The Rime of the Postmodern Mariner

More ramblings of Rhys Hughes.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Reviews That Come Back to Haunt

Once upon a time I did a lot of reviewing. I reviewed books and magazines for various publications. I always guessed that at least one review I wrote would come back as a ghost and haunt me. And it has finally happened. Fortunately it's a good ghost and a fairly nice haunting...

This is a picture of Quantum, an excellent example of popular science writing by Manjit Kumar. I picked it off the library shelves recently and found it informative, clear and engaging. In other words, I recommend it! Kumar's bio at the beginning of the book explains that he was the founding editor of Prometheus, a journal that covered both the arts and sciences; and he goes on to remark that this publication was once praised by a reviewer as "perhaps the finest magazine I've ever read." My first thought was: high praise indeed! But can the opinion of that anonymous reviewer be trusted?

Then a corner at the back of my mind began to itch. The quote seemed vaguely familiar. I wondered if I had read that review somewhere. Then in a flash it occurred to me that I was the reviewer in question! I even recalled where I had reviewed Prometheus: in an issue of a 90s magazine called The Zene. I went through boxes of old stuff without much hope; but to my surprise I found the relevant issue and review. Yes, I did say that about Kumar's journal. And yes, I did mean it.


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