Author Archive for Derelict Space Sheep

Day of the Starwind

Day of the Starwind by Douglas Hill (Victor Gollancz, 1980) Book three of the Last Legionary quartet sees Keill Randor edge closer to the shadowy Warlord who masterminded his planet’s destruction. Hill has a knack for upping the stakes, pitting his protagonist against ever more serious threats. Clear, fast-moving middle-grade action SF.    

The Mystery of the Missing Necklace

The Mystery of the Missing Necklace by Enid Blyton (Methuen, 1947) Entertaining but something of a misstep. Fatty proves fallible, Goon shows himself to have brains, and the Five Find-Outers shadow and disrupt a police investigation rather than go about solving the mystery themselves. (Also, the gang members’ secret communications seem needlessly convoluted.)    

The Disappearing TV Star

The Disappearing TV Star by Emily Rodda [with Mary Forrest] (Scholastic, 1994); audiobook read by Rebecca Macauley (Bolinda, 2005) Not much of a mystery. Also, while the Teen Power kids prove fractious as ever, Richelle’s character is difficult to stomach in the first person. Her surprise revelation (which would have made sense from Nick’s POV) comes across as an authorial…

The End of the Day

The End of the Day by Claire North (Orbit, 2017) A poignant dip into humanity’s ills and ailments (beautifully written though spoiled somewhat by all the interspersed conversational snippets). North does ultimately answer the question ‘What is Death?’ but the journey is gruelling and the protagonist has less personality than a window.    

Vera, Series 2

Vera, Series 2 (ITV, 2012) Vera is much more assured in its second season. The four feature-length mysteries are more coherent and the recurring characters benefit from being written to match the actors’ early portrayals. Brenda Blethyn goes from strength to strength as the socially maladroit lead.    

Hear the Wind Sing

Hear the Wind Sing by Haruki Murakami (Kodansha International, 1979); trans. Ted Goossen; audiobook read by Kirby Heyborne (Random House Audio, 2015) The narrator looks back on when he was a 21-year-old student of little interest to anyone. Murakami, rather like Vonnegut, writes what may or may not be deadpan literary satire. Narrator Kirby Heyborne does his best to make…