The Wood Beyond the World: Disappointing

The Wood Beyond the World by William Morris

I read The Wood Beyond the World largely because I enjoyed the author's The Well at the World's End so much. I was disappointed in it, though. It doesn't have the depth of the slightly later book (they were published two years apart), and the story itself is not as satisfying, nor is the main character as strong.

Golden Walter is what I call a spoiled protagonist. He ends up with benefits that he doesn't earn. In fact, he's not particularly admirable, despite the author's constant Mary Suing of him. When the book opens, he's having marital problems: his wife is unfaithful (totally not his fault, the author assures us). Instead of confronting this in any way at all, he tells his wealthy merchant father, "I'm off to sea on one of your ships, Dad. Deal with the unfaithful wife thing, would you?" (Except in a long-winded pseudo-archaic styl... Read More

The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s story is only a small part

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Good Hunting All That Keep the Jungle Law...

If you were to ask anyone to describe The Jungle Book, they would probably take their cue from the widely known Disney film and say that it was about a young boy who was raised by wolves in the jungle, mentored by a bear and a panther, and who eventually kills a dangerous tiger. In this they'd be right, but they'd only be describing the first three chapters.

The rest of the book is a series of unrelated short stories about other animals, and which are not necessarily set in the jungle either. I was surprised at this, as although I knew that Disney had extensively reshaped the story, I had no idea that Mowgli's story was such a comparatively small part of the book. To my knowledge, Rudyard Kipling's characters have also featured in an anime series and a live-action film, and in both case... Read More

The Great God Pan: A horror classic

The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen

Written in 1894, Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan is a short novel which was highly influential to H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King. King, in fact, said The Great God Pan is “…one of the best horror stories ever written. Maybe the best in the English language. Mine isn’t anywhere near that good…” The Great God Pan used to be hard to find, but is now available free on the Kindle (and at other public domain e-book outlets) and is easily read in one dark and rainy evening... Read More