It's a blog! Mainly of book reviews.
I haven't read any Skulduggery in ages but it's perfect for my current mood - that is fun, lightweight and fast-paced. The short story form offers the opportunity to experiment and Landy takes that opportunity, varying genre, tone and narrative perspective and in doing so proving he's not just a one note writer. I'd very happily see him produce novels that showed the same variety. The haunted house story was particularly good, building a great atmosphere of dread.
One of these stories is a great haunted house tale told from the perspective of a "mortal" that shows Landy is capable of more than the joke-a-minute and cartoon violence of your typical Skulduggery Pleasant book - a style that can pall if you overdose on it.
The contents page doubles as a timeline showing where these stories fit in relation to each other and the series of novels - a neat innovation, I thought.
It's the 50th Anniversary of Asterix and Obelix, so they get their own Birthday Book! What would our heroes be like in the year 1 AD? It's amusing to find out, but let's face it, the perpetual 50 BC they are stuck in is more fun, so let's return there after out glimpse of the future...
How old are our heroes, anyway? Why aren't they married? What should they get as Birthday Gifts? How many characters from previous adventures will show up to celebrate? How will Caesar try to ruin the party? How many artistic styles and famous paintings can Uderzo parody (amazingly well) in one book? Just how surreal can one Asterix book get???
This has to be the most bonkers Asterix book of them all - by some considerable stretch! Best appreciated by those most familiar with the entire history of the village of Indomitable Gauls still holding out against the invaders...
Introducing Oceanic and Scarlett, the latest Magical Creatures to decide to live with me!
The collected Asterix short stories!
These are as varied as they are fabulous!
We see: a story about how the animals of the village also hold out against Roman Imperialism; a story about Gaulish fashion; the birth of our heroes; Asterix in the styles of several other comix; the Obelix family tree; how Lutetia won a competition to host the Olympics; how Spring defeated Winter with the help of the village of Indomitable Gauls; a lot of Roman-bashing; and numourous other adventures! Absolutely top-notch work from Goscinny and Uderzo, spanning 40+ years of Asterix comics history.
This is a blend of travelogue, scientific explanation and cultural and scientific history. It is most successful at the travelogue and least successful at the scientific explanation. The author unfortunately suffers from the "Curse of Knowledge" at times, whereby understanding gained over many years of hard study becomes second-nature and one forgets that even the basics are unfamilar to most people - even most well educated people. This makes some of the attempts to explain the origins of the aurora somewhat muddled. It's worth reading, though, if you are interested in the aurora, polar exploration or how vulnerable much of our technology is to events utterly beyond our control, whose ultimate origin is our sun.