The Years of Rice and Salt – Kim Stanley Robinson

I thoroughly enjoyed this historical novel meets SciFi/Fantasy – my two favourite fictional genres! A good borrow from Phil.

As the blurb on the back said, “Imagine a world without Europe….”

…. or more accurately a world where the population of Europe is almost entirely wiped out by the Plague in the Middle Ages. Focussing key people, eras and events, Kim Stanley Robinson describes the next 600 or so years (it’s hard to keep track of where “we”‘d got to in his timeline) and conducts a huge thought experiment over the course of 800 pages.

It would have been useful to know that “Extra continuity is given by a touch of fantasy as the Buddhist wheel of reincarnation brings back the same characters (coded by initials) again and again with varied roles, relations and sexes.”

Buy it: Amazon link

Northern Lights – Philip Pullman

I took Cait at her word and bought this to tide me over the festive season ‘en famille’ …

Any complaints? Well, yes. I didn’t by the complete trilogy, and this first volume only lasted me from Christmas Eve through to the end of the Queen’s Speech.

The similarities between the world we live in and that of Lyra and the Gyptians are many, but it’s the differences which lure you in, keep you hooked, then leave you thinking “what if…?” about a million and one facets of 20th/21st century life; from society and politics to evolution and morality.

I’m off to buy vols 2 and 3 tomorrow – Hereford Waterstone’s permitting.