The Punishments

The Punishments by JB Winsor is a dystopian novel set in Washington a few years after the financial crash. Civil society is collapsing, people are starving to death, there is little or no employment as jobs are replaced by robots. A fundamentalist christian group has effectively taken over the government of the US and is in the process of implementing a christian version of sharia while running an almost total surveillance society. And on and on …

I guess this is readable but to be honest I thought it was claptrap. Even heavily discounted I would give it a miss.


Dark Eden

There is a vein of SciFi writing that riffs on either a biblical theme or some form of post holocaust/grand destruction rebuilding. Dark Eden by Chris Beckett combines both.

Eden (note the rather crude biblical reference) is a planet populated by the descendants of two astronauts (fortunately male and female) who were stranded their about 160 years ago. The 500 odd descendants are indeed odd, inbred and amoral. Doesn’t sound good? Well actually it isn’t bad, it’s readable although there are no surprises in the plot line.

If you like this type of stuff, then this might be worth a read, particularly if you want a series that has the potential to run on and on. There is a second book in the series, Mother of Eden, it has the potential to get better but I a not sure I want to hang in there to find out.

Personally I much preferred Canticle for Leibowitz which is a true ‘classic’, if you haven’t read it, it’s a ‘must read’



I like Johnny Shaw’s stuff, I thought Big Maria was a great read, if you haven’t read it you should give it a try.

Floodgate is completely different to Shaw’s previous novels, it’s set in the fictional city of Auction City which is held together by an uneasy coalition of crime syndicates, an outrageously corrupt police force and the church. The story switches between two time periods 1929 when there was a catastrophic street battle between the police, organised crime gangs and the underclass of the city and 1986 when after over 50 years of peace the tense relationships are on the verge of fracturing.

Floodgate is pacy and witty, albeit a little predictable. 3.5/5