Tag: Introductory

Isaac Asimov – The Science Fictional Solar System | Review

Title: The Science Fictional Solar System

Author: Isaac Asimov

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 324

Rating: 3.75/5

This book made me feel kind of old, purely due to the nature of it. It’s essentially a short story collection that’s themed around the solar system, with a short story for each of the planets as well as the sun. The reason I feel old is that it was published when Pluto was still a full planet, and I remember those days. I’m literally so old that the planets have changed.

I’ve got used to enjoying Asimov’s little introductory essays, and they’re just as fascinating here as they are elsewhere. He also prefaces each story with a few notes on how scientific research has changed since the stories were written and to analyse whether the short stories still held up with the latest scientific thinking.

There are some cracking authors here too, including a piece by Arthur C. Clarke. Asimov has a story in there himself, too. All of the stories had something different to offer, and in fact what was quite interesting was that they covered such a wide variety of topics while still retaining an overall cohesive feel. It’s difficult to do that, and Asimov was pretty harsh on himself when it came to his abilities as an editor, but I think he did a pretty solid job.

It’s also kind of cool because this was published in 1982, and a bunch of the stories were 30+ years old. That meant that the introductory essays were written pretty much in between when the stories were written and the modern day, making them a nice little bridge.

So overall then, I’d definitely recommend giving this book a go, especially if you’re into science fiction and you want to read a bunch of new authors. I certainly enjoyed it and I’m looking forward to reading more of Asimov’s stuff.

Learn  more about The Science Fictional Solar System.


Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca | Review

Title: Rebecca

Author: Daphne du Maurier

Type: Fiction

Page Count/Review Word Count: 432

Rating: 4*/5


Daphne du Maurier - Rebecca

Daphne du Maurier – Rebecca


First off, whatever you do, don’t read the Virago Modern Classics edition. The front cover is a spoiler for the last page and the introductory essay is a spoiler for the other 431 of them. I already knew a little bit about the story line of Rebecca because of its parodies in popular culture, and particularly Mitchell and Webb which ruined the scene with the dress from the portrait, and what I didn’t know was spoiled by Sally Beauman’s introductory essay. And from what I understand, that was only there in the first place to try to get you to buy her “award-winning Rebecca’s Tale, authorised by the du Maurier estate.” Yeah, I won’t be reading that.

Because of all that, this entire read felt more like a re-read, even though it’s the first time I’ve ever picked it up. And that’s a shame, because it took a lot of the enjoyment out of it for me. Sure, it was good to read it to see how du Maurier told the story, but none of it took me by surprise, as I imagine it would have if I’d read it in 1938. I’ve also never read Jane Eyre, which apparently it’s based on, so maybe I would have got more from it if I’d read that.

The unnamed narrator is bland and boring, at least for the majority of the book, but that’s a deliberate ploy on du Maurier’s part. Still, it was kind of irritating to have to read her whittering on about stuff, especially when you already know what’s going to happen and that it’ll make most of what she’s even going on about completely redundant. Maxim de Winter and Mrs Danvers were much more interesting.


Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier


I also found it entertaining because I didn’t trust Rebecca and then it turned out that I’d sussed her character out when everyone else in the book was taken in by her. But that wasn’t outright spelled out or spoiled for me and so even though I called it, at least I called it myself. I was also taken by surprise by a twist towards the end when they called upon Rebecca’s former doctor, but I also thought it was a little too convenient.

Overall, based on my reading experience, Rebecca just scrapes a 4/5, and only because I’m generous and based on the strength of du Maurier’s writing. Without being spoiled, it would have been an easy 5* and a contender for my book of the year. Oh well.


Daphne du Maurier - The Breakthrough

Daphne du Maurier – The Breakthrough


Click here to buy Rebecca.


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