Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

Killing C -350pix2 Great Sci-fi books with a difference (plus literary events from 15 Oct 2019)

Sci-fi books are not always about strange-looking aliens with whom earthlings are about to do battle. Angela J. Phillip briefly reviews two novels that could be said to be sci-fi but that don’t always feel as though they are. Each one offers a powerful comment on human beings and how we might develop. Each one is a thought-provoking read.

‘Killing Commendatore’ (2018) Haruki Murakami
The first novel I read by the Japanese writer, Haruki Murakam was Kafka on the Shore and I found the mystical, philosophical style a delight as was the unusual story-line. Like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but without the tongue in cheek (although we all loved that), Murakami’s novels seemed to promise the answer to everything.

Wind up bird-220pixOf course, Murakami’s novels do not provide the answer to everything or indeed to anything, but they certainly offer the reader interesting options to explore. Other worlds within our own and events and meetings which seem fraught with significance, abound.

Killing Commendatore is about a portrait artist whose wife throws him out. It is about the artist’s adventures on his voyage of self-discovery after he leaves the matrimonial home until he finally returns. On the way he encounters people, spirits, an other world within his world and a significant picture called Killing Commendatore.

This is classic Murakami and for those readers already familiar with his work, it is sure to enthrall. For those of you who have not read this writer before, it might be better to start with The Wind-up Bird Chronicle. This is also about a broken-down marriage where the man enters another world in an effort to find a way out of his dilemma.
– for more information on Haruki Murakami, please see and Wikipedia.

Buried Giant-220pix‘The Buried Giant’ (2016) by Kazuo Ishiguro
Unlike Murakami, Nobel prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro is Japanese only in origin. He is a British writer, famous first of all for The Remains of the Day from which a film was made, but The Buried Giant is not his first excursion into sci-fi territory. In 2005, Ishiguro wrote Never Let Me Go, an unputdownable story that questioned the ethics of cloning, or more precisely, it questioned the ethics of how human beings treat species that they regard as ‘not human’ or ‘less than human’ as animals are frequently regarded and treated.  Never Let Me Go was also made into a film.

The Buried Giant can be described as fantasy rather than science fiction but it is hard to draw a line and ultimately whichever description you prefer doesn’t matter. It is about old age, love and forgetfulness. It is an exploration of the importance of memory where ostensibly forgetfulness brings peace. The question is whether it is worth making the effort to dig deep to recover memories that are frequently painful and the related question is to ask how much do we lose of ourselves if we don’t do this.
– for more information on Kazuo Ishiguro, please see British Council, Literature and  Wikipedia


Printed Matter Bookshop 185 Queens Rd, Hastings TN34 1RG
Jan 2020: Book launch of Paul Anderson’s Suedeheads & film screening of Horace Ove’s ‘Reggae 1970’ at The Electric Palace Cinema, Old Town.

The Bookkeeper Bookshop 1a Kings Rd, St Leonards
Louise back cover-220pix
Book Launch – Between two worlds by Louise Mooncie
Sunday 20 October 19.00 – 21.00
Louise Illig Mooncie will be talking and reading from her book on her past experiences as someone in a personal and spiritual crisis, and particularly, as a German woman who struggles with her country’s troubled past. Louise will also welcome questions on her experiences and the beliefs that she holds today.

Come and look at the Bookkeeper Bookshop Facebook page to see more.

The Literary Shed Writing Circle run by A. Vasudevan
Two-hour weekly writing sessions in safe, creative spaces in Hastings and St Leonards
Thursday 17 October from 10 – 12 (£6) at The Blue Bee on the corner of Courthouse St, Old Town, Hastings
Friday 25 October from 10 – 12 (free) at Sea Kale, 29 London Rd, Saint Leonards-on-sea TN37 6AJ 
For further information, please email:, subject: WRITE-INS.


Well, folks, that’s it for this week. I hope you’ve all had a good week and that your projects are going well.

For an update on my writing, please see: Playing with sea and sky.

For a selection of other posts on my writing journey, please see

Thanks for reading and happy writing.

Angela J. Phillip


Posted 09:00 Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019 In: Hastings Bookchat

Also in: Hastings Bookchat

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