As usual, I'm behind with reviews, two books in fact, reading quite a lot but busy with other things so not a lot of time for blogging at the moment.
First up, The Strange Case of the Alchemist's Daughter by Theodora Goss. I talked a bit about this one in my last post.
Mary Jekyll has just lost her mother after a long illness. She's now mistress of her own household but there's very little money and she's going to have to find a way to earn some. She believes her father to be dead (he is the 'Jekyll' from Robert Louis Stevenson's book) but discovers that his close friend 'Hyde' might still be alive. And there's a reward out for him that would temporarily solve her financial problems. Thus begins the adventure of a lifetime as Mary discovers other women like herself who are the product of mad scientists, such as Catherine Moreau, Justine Frankenstein, Beatrice Rappaccini, and Diana who is Mary's unknown sister. Aiding and abetting Mary and the motley group are Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson. This was huge fun. An unusual premise this, bringing the offspring or creations of these literary characters together in one book. I don't know why someone hasn't thought of it before, perhaps they have and I just haven't noticed. Anyway, 'very' enjoyable, not to be taken too seriously and thus hugely entertaining. I already have the second book, European Travel for Monstrous Gentlewomen, on my Kindle. It suits my autumnal reading plans very nicely.
Lastly, Beyond Time: Classic Tales of Time Unwound edited by Mike Ashley. I'm not a huge fan of time travel stories if I'm honest. I have this because it came as a free review copy from the British Library and because I'm in the mood for wierd fiction at the moment I thought I'd see what it was like. Glad I did because it was far more enjoyable than I was expecting. Most of the authors I'd not heard of and it turns out those were the ones I liked the most. The Reign of the Reptiles by Alan Connell investigates the idea that reptiles might have created man. Friday the Nineteenth by Elizabeth Sanxay Holding is a well told 'time-loop' story of a man wanting to leave his wife for her best friend. Manna by Peter Philips is about the disappearance of 'miracle meal' cans from a factory in a small village. Turns out the food is being nicked by monks from centuries ago. Fun story. The Shadow People by Arthur Sellings is a creepy story of a shadowy couple travelling back in time to escape the end of the world. And the final story in the collection, Dial 'O' for Operator by Robert Presslie, was the best of the bunch in my opinion. A woman dials the operator from a call box somewhere near the docks in London. Some 'thing' is following her, a shadowy, dark mass, and is trying to ooze into the phonebox via the cracks. Very edge of your seat! All in all, I enjoyed the stories that weren't based on mad scientists more than those that were. The writing was superb in every case and every story was very readable, making this an excellent collection. I do find Mike Ashley a very reliable editor of anthologies and am always happy to read any of his British Library collections. I even have a non-BL collection of Sherlock Holmes stories edited by him so perhaps that would make good autumn or winter reading too.