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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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