Customer Review

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Pub-based sci-fi, there should be more of it, 25 Aug 2011
This review is from: Fables from the Fountain (Kindle Edition)
Fables From the Fountain is a collection of stories that pays homage to the writing of Arthur C. Clarke. The stories are all set in a fictitious pub (the Fountain) and each story finds a group of regulars, with the occasional visiting `irregular', gathering for pint and a story.

I really enjoyed this book. Each story is interesting in its own right, but they are all coordinated in such a way that they seem to overlap and mingle. It feels just like a lively conversation with friends in a friendly local pub. Each story contains familiar landmarks - the pub itself, the "old bodger" ale, and a Polish barmaid named Bogna. You could read this book for the atmosphere as much as for the stories.

Anyone who has read Clarke's story The Nine Billion Names of God will probably remember the ending ("overhead, without any fuss, the stars were going out"). In a very entertaining riff on this classic, Adam Roberts picks up the theme of stars going out and... well, I don't want to spoil it for you, but I had to grin at Robert's explanation of this unlikely scenario. In fact I grinned through most of this book, enjoying the light-hearted treatment of interesting though sometimes nerdy sci-fi themes.

The Fountain might be an old-fashioned pub, but the authors have not been shy with modern touches. Alongside pump handles and damp bar-mats there are smart phones, twitter and for the hard-core nerds there's even a mention of bioperl. It's as if these stories were written specifically to entertain me, or someone like me.

If I have one criticism it is that some of the stories seem to end rather abruptly, although if I'm honest this probably reflects my disappointment as each story ended rather than any fault in their construction. (Note to self - less gobbling, more savouring.)

One final note for Kindle readers - unlike many books where the Kindle edition is clearly an afterthought, this edition takes full advantage of navigation features - you can flip between stories and you can jump to notes on each author. I wish more Kindle editions were this well presented.
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3.2 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)
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