Five Minute Fiction

Learn everything you need to know about a new book each week without even having to bother reading it. Ex-bookseller, publisher and writer Iain Martin leads you through the terrifying world of contemporary fiction from deep within the imposing Bookface Tower.
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Books. We've all read them, but are they any good?

Apr 8, 2017

It's not how you're thinking or as you've imagined, we live in the shade of beliefs that were fashioned to leave you insane and then drain out your soul, but what can I do when there's so many liars who crawl through your brain like millions of spiders and seek out their victims and who is the wiser?

Jan 20, 2017
61. Take It From Cats by Helen Ellis

Here's a treat: an entire short story for you, about cats. What could actually be nicer? I honestly don't know. It's taken from Helen Ellis' collection American Housewife, which you can find any day now in paperback.  

Dec 9, 2016
60. Winterhill

Rebecca Winterhill and Maddy are exploring the luxury star-liner Demeter, thoughts full of impudent cocktails and blissfully unaware that up on the higher decks, the alarms are already ringing because something very, very terrible has made its way on board...

Nov 5, 2016
59. The Secret History of Twin Peaks

It's finally here. 25 years after the greatest TV show if its day was rudely axed, we return to the Pacific North West to delve into the origins and mysteries of this small town, and its rich and varied inhabitants. What is this dossier? Who is the mysterious "Archivist" who compiled it? Does it answer any questions about the mysterious fate of FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper? And who really did kill Laura Palmer?

Oct 15, 2016
58. Spaceman

Non-fiction this week as we go into....spaaaaaaaaace!

Oct 1, 2016
57. Nutshell

We look at the brand-new novel from Ian McEwan, generally regarded as one of the very finest British writers. Nutshell imagines the world from the point of view of an as-yet unborn foetus who becomes suddenly aware that a murder is being planned. To paraphrase the Guardian review - it's WELL good.

Sep 17, 2016
56. The Hatching

I'm about 5'10, with blonde hair, I like reading and running and TV. I'm a good cook and I'm into BDSM - Oh, hang on, you mean "description" of the podcast, don't you?



Aug 20, 2016
55. I'm Thinking of Ending Things

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Spoilers, a review of some horrible psychological tale, and a look forward to one of the Autumn's most eagerly-awaited by me books... 

Jul 27, 2016
54. The Age of Bowie

Please visit or

And for those of you who like David Bowie there's a review of Paul Morley's new work The Age of Bowie.

Oh, and the Booker longlist...

Jun 25, 2016
53: Beach Reads

If you're among the 48% of Britons who voted to remain a member of the EU, there's a chance you might read books. If so, here are some suggestions of especially good ones which you might wish to fly to a beach.

Jun 14, 2016
52: Written in Dead Wax

Show 52. Wow. Happy birthday to me. And to 5MF, of course, which this week looks at a new crime novel from Andrew Cartmel, called Written in Dead Wax. As a big fan of his previous, SF-themed works, I was interested to see how he would operate in the sphere of waxy urban noir.


Jun 7, 2016
51: The Festival of Insignificance

It's show 51, and what could be more appropriate than a book review!?






Jun 7, 2016

It's show 51, and what could be more appropriate than a book review!?






May 31, 2016
50: Trigger Mortis

This week we're going Bond-mental so join us to see if TV scriptwriter-turned YA action powerhouse Anthony Horowitz can possibly take a seat at the table with Faulks, Deaver, Boyd and Fleming.

May 24, 2016
49: The Deeper Meaning of Liff

Revisiting my favourite book from Douglas Adams (and John Lloyd). Place names are given hilarious definitions. You know the one. The little black one that lives in the downstairs toilet at your in-laws' house.

May 17, 2016
48: TV Go Home

In an unbelievably sweary episode we fondly recall the arrival of Charlton Brooker with a humour book which destroyed TV forever and led to me being physically removed from a bookshop.


And: Poo.

May 10, 2016
47. Zero K

A weird, sprawling, drunken meander through the alchorridors of a madman's brain-pan.

And some stuff about American Literary Heavyweight Don DeLillo.

Whither death? Find out in the new novel from DeLillo. It's an austere, delicate, fragile beauty.


May 3, 2016
46. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer

"It's like sex and it takes time" - David Lynch.

Was he talking about Five Minute Fiction? No. But he could have been. 

He could have been.

Apr 26, 2016
45: Sleeping Giants

This week we hop lightly over the fence that divides the genres, landing with both feet in the rich, green grass of the science fiction field - watch our for that android cow-pat.

We're here to look at a debut from the Quebecois writer Sylvain Neuvel, entitled Sleeping Giants. It's a bit X-Files, a bit Kubrick, but a lot entertaining.


No celebrities died in the recording of this podcast (checks but I see that someone called Pearl Mackie has become the new Doctor Who companion. That's nice.

Er. Where was I?


Oh yes: one more thing....

Apr 19, 2016
44. Nineteen Seventy-Four




Moderate pretension.

You have been warned.

Apr 12, 2016
43. Bukowski on Cats

He's not read anything. Here's a feeble attempt to paper over this particular crack. I don't know. Tut. I'd ask for your money back if I was you.*

*But don't. I've already spent it.

Apr 5, 2016
42. Carol

Basically kicking myself that show #42 ISN'T a review of a Hitch-Hiker novel or something numerically appropriate. What sort of rank amateur am I, you might ask?

A really rank one, obvs. Now shut up and listen.

Mar 28, 2016
41. The Entirely Accurate Encyclopaedia of Evolution

An Embarrassment of Riches - The Writing Career of Robert Newman. This week we look at his intensely brainy new comedy book about evolution. 

Mar 22, 2016
40. The Guest Cat

This week it's all about Cats. Cats, and eye-watering scenes of audio torture as our tame actor Tudor Beamage gives us a terrible peek into his brutal world. All in the name of books. 


I ask you.

Mar 15, 2016
39. A Death In the Family

Let's nail my colours to the mast here. If Knausgaard thought it was a struggle to write the bloody thing, that's nothing compared to what I feel after reading half of book one. God have mercy.

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