I’ve been re-reading Neuromancer whilst putting my daughter to bed. Fear not, she gets stuff like The Tales of Beedle the Bard instead. Of the two, N is far and away the better book (wiki tells me that the novel appeared on Time magazine’s list of 100 best English-language novels written since 1923; the authors utter ignorance of computing technology doesn’t detract from it as a novel, though oddly wiki doesn’t find room to mention how inaccurate his vision of cyberspace has proved). It’s the ultimate look-n-feel book; you just let yourself get carried away with the flow, and ignore the general nonsense. I loved reading it again; the vision of the AI’s aching for completion is an enduring image. An afterword mentions that one of the three inspirations for the book was Alfred Bester’s Tiger, Tiger which is certainly superior to N in terms of literary quality, wit, verve and invention. Read that first.
Beedle demonstrates that JKR can’t write fairy stories; every one of them jars. The Uses of Enchantment helps explain why (apart from the fact that JKR just isn’t a good writer, even if she did have the great luck to stumble upon a good story and tell it mostly well). TUOE is a great book, though there seems to be some doubt about who wrote it, even if you don’t buy all the Freudian analysis. Is especially good for leftie middle-class parents worried about burning the witch. It turns out to be correct; she had to die.