Sibilant Fricative - Adam Roberts

Sibilant Fricative: Essays and Reviews - Paul Kincaid, Adam Roberts

My favourite book for several months.


I have mixed feelings about Roberts' fiction - I liked Jack Glass, hated On and felt By Light Alone was sort of "meh" - but I will go quite a long way out of my way to read his non-fiction. Sibilant Fricative is a collection of "Essays and Reviews" on science fiction and fantasy, ranging from a consideration of The Hobbit to a very funny review of the film Battle Los Angeles (my favourite in the collection). All the pieces in the book (OK, not the Old English pastiche, to be fair) are accessible and funny and above all clever exegeses on a genre which isn't often covered by academic criticism, and I often couldn't wait to get home from work to read some more (which is not a thing I often say about literary criticism).


I did feel that Paul Kincaid's introduction felt a little rushed, and perhaps a little patronising ("feel free to disagree!" is, in effect, the substance of the introduction - thanks so much, I really needed your permission), and there are a few copyediting issues: misspellings, odd layouts and the like. (Much of the material in the book is collected from online sources, and I wondered if that was the source of the issue.) But I enjoyed the actual content of the book so much that I could overlook the cosmetic issues with it.