The Darkness of Wallis Simpson is the title story. Wallis Simpson was the twice-divorced woman who won the heart of the late Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, our current Queen’s uncle. This provoked a constitutional crisis Continue reading The Darkness of Wallis Simpson, by Rose Tremain
Today I heard the news: Neil Armstrong, the first man-on-the-moon, died yesterday. So, it is fitting that the next book in my ‘have read recently’ pile is Ray Bradbury’s collection of short stories about space flight.
Bradbury wrote most of these stories during the 1950s, the decade when the Russian Sputnik programme began. In 1959, after multiple failures, the Russians managed to achieve a crash-landing of an unmanned craft on the lunar surface. During the 1960s, the American efforts to reach the moon were stepped up and by the second half of the decade, successful soft-landings on the moon were being achieved by both nations. But it was the Americans who set the first human on the moon when, in 1969, when Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder of the Eagle and placed his foot in the dust of the Sea of Tranquillity. Continue reading R is for Rocket, by Ray Bradbury
I love seeing Will Self on television. He has an excoriating, acidic wit and delivers lacerating commentary on current affairs with searing insight and refreshing dollops of cynicism. He is also frighteningly intelligent, uses plenty of big words and does not dumb down in a false pretence to be just ‘one of the lads’.
This book is a collection of stories. The longest story, Dr Mukti, is a 130 page novella. The remaining stories are shorter. As you might expect, the tales are dark and brutal; unpleasant characters inhabit inhospitable urban landscapes and do nasty things to each other. Continue reading Will Self, Dr Mukti and other tales of woe