Tag: James Smythe

August 2015 Mini-Reviews

Posted August 21, 2015 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Historical Fiction, Romance, Science Fiction / 4 Comments

August 2015 Mini-ReviewsTitle: Black Girl / White Girl (Goodreads)
Author: Joyce Carol Oates
Published: Fourth Estate, 2006
Pages: 272
Genres: Historical Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Black Girl / White Girl tells the story of Genna Hewett-Mead who is reflecting on a traumatic event in her past. Fifteen years ago, in 1975 while attending an exclusive women’s liberal arts college near Philadelphia, her roommate Minette Swift died a mysterious and violent death. Minette was a scholarship student and one of the few African American women to be let into the college. Genna, a quiet woman of privilege got to witness the effects of racism first hand as the racist harassment escalated from vicious slurs to something far worse. However whoever was responsible for this murder still remains a mystery to this day. I had never read Joyce Carol Oates before and I thought this may be my chance to experience her writing. The premise of this novel intrigued me and I was looking forward to uncovering the mystery at play. However, this turned out to be a novel about reflecting on the changing times; I was interested in learning about racism within America during the time of civil rights movements but this focused too much on Genna.

I understand that Joyce Carol Oates may not want to write a novel from the perspective of a person of colour, since she is Caucasian and probably could not do the situation any justice. Rather she took on the perspective of a woman of privilege experiencing the issue first hand. This may have made the book a little more autobiographical and allowed Oates to still explore the issue of racism. While I enjoyed this book, I did not find anything special about it. Maybe this was not the best example of Joyce Carol Oates’ writing but I will try more of her novels in the future.


August 2015 Mini-ReviewsTitle: The Testimony (Goodreads)
Author: James Smythe
Published: Harper Collins, 2012
Pages: 368
Genres: Science Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

First there was static and the whole world freaked out. Then came a voice that said “My Children, Do not be afraid”. People said it was God, others said it was the government and still others believed it was aliens. The whole world was brought to a halt but no one had the answers. The Testimony details the apocalypse from the perspective of twenty six people around the world. James Smythe is a master at writing science fiction that will really make you ponder life and The Testimony is no different.

I was curious to check out James Smythe’s debut novel ever since I discovered his novels. The Machine was my first Smythe and still remains my favourite although many do prefer The Explorer. For me, while The Testimony was a thrilling read, it just was not on the same level as the other books I have read. Dealing with so many different perspectives was a great way to capture the different opinions and question the events. However this novel was not overly impressive, still a great book but if I compare if to James Smythe’s other novels, it falls short. This is proof on just how far Smythe has improved and makes me excited to read something new by this great author.


August 2015 Mini-ReviewsTitle: The Firebird (Goodreads)
Author: Susanna Kearsley
Published: Sourcebooks Landmark, 2013
Pages: 539
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
My Copy: Audiobook

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Nicola has a rare gift, she can touch an item and glimpse the lives of its previous owners. When she holds a small wood carving called The Firebird she sees a glimpse of Catherine I, wife and later successor to the Tsar Peter the Great. The Firebird is a fresh take on the time traveling romance genre, blending it with the ever popular paranormal romance genre. This is the second book in the Slains series by Canadian author Suzanna Kearsley.

My wife is a big fan of Kearsley and since this novel is partly set in Russian she thought I should check it out. There is some interesting aspects of the life and times of Peter the Great and allowed me to learn a little more about Russian history and culture. However there is something about this novel that I did not like. The Firebird is a story with no conflict and no antagonist and for me this meant it was a really boring novel. I understand people would read this book for the romance but I was uninterested in that story line, I was reading this for the Russian setting. Obviously I am the wrong person to judge The Firebird, it really was not my type of book.


Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Posted December 9, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Horror, Science Fiction / 5 Comments

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeerTitle: Annihilation (Goodreads)
Author: Jeff VanderMeer
Series: Southern Reach Trilogy #1
Published: FSG Originals, 2014
Pages: 195
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction
My Copy: Paperback

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

A section of America has been cut off from the rest of the continent; this has been dubbed Area X. While no one has been too sure what caused Area X to be cut off, a clandestine government agency called the Southern Reach keeps sending expeditions to this new ecosystem, to study the last vestiges of an untouched environment. Eleven expeditions have gone to this abandoned and unspoilt stretch of US coastline, eleven catastrophic failures. Four women known only by their disciplines: surveyor, anthropologist, psychologist and biologist are preparing for the twelfth expedition; will they find the answers to explain Area X, this enigmatic and frightening ecosystem?

Annihilation is the first book in the much talked about Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer; a short 200 page novel that packs a huge punch. The reader is thrown into this world and soon finds themselves with many questions; however the answers will only lead to more questions and so you will find yourself in a spiral of tension and excitement. Think Cormac McCarthy meets James Smythe; you have this thrilling and complex novel that sees four women and their impending doom.

I am hesitant in talking about this book too much because everything is shrouded in mystery and deception. I don’t want to give too much away but I can say that Annihilation, on the surface, is a thrilling science-fiction novel. However as you dive deeper into the plot you will soon discover that this is full metafictional and psychoanalytical allegory that leads to a whole new type of exploration for those interested in critical reading. This is so annoying because I want to talk about this book but I don’t want to give anything away.

I have had similar issues reviewing The Explorer by James Smythe, I want to say so much more about this book but I want people to discover it for themselves. I am desperate to read Authority, followed by Acceptance but I know that reviewing them is going to be even more difficult (much like The Echo). Do yourself a favour, go out and pick up a copy of Annihilation if you haven’t done so already, but trust me when I say you will need the other two books in the Southern Reach Trilogy.


ArmchairBEA 2014: Introduction and Literature

Posted May 26, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 30 Comments

abea

This is my third year participating in the Armchair BEA event. While I am not an American I do like the opportunity to join with book bloggers around the world and talk about our favourite subject, books. I am sure most people know already but just in case; BEA is the Book Expo of America, held in New York, where people in the book industry of America get to be enticed with new books from publishers. There is an event now known as BookCon where book lovers can experience the same enticement, however they won’t get any diversity. Putting aside the problems with BookCon, I’m pleased to join all the fun with Armchair BEA. This is a virtual conference for the book bloggers that can’t make it to BEA. Over the next few days I will be joining in with this event and their daily blog post topic suggestions.

For the past two years I’ve been enjoying this event, it is a great way to meet new bloggers and show off your own book blog. As this is the first day of Armchair BEA I probably should move on to the topics for the day. Today we are introducing ourselves and talking about my favourite topic…literature. As a way of introduction Armchair BEA has provided ten questions and asks everyone to pick their favourite five and answer them.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging? Where in the world are you blogging from?

My name is Michael, I hail from North Queensland in Australia and I only became a reader in 2009. I started blogging not long after that over at Knowledge Lost as a way to sort my thoughts and explain what I had learnt along the way. I know I need to spend more time on that blog and I’m hoping to get back into it now that I’m forcing myself to write every day. I started Literary Exploration as a way to document my book journey and soon discovered I’m very passionate about books and book blogging. There is one thing I hate about book blogging but for the most part I really enjoy the whole experience.

Describe your blog in just one sentence. Then, list your social details — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. — so we can connect more online.

Literary Exploration is documentation of my bookish journey as I explore literature in all its forms.

You can normally find me on twitter: @knowledgelost or my blog @litexploration as well as Facebook, Instagram, sometimes Tumblr and Pinterest. I’m also very active on Goodreads (also check out the Literary Exploration Book Club), Literally and Booklikes.

What was your favourite book read last year? What’s your favourite book so far this year?

Highlights of 2013 include;

For more books check out my best of 2013 post

Highlights of 2014 (so far) include;

What is your favourite blogging resource?

One of the best investments I’ve made for my blog is the Ultimate Book Blogging Plugin. This one plugin has saved me a lot of time and makes my life so much easier. I can collect a lot of relevant information thanks to this plugin and it automatically updates my review index. It has a lot of cool features and I highly recommend it to all book bloggers. Of course you’ll all have to move to a self-hosted WordPress platform but that is a good idea anyway.

Spread the love by naming your favourite book blogs:

I’m always happy to recommend some great book blogs; here are some that I’m always happy to see updates from;

Time now to look at that all important topic of Literature: I’m a bit of a pretentious reader, so I’m always interested in reading books that are considered high literature. I’ve even set myself a life goal of reading the entire 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die List, I might even try to review them all too. I find myself drawn to literary more as I become a better reader; there is something about the prose and structure that stands out. As a literary explorer I try not to entrench myself in just one genre, but luckily there is plenty of great literary genre novels out there. I don’t have to sacrifice quality in order to read genre fiction.

However there are so many classics out there that I still have to read and I feel bad for not having read books like Middlemarch, The Brothers Karamazov, The Woman in White, The House of Mirth and so on. I want to catch up on all these great novels and I think classics are an essential part of the reading journey. I recommend every reader try to read more classics and to help you along, I suggest joining something like The Classics Club is a great way to challenge yourself to more classics. I want to take to the conversation to the comments but I’d like to ask some questions of the readers to help the conversation along;

  • What is your favourite literary novel (in any genre)?
  • Which classic would you like to read but are dreading?
  • What genre do you spend most of you time reading?
  • What genres tend to scare you?
  • Finally, are there classics that just seem too hard and why?

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Button by Sarah of Puss Reboots


The Echo by James Smythe

Posted January 10, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction, Science Fiction / 0 Comments

The Echo by James SmytheTitle: The Echo (Goodreads)
Author: James Smythe
Series: The Anomaly Quartet #2
Published: Harper Voyager, 28-01-2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Literary Fiction, Science Fiction
My Copy: ARC from Edelweiss

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Twenty years after the Ishiguro vanished, two brilliant scientists have been asked to help answer the many questions surrounding this disappearance. Identical twins Tomas and Mirakel Hyvönen have been interested in space travel since children. Not space, just the equipment. Can that find the Ishiguro, will they solve the mystery or will this just lead to more questions.

This is the sequel to The Explorer, so it is going to be hard reviewing this book without giving anything away. Already I might have said too much about the first book but I highly recommend reading The Explorer anyway. This series is off to a fantastic start and I’m already eager for the next book, which unfortunately may not be till next year.

If you have never read James Smythe before, I recommend him highly. His books The Explorer and The Machine book made my top books of 2013; that is a rare and incredible feat since I had so many books to pick from. Smythe writes literary science fiction that not only keeps you on the edge of your seat; they will also get you contemplating humanity.

The Echo has that philosophical and bleak style you come to expect from James Smythe. While this book sounded like there weren’t any thrilling moments, I was wrong; I was addicted to this book as much as The Explorer and it kept me up late at night. I love the way this author looks at life and sanity; there is so much he wants to say and I’m beginning to wonder if the planned four books series is enough.

I really want to say more about this novel but I’m afraid anything I do say will be a spoiler. I hate leaving a review so short but I highly recommend this series and that is all I can really tell you. James Smythe has another book coming out this year, so I have something to look forward to. I’m sure The Testimony will also be read during the course of 2014 as well.


Monthly Review – December 2013

Posted December 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 2 Comments

and then there were noneThis is the end of 2013 and what a great year we have had. Let’s have a quick look back at the year for the book club on Goodreads and our books of the months. For me some of the highlights included; The Bell Jar, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Lolita, Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, The Fault in our Stars and The Shadow of the Wind. We seem to consistently get great books to read, including this month’s book And Then There Were None. I wasn’t sure what to expect, this was my first Agatha Christie and while I had some issues, I will read her again.

Next month we are reading an espionage novel, which will be Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le Carré. I’ve read this novel and really enjoyed it, so I’m excited to see what others think; the movie is pretty great too. I hope everyone had a great holiday period and look forward to the great things to come in 2014. If you’re not aware, the book discussion and everything else will be happening over on the Goodreads forums, so feel free to join in there.

This has also been a great year for this blog too, which spawned last year from the Goodreads book club. I originally hoped this would be a source for all things book club related but turned into a book journal of my life as a literary explorer. I’m glad it did turn into what it is today; I’ve had so much fun book blogging and sharing my bookish thoughts. For my favourite books of 2013, check out the post but I wanted to share some of my favourite posts.

As always this month lead me to discover some great books including The Explorer and The Echo by James Smythe, Maddaddam by Margaret Atwood, Careless People by Sarah Churchwell and a reread of Frankenstein. I thought maybe James Smythe (he made my top books of 2013 list twice) or even Frankenstein would be the highlights of the month but it was actually a non-fiction book; 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. It’s only a collection of letters between a book lover and a second-hand book store but for any book lover, it reads like a love letter to books.

Read More


My Top Five Reads of 2013

Posted December 30, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Top 5 / 4 Comments

As 2013 comes to an end, it is time to do that “Best of” post. I know it’s one of those posts you are either sick of or love seeing but I have to share my favourites. It’s been a great year; over 160 books read, some amazing books and some painful ones (see Twilight and New Moon). Like last year I’m going to split my list into “Best of 2013 (released this year)” and all other novels, but as I want to focus more on Non-Fiction too I’m adding “Best Non-Fiction of 2013” to the mix.

Top Five Reads Released in 2013
5. The Unknowns by Gabriel Roth
4. Tenth of December by George Saunders
3. The Explorer by James Smythe
2. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
1. The Machine by James Smythe

Top Five Reads in 2013
5. The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
4. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
3. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
1. If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino

Top 5 Non-Fiction Reads in 2013
5. The Monsters: Mary Shelley and the Curse of Frankenstein by Dorothy & Thomas Hoobler
4. Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living by Nick Offerman
3. Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of The Great Gatsby by Sarah Churchwell
2. Perv: The Sexual Deviant in All of Us by Jesse Bering
1. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Now it’s your turn to let me know of your favourite books, the new releases and the older books. It doesn’t matter; just what you discovered and loved.


The Explorer by James Smythe

Posted December 18, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction, Science Fiction / 3 Comments

The Explorer by James SmytheTitle: The Explorer (Goodreads)
Author: James Smythe
Series: The Anomaly Quartet #1
Published: Harper Voyager, 2013
Pages: 260
Genres: Literary Fiction, Science Fiction
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook DepositoryKindle (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Cormac Easton has been selected to be the first journalist in space, sent to document the flight of Ishiguro into deep space. When the crew wakes up from hypersleep they discover their captain died in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. One by one the rest of the crew died and Cormac was left alone; or so he thinks.

This is going to be difficult to review this book without giving spoilers; there are some big reveals within this novel that need to be left unmentioned. For those people that don’t read much science fiction don’t let the fact this is set in space put you off. This is literary sci-fi, the novel explores humanity. Also for those that think this sounds similar to my recent review of The Martian, they are completely different, while they both have a protagonist isolated in space that is pretty much the only thing they have in common.

I can’t really talk much about the plot, you just have to go out and read it; I want to talk a little about Cormac Easton. Whether you like him or not (I didn’t) there is something I found really interesting about this protagonist. James Smythe shows the reader just how to write an unreliable narrator. You spend most of this book trying to work out if Cormac is leaving things out because he is human and forgot or if it is on purpose, you also question everything he says, what is true and what is a lie. This works really well and I found it added to the tension and thrill of the novel.

Similar to The Martian I can’t help but comparing this to the movie Moon but when you get further into the book you can see some similarities to science fiction movies from the 80’s and 90’s (the one I’m thinking of might be too much of a spoiler). In the world of books, I’m reminded of classic science fiction; those books that have so much to say about humanity. I would probably compare Smythe to an author like Robert A. Heinlein; In fact I think I made a similar comparison to classic sci-fi in my review of The Machine.

James Smythe has been a great discovery for me, I love how he explores humanity in his novels. It might be weird but I think both The Machine and The Explorer may end up in my Best of 2013 list. I want to read more books by this author and have in fact started the sequel to this one (The Echo) already. I’m also looking forward to trying his first novel The Testimony and eagerly anticipating his currently untitled book that comes out mid-2014. Smythe seems to be a machine, two books released in 2013 and two being released in 2014, at this rate I’m never going to run out of his books to read.

I hope I didn’t reveal anything important in this novel; it is hard to write a review and say nothing. I also hope I’ve said enough to make people want to read The Explorer (and all of James Smythe’s novels). It is always great when you discover an author that writes the perfect books for your taste and I think I’ve found that here, I will try a few more novels but I feel confident. The Echo is the next book in this series, I believe there will be another two more as well but I felt like this worked well as a standalone novel. Highly recommend both The Explorer and The Machine and hope more people check out this great author.


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books On My Spring 2013 TBR List

Posted September 17, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Top Ten Tuesday / 0 Comments

toptentuesdayIt’s Tuesday again which means time for another round of Top Ten Tuesday; I like joining in of this meme because I have a set topic to work with. Top Ten Tuesday is a book blogger meme that is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish and this week the theme is: Top Ten Books On My Spring 2013 TBR List. I’ve already done a post similar here but I’ve already read two of them, so I can recycle three of them and pick another seven more.

10. The Last Winter of Dani Lancing by P.D. Viner
A new psychological thriller in the tradition of Before I Go to Sleep and Memento, P.D. Viner’s debut is looking like it might be an interesting read. Twenty years ago, college student Dani Lancing was kidnapped and brutally murdered, the killer was never found and the case is now cold. Her parents’ marriage fell apart as a result of it, but now a new lead has been found and rekindles an obsession for revenge.

9. The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. by Adelle Waldman
Nathaniel Piven is a rising star in the Brooklyn literary scene, after several years of learning he now has his pick of assignments and women. Debut novelist Adelle Waldman plunges into the psyche of the modern man and offers up a literary romance that is both intelligent and witty. I hope this book is a novel of struggles, discovery and anxiety that comes with romance and the literary scene.

8. A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Sixteen-year-old Nao decides she wants to escape the loneliness and bullying of her classmates. But before she ends it all she decides to document the life of her great grandmother, a Buddhist nun. Across the pacific Ruth finds some artifacts washed ashore from the 2011 tsunami that pulls her into Nao’s drama. Ozeki explores relationships, the past and present, fact and fiction in this contemporary novel.

7. Skinner by Charlie Huston
Growing up, Skinner wasn’t like other boys. Appearing to have no emotions, he seemed to be powered by reason alone, a robot that could be programmed to do whatever its master wanted. No surprise that as an adult he didn’t seem to fit it. Until he came to the attention of the CIA, and they realized they had stumbled across the perfect assassin. His speciality: protecting human ‘assets’. His method: ensuring that the price a rival agency paid for acquiring the asset always outweighed the asset’s worth. In other words, he killed everybody involved, and then some more, just to make the point.

6. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
The times and species have been changing at a rapid rate, and the social compact is wearing as thin as environmental stability. Adam One, the kindly leader of the God’s Gardeners—a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, as well as the preservation of all plant and animal life—has long predicted a natural disaster that will alter Earth as we know it. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have survived: Ren, a young trapeze dancer locked inside the high-end sex club Scales and Tails, and Toby, a God’s Gardener barricaded inside a luxurious spa where many of the treatments are edible.

5. The Explorer by James Smythe
When journalist Cormac Easton is selected to document the first manned mission into deep space, he dreams of securing his place in history as one of humanity’s great explorers. But in space, nothing goes according to plan. The crew wake from hypersleep to discover their captain dead in his allegedly fail-proof safety pod. They mourn, and Cormac sends a beautifully written eulogy back to Earth. The word from ground control is unequivocal: no matter what happens, the mission must continue.

4. Harvest by Jim Crace
On the morning after harvest, the inhabitants of a remote English village awaken looking forward to a hard-earned day of rest and feasting at their landowner’s table. But the sky is marred by two conspicuous columns of smoke, replacing pleasurable anticipation with alarm and suspicion.

3. The Never List by Koethi Zan
For years, best friends Sarah and Jennifer kept what they called the “Never List”: a list of actions to be avoided, for safety’s sake, at all costs. But one night, against their best instincts, they accept a cab ride with grave, everlasting consequences. For the next three years, they are held captive with two other girls in a dungeon-like cellar by a connoisseur of sadism.

2. NW by Zadie Smith 
Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragi-comic new novel follows four Londoners — Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan — as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end.

1. The Siege by Arturo Pérez-Reverte
Cadiz, 1811. Spain is battling for independence while America is doing the same. But in the streets of the most liberal city in Europe other battles are taking place. A serial killer is on the loose, flaying young women to death. Each of these murders takes place near the site where a French bomb has just fallen. It is the job of policeman Rogelio Tizon to find the murderer and avoid public scandal in a city already posied on the brink.


The Machine by James Smythe

Posted September 11, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Literary Fiction, Speculative Fiction / 6 Comments

The Machine by James SmytheTitle: The Machine (Goodreads)
Author: James Smythe
Published: Blue Door, 2013
Pages: 328
Genres: Literary Fiction, Speculative Fiction
My Copy: Hardcover

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Beth lives in a remote village by the sea, a desolate place where she can rebuild her life following the return of her husband after the war. Vic is haunted by his memories and turns to a machine to take his nightmares away, but it takes everything away; now Beth is determined to rebuild him.

Dubbed as Frankenstein for the 21st century, The Machine is a wonderfully dark and complex novel that really deserves more attention. I normally get annoyed when novels are compared to Frankenstein; how can any novel truly compare? The Machine was a different story; I wasn’t expecting it to compare to Frankenstein, I was more interested with the dark and complex nature of this book. The novel reminds me more of the British TV show Black Mirror; there are two episodes in particular, the episode where all memories are recorded for instant playback (1×3) and the one where a woman loses her husband and turns to a service that continues his online life (2×1). The show is considered “a hybrid of The Twilight Zone and Tales of the Unexpected which taps into our contemporary unease about our modern world” and is designed to be thought provoking. In fact The Machine feels right at home with the style of that show.

Imagine if you can record all your memories and then wipe the ones that cause pain?  Would removing some memories change a person completely? What if that machine wipes every memory and leaves the person catatonic? What are the moral implications of playing with someone’s memories? How should the government regulate scientific advances like this? If you could, would you try to rebuild a loved one? There are just so many questions to answer and The Machine does a great job of creating more. Don’t expect answers, this book is all about giving you questions.

I love a novel that gets you questioning life and philosophy. James Smythe masterfully does what so many try to do, it’s so refreshing to read something like this but it makes me sad that this book isn’t getting more attention. I feel the need to read every James Smythe book I can get my hands on in the desire to experience this feeling again. Science Fiction is a genre that really can explore humanity and morality and Smythe reminds the readers that it’s possible. In the 60s and 70s it felt like all Sci-Fi novels had a message and we have exchanged that for entertainment. Not that there is anything wrong with entertaining the reader but you can do that while exploring philosophical ideas.

There is so much I want to say about this book and the majority of it is positive but I won’t, I think everyone should read this book and experience it for themselves. The plot is compelling and James Smythe writes like a master of his craft. The Machine has already secured a place in my “best books of 2013” list and I want to read more of his books, just to have this experience again. Go out now and get your copy of The Machine.


Monthly Review – August 2013

Posted August 31, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

death in the afternoonAs we come to the end of August, it is time once again to have a look at the month’s reading. This month the book club read the non-fiction sports/travel book Death in the Afternoon by Ernest Hemingway. While I am against bullfighting, this was an interesting dip into a sport I had no idea what was happening. Next month we are reading one of my wife’s favourite books; The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett.

I feel very proud of my reading this month; I read some great books and hope this trend continues. Fifteen books read and some of my highlights include Fadeout, Oryx and Crake, The Third Man, The Unknown, Kiss Me First and We Need New Names. There was just so many great books and I feel like I didn’t have any wasted reading time (with the exception of The Suite Life) but the biggest thrill for this month was The Machine by James Smythe a wonderfully dark and complex novel that really deserves more attention.

My Reading Month