An Earthman travels to a distant star where he meets strange beings and engages in lengthy discussions about reality, morality and the veracity of various philosophical systems. And I’m all like, “Enough jib jabberin’! Break out the lasers!” Sadly, the lasers remained sealed in their blister packs throughout the novel. Literary critic Harold Bloom loved this book so much he wrote a sequel to it, which is indicative of how boring it is. If you don’t know who literary critic Harold Bloom is, Google him. Look at his sour, pompous, fish-like puss and ask yourself if you’d ever want to read anything he recommended, ever.

On a scale of doomed voyages ranging from the Challenger to the Titanic, this book is: a car ride where you get stuck in traffic.

Stay home.

A group of people discover a dimensional portal which leads them to a dimension peopled by people from another dimension. And that previous sentence is better written and more interesting than this entire novel.  Damon Knight once said The Blind Spot has ‘no recognizable vestige of merit’, so I too denounce it. Not that I do everything Damon Knight tells me to, I just happen to agree. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to pick up Damon Knight’s dry cleaning and vacuum his car, which is weird, because he’s dead.

On a scale of how traffic accidents happen ranging from talking on your cell phone while you’re driving to icy roads, this book is: not checking your blind spot.

The upside of being blind? You’d never have to read this book.

The book is a doozy; 450 pages of arcane high-fantasy prose denser than Oprah’s pubic hair and just as daunting. But if you’ve got the time and patience to push through, it’s worth it. Eddison describes everything from the story’s characters to what they wear to how they fight to what they eat in highly intricate but engrossing detail, and the plot is intricate as hell. By the end it’s like you’re really drunk at an awesome party: you don’t remember where you are, who anyone is or what’s going on, but you don’t care, because you’re having such a great time and no one suspects it was you who pooped in the upstairs bathtub. Recommended for hardcore fantasy buffs.

On a scale of breakdance moves ranging from the Coffee Grinder to the Worm, this book is: the One Arm Elbow Air Flare.

Are you Stedman (or Gail) enough to handle it?

A man from the far distant future arrives in the present with a clock implanted in his brain. This cray-cray cranium allows him to be controlled and manipulated simply by tinkering with his cerebral dials and gears. Cool story, but the premise is far fetched: can you imagine being physically connected to a piece of technology that monitors and controls your behavior? On an unrelated note, the new iPhone comes out next week (take that, Steve Jobs, if you weren’t already dead!)

On a scale of things that run like clockwork ranging from German trains to a well-thought-out bank heist, this book is: an actual clock.

His favourite Coldplay song is, ironically, ‘Yellow’.

Authour Yevgeny Zamyatin (whose name, oddly enough, has never been a ‘Famous People’ puzzle on Wheel Of Fortune) lived in an oppressive 20th century autocracy. So he wrote a book about (drum roll, please) an oppressive 30th century autocracy. Basically, it’s about a guy in a hive-like society who learns to think as an individual, only to have his spirit crushed by the powers that be. On the bright side, the juice from a crushed spirit contains 40% of your daily requirement of Vitamin A, and the fibre can be used to make muffins.

On a scale of colours ranging from grey to grey, this book is: grey.

It's unanimous: totalitarianism is great.

An earthling visits Venus, where he defeats a race of belligerent ant people using terrestrial radio technology. While boring and badly written, this book is nonetheless a fascinating showcase of pre-atomic age human fears and technological advancements: belligerent ants and the radio, respectively.  Today, it’s terrorism and the Slap ChopTM. And those terrorists are gonna love our nuts.

On a scale of ants ranging from fire to carpenter, this book is: Jemima.

Video killed this book.

Dunsany was a pioneer. And, like most pioneers, he occasionally wandered off track and led his followers into an inhospitable wilderness where they were forced to eat pemmican and bear grease candles until the spring thaw. The Charwoman’s Shadow is one such wilderness. It completely lacks the airy beauty of his Lordship’s other works, and will have you praying to the Gods of Pegana for a quick and merciful end.

On a scale of shadowy things ranging from Shadoe Stevens to a CIA Black Ops Meeting, this book is: a poorly-lit stairwell.

Lord Dunsany's best? Lord, no!

A man is born with a strange power that turns him into a human metal detector. When gold is buried underground, he can sense it. When someone has a coin in their pocket, he can feel it. And when the watershed 1974 metal album Rocka Rolla is played, he can hear it. Unfortunately his metal-sensing mental powers meddle with his mental mettle and he goes crazier than a falanaka in a coffee can (see? I told you I’d use it).

On a scale of senses ranging from smell to touch, this book is: decency. 

Jaeger bomb.


Earth is attacked by aliens from the planet Xenephrene because they suspect we are harbouring WMDX’s (weapons of mass destruction of Xenephrenians). Fortunately, a scientist invents a ray gun to defeat them. After reading this book, I demand the Second Amendment be extended to include the right to bear ray guns. They can be used to solve all kinds of problems. Wanna defend your home against burglars? Get a ray gun. Going hunting? Ray gun. Rival street gang? Ray gun held sideways in gangsta grip. Zombie Ronald Regan? Don’t be silly. There’s no such thing.

On a scale of ray gun settings ranging from ‘Warm’ to ‘Fuck Yo’ Shit Up, Ray Gun Style’, this book is: ‘Is It Hot In Here, Or Is Someone Pointing A Ray Gun At Me?’.

Everybody loves Raymond. And cumming.

A man travels five hundred thousand years into the future (imagine the frequent flyer miles he’d get!) to an era where telepathic amphibians rule the planet. Amphibians would be terrible leaders – they’re always flip-flopping on the whole ‘live on land or live in the water’ issue. Plus, they store their emails on personal servers, which is the very worst thing a leader anywhere can do – if a leader does this, vote for their opposition, no matter what.

On a scale of worlds below us ranging from Hell to Australia, this book is: Hellstralia.


This book is beneath you.