C

 

CAIN, James M.

 B-       Mildred Pearce     1941    Novel

Mildred: heroine, or just as shallow as the men she supplants?

 

CALVINO, Italo     

  A       If On A Winters Night A Traveller            1939    Crime

Postmodern, self-aware, deconstructive – but also fun and engaging

 

CAMUS, Albert     

 B        The Plague     1947    Novel

Plague as a metaphor for German occupation of France

 

CARCATERRA, Lorenzo          

 C        Sleepers    1995    Crime

 Fails as either fact or fiction        

 

CARD, Orson Scott  

 A+      Ender’s Game (Book 1 of the Ender saga)           1985    SF

Classic, clever taut plot, powerful convincing brutal narrative

 

 B+      The Speaker for the Dead      (Book 2 of the Ender saga)      1986    SF

Flawed overpopulated sequel, but some great lines given to the Speaker

 

 B+      Seventh Son (The Tales of Alvin Maker 1)     1987    SF

Messianic child magic in US pioneering alternative history

 

 B        Red Prophet (The Tales of Alvin Maker 2)      1988    SF

Fairly surreal US magical alternative history sequel

 

 B+      Prentice Alvin (The Tales of Alvin Maker 3)    1989    SF

Magical/messianic Alvin moves into manhood. Series back on track

 

 B        The Folk of the Fringe     1990    SF

Post nuclear WWIII US Mormons survive like early settlers

 

 B        Maps in a Mirror Vol. 2    1991    Short Stories

Collection of short stories – more a curiosity for fans

 

 B+      The Memory of Earth (Volume 1 of Homecoming)    1992    SF

Intriguing deep future saturated in Old Testament flavour, characters and dilemmas

 

 B+      Magic Street   2005    Urban Fantasy

Bravely/foolishly mixing faery with contemporary US black community

 

 B        Pathfinder (Book 1)    2005    SF

Promising opening premise and characters, but descends into silliness and transcriptions of discussions of draft ideas

  

CARROLL, Steven

 B- The Time We Have Taken      2007    Novel

All musing doth not a novel make

 

CHABON, Michael     

 B        Manhood For Amateurs   2009    Non-Fiction (Collected Columns)

Able, seductive, pretentious. Way more about individual and family experience than ‘manhood’.

 

CHANDLER, Raymond 

 A- The Big Sleep      1939    Crime

Great ‘hardboiled’ mood, powerful and witty figures of speech

 

 A- Farewell My Lovely    1940    Crime

Original, dry humour with heart in the mean streets

 

 A- The Lady In The Lake      1943    Crime

Great ‘hardboiled’ mood, powerful and witty figures of speech

 

 B        Playback   1948    Crime (Screenplay)

Competent, but not the best way to enjoy Chandler

 

  A       The Long Good-Bye 1953    Crime

Who cares about the plot? Just sit back and enjoy the ride knowing you’re in the hands of a master

 

CHANDLER, Raymond/PARKER, Robert B.   

 B        Poodle Springs          1989    Crime

Parker completes an unfinished (married) Marlowe novel

 

CHANDRA, Vikram   

 B- Love and Longing in Bombay    1997    Short Stories

Original but not engaging

 

CHERRYH, C.J.    

 B+      Gate of Ivrel (Book 1 of The Chronicles of Morgaine) 1976    SF

1st of the dark, compelling, morally tortured ‘Morgaine’ series

 

 B        Hunter of Worlds  1976    SF

Moral dilemmas involving aliens and action

 

 B        The Faded Sun: Shon’jir 1978    SF

Human interaction with the last of a proud, ruthless species

 

 B+      Well of Ishiuan (Book 2 of The Chronicles of Morgaine)        1978    SF

2nd of the dark, compelling, morally tortured ‘Morgaine’ series

 

 B+      Fires of Azeroth (Book 3 of The Chronicles of Morgaine) 1979    SF

3rd of the dark, compelling, morally tortured ‘Morgaine’ series

 

 B        The Pride of Chanur   1981    SF

A spaceship captain discovers a new species during an uneasy peace

 

 B        Serpent’s Reach   1981    SF

A surviving noble seeks revenge through alliance with an intelligent ant-like race

 

 B+      Cukoo’s Egg   1985    SF

Unusually tight (for Cherryh) story of a human raised in a demanding alien discipline

 

 D        Rusalka     1989    SF

Frustratingly boring (and finally just boring) novel of indecision

 

 B- Faery in Shadow  1993    Fantasy

Yet another outcast suffers tortured indecision, disappointing

 

 B        Fortress in the Eye of Time   1994    Fantasy

Initially slow and meandering, but stronger latter half

 

 D        Tripoint     1994    SF

Melodramatic bilge, characters we’re supposed to respect are pathetic

 

CHRISTIE, Agatha

 B-  N or M?    1941    Crime / Spy

OK setup, but gets bogged down, hinges on some horribly implausible plot points, and adds insulting characterisation

 

CLANCY, Tom

 D-      The Teeth of the Tiger           2003    Action

Proudly stupid bigotry

 

CLARKE, Arthur C.   

  A       Childhood's End        1953    SF

      Wow

 

 B        2001 A Space Odyssey    1968    SF

An interesting foil to the movie (it’s based on the screenplay)

 

 B        Imperial Earth      1977    SF

I don’t recall much but I must have liked it enough to keep it

 

CLARKE, Susanna   

  A       Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell     2004    Fantasy

      A triumph – plotting, pacing, characters, tone, faery, historical fiction, interplay, humour, tragedy – really enjoyable book.

 

CLEARY, John     

 C        The Safe House    1975    Thriller

 Particularly average         

     

COOK, Peter (Cook, William – Ed.)  

 B        Tragically I was an Only Twin: The Complete Peter Cook 2002    Humour/Biography

Some great moments, but better as a DVD

 

CORNWALL, Bernard

 B- Sharpe’s Company    1982    Historical Fiction/War

Authentic Napoleonic war props and setting; absurd pantomime characters

 

COOK, Hugh   

 B        The Wizards and the Warlords (Chronicles of an Age of Darkness: Volume 1)         1986    Fantasy

Some original ideas, lots of unoriginal ones, fairly sloppy, some plot surprises

 

 B        The Wordsmiths & The Warguild (Chronicles of an Age of Darkness: Volume 2)     1987    Fantasy

Smug, crass, 2D characters and settings, but original subversion of perspective

 

COOK, Thomas   

 C        The Crime of Julian Wells     2012    Crime

Pretentious, bland

 

CORMIER, Robert

 D-      Fade    1988    Novel

Ugly cynical projections mistaken for reality

 

COURTNEY, Bryce   

 B+      The Power of One            1989    Thriller

Enjoyable, gripping. Boy to successful man story in apartheid South Africa

 

CROGGON, Alison    

 B        The Gift (The First Book of Pellinor – The Treesong Trilogy)  2002    Fantasy/Juvenile

Competent enough cliché, teen girl daydream, two-dimensional

 

CULOTTA, Nino   

 B+      They’re A Weird Mob       1957    Humour

Ingenuous Italian Australian plays with stereotype aussie slang/behaviour

 

 B        Cop this Lot    1960    Humour

Weird Mob sequel, this time Australians go to Italy