Review: What Makes This Book So Great / Author: Jo Walton / Publisher: Tor Books / Release Date: Out Now
What Makes This Book So Great collects together a grand total of one hundred and thirty essays by Jo Walton, covering everything from the days of science fiction long past to series which were printed within the last decade, usually with a focus on young adults novels.
Originally written as blog posts for Tor.com, the essays jump from one subject to the next. The short length of each piece makes this a perfect book for dipping into, while her informal writing style and personal touches add considerably to the appeal, injecting far more humour and humanity than you would generally expect to find in a survey of science fiction. Plus her scattergun approach means you will be constantly coming across new titles worth exploring.
Occasionally, Walton goes overboard with her free-flowing ruminations, and you sometimes wish that her comments had more focus and structure. It's also a shame that there's no index, as this would have been a big help in keeping track of her remarks about various authors. Still, with plenty of jokes and interesting observations, this is definitely a fun read for the sci-fi fan. Give it a look if you’re after some humorous and intelligent analysis of the genre’s best.