Archive | Reviews

Reviews of Mark’s work and reviews that Mark has written about the work of other writers and creative types. He generally only reviews stuff that he likes, so don’t look here for snark.

Tangent reviewed “Gross Bodies and Light Convertible”

I somehow missed this, but Yael Artom at Tangent Online reviewed my short alternate history tale last fall:

In “Gross Bodies and Light Convertible” by Mark A. Rayner, Edgar and his tutor, Duncan, try to catch the mysterious Doctor Klaas Vandermeer in nineteenth-century London. Vandermeer is a dangerous Dutch spy with paranormal powers promoting the revolution in Europe through terrorist attacks. Vandermeer seems impossible to catch, but Edgar has supernatural powers.

Rayner succeeds in evoking a foggy, nineteenth-century London in the grip of an epidemic of illnesses and terror. Breathtaking pursuits, tense encounters, and narrow escapes are skillfully narrated, resulting is a Sherlock Holmesish atmosphere that grips the reader and holds on tight until the end. “Gross Bodies and Light Convertible” is lively and enjoyable.

You can find more reviews at their website.

Mini-review from Don Muchow, Editor of Would That It Were

A nice mini-review from Don Muchow, who edits — or used to edit — Would That It Were, an alternate history ezine to which in contributed a couple of stories. I’m afraid this didn’t make it up on his site before he shut the enterprise down, but here are his comments:

The Amadeus Net manages to do in a very short space what some novel series don’t manage to do: enthrall the reader on every page with yet one more twist in an increasingly unlikely, yet strangely compelling story. In the tradition of Rayner’s work in the Emily Chesley Reading Circle, a sort of group “shaggy dog story”, The Amadeus Net follows the lives of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (a.k.a. William Armstrong, now 250 years old and bored and considering a sex change to hide his identity from the paparazzi), and a small circle of people living in Ipolis, a Utopian city run by an idiosyncratic computer who plays favorites and can’t manage to keep its fingers out of global politics. Mozart is followed by a number of thrill seekers and gold-diggers, each of whom owes to him a certain amount of their own raison d’etre. Hanging over all of this is the continuing threat of an incipient global war that seems all but inevitable. Within this world, Mozart manages to recover his muse, find true love with a woman who thinks she is a lesbian (she’s not sure), and comes to terms with the revealing of his identity as the world crumbles down around him.

The Amadeus Net starts out with a preposterous and surreal premise and ends with piercing insight into the abjectly pointless pursuits to which many of us devote our entire lives. It’s a book about what to believe in when nothing is believable. The answer: music — which somehow we realize our hero always knew.

Book Blog Review of The Amadeus Net

Deb Hamel, the reviewing maven at Book Blog, has given The Amadeus Net four out of five stars, and says:

“…the book is well-written, and once one gets into the meat of the story its principals are interesting enough to keep readers’ attention. Perhaps most likeable is the character of Ipolis itself, whose benevolent governance of its residents includes shielding them from incoming missiles, controlling the weather, and spiking the water supply of intimate couples with birth-control drugs unless they’re actively trying to reproduce. The Amadeus Net is not the sort of book that you won’t be able to put down, but you’ll definitely want to pick it up again once you do.”

You can read the entire review here.

While you’re there, you might also want to look into her BAFAB concept, which stands for Buy a Friend a Book, due to begin this October.