Stories in Rogues – “A Better Way to Die” by Paul Cornell

The intro of accolades for Paul Cornell was jaw-dropping. I remember thinking, “holy shit, this guy has got some serious writing chops!” Then I learned it’d be a little story about a famous spy character he’d been writing about for a long time. It was billed as strange, fast-paced, where he’d be pitted against a foe as cunning as he. But did the story deliver?

Look, Cornell fans. I’m sure this spy character is awesome in his other works, but I could not get into this story at all. Maybe it was partially do to the narrator, who literally swallowed an entire bag of marbles, half-puked them up, and then delivered his performance with the retch in his mouth. Maybe it was partially because a ridiculous amount of this story is told in Past Perfect. It was utterly confusing, and did not engage me.

I read the whole thing though, because I’m going to read them all, but you’re safe to skip this one (unless you’re a Cornell fan, then go ahead and read it, and you’ll probably love it). With all of the hype, and everything I endured, I expected the ending to be much better … but I guess it was all it could be, given the convoluted plot. Ugh. Moving on …