The blog of the highly opinionated Sgt. Octopus

Posts tagged “Fiction

Liverpool Street by Neil Gaiman

I found this story on Neil Gaiman‘s blog. It simply captivated me.

Neil Gaiman is one of those authors who I greatly admire because of what I’ve seen on their Tumblr or twitter (and possibly a YouTube video or two) but beyond a novel or two, haven’t actually dived into their work. Honestly, I am ashamed of myself for this because when I listen to or read his stories I am always mesmerized. If only I could have a drop of the talent this guy possesses.

This story you can listen to in its full glory above, but for those who can’t watch the video at the moment here’s a little summary: it’s the story of a young Neil Gaiman as he waits to get picked up by his parents at Liverpool station.

I am always amazed at how people can create creative nonfiction and how they can tell stories about that happened thirty odd years ago with such minuscule and gorgeous detail, when I could barely do that about something that happened today. My creative writing teacher loves this kind of work however, I think it’s mostly because it’s easy to teach to those who are just taking it as a fun elective and she’s in the process of publishing her own novel in the same genre.

Nevertheless, this story is one that I really enjoyed. It was told beautifully. It starts off rather simply with a point that I think becomes rather important as the story progresses, he was only sixteen years old when this happened. He related to his audience very well throughout this, and I think that’s where it connected with me. My parents were the type to be late as well, I’ve even had instances similar to this. Not that my parents have ever gone on impromptu trips to Austria… but you get the point.

And I really need to pick up one of his books…

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172 Hours on the Moon by Johan Harstad

355 pages / April 2012 / Add on Goodreads

172 Hours on the Moon was absolutely the craziest and scariest young adult book I have ever read, at least since 8th grade. It’s really hard to say what exactly I liked about it without spoiling it.

I’m going to shy away from critiquing the language of the book as it was a translation and I feel like there were a few parts that weren’t translated in a way that makes sense in english, however it does not effect the imagery of this novel. Especially the suspense, Johan Harstad definitely knows how to build up suspense. I remember at several points I had been reading the book at night and just couldn’t sleep because of this book.

To give a bit of a comparison for the atmosphere it definitely reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey, it had the same sort of 60s sort of creepy foreign vibe to it and was what really made the book for me. There were also some plot choices that reminded me of the movie as well, they’re still each uniquely their own but it would be easy to recommend one to someone who liked the other.

There were some things that kind of disappointed me about this book, however. Namely the organization of the novel was a bit haphazard, I felt like there was a lot of things that just seemed more random than purposeful but at the same time gave off a feeling of having a purpose while reading. By the end of the book it just felt like most of the scarier parts of the build up were just there to scare, not to build up a plot.

However this haphazard type of organization also provided a way to introduce us to multiple characters without having a specific main character. I loved this. It was such a breathe of fresh air, as this sort of narration seems to be getting rare in fiction. It also allowed for the ending to have happened the way it did without it being revealed until the right moment.

Which brings me to my last point, I wish there was more to this novel. It was such an enjoyable story that just seemed way too vague for the amounts of epic it contained. I would have loved to hear more about the horrors they found on the moon.