REVIEW #74 | SETTLING THE WORLD by M. John Harrison (eARC)

Settling the World: Selected Stories 1970-2020 by M. John Harrison, Jennifer Hodgson

Title: Settling the World: Selected Stories 1970-2020

Author: M. John Harrison

Series or Standalone?: Standalone

Pub. Date: 20 August 2020

Synopsis:

Throughout his career, M. John Harrison’s writing has defied categorisation, building worlds both unreal and all-too real, overlapping and interlocking with each other. His stories are replete with fissures and portals into parallel dimensions, unidentified countries and lost lands. But more important than the places they point to are the obsessions that drive the people who so believe in them, characters who spend their lives hunting for, and haunted by, clues and maps that speak to the possibility of somewhere else.

This selection of stories, drawn from over 50 years of writing, bears witness to that desire for difference: whether following backstreet occultists, amateur philosophers, down-and-outs or refugees, we see our relationship with ‘the other’ in microscopic detail, and share in Harrison’s rejection of the idea that the world, or our understanding of it, could ever be settled.

Trigger/Content warnings:

  • character death
  • blood and gore

Representation:

  • N/A

⭐⭐⭐ .5

3.5/5 stars

*I received an eARC via the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

This anthology has such a variety of stories that nearly everyone will find at least one that they like and/or connect with! Myself included.

Settling the World is an anthology of short stories the author, Harrison, has written between the years 1970 and 2020. At first, I thought it was primarily a science fiction anthology — especially with the first few stories — but as I read more and more, I realized that the anthology doesn’t fit one specific genre. Yes, many of them stories would be considered science fiction (and they flow between “hard” sci-fi and “soft” sci-fi), but many more are contemporary with a flash of fantasy/science fiction, or even a bit of thriller/horror. I was put off by the focus on aliens and the like in the first few stories, but there were quite a few later on that I could not read fast enough.

Harrison has a way of writing that reminds me of older books (pre-1990, let’s say), which makes sense, considering the stories have been written anywhere as early as 1970. It wasn’t bad by any means, and for a few stories, I quite enjoyed it. It just caught me off guard, is all. Also, I felt like I couldn’t really connect with many of the protagonists, and as someone who prefers character-focused stories, this was something that was hard for me to get over. That doesn’t mean the writing itself was “bad” in an objective way, it just wasn’t my personal cup of tea.

However, like I said earlier, there is so much variety in the stories that I think everyone will find at least one story that they love. I have my fair share, for sure! The tone of each story is distinct, and it’s interesting to see that, even though Harrison usually uses first person, the narrator sounds so different. In my experience, first person POV usually blends together, but each seemed to have their own voice. A pleasant surprise!

Overall, while I didn’t love every short story in the collection, I thought Settling the World‘s variety in genres was a breath of fresh air, and I’m glad the publisher reached out to me to read and review it!

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REVIEW #16 | “The Hunger Games” (The Hunger Games #1) (Audiobook)

The Hunger Games.png

Hunger Games

Title: “The Hunger Games”

Author: Suzanne Collins

Length of Audiobook: 11 hours 14 minutes (9 CDs)

Narrator: Carolyn McCormick

Synopsis (from back of CD case):

“Katniss is a 16-year-old girl living with her mother and younger sister in the poorest district of Panem, the remains of what used be the United States. Long ago the districts waged war on the Capitol and were defeated. As part of the surrender terms, each district agreed to send one boy and one girl to appear in an annual televised event called, “The Hunger Games.” The terrain, rules, and level of audience participation may change but one thing is constant: kill or be killed. When Kat’s sister is chosen by lottery, Kat steps up to go in her place.”

Trigger/Content warnings for the novel:

  • violence
  • blood
  • character death
  • trauma
  • bombs

Representation in the novel:

  • disabled character
  • black characters
  • non-black characters of color

⭐⭐⭐⭐
4/5 stars

Continue reading “REVIEW #16 | “The Hunger Games” (The Hunger Games #1) (Audiobook)”

BOOK TAG #4 | My Blog’s Name in Books

My Blog's Name in Books

Hey, everyone! This tag is brought to you by Lynne, AKA fictionophile; I found this tag whilst rummaging through WordPress, and I thought it was pretty neat. Here are the rules, as quoted from Lynn’s post:

“1.  Spell out your blog’s name. (this is where you wish your blog’s name was shorter LOL)

“2. Find a book from your TBR that begins with each letter. (Note you cannot ADD to your TBR to complete this challenge – the books must already be on your Goodread’s TBR)

“3. Have fun!”


S I X C R O W S B O O K S

S. “Shadow and Bone” by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone

Continue reading “BOOK TAG #4 | My Blog’s Name in Books”

DISCUSSION #1 | Book Subscription Boxes

Hi, everyone! I wanted to try something new and decided discussion posts might shake things up! For any post, of course, I encourage you to comment, but now even more so. I want to know your thoughts on whatever topic it is for that particular post. As such, these posts are probably going to be slightly smaller because the purpose is for it to be more of a conversation instead of me just blabbering to you.

So for today? Subscription boxes! Particularly, the book variety.


I’ve never paid for a monthly subscription box before, but I like to search for them. I just don’t think I would have the money for them — I thought $5.99 for Hulu was a bit too much, mostly because I barely used it.

However, through my little excursions through the Internet, I’ve come across so many different kinds of book sub. boxes. There are all sorts for practically anything you can imagine: YA, science fiction/fantasy, adult fiction, classics, and even just book merch in general. A lot of them come in quite a few different sizes (and prices). One YA-themed box may have two books and plenty of different things related to them in the “large” size, and it’s smaller counterpart may be only one book and two or three different trinkets. There’s just so much variety.

Continue reading “DISCUSSION #1 | Book Subscription Boxes”