SABATINI, Irene         

 C        The Boy Next Door      2009     Novel

I could not handle the constant bland short sentences



 B+      The First Book of Swords       1983     Fantasy

Good idea well executed


 B+      The Second Book of Swords        1983     Fantasy

Characters and settings a bit 2D (or classic), but originality with Gods and swords, and cracker chaotic finish


 B+      The Third Book of Swords     1984     Fantasy

Consistent series


 B+      Woundhealer’s Story The First Book of Lost Swords   1986     Fantasy

Consistent series. Clever interaction between differing magical god-forged swords


 B-       Sightblinder's Story The Second Book of Lost Swords      1987     Fantasy

Disappointing both as episode & continuation


 B+      Stonecutter’s Story The Third Book of Lost Swords     1988     Fantasy

Consistent series. Clever interaction between differing magical god-forged swords


 B+      Farslayer’s Story The Fourth Book of Lost Swords       1989     Fantasy

Consistent series. Clever interaction between differing magical god-forged swords


SACKS, Oliver      

 B-       The Island of the Colour-blind      1996     Travel (Medical; Botany)

Sacks is only as good as his content. This isn’t good content.


SATRE, Jean-Paul          

 B        Nausea      1938     Novel

I kept it, but I can’t remember it and have no desire to read it again


SCHLINK, Bernard         

 B+      The Reader      1997     Novel

Modern German grapples to decide appropriate response to the holocaust


SETON, Anya        

 B        Katherine   1954     Historical Fiction

Dramatisation of common girl’s actual rise to mistress then wife of a 14th C. Duke


SHELLEY, Mary         

 C        Frankenstein   1816     SF

Great concept, tedious, shallow execution



 B+      Eyewall     1991     SF/Short Story

Able development of a scientific idea into a story


SHERRILL, Steve      

 B        The Minotaur Takes A Cigarette Break    2002     Novel (Magic Realism)

Able ‘Of Mice and Men’ mood, characters, themes; mythic hook largely gratuitous 


SHIELDS, Carol         

 B        The Stone Diaries       1993     Novel

Undeniably able fictional autobiography, but not my thing


 SILVA, Daniel       

 C        Moscow Rules       2008     Action

Some OK scene setting, but stereotype dialogue and characters, and offensively shallow morality



 B+      Jasper Jones         2009     Novel

Engaging coming of age story, rural 70s Australians amped up to Shakespearian proportions


SIMMONS, Dan           

 B+      Hyperion   1989     SF

Space Opera Canterbury Tales


 C        Phases of Gravity 1989     SF?

Promising much, ultimately delivering pap


 B+      Ilium    2003     SF/Action

Starts pretentious, but becomes potent, epic and thrilling


SIMPSON, Dorothy         

 B-             Last Seen Alive     1985     Crime




 B+      The Rosie Project  2013     Novel/Humour (Romance, ASD)

Cashing in on the ASD boom, but deftly



 A-       Gray Lensman       1951     SF

Politically/socially juvenile, but fantastic scope and originality


SMITH, Giles          

 B        Last Requests 2000     Short Story

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

Dark humour improvising a monologue as a death-row canteen lady


SMITH, Wilbur       

 B        The Sound of Thunder

 (Sean Courtney series)     1966     Action/Historical Fiction

Engaging Boer war action, dubious ‘heroic’ character


SMITH, Zadie   

 B-       I’m the Only One   2000     Short Story

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

Vignette of teenager step to identity


SOBEL, Dava        

 B+      Longitude       1995     NF: Biography/Science History

Capable account of interesting scientific history


SOBOL, Donald J.           

 B        Still More Two-Minute Mysteries 1975     Crime/Puzzle

Find the clue to solve each page long case



 A-       Of Mice and Men  1937     Novella

Stinging, poignant, bleak, insightful


STEVENSON, Robert Louis          

 B+      Treasure Island      1881     Action

Hang on! Action aplenty, high body count



 A-       The Crystal Cave (Book 1 in the Merlin saga)   1970     Fantasy

Young Merlin enchantingly evoked


  A       The Hollow Hills (Book 2 in the Merlin saga)   1973     Fantasy

Savouring patient expectation within a thoroughly engaging and consistent structure


 B+      The Last Enchantment (Book 3 in the Merlin saga)     1979     Fantasy

Continues to capably weave around the Arthurian legend



 B        And Be A Villain (A Nero Wolfe Mystery)  1948     Crime

Pleasant. Lightly comic. Introduces Wolfe’s nemesis, Zeck


 B        The Second Confession (A Nero Wolfe Mystery)   1949     Crime

Able without soaring. Touches on McCarthyism issues. Second book to refer to Wolfe’s nemesis Zeck – read it before ‘In the Best Families’


 B+      In the Best Families (A Nero Wolfe Mystery)   1950     Crime

Wonderful departure from conventions of series (but read a few other Wolfe’s first)


 B        Champagne for One (A Nero Wolfe Mystery)  1958     Crime

Pleasant. Lightly comic


STURGEON, Theodore

 B+      The Dreaming Jewels       1950     SF/Novella

Mixed treasure: sometimes soars, but climax descends into cliché