Category: 42 Word Reviews

Rivers of London: Night Witch

Rivers of London: Night Witch by Ben Aaronovitch & Andrew Cartmel; ill. Lee Sullivan (Titan Comics, 2016) The graphic novel format seems tailor-made for Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London series, Night Witch offering commensurate strangeness but a punchier delivery than the novels (albeit in this case with glossy, night-for-day art and a manufactured plot complexity rendered damp-squibbish by the resolution).

The Librarian

The Librarian ed. Todd Sanders (Air & Nothingness Press, 2022) An exquisite collection of SF short stories. Some work better than others as standalone pieces, but all contribute to defining the titular character and capturing that shared sense of hope, wonder and inquiring open-mindedness instilled and symbolised by libraries throughout the multiverse.

Secrets & Truths

Secrets & Truths by Whitney Hill (Benu Media, 2022) A fairly slim novel, focussing on the same themes as Hill’s Otherside series but substituting sex and romance for the usual complexity. Lya and Cade are characters worth following, but the simplicity of the storyline makes this less appealing than Arden’s journey.

Quentin Blake’s Clown

Quentin Blake’s Clown dir. Luigi Berio; adapted by Luigi Berio & Massimo Fenati narrated by Helena Bonham Carter (Channel 4, 2020) Quentin Blake’s wordless picture book, transformed into a 21-minute Christmas film narrated by Helena Bonham Carter. The story is sad but sweet and the animation is delightfully executed, bringing the adventure to life while staying true to Blake’s drawing…

Cheshire Crossing

Cheshire Crossing by Andy Weir; ill. Sarah Andersen (Ten Speed Press, 2019) Alice, Dorothy and Wendy brought together as troubled teens? Sounds good, but while Andersen’s illustrations are uncluttered and effective, Weir lays down a stilted, fannish, wet-dream tango, skipping about through Wonderland, Neverland and Oz and with every step diminishing their magical appeal.

Duck, Death and the Tulip

Duck, Death and the Tulip by Wolf Erlbruch trans. Catherine Chidgey (Gecko Press, 2008) first published as “Ente, Tod und Tulpe” (Verlag Antje Kunstmann GmbH, 2007) The characters of Duck and Death are beautifully illustrated but their poses vary little across the pages. The story itself is disjointed, hinting at deeper meaning but in fact offering nothing more profound than…