/or Sex" / "Babies and Other Hazards of Sex" / "Stay Fit and Healthy Until You're Dead" / "Claw Your Way to the Top")

Less enjoyable than the columns, but still funny

 

 A-       Dave Barry’s Greatest Hits            1988     Humour

Consistently funny collection of newspaper columns

 

 B        Dave Barry Turns 40         1990     Humour

A Step up on from the ‘Guide to Life’ books, solid, but few laugh out loud moments

 

 B        Big Trouble     1999     Action/Humour

Professional, funny, but slick, filmic and disposable

 

BEAGLE, Peter S.

 B+      Tamsin      1999     Fantasy (Ghost)

Deft characterisation of a teenage girl, evocative writing, silly climax

 

BEAR, Greg

 B+      Blood Music    1985     SF

Genetic thriller apocalypse odyssey

 

BEDFORD, Jean  

 B-       To Make a Killing        1992     Crime

Unsubtly PC, fairly shallow, set around Nowra

 

BOVA, Ben 

 D        Moonwar   1998     SF

Immature sloppy gratuitous SF thriller

 

BRADBURY, Ray

 B+      The Day it Rained Forever      1959     SF/Short Stories

Richer moods than the usual SF single idea short stories

 

 B-       Quicker than the Eye        1996     SF/Short Stories

Sentimental, indulgent, average

 

BROOKS, Geraldine

 B        People of the Book           2008     Novel/Historical Fiction

Clever enough idea competently realised – but not really for me

 

BROOKS, Terry    

 D        The Sword of Shannara    1977     Fantasy

Bad LOTR cover version

 

BRYSON, Bill  

 B+      A Walk in the Woods       1997     Non-Fiction/Travel

Able narrative, good mix of research and humour

     

 B+      At Home          2010     Non-Fiction/History

Researching and cherry-picking interesting snippets of 19th English lifestyle