[Novel] Dr. Bloodmoney (Philip K. Dick)

Doctor Bloodmoney
Book

It might have felt a bit more novel back when it was written, but this post-apocalyptic book still definitely offers all the surreal quirkiness of Philip K. Dick.

Positive: Negative:
Crisp, flowing prose and natural-sounding dialogue The plot feels a bit unfocused as it jumps between a bunch of characters
Interesting post-apocalyptic setting The story seems to just stop rather than ending with a bang
Interesting, likable, quirky characters
Thought-provoking on human society

[Novel] The Locked Room (Paul Auster)

The Locked Room

Book

The last and probably the least interesting story of Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy. This one’s a bit less surreal and detectivy than the rest, but it’s still quite engrossing for the most part.
Positive: Negative:
Crisp, engrossing prose So surreal it’s a bit hard to make sense of
Interesting, weird characters The plot takes a while to kick in
Thought provoking on human mind

[Novel] Hideaway (Dean Koontz)

Hideaway

Book

A horror novel that does a good job at teetering between fantastic and realistic, but is otherwise relatively predictable and offers little that stands out in the rest in the genre.

Positive:
Negative:
Likable characters
Lacks originality
Relatively engaging plot
Cringely written child characters
Pulp fiction

[Novel] Doctor Sleep (Stephen King)

Doctor Sleep

Book

The usual and stable Stephen King. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but is definitely worth a read if you enjoyed The Shining.

Positive:
Negative:
Relatively simple, but pleasant prose
Doesn’t stand out from the rest of the books in the genre
Immersing, spooky atmosphere
Not particularly scary
Interesting, relatable characters
Fairly enthralling plot
Thought-provoking on alcoholism
Enlightening on the life of American lower class

[Novel] The Right Hand of Evil (John Saul)

The Right Hand of Evil

John Saul’s books are just as pulp as a random horror movie — and this novel about possession is not an exception — but that very simplicity and the flow of his smooth prose seem to make me come back to him over and over again.

Positive:
Negative:
Easy to digest, flowing prose
Generic, predictable story
Likable, realistic characters
Generic, predictable plot
Feels like a B horror movie

[Novel] The Scarlet Pimpernel (Baroness Orczy)

The Scarlet Pimpernel

Book

A historical novel set during the French Revolution that introduced the concept of “a hero with a secret identity” to the realm of fiction, and it does indeed come off a bit more like a comic book rather than serious historical fiction.

Positive:
Negative:
Interesting, likable characters
The plot feels a bit simplistic
Enlightening on French Revolution
The story feels a bit shallow

[Novel] Guernica Night (Barry N. Malzberg)

Guernica Night

Book

A novel about high rates of suicide becoming a significant threat to human population in the far future that despite the interesting premise and some food for thought struggles at involving its readers.

Positive:
Negative:
Interesting premise
The plot takes forever to kick in and is not that interesting even then
Thought-provoking on suicide and modern society
Characters range from forgettable to downright nasty

[Novel] Carry the Wind (Terry C. Johnston)

Carry The Wind

Book

A historical novel set during the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade era that’s rich in atmosphere and history, but not particularly exciting in plot.

Positive:
Negative:
Cool Wild West atmosphere
The plot is all right, but never really gets particularly exciting
Enlightening on the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade era and the American Wild West
Can become pretty boring if you’re not interested in the period

[Novel] The Annals of the Heechee (Frederik Pohl)

The Annals of the Heechee

Book

A somewhat disappointing end to an otherwise pretty amazing tetralogy.

Positive:
Negative:
Interesting, rich, and relatively realistic far future sci-fi setting
Most of what happens in the book feels like padding
Likable, relatively profound characters
Disappointing ending that renders most of what has happened redundant
Thought-provoking on a variety of themes, and immortality in particular
The plot is kind of dull, with most events, especially near the start, failing to interest

[Novel] The Winter of Our Discontent (John Steinbeck)

The Winter of Our Discontent

Book

Another one of Steinbeck’s looks at the clash between human kindness and money, though it’s not as heavy hitting as Grapes of Wrath.

Positive:
Negative:
Beautiful, effective prose
Feels a bit familiar if you know previous Steinbeck’s works
Interesting, likable, profound characters
Solid, profound story about a kind man’s struggle in the world ruled by money
Thought-provoking on life and human nature