Reviews Books



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Fantastic Four: World's Greatest

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Coatbridge’s Mark Millar has been in the upper echelons of comic book superstars since he started writing The Authority in 2000. This was swiftly followed by Ultimate X-Men while memorable subsequent projects have included Civil War, Kick-Ass, The Ultimates and Wanted. Straddling high action and complex concepts with a deft touch for realism, Millar seems to know the way superheroes would think. And it's this intelligent grasp of how the bizarre and freakish might react if they did exist that creates a strange realism within the world he populates with superbeings and monstrous villains.

In 1985, Marvel superheroes start leeching into the real world and teenage protagonist Toby Goodman is the first witness to the bizarre intruders in our reality. It’s certainly an action-packed ride, as the likes of MODOK, Mole Man and Red Skull seek to rule Earth, but it’s the interaction between Toby and his divorced parents that really gives 1985 its heart, especially when coupled with Tommy Lee Edwards' evocative


Millar's take on Fantastic Four may seem worlds away, being a far straighter superhero tale. but again, it’s the family relations that really hold the piece together, teaming up with Bryan Hitch for some glorious sci-fi action with duplicate earths, time travel and Dr Doom all cropping up. Ultimately, Millar proves it‘s the humanity he imbues these fantastical universes with, expertly coupled with complicated ideas and otherworldy exploits, that really strikes a chord with the reader. (Henry Northmore)

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CE MORGAN All The Living

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focused oil the life of young iiountr‘. girl. Alornm x‘i/i’ .‘lre / ill/rt; it; a rnelarritnoly depiction of low: and farnrlx, in an oddly timeless and isolated Kentucky farrn. (If Morgan'spiose il\.()lllf‘» grand descriptions that may hefit the epic mountain landscape. instead she fa\our:; the small scale t?lll()ll‘.’t‘ thought process of Alonla who finds herself trapped between her uncommiinicatiye farmer boyfriend. and the interest of the local preacher. There isn't much exciting action to he found. ichuich and chickens feature a loti but underneath the surface is a tale of morality and understanding that

creates a subtit- parable of a good hearted girl afraid to fr llll)‘.‘.' the Wtolli} path.

Morgan. who studied theology at Harvard. thankfully refrains from a heayy handed approach and renders the characters as honest and arrihiguotis. lhe stort, may lack a certain roinarltzi: impact for some readers. but nonetheless All the I rising is sweetly haunting. lt'llllllél lerinoxl

Sll()l?l SlOHIl 8 JAMES LASDUN It‘s Beginning to Hurt iJonathan Caper


A child is thOught kidnapped only to be found playing nearby. A middle-aged man flirts Willi infidelity only to be consumed by guilt. An unfaithful husband is reprimanded by his Wife but only about forgotten

groceries .Jarral-i. lasdun. poet. ringe‘mt. short story ‘.'.”'tr it'l’l Englishman turned American (Elllltlt'f. 11°‘rf'fS up permutations of suppressed inner turmoil in his fist short stop, collect:on.

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every day life is the recurring theme. whit is treated ‘.'./|lll a restraint that onii, heightens the tension. 'An Anxrous Man iwhich won the inaugural National Short Story cornpetitioni n.nts at divergent choices smothered by ennue and hesitation. resulting in a return to the status duo. This is the formula for most of his Vignettes. On occasion. such as the supernatural intrigue of ‘Annals of the Honorary Secretary. the dark depravities hinted at break through. but as a whole. the iack of release to all the tension makes for a frustrating experience. iSu/anne Backl

EXISTENTIAL lALE GEOFF DYER Jeff in Venice. Death in Varanasi lCanongatei 0...

Jeff Atman is a 'r‘idd’e» aged freelance ,rotir'ialist Willi a wickedly humorous and Cynical outlook on life. We meet

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Au'rard ‘.‘/|llfllilt} sitrihe (-‘ieeff Dyer sets his ciexerly penned fourth rtfrxei in a range of distinct locations, as we then head to the hon city of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges. Despite a set of rnar'kedly varied experiences in these two ancient places. you can't help but feel that they are linked in some way; different versions of the same story. Jeff iii Venice. Death in Varanasi affirms Dy :r's place as one of Britain's most Witty and original writers: the lively prose. colourful characters and at times extremely


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Inside Steve's Brain 'Atialitici .0.

Bill Gates rria, he kirrg of the coniputei geeks. but Steue Jobs shall ever remain the electrcrlir, rLor‘sur'ier's guru, Jobs starter) Apple r‘ The PM. turn a garage fail, cf spare parts and a desire to do something 'liffererif. This book concentrates less on Jolt. the 'l‘étl‘. directl, -— though liis terrorrsrn’} ways and .isio'lar, l,ii‘)l'l€;‘f)8 teciinigues are explored cut “or; he billt Apple up. lost it. and puilt it up again tr, rriake it the most ingenious electronics firrn ever. We learn lessons from Steve‘s actions.



Sara Stockbridge Hammer The 19803 muse of VIVienne Westwood deliVCrs a novel set in Victorian London abmit a pickpocket called Grace Hammer. Chatto.

Peter Aklntl Forest Gate lwo EastLond0n teenagers make a anode pact but when one survives he heads on a Journey of self discovery which takes him from London to Soirlalia and Brazil. Jonathan Cape.

Malla Nunn A Beautiful Place to 018 First in a new crime series wrth Detective Emmanuel Cooper attempting to find the killer of an Afrikaans police captain in 19508 South Africa. Picador.

Lisa Genova Sti/I Alice When a Harvard professOr develops Alzheirrier's at the age of 50. she and her family struggle to cope as her concept of self slips away. Simon 8 Schuster.

Laurie Viera ngler Conlessmns of 8 Jane Austen Ad r'ct Yet another book from the inexplicable Austen- inspired sub-genre features an American waking up in Regency England in the body of Jane Mansfield. Bloomsbury

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iMark Robertsoni

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