Posts Tagged ‘first impressions’
You could perhaps have anticipated the result…
In a change to previous years, for Vector’s review of 2010 I asked reviewers to both vote for their five favourite novels published last year and write a piece on their reading in general. The freestyle pieces start on the next page with Graham Andrews discussing a forgotten paperback but by now I’m sure your eye has already been drawn to the results of the poll.
The triumph of The Dervish House by Ian McDonald was comprehensive; it received twice as many votes as New Model Army by Adam Roberts which came in second. If you’ve read any other end of year articles you probably won’t be surprised, in many corners it seems that The Dervish House is the science fiction novel of 2010. This was also reflected in its appearance on the shortlist for the BSFA Award for best novel. As BSFA members, the results of that award are in your hands. At this point, however, I would be surprised if McDonald didn’t take it home. I would be equally surprised if The Dervish House didn’t turn up on other award shortlists.
There was a strong showing for other novels as well though. New Model Army may have come runner up but, in his review, Mark Connorton hopes that this won’t always be the case: “For the last few years Roberts has been the perennial nominee at SF awards. Hopefully this will be the one to change it for him.” Iain M Banks is another writer whose stature and acclaim hasn’t translated into prizes. After the general disappointment with Matter, Surface Detail was received as a return to form in many quarters, a “classic Banksian synthesis of a sprawling space opera” as Marcus Flavin puts it.
The British edition of Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl only came out in December but it has already gained a substantial following. The fact it won both the Hugo and the Nebula last year probably had something to do with that and it is also shortlisted for this year’s BSFA Award. Of the rest of the shortlisted novels, Ken MacLeod’s The Restoration Game and Tricia Sullivan’s Lightborn (reviewed bv Jonathan McCalmont) both failed to make the cut but Lauren Beukes’s second novel, Zoo City, just squeaked in.
The top five was dominated by science fiction – perhaps not surprising given the name of our organisation – but in fourth place was Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay, “a reflection of Tang Dynasty China that rings our present world like a bell” according to Niall Harrison. Not far behind was Kraken by China Mieville. After last year’s all conquering The City & The City, this was widely seen as a more modest work but a modest Mieville work is still a substantial beast and his popularity shows no sign of waning.
Completing the list, Patrick Ness concluded what has to be this young century’s finest work of Young Adult science fiction with Monsters Of Men, Richard Powers provided the token non-genre book with his blending of science, fiction and science fiction in Generosity and, at last, Chris Beckett found both a publishing deal and the acclaim he deserves with The Holy Machine.
Finally, tying with Zoo City for tenth place was Finch, the third instalment in Jeff VanderMeer’s Ambergris series. As Paul Raven says: “Don’t be afraid to enter Ambergris without knowing what to expect. But do be prepared to leave with more questions than you arrived with.”
So that is what our reviewers thought. I am one of the judges of this year’s Arthur C Clarke Award so I won’t say what my favourite books of 2010 were. I don’t think it is breaking the Clarke omerta to say I think it has been a very strong year though. This strength was remarked upon by several reviewers in their individual pieces over the next couple of pages and reflected in this top ten.
I hope the pages of this review section have introduced you to lots of new sf over the course of 2010. I’ve enjoyed my first year at Vector and plan to keep bringing you the widest range of reviews possible. Reviews of Under Heaven, The Windup Girl and Zoo City are all forthcoming and, in addition to the end of year pieces, this issue contains its fair share of reviews. I am particularly please to welcome Gwyneth Jones to these pages with a feature review of Animal Alterity, Sheryl Vint’s examination of the animal in sf.
Vector Reviewers’ Poll 2010
1) Dervish House by Ian McDonald
2) New Model Army by Adam Roberts
3) Surface Detail by Iain M Banks
4) Under Heaven by Guy Gavriel Kay
5) The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
6) Kraken by China Miéville
7) Monsters Of Men by Patrick Ness
8) Generosity by Richard Powers
9) The Holy Machine by Chris Beckett
=10) Zoo City by Lauren Beukes
=10) Finch by Jeff VanderMeer
- Finch by Jeff VanderMeer (Corvus, 2010) – Reviewed by Paul Graham Raven
- Lightborn by Tricia Sullivan (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Jonathan McCalmont
- Surface Detail by Iain M Banks (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Marcus Flavin
- The Technician by Neal Asher (Tor, 2010) – Reviewed by Stuart Carter
- Version 43 by Philip Palmer (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
- How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (Corvus, 2010) – Reviewed by Martin McGrath
- Galileo’s Dream by Kim Stanley Robinson (HarperCollins, 2009) – Reviewed by Anthony Nanson
- Music For Another World, edited by Mark Harding (Mutation Press, 2010) – Reviewed by Dave M. Roberts
- The Immersion Book of SF, edited by Carmelo Rafala (Immersion Press, 2010) – Reviewed by Maureen Kincaid Speller
- Zombie: An Anthology of the Undead, edited by Christopher Golden (Piatkus, 2010) – Reviewed by CB Harvey
- The Loving Dead by Amelia Beamer (Night Shade Books, 2010) – Reviewed by Niall Harrison
- Feed by Mira Grant (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Alex Williams
- Tomes of the Dead: Anno Mortis by Rebecca Levene (Abaddon, 2008) – Reviewed by Shaun C Green
- Songs Of The Dying Earth, edited by George R R Martin and Gardner Dozois (Voyager, 2010) – Reviewed by L J Hurst
- The Black Prism by Brent Weeks (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Donna Scott
- The Fallen Blade by John Courtenay Grimwood (Orbit, 2011) – Reviewed by Anne F Wilson
- Animal Alterity: Science Fiction And The Question Of The Animal by Sherryl Vint (Liverpool University Press, 2010) – Reviewed by Gwyneth Jones
Satan Burger, Razor Wire Pubic Hair, The Menstruating Mall, Ape Shit, The Haunted Vagina, Sausagey Santa (“featuring Santa as a piratey mutant with a body made of sausages”), Adolf In Wonderland, Ultra Fuckers and The Faggiest Vampire: A Children’s Story are just some of the novels of Carlton Mellick III, one of the most prolific writer of bizarro fiction. Absurd, surreal, offensive and deliberately confrontational, those titles give you a pretty good idea of what this form of outsider literature is like. Whether you view them as being indicative of a gleeful gonzo anarchy or merely a juvenile sense of transgression is another question.
I started my induction into the world of bizarro with Rampaging Fuckers Of Everything On The Crazy Shitting Planet Of The Vomit Atmosphere! by Mykle Hansen. It is subtitled “three novels” but, at only 215 pages, these are novellas at best. The first of these is ‘Monster Cocks’, a sort-of-satire about the end of the world featuring Jack Stalker, your average American Everyman with a micropenis. Jack has a foolproof plan though: ask strangers on the internet for penis enlargement advice. After all, as Hansen puts it in typically deadpan style, “I’ve seen pictures of their dicks so I know I can trust them.” Initially, it seems he is right to trust them because soon he has the monster cock he’s always dreamed of. He names his new penis Lassie. Unfortunately, Lassie gets out of control:
“That really excellent and pressing question – what to do, exactly, with my seven-foot-long bloodthirsty pet anaconda cock-monster, who had ripped free of my crotch and ate the policeman who thinks I murdered the abusive boyfriend of Angela Fine”
Indeed. ‘Monster Cocks’ is actually surprisingly gentle – a “poignant tragedy” it says on the back – but it is hard to escape the thought that, these days, nothing’s shocking. After all, it was only two decades ago in 1991 that Lord Horror by David Britton – proto-bizarro if ever I saw it – was actually banned. Banned! That was the last time a book has been banned under the Obscene Publications Act 1857 and the idea it could be successfully enacted again is pretty much inconceivable. Last year Darryn Walker was prosecuted for publishing online a story in which the members of the pop group Girls Aloud were raped, tortured and murdered in graphic detail. This is extreme stuff but by no means unprecedented for internet fanfic, as his defence counsel said “in terms of its alleged obscenity, it is frankly no better or worse than other articles.” Walker was not convicted.
The genie is out of the bottle. When Michael Moorcock’s New Worlds was banned by WH Smith and John Menzies it meant something, now everything is just a click away. Walker can self-publish his darkest fantasies and anyone in the world can read them, Bizarro Books can happily sell their wares through Amazon. This revolution in production and distribution gives us, the reader, unfettered access to filth but it also allows publishers to print ultra-niche products and still find an audience.
For example, last week I received an email asking me if I would like to review a “multicultural lesbian steampunk anthology. Yes, I said, yes, I would. The anthology – the rather weakly-named Steam-Powered, edited by JoSelle Vanderhooft and published by Torquere Press – was in my inbox the next morning. As is usual for a small press anthology, there aren’t many well-known names on the table of contents are unfamiliar but it does open with a story from NK Jemisin.
The outline of ‘The Effluent Engine’ is entirely familiar – a spy arrives by airship in a foreign city, intent on securing a scientific secret – but the details are not: the spy is from post-revolution Haiti and seeks to acquire the ability to distil methane from the island’s plentiful rum effluent in order to keep its people free from colonial tyranny. Of course, this is Jemisin so romance quickly raises its ugly head in the form of a scientist’s comely (and fiercely intelligent, naturally) sister. Things develop as you would expect.
Are either of these books any good? Well, I read them very much in the spirit of enquiry and, after my first exposure, had no pressing urge to explore further. A little goes a long way with such specialised tastes. But, at a time when the horizons of corporate publishing shrink ever tighter, I’m glad they exist.
- Orgasmachine by Ian Watson (Newcon Press, 2010) – reviewed by Justina Robson
- Shine, edited by Jetse de Vries (Solaris, 2010) – reviewed by Anthony Nanson
- The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi (Gollancz, 2010) – reviewed by Paul Kincaid
- The Dervish House by Ian McDonald (Gollancz, 2010) – reviewed by Tony Keen
- The Restoration Game by Ken MacLeod (Orbit, 2010) – reviewed by Michael Abbott
- The Fuller Memorandum by Charles Stross (Orbit, 2010) – reviewed by Martin Potts
- Escape From Hell by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle (Tor, 2009) – reviewed by Dave M Roberts
- The Turing Test by Chris Beckett and The Last Reef by Gareth L Powell (Elastic Press, 2008) – reviewed by Dave M Roberts
- The Holy Machine (Corvus, 2010) and Marcher (Cosmos Books, 2008) by Chris Beckett – reviewed by Jim Steel
- Inside/Outside – Chris Beckett interviewed by Paul Graham Raven
- Major Carnage by Gord Zajac (ChiZine Publications, 2010) – reviewed by Shaun Green
- Nexus: Ascension by Robert Boyczuk (ChiZine Pubications, 2010) – reviewed by Graham Andrews
- The Nemesis List by RJ Frith – reviewed by Ben Jeapes
- The Noise Within by Ian Whates (Solaris, 2010) – reviewed by Stuart Carter
- Brave Story and The Book Of Heroes by Miyuke Miyabe (Haikasoru, 2007 and 2009) – reviewed by Cherith Baldry
- WE by John Dickinson (David Fickling Books, 2010) – reviewed by Donna Scott
- I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (Penguin, 2010) – reviewed by CB Harvey
- Monsters Of Men by Patrick Ness (Walker Books, 2010) – reviewed by Anne F Wilson
- The Iron Hunt, Darkness Calls and A Wild Light by Marjorie M Liu (Orbit, 2008-10) – reviewed by Amanda Rutter
- The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan (Orbit, 2009) – reviewed by Alan Fraser
- Shadow Prowler by Alexey Pehov (Simon & Schuster, 2010) – reviewed by Sandra Unerman
- The Office Of Shadow by Mathew Sturges (Pyr, 2010) – reviewed by AP Canavan
- Lord Of The Changing Winds by Rachel Neumeier (Orbit, 2010) – reviewed by Lynne Bispham
At the level of high culture with which this book is concerned, active bigotry is probably fairly rare. It is also hardly ever necessary, since the social context is so far from neutral.
That is from How To Suppress Women’s Writing by Joanna Russ and it is worth bearing in mind every time awards season rolls round or another anthology with no women in the table of contents is published. It is tiresome to have to constantly rebut the same talking points from those who ‘just care about good writing’ and, besides, you probably couldn’t do it as succinctly as Russ. Her chapter on bad faith – just two pages long – says it all:
Conscious, conspiratorial guilt? Hardly. Privilege groups, like everyone else, want to think well of themselves and to believe that they are acting generously and justly… Genuine ignorance? Certainly that is sometimes the case. But talk about sexism or racism must distinguish between the sins of commission of the real, active misogynist or bigot and the vague, half-conscious sins of omission of the decent, ordinary, even good hearted people, which sins the context of institutionalized sexism and racism makes all too easy.
How to Suppress Women’s Writing is small and imperfectly formed; Russ herself calls it “oddly-sized and oddly-shaped” and, although it is passionate and powerful, it is also sloppy and repetitive. It is showing its age as well. Written in 1978, it wasn’t published until 1983 and the British edition didn’t appear until 1994. At over forty years old, many of its examples seem outdated and, despite the fact the issues Russ is addressing certainly haven’t gone away, this can make it easier to dismiss. It would be nice if there was slightly fresher edition available for a new generation of readers. I can think of plenty of people who would benefit from one.
Another book of Russ’s that could do with a new edition(although not on grounds of age) is A Country You Have Never Seen: Essays and Reviews, published – in rather desultory fashion – by Liverpool University Press in 2007. Despite the subtitle, the book is divided into three sections (the third is letters) and without any pause for niceties such as an introduction we are plunged into the first review. It is from 1966, originally published in F&SF and sets the tone for the book. You will see what I mean if I quote the first and last sentences of the review:
Strange Signposts is a bottom-of-the-barrel anthology… This is one of that damned flood of anthologies that do nothing but cheapen the market, exasperate reviewers and disappoint all but the most unsophisticated readers.
Russ is utterly merciless, as well she might be since that is the role of the critic. It seems like it was a bit too much for F&SF, it was a year before she was invited back. Soon she was writing more frequently and at longer length though, her final column appearing fourteen years later. Like How to Suppress Women’s Writing, it is scrappy, wonderful stuff; ugly knots of “i.e.”, “e.g.” and “italics mine” giving way to devastatingly precise judgements. As Nic Clarke says in her review of On Joanna Russ, edited by Farah Mendlesohn, Russ is “a sharp, eloquent and intellectually restless critic and often a very funny one”.
It can be a frustrating reading experience though. The back cover claims the book compiles Russ’s “most important essays and reviews” but it isn’t clear what the selection criteria are which makes for a frustrating reading experience. For example, on page 126, in the course of one of her reviews, she footnotes one of her own essays, ‘Someone’s Trying To Kill Me And I Think It’s My Husband: The Modern Gothic’. One might reasonably expect this essay to be re-printed here but no. There is a reason for this – it is already collected in To Write Like A Woman: Essays in Feminism and Science Fiction, published by Indiana University Press in 1995 – but the reader is only alerted to this possibility by a passing mention on page 267. Another flaw in the production of the book is that it doesn’t contain a proper index. This means I can’t check my impression that Russ makes a reference to George Bernard Shaw once every three pages or so. You forgive Russ these repetitions because regrettably the message that SF needs to look beyond its limited horizons does need to be hammered home: “Outsiders mean bad and stupid things when they say “science fiction,” but sometimes the bad and stupid things are unfortunately accurate.” Plus ça change. That quote also gets at another truth: reviewers review out of love, not hate, it just isn’t unconditional love; Russ wants what we all want:
All books ought to be masterpieces. The author may chose his genre, his subject, his characters, and everything else, but his book ought to be a masterpiece (major or minor) and failing that, it ought to be good, and failing that, it at least ought show some sign that it was written by a human being.
Is that so much to ask?
- On Joanna Russ, edited by Farah Mendlesohn (Wesleyan University Press, 2009) – Reviewed by Nic Clarke
- The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Anthony Nanson
- The Folding Knife by KJ Parker (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Stephen Deas
- Blood in the Water by Juliet E McKenna (Solaris, 2009) – Reviewed by Penny Hill
- City of Ruin by Mark Charan Newton (Tor UK, 2010) – Reviewed by Gary Dalkin
- Tome of the Undergates by Sam Sykes (Gollancz, 2010) – Reviewed by Jim Steel
- Wolfsangel by MD Lachlan (Gollancz, 2010) – Reviewed by David Hebblethwaite
- Muse and Reverie by Charles de Lint (Tor, 2010) – Reviewed by Amanda Rutter
- The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman (Penguin, 2010) – Reviewed by Lalith Vipulananthan
- The Unlikely World of Faraway Frankie by Keith Brooke (Newcon Press, 2010) – Reviewed by Andy Sawyer
- Fun with Rainbows by Gareth Owens (Immersion Press, 2010) – Reviewed by Chaz Brenchley
- The Orphaned Worlds by Michael Cobley (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Martyn Taylor
- Brain Thief by Alexander Jablokov (Forge, 2010) – Reviewed by Tony Lee
- Veteran by Gavin Smith (Gollancz, 2010) – Reviewed by Stuart Carter
- Yukikaze by Chohei Kambayashi (Haikasoru, 2010) – Reviewed by Ian Sales
- The World Inside by Robert Silverberg (Orb, 2010) – Reviewed by L. J. Hurst
- This Is Not A Game by Walter Jon Williams (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Shaun C. Green
- Blonde Bombshell by Tom Holt (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Simon Guerrier
- Retromancer by Robert Rankin (Gollancz, 2009) – Reviewed by James Bacon
- Conflicts, edited by Ian Whates (NewCon Press, 2010) – Reviewed by Ben Jeapes
- Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar (Piatkus, 2009) – Reviewed by Anne F Wilson
- The Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffen (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Lynne Bispham
- Mr Shivers by Robert Jackson Bennett (Orbit, 2010) – Reviewed by Mark Connorton
- Neverland by Douglas Clegg (Vanguard, 2010) – Reviewed by A.P. Canavan
- Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem (Faber & Faber, 2009) – Reviewed by Dan Hartland
- Sunshine State by James Miller (Little, Brown, 2010) – Reviewed by Jonathan McCalmont
- The Last Pixel Show by Graham Andrews (New Theatre Publications, 2010), Mistaking the Nature of the Posthuman by Steve Sneyd (Hilltop Press, 2008) and Time Grows Thin by Lilith Lorraine (Hilltop Press, 2009) – Reviewed by Maureen Kincaid Speller
First things first: hello! This is my first issue as reviews editor, having taken over from Kari at the beginning of the year. You probably won’t see much difference; the reviews will continue to cover the entire range of speculative and fantastic fiction and attendant non-fiction. One change you will notice is this column. I’m going to allow myself some space each issue to chat about recent releases and to review a book that has recently caught me eye, ideally one that has managed to slip through the cracks. In this instance, I thought I would take my cue from the theme of the issue.
I had a good year for children’s novels in 2009. The Ask And The Answer, Patrick Ness’s follow up to The Knife Of Never Letting Go, was everything I hoped it would be. I also belatedly read Conor Kostick’s excellent debut novel, Epic, following a mention on Farah Mendlesohn’s The Inter-Galactic Playground. (If only the sequel, Saga, had lived up to its promise.) I dipped into the back catalogue of MT Anderson – best known for his superb Octavian Nothing duology – and found that he’d pulled off that rarest thing in Thirsty: an original vampire novel.
And it has continued. The first novel I read this year was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The plot will be familiar from Battle Royale, albeit with the (now inevitable) twist that here the children’s fight for survival is televised. I wolfed it down in one sitting and, although its manipulation of the reader leaves a slight aftertaste, the literary equivalent of fast food is what you need in January.
I’ve just finished reading Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve, a prequel to his wonderful Mortal Engines quartet (2001-6). I was actually in two minds about reading this novel. Yes, I was hungry for more but, at the same time, A Darkling Plain was the perfect end to the series. Would re-visiting his world only tarnish it? Certainly there are two things that make Fever Crumb a pretty hard to stomach in the early stages: the rush and the jokes.
Fever is a foundling in a ruined future London which is still the distant past for the protagonists of Mortal Engines. Raised by the Order of Engineers, who believe that emotionless is the same as logical and shave their heads every day, on the grounds that hair is a “vestige of our animal past”, she has had a sheltered upbringing. Reeve turns her out into the mess of the city, straight into danger, and from that point she doesn’t stop. Pace is often a virtue of children’s fiction but here the breathless accumulation of increasingly unlikely plot leaves the reader desperate for a bit less action and a bit more reflection.
Characterisation is brusquer than we are used to from Reeve. Our young heroine is so named because:
“During the Scriven era there was a fashion for women to name their children after whatever ailments they suffered from while they were pregnant. I have heard of people names ‘Backache’, ‘Diarrhoea’…”
“I knew a man once called Craving-For- Pickled-Onions McNee,” agreed Kit Solent. Ruan giggled and Fever looked disapprovingly at his father. Was he joking? She didn’t see the purpose of jokes.
The reader might similarly squint disapprovingly at Reeve. This is sub-Pratchett but there is plenty worse. For example, the chief baddie is, of all things, a publican and we are told that:
As well as the Mott and Hoople he had two other pubs, the Blogger’s Arms on ‘Bankmentside and the Polished Turd in B@ersea.
True, there were puns like this – generally of a similarly ahistorical nature – in his previous novels but I don’t remember them being so common. Or, indeed, so rotten. In this London manufactured scents take the place of records and these puns reach their nadir with a truly weird aside about gangsta smell artists called Prince Nez and Sniffa Dogg.
At around the halfway mark it does ease up a bit, or rather, the ride becomes smoother, even if the pace of revelation continues unabated (after the globetrotting of Reeve’s earlier novels, I naively thought things might be simpler in a static city). At this point there is a long flashback which provides some of the emotional power which is a trademark of his work. In general though, this weight is missing, and instead of deepening his world, he is only trading off it. The ending is abrupt and open ended and apparently a sequel to this prequel, A Web of Air, is due out later this year. I’m afraid I won’t be following Fever any further though.
Right, see you next issue when I will be discussing how to suppress women’s writing. Prior to that I will need to spend some time on eBay because I can already tell that being reviews editor is going to necessitate a radical increase in my shelf space. Particularly since the editor of Vector was recently making me feel inadequate by boasting about having 3557cm.
- And God Created Zombies by Andrew Hook (Newcon Press, 2009) and The Push by Dave Hutchinson (Newcon Press, 2009) – Reviewed by Mark Harding
- The Kingdom Beyond the Waves by Stephen Hunt (Tor, 2009) – Reviewed by Donna Scott
- Fathom by Cherie Priest (Tor, 2008) – Reviewed by Tanya Brown
- Conjure Wife by Fritz Leiber (Orb/Tom Doherty, 2009) – Reviewed by L J Hurst
- White Is For Witching by Helen Oyeyemi (Picador, 2009) – Reviewed by Nic Clarke
- Red Claw by Philip Palmer (Orbit, 2009) – Reviewed by Stuart Carter
- Moxyland by Lauren Beukes (Angry Robot Books, 2009) – Reviewed by Niall Harrison
- The Sad Tale of the Brothers Grossbart by Jesse Bullington (Orbit, 2009) – Reviewed by Simon Guerrier
- Elfland by Freda Warrington (Tor, 2009) – Reviewed by Lynne Bispham
- Soulless by Gail Carriger (Orbit, 2009) and Indigo Springs by AM Dellamonica (Tor, 2009) – Reviewed by Penny Hill
- Small Miracles by Edward M. Lerner (Tor, 2009) – Reviewed by Mark Harding
- Flashforward by Robert J Sawyer (Gollancz, 2009) – Reviewed by Terry Jackman
- Retribution Falls by Chris Wooding (Gollancz, 2009) – Reviewed by Jonathan McCalmont
- A Matter Of Blood by Sarah Pinborough (Gollancz, 2010) – Reviewed by Dave M. Roberts
- Into Your Tent: The Life, Work and Family Background of Eric Frank Russell by John L. Ingham (Plantech, 2010) – Reviewed by Paul Kincaid
- GM Fiction, edited by Pippa Goldschmidt (ESRC Genomics Network / University of Edinburgh, 2009) – Reviewed by Gary Dalkin