Bookslam in Bristol

On a much happier note, I had a great time at Bookslam Bristol last night. Nikesh Shukla turned out to be a great host, but his best performance of the evening was when he read from one of his own books. It was a very funny tale of two young Asian boys in London writing their first rap song. It works because Shukla knows his own culture very well, and can pinpoint nuances that others would miss, plus of course it is his own culture he’s making fun of. I very much want to get him doing that routine on Ujima.

Patrick Ness was his usual fabulous self, and I’ve already reviewed The Crane Wife so you know what I think of that. I’ll concentrate, therefore, on the other guest, Matt Haig. He has a fairly lengthy career, but his new book, The Humans, is his first adult SF novel. Matt is very funny, and the subject matter is perfect for wry observation.

The narrator of the book is an alien who has begun to inhabit the body of Professor Andrew Martin, a Cambridge mathematician. Our hero struggles to understand the hapless, primitive humans, and gets himself into dreadful trouble as a result. The book clearly owes a lot to Douglas Adams, but for talking to people last night I understand that Haig isn’t playing entirely for laughs. By the end of the book we will hopefully have gained some insight into the human condition.

Anyway, Patrick likes The Humans, and so does Jeanette Winterson. That should be plenty of recommendation for you.

Thanks as ever to he awesome Birdcage, which is the perfect venue for a book event. I was impressed that Bookslam managed to get plenty of people in well in advance of the advertised 8:30pm start time (thereby doing good business for the cafe). For future events, however, I’d prefer to run from 8:00pm to 9:30pm than 8:30pm to 10:00pm, as it gives those of us from out of town a much better choice of trains home. Please, Nikesh?