Book Review – Around The Dark Dial by JD Sanderson

First published, 2020

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

A collection of eleven short sci-fi stories, inspired by and perhaps in tribute to, radio dramas of the 1950s.

Although the stories are short enough that you can just dip in and out whenever time permits, I read this collection from cover to cover in one go. Compulsive reading, I loved it.

The writing is glorious. JD Sanderson has that rare ability to make you care about a character within the first few sentences. As such, although it’s not a genre I’m particularly drawn to (science is complicated enough for me; throw in some fiction and I’ll rarely know which bits are rooted in reality and which are pure fantasy), I was compelled to read on.

Stories of inaccessible areas of the earth, gone wild, untamed and become home to unknowable life forms flow dynamically into tales of alien abduction, anti-vax governments, sentient robots and eloquent animals, I adored these stories.

The theme running throughout is as old as time itself: misunderstanding of the different or unusual leads, inevitably, to violence and destruction. Beautifully detailed, addictive stuff.

Unfortunately, despite a lovely foreword from the editor of this collection, the proofreading wasn’t great. There were a good number of missing apostrophes, occasional missing words and a couple of misnamed characters. This left me feeling frustrated from tome to time. However, this is a great collection and I’m very pleased to have found a new favourite author.