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Paul Tapner (poole dorset england)
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LA Law - Season 1 [DVD]
LA Law - Season 1 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jimmy Smits
Offered by TIP TOP SELLER
Price: 9.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars California Lawyering, 1 Mar 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: LA Law - Season 1 [DVD] (DVD)
Ah, the 1980's. The suits. The shoulder pads. The days when American shows ran for fifty minutes plus the adverts. And when ITV and the BBC would show quality import dramas on their main terrestrial channels in primetime. Not that ITV had more than one channel of any kind back then. But you know what I mean.

Producer Steven Bochco was riding high on the success of Hill Street Blues. Which had ushered in a whole new era of tv drama by telling realistic stories, shooting the show to make it look that way, and making it character focused with a large cast of endearing individals. The show told stories that were as much about them as they were about the crimes of the week.

Having done that for Cop Shows, he then moved to legal shows. With L.A. Law. A staple of ITV at 9pm on a Thursday night for quite some time [although they dropped it with two season to go, as their perception of 'mainstream' tv changed] and whilst it was never quite as acclaimed as Hill Street Blues - or as it might have been if it had come first - it's still fondly remembered by many.

Telling stories about the Lawyers at Los Angeles based McKenzie, Brackman, Chaney and Kuzak, the show had a big cast, ranging from paternal and wise old partner Leland McKenzie [Richard Dysart] to ladies man divorce lawyer Arnold Becker [Corbin Bernsen] and potentially nave new associate single mom lawyer Abby Perkins [Michelle Greene], the show's main focus was on Lawyer Micheal Kuzak [Harry Hamlin] and his romance with prosecutor Grace Van Owen [Susan Dey]. But the breakout star, in one of his earliest roles, was Jimmy Smits as new associate Victor Sifuentes.

The show did repeat all that Hill St had done, in making us care about the characters - even Arnie when he could be a real pig - and telling stories than centred round them, and also doing cases of the week. With the same kind of occasional black humour that Hill St Managed so well it worked. And it was great entertainment for a Thursday night.

The dvd contains the double length pilot episode, plus the twenty single episodes that followed it to make up the first season. The single episodes all run for fifty minutes, the pilot double that length. The season is spread over a total of six discs.

There are no extras.

There are no subtitles.

Thus the only language option is English.

The picture hasn't been restored, by the looks, so the quality of it could be better. And perhaps the same goes for the sound. But it's perfectly watchable. Thus this set gets five stars purely for the fond nostalgia value and the chance to see it all again. If you haven't, give it a try. It's still quality drama.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2014 11:48 AM GMT


The King of Sontar (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures)
The King of Sontar (Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures)
by John Dorney
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 10.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The glory of a Sontaran, 1 Mar 2014
A new Doctor Who audio story. Featuring Tom Baker as the Doctor and Louise Jameson as his companion Leela. This is the start of a new season of audios for them.

This story is entirely stand alone and self contained and does not tie in with any other stories, so casual listeners can hear it without any problem.

The story runs for two episodes, of thirty minutes each [approx.] and is complete on a single cd.

It sees the TARDIS visit a remote base. Which is under the control of a ruthless leader, and where prisoners are being forced to work to aid an experiment. One that threatens all of the universe should it come to fruition.

Even a race who would usually oppose the Doctor want this stopped. Because the base is under the control of the greatest Sontaran ever cloned. A truly deadly foe. How can he be defeated?

Some people have said that the Sontarans have become a joke on the tv show, and aren't taken seriously any more. If you feel this way then you will want to listen to this story. Because this features Strang, a Sontaran who is entirely serious, immensely powerful and a truly excellent foe for the Doctor.

Actor Dan Starkey, who plays Sontarans on TV, voices Strang - among other characters - and as he did in the recent Seventh Doctor Audio 'Starlight Robbery' does some superb acting, making every character sound and act totally different.

Also in the cast is David Collings, best known as Silver in 'Sapphire and Steel' but also veteran of three Doctor who tv stories back in the day. He plays Rosato, a scientist, and turns in a wonderfully three dimensional performance, making him a man of many facets.

The story could have worked on tv at the time. As it features tunnels and running and shouting and shooting, and the Doctor and companion getting separated for a lot of it. But it's not just an action romp as all the supporting characters are so detailed it becomes a solidly character driven tale. And it presents them all with some moral dilemmas.

Leading to a final few scenes that you really won't forget in a hurry.

An excellent release and a great season opener. A highly recommended listen.

There's a trailer for the next release in this run on the cd track after the end of part two.

And just under ten minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the track after that.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2014 11:45 AM GMT


Sky Chasers 3: Flame
Sky Chasers 3: Flame
by Amy Kathleen Ryan
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.03

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Horizons, 26 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sky Chasers 3: Flame (Paperback)
Third and final volume in the 'Sky Chasers' series. A science fiction trilogy for young adult readers. All about two spaceships on their way to colonise a world post the demise of Earth, and the dangers that the teenagers on one vessel face when attacked by the other.

This volume is not a good jumping on point as it continues right from where book two left off, and offers nothing to bring new readers up to speed. They should start with the first book, GLOW (Sky Chasers) instead.

Regular readers, read on.

This volume runs for three hundred and twenty six pages. It's divided into five parts. The last of which is very short. These are further subdivided into shorter chapters.

Following the explosive ending to book two, Waverly and Kieran and Seth all find themselves, via different routes, onboard the New Horizon. The ship of their enemies.

All have very hard choices to make about what to do. And who to trust. Not least because their enemy Anne Mather might not have it all her own way.

Elsewhere in space, unknown to any of them, surprises await...

A relatively short volume compared to some books, but the length of this one is just right. Each of the three main characters are viewpoint characters, and the narrative will switch between them from chapter to chapter. Once again, they all face tremendous moral dilemmas and very difficult trust choices, and the writing keeps you hooked as you will be left desperate to know how things turn out.

You will learn more about life about the New Horizon than before. And a fair few surprises about the ship and the people on board await.

This does bring the series to a close. It resolves all plot strands. And the way the love triangle gets wrapped up is convincing and very well done. And not something you will see coming.

Anne Mather remains an amazingly good villainess, since she is a three dimensional character who firmly believes in what she is doing. This all makes her final scenes in the book very memorable.

This does feature some violence and one bit of strong language, so is best suited for those aged thirteen and over. But it's good enough to be enjoyed by older readers as well.

An excellent end to a superb trilogy.


Thor: The Dark World [DVD] [2013]
Thor: The Dark World [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Chris Hemsworth
Price: 10.00

5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Thor and the elves of evil, 26 Feb 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Another superhero movie from Marvel studios. Sequel to Thor. Set after Avengers Assemble. All of which may slightly confuse anyone who watches it and who hasn't seen those films. But chances are you will have seen those if you watch this. So that won't be a problem.

The dvd:

Has the following language and subtitle options:

Languages: English. Hindi. Tamil. Telegu. It's also English audio described.

Subtitles: English.

It begins with a trailer for forthcoming Marvel movie 'Captain America; The Winter Soldier.' But that can be skipped via the next button on the dvd remote. Said trailer is accessible from the sneak peeks section of the dvd main menu anyhow.

The only extras are a preview of said Captain America film. Which runs for three minutes and is one of those featurettes that has clips from the film along with actors and crew members talking about it. This preview does give one spoiler away - the identity of the Winter Soldier - so if you're not familiar with the character via comics then you may not want to watch this just yet.

The movie:

Loki's locked up. Thor's bringing peace to all the realms. Jane is stuck on Earth pining for him and trying to move on. She finds strange things happening in London. Which all tie in with the return of an ancient evil that seeks to destroy the universe.

To deal with it all, Thor and Loki must team up. Trust issues ensue. Can they work together and save the day?

This, like most blockbuster movies, tries to entertain via mixing action and drama with character moments and humour. In this respect, it's pretty successful. Anthony Hopkins and Rene Russo don't get too much to do but have their moments. The brothers don't have much screen time together till halfway through the film, but there's enough to keep the viewer occupied till then so it's not really a problem.

A lot of the humour does make Thor the straightman in the midst of things going on around him. Chris Hemsworth is pretty good in these moments. He does have a good chemistry with Natalie Portman although her role can be a bit thankless at times. Kat Dennings gets more to do as Darcy this time and once again steals the show. Chris O'Dowd is also good at being humorous without going too far. But doesn't get nearly as much to do.

Christopher Eccleston makes a fine villain in a part that doesn't really stretch him. There's an action finale set piece which benefits from being in a familiar setting and is very well done.

Just don't trust this movie to give you accurate directions for travelling on the London underground though.

Thor will return. A very good final scene does make you want to know what will happen when he does.

An efficient and entertaining blockbuster movie from a studio that are good at making them.

Keep watching during the end credits for two extra scenes. One in the middle, which ties into an upcoming Marvel movie. And one at the very end. Which doesn't set anything up. But is still worth a look.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2014 9:07 PM GMT


Firefly - The Complete Series [DVD] [2003]
Firefly - The Complete Series [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Nathan Fillion
Price: 11.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cowboys and spaceships, 25 Feb 2014
Here's how it was: Back around 2002, riding high on the success of his shows 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' and 'Angel', the Fox network wanted another show from writer/producer Joss Whedon.

He took them an idea called Firefly. A science fiction series. With no aliens. Set in the aftermath of an interplanetary conflict between two groups called the Union and the Alliance, victory for the latter sees Union Veteran Mal Reynolds [Nathan Fillion] as captain of a small Firefly class spaceship called Serenity. He and his crew travel from planet to planet just looking to get by. Often going very close and then some to the edge of the law. Trying to steer clear of the Alliance. Not least because some of those on board have secrets....

It's a science fiction western. With frontier worlds where people get around on horseback, and use six shooters. But there are more than enough elements of genuine science fiction to make it work as such, rather than be what they call 'rayguns and rocketships' [a science fiction story that is just a western transposed into space.]

The aim of firefly was to show characters living like ordinary people. Trying to get a job. Having money worries. And just looking to live.

When the network saw the double length pilot episode, they got cold feet. Not liking the pace and the setting of it.

So they asked for another pilot episode. Of single episode length.

This was made. But the writing was on the wall for Firefly from then on. Pre-empted, rescheduled, and never given a chance, just twelve more episodes were made before the axe fell.

Story arcs involving the mystery of River [Summer Glau] strange girl on the run with her Doctor brother, the constant 'will they won't they' relationship Mal has with Professional companion Inara [Morena Baccarin], and the mysterious past of wise preacher Book [Ron Glass] would seemingly never come to pass. There were also those nasty cannibals called reavers. What was their origin?

Yet while it lasted so briefly, Firefly burned so very bright. And attracted a fan following that prevails to this day. It was genuinely original. And it had a great cast of nine great and well acted characters playing out believable human drama in an interplanetary setting.

This dvd box set contains all episodes, including the two pilots, spread across four discs.

Languages and subtitles are as follows:

Languages: English.

Subtitles; English.

Seven episodes have commentaries from various cast and crew members.

Disc four has a handful of extras:

Here's how it was: an excellent thirty minute long making of documentary which does go into interesting detail about the problems the show faced.

Serenity: the tenth character: a nine minute long look at the main sets and design of the spaceship.

Joss' tour of the set: a quick minute long walk around the sets.

Four deleted scenes. Which come from selected episodes and can only be watched individually. On screen text explains why they were cut. Each is no more than three minutes long.

Alan Tudyk's audition: a minute long video that the actor who played Wash, ship's pilot, made when auditioning for the part.

Gag reel: a four minute long selection of outtakes. With a couple of only for grown ups moments.

Joss sings the Firefly theme: Joss Whedon singing the show's theme whilst playing the guitar, along with the title sequence.

This dvd came out shortly after the show was cancelled, and the extras talk about chances of a revival. Which it did get. In the movie Serenity [DVD] [2005]. But that's another story...
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2014 11:48 AM GMT


Doctor Who: Antidote to Oblivion
Doctor Who: Antidote to Oblivion
by Philip Martin
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Alien austerity programme, 25 Feb 2014
A new Doctor Who audio story. Start of a new trilogy of tales which feature Colin Baker as the Doctor. And see the return of Lisa Greenwood as his companion, streetwise present day London Teenager Philippa 'Flip' Jackson.

This story can be listened to without having heard any previous audios. There are some continuity references to past tales, including one that never got to the screen, but you will doubtless be familiar with all that if you're reading this.

The story runs for four episodes, of thirty two to thirty five minutes in length each [approx.] and is spread across two cd's.

It's set in somewhat near future London. Part of a bankrupt Britain. That needs the money the universal monetary fund can loan it. But it's representative it's the Doctor's old adversary Sil. Who has attached rather strict conditions to the fund's aid.

Trapped in a nightmare laboratory, Flip and the Doctor are about to find out just what they are...

Written by Philip Martin, who wrote the two Sil stories for tv back in the 1980's, this does feel like a story of it's time. In many ways it could quite easily have slotted into the missing story range, with a little bit of a re-write.

Nabil Shaban slips effortlessly back into the role of Sil. The Sixth Doctor is the calmer audio version rather than the brusque tv one of the time. Flip gets some great material and is strong and brave and better written that Peri was back in the day.

There are some gruesome moments and supporting characters who do feel like those seen on tv at the time.

It's a well directed and well presented and very well acted production. But there's just something that doesn't quite come together about it.

Length of episodes is one problem. The first half of part one sees a comedic interlude with the Doctor and Flip on a tranquil planet. It's meant to highlight the difference between their characters. And tries to be funny. But it could easily have been cut down in length.

The future Britain of the story is an interesting creation. But the story then doesn't really know what to do with it. And certain attempts at political satire are a bit painfully obvious.

Too much of this gets stuck in the laboratory. Leaving a potentially interesting subplot about the moral dilemmas facing two locals getting scant attention.

And yet this is a capable listen for the first two parts. But the first halves of parts three and four do feel as if they go off at tangents and also could easily have been edited down. Things do come together at the end of both of them pretty well. But the journey to get to those points could have been shorter.

There are vague hints at a story arc for the trilogy at the end. Which could be quite interesting. But it remains to be seen if they will come to pass.

A very capable production in many ways, but not without it's problems. It has it's moments, but it could be better.

There's eight minutes [approx.] of music from the story on the last two tracks of disc one.

A trailer for the next part of this trilogy on the track after the end of part two on disc two.

And only five minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the track after that. The lack of these means Nabil Shaban doesn't feature. Which does feel a bit of a shame.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 1, 2014 10:30 AM GMT


Panic
Panic
by Lauren Oliver
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 10.39

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who dares wins, 23 Feb 2014
This review is from: Panic (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A new novel from popular young adult writer Lauren Oliver.

This book is a character drama set in the present. With no science fiction or fantasy elements. But with slight elements of thriller and mystery.

It runs for four hundred and eight pages. It is complete and self contained in one volume, and not part of any series or trilogy.

It's divided into various shorter parts - one each for a day on which action in the story takes place - and these are further divided into short chapters. Which switch back and forth between two main viewpoint characters.

Self in town of Carp, a typical backwater town in America, it's the story of what happens there every summer after high school ends. The teens, who live in the kind of place that people just want to get away from in the hope of finding riches or fame or fortune or something better, play a game. Called Panic. Each of them put into a pot of money weeks in advance. A pair of mystery judges then come with a series of dares. The person who does best at them will win the money. Their chance to get out of town.

The two main characters are Heather and Dodge. The former is an ordinary girl with a part time job at a checkout. A younger sister. A girl best friend called Natalie. A male best friend called Bishop. And a totally irresponsible mother.

Dodge is the kind of boy nobody ever looks twice at. Although he wishes Natalie would.

Both are contestants in Panic. Heather for the sake of it. And Dodge because of a secret that he has.

But as the summer goes on, and the games get more dangerous both find their lives changing around them. Do either of them have what it takes to see things through to the end? Or should they?

Recommended reading age of this would be fourteen and up. Since it has characters who drink and smoke - legal and non legal substances - and there are bits of strong language and violence and adult references. It is though a strong enough piece of writing to be enjoyed by older readers as well.

Because Heather and Dodge are hugely sympathetic characters right from the off and you do find yourself caring about them as a result. Everything that then happens comes from character interaction, rather than the needs of the plot. The characters all do interact in totally believable ways. You will find yourself desperate to know what happens to them and worried when it looks as if bad things might.

Which is all a mark of good writing.

Especially when certain scenes will leave you desperate to know what will happen next.

There are many moral lessons, but the narrative - as it should do - never preaches and lets the reader think about the issues involved.

And there are some very good plot surprises to be had along the way as well.

A quality bit of writing, and an exceptionally good read. Well worth a look. Whether you're fourteen. Or older.


Toy Story of Terror [DVD]
Toy Story of Terror [DVD]
Dvd ~ Pixar
Offered by FILMNIGHT
Price: 9.24

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Woody and friends at the Motel of fear, 19 Feb 2014
This review is from: Toy Story of Terror [DVD] (DVD)
Post the release of Toy Story Three, Pixar have produced occasional short cartoons featuring further adventures for the characters. This dvd contains one of those, a twenty minute long Halloween special first released in Autumn 2013.

When Bonnie and her mother go on a trip, she brings Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Trixie, Rex, Mr. Potato Head and Mr. Pricklepants along. Watching an old horror movie during the journey has a different effect on each of them. And reminds us that Jessie's experiences of being boxed up for years have left her very claustrophobic.

Mr. Pricklepants points out all the clichés and common scenes from horror films.

An overnight stopover in a motel sees the toys exploring, and running into trouble. As something stalks them, they might have to be very brave and think fast if they ever want the see Bonnie again..

Spin offs of this kind will often be done on the cheap with different animation and few or none of the original voice cast. That is thankfully not the case here, as the animation is totally up to standard. And all the original voice actors.

It's perfectly paced at twenty minutes, managing to get in some good character humour, some scary moments [a couple of which might be a bit troubling for very young children] and some very good new characters as well.

All in all, it's perfect Toy Story. And it's a lot of fun.

Do keep watching to the very end of the credits as there are extra scenes going on during them.

The disc has no extras.

English is the only option for languages and subtitles. It doesn't even bring up a set up menu, though, because the disc goes straight into the cartoon once loaded and all the copyright screens have cycled through. So you might have trouble getting subtitles to come on.

The disc has a recommended retail price of 5.00. And it is just a twenty minute long cartoon, nothing more nothing less. But it's a really good twenty minutes of new Toy Story material. So I think it's worth five stars.


Luna Romana (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles)
Luna Romana (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles)
by Matt Fitton
Edition: Audio CD
Price: 12.46

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Three Romanas, 18 Feb 2014
Latest Doctor Who companion chronicle. These are a range of talking books which feature an actor who played a companion to the Doctor on tv returning to the role to read an all new adventure for their character.

They do all the voices save one, which is done by a guest actor.

The stories are usually two parters, of roughly thirty minutes each, and complete on a single cd.

This one however slightly breaks the format. Because the seventh release of each season of these has, for a few years now, been a four part story, spread over two cd's.

Luna Romana concludes the 'Quadrigger Stoyn' trilogy. Which began with The Beginning (Doctor Who: The Companion Chronicles) and which has seen the Doctor deal with Stoyn, a man accidentally carried along in the wake of him leaving Gallifrey, at several different points in his timeline.

It's beat to hear the trilogy as a whole, to get the most out of Luna Romana, so casual listeners may slightly struggle with this one if they haven't heard the Beginning.

Luna Romana was originally written to feature both Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward, who played the two different incarnations of the time lady we saw on tv. But unfortunately Mary Tamm's passing put paid to those plans.

So the story has been re-written somewhat, in order for it to go ahead and also act as a tribute to her.

The narration is split between Lalla Ward and Juliet Landau [Who played Drusilla in the tv show 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer']. She plays a future incarnation of Romana - thus reprising a role she performed in a recent 'Gallifrey' audio. Her half of the story sees this future Romana reflecting on things and remembering a certain incident from her travels with the fourth doctor.

Terry Molloy, one time Davros on the tv show, once again plays Quadrigger Stoyn.

The story, once the future Romana gets into it, sees her first self and the Doctor on the quest for the key to time. Their search brings them to ancient Rome. Where the Doctor is more interested in watching a play. Romana sets out to find the segment herself, and meets a strange man.

That's episode one.

In part two, the second Romana [Lalla Ward] and the Fourth Doctor also find themselves in Ancient Rome. A somewhat different version. Their encounter with Stoyn there causes problems that could threaten the entire universe. And it will need more than one Gallifreyan to save the day...

There's something quite appealing from the off about the voice Juliet Landau does for Romana, all very refined young British upper class. Because it somewhow seems to channel the character as portrayed by Mary Tamm and Lalla Ward. Given that she also does voices for other characters such as the first Romana, it's some good acting. But her tones are very gentle. Thus plus the first part being thirty nine minutes long means it feels a bit overlong and languid, and you do need to work at it hard in order for it to keep your attention.

The second episode, with the second Romana, feels much pacier from the off [it's just over thirty minutes] and also very much a part of it's era. Without ever getting as silly as some might say that season did.

Things then start to come together, and the story does use the notion of time travel to it's fullest, everything interacting in a very clever manner. Thus you will really need to pay attention to keep track of it.

Even so, the segments with the second Romana do just somehow remain stronger than the others.

It does some interesting things with the Stoyn character, but he never becomes the out and out villain he could have. And this stops him from being the major threat that perhaps the trilogy needed. And yet the script does acknowledge the fact in a decent manner.

Part four wraps all the time twisting plotting up very well. But then It really becomes very memorable thanks to the epiphanies that this range will often have characters go through being very memorable and very touching indeed.

As a tribute to the first Romana, and thus Mary Tamm, this is superb and it will stick with you for a while.

So this, and the trilogy as a whole, are perhaps not all they could have been. But this does have a lot to recommended it and it is worth a listen.

There are none of the usual interviews with cast and crew. The only extra is a trailer for the next in this range, which can be found on the last track of disc two.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 20, 2014 6:31 AM GMT


A Beautiful Friendship (Star Kingdom (Quality))
A Beautiful Friendship (Star Kingdom (Quality))
by David Weber
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.15

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars When Stephanie met Climbs Quickly, 16 Feb 2014
A spin off from the popular 'Honor Harrington' series of military science fiction novels, this is the first in a new series. Aimed at younger readers.

Ideal reading age would be ten and up. But it is good enough to be enjoyed by older readers as well.

This series isn't military science fiction. More rite of passage adventure, and it does hark back somewhat to the style that writers like Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein used back in their day when they produced books aimed at a younger audience. The kind of thing that does act as a good entry level to the genre.

This book runs for three hundred and fifty two pages, and is divided into two parts. The second longer than the first. It's further divided into twenty nine chapters.

It is the kind of series book that feels self contained but contains enough room for further adventures by the end.

And you don't need to have read any of the Honor Harrington novels to read this.

Set on the planet of Sphinx, which is very much a frontier world, the main character is twelve year old Stephanie Harrington. A very smart girl who doesn't quite fit in with other kids because they can't keep up with her, she's frustrated by having had to move to this world, a place where winters can last for a fair while. And where she can't explore on her own because dangerous beasts known as Hexapumas can be found in the woods.

Meantime, something else seems to be stealing celery from local farms.

That would be another native species. A feline like one, who are highly intelligent, communicate via telepathy, and have a taste for a certain human crop. One of their species, called Climbs Quickly, is observing humans.

A close encounter between the two leads to a first contact like no other...

The first part of this 'a Beatiful friendship' will be familiar to those who have read the Honor series because it is a reprint of a novella published in one of the writers short story collections. But it is a very good story, so it's a pleasure to read it again.

Where it works so well is showing what communication is like when two people can't speak the same language. Even though both parties are perfectly intelligent, they will seem so very alien to the other. And yet they will often share the same instincts.

In a similar vein, Stephanie and her parents can't always communicate either, so it will strike a chord with many of the target age group.

The second part is original material but does reference a short story called 'the stray' also to be found in another of the writers collections. There is enough material about this as it goes on to mean that you don't need to have read it in order to get into this, so don't be worried if it seems confusing at first. This part deals what happens after first contact, as Stephanie has a lot to contend with and has to decide who to trust. It does seem to zip along without any firm direction but it's all convincing and very readable, so it's enjoyable enough. It then does throw in a situation to deal with, and this leads to a good finale in the last few chapters.

Good prose. An amiable pair of main characters who will strike a chord with many. It's good science fiction. Whether you're ten or much older.

There's a glossary of terms from the book at the end, and a sample few pages from the next book in the series after that.


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