I’ve only got two books for this month’s Little Reviews. One of these books I loved, the other one is the most messed up thing I’ve ever read and I don’t know if I like it or want to burn it. I’m very conflicted about it.
Author: J.G. Ballard
Genre: Fiction (literary)
Release Date: My edition – September 1st 2008, first published in 1978.
The only way I can possibly describe this book is, “what the actual fuck?” (Sorry to people who don’t like swearing.) I don’t think I’ve ever read a book more messed up than this one. I picked this book to read as part of the Weirdathon (hosted over at Outlandish Lit) and I have honestly never read anything weirder in my life. For the week or so it took me to read this I slept poorly every night, so take that on board if you’re thinking of reading it (I don’t know if there’s an actual connection between the book and my bad sleep, but I’m going to say there is).
It’s not your traditional kind of weird. It’s … actually it’s really hard to put into words what this book is. At its heart, it’s Ballard’s commentary on the relationship between humans and technology. As it was published (but actually almost not published because of how “out there” it is) in the ’70s the most advanced technology featured in the book are cars and planes, but despite that Ballard does an amazing job of showing how intimate our relationship is with technology and it’s easy to see that reflected in current society – he’d have a field day if he were writing today about humans and technology. It’s definitely not a book for everyone. It’s incredibly confronting, explicit, clinical, mechanical, and will leave you wondering what the hell you’re reading, but it’ll also leave you thinking. [Goodreads]
This was my top secret read for the Weirdathon and I debated against Kerry from Entomology of a Bookworm in a Weird-Off over whose book was the weirdest. You can read the full debate on Outlandish Lit here.
Author: Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
Genre: Graphic Novel
Release Date: My edition – May 13th 2014, first published in 1987.
If I could turn back time I would have made this the first graphic novel I ever read (instead of this one here). I’d been wanting to read this for a while so I finally caved a bought a copy at the end of last month – it was definitely money well spent and it was a reading experience I’m not likely to forget any time soon.
First, the artwork was just spectacular. I’m not an expert by any means, but I’m a huge fan of the artwork that Russell Dauterman and Matthew Wilson do in The Mighty Thor – their art is one of the main reasons I read it, and I hate the odd issue when someone else does the art. I didn’t think I’d like the artwork in another comic as much as theirs, but Dave Gibbons has proven me wrong and I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more comics illustrated by him as his art really is a joy to look at.
Another reason I love The Mighty Thor is the writing by Jason Aaron (I started reading the new Doctor Strange comics just because he writes those as well) – he’s really talented. But Alan Moore … what can I say? He’s a master. The story is layered and doesn’t always go where you’re expecting it to, and the characters are just brilliant – I especially loved The Comedian for his complexities. Despite being written in the ’80s it’s as relevant today as it was back then and one reading of this only scratches the surface of everything it has to offer. I’ll definitely be giving this a reread ASAP. [Goodreads]