Must Read

I’ve just finished reading ‘Guns, Germs & Steel’ by Jared Diamond. There are some books – and here I’m talking only about non-fiction – that, after you’ve read them, you see life from a completely fresh perspective. Nothing seems quite the same again: the book has raised you to the next level. This is one such book.
In the same category I would put:

‘The Open Society and Its Enemies’ by Karl Popper
‘The Ancestor’s Tale’ by Richard Dawkins
‘The Holocaust’ by Martin Gilbert
‘The Whisperers’ by Orlando Figes
‘The Human Touch’ by Michael Frayn
‘Playpower’ by Richard Neville

What are your non-fiction choices?

Robert Conquest (1917 – 2015)

Robert Conquest has just died, in his 99th year. He was most famous as the man who saw through Stalin’s Emperor’s New Clothes with ‘The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties’ (1968) (which, when the truth became widely known after the fall of Communism in 1991, his friend Kingsley Amis said should be re-issued as ‘I Told You So, You Fucking Fools’); but I remember him as one of the earliest scholarly supporters of SF, writing with Amis ‘New Maps of Hell’ (1960) and the ‘Spectrum’ anthologies. Unlike many, he lived long enough to be proven right: both about the murderousness of Stalin and the literary worth of SF.┬áMay his dear soul be bound up in the bonds of life eternal.