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legslikeaspider (Glasgow, Scotland)

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Cryptonomicon
Cryptonomicon
by Neal Stephenson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding techno-thriller-action-romance-scifi epic!, 15 Mar. 2009
This review is from: Cryptonomicon (Paperback)
I get frustrated sometimes when I see Stephenson's work hidden away in the sci-fi section of bookstores. This book is only sci-fi in the sense that it deals with scientific subjects in a fictional manner. There are no lasers, robots or spaceships here.

Its a long book, but I have read it three times and been delighted by something on every page each time. The length of the book allows you to get to know the characters very well and you feel closely acquainted with all the main protagonists by the end. There are at least three, if not four major plotlines, each of which are meaty enough to merit a book in their own right in Cryptonomicon. I find myself in total awe of the way Stephenson brings all the plotlines together and creates symmetry between them. In this book you will see a master writer at the peak of his powers. The book is exciting, funny and tragic and has something powerful to say about the daftness of war and the best way to do business. Buy it, I command you.


An Ice-cream War
An Ice-cream War
by William Boyd
Edition: Paperback

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars not as good as some of his other work, 24 Nov. 2008
This review is from: An Ice-cream War (Paperback)
William Boyd is probably my favourite author at the moment. This is one of his earliest novels and if I wasn't aware of the incredibly high standard of some his later work (Restless is one of the 10 best books I have read) then I would have given this one 5 stars. The absurdity of war is described really well and especially the complete incompetence of the generals leading the British military during the first world war - for example a troop ship is instructed to drop anchor for 16 days just one nautical mile out of its departure port while it awaits the formation of a convoy. I also found the book highly educational - I had not been aware of the details of the campaign in East Africa and from what I can see, Boyd did his research thoroughly. A humbling, thought provoking book. Buy it.


Football Against The Enemy
Football Against The Enemy
by Simon Kuper
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not as good as I'd hoped, 24 Nov. 2008
Given that this book won a major award, I had high hopes for a well-crafted exploration of the relationship between football and politics and perhaps a bit of travelogue-type writing thrown in there too. The book certainly covers these bases well but is just a little dull. The author is the only one I have read who has managed to downplay the intensity of a Rangers-Celtic derby. He also failed to expound properly on the relationship between a national team's playing style and the national character. That said, he describes some memorable encounters and writes in a quite enjoyable manner.


A Fire Upon The Deep (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
A Fire Upon The Deep (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Vernor Vinge
Edition: Paperback

3 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars turgid, terrible, total claptrap, 24 Nov. 2008
Vinge may well have some wonderful ideas up his sleeve and I suppose one can see how ahead of its time this book was when it was first written. The depiction of the alien races was potentially incredibly interesting and thought provoking while the fight against the blight could have been epically exciting. However, I must confess that I absolutely hated this book. It took an age to get going - at least 200 pages and Vinge has the most opaque, verbose and frankly stupefying writing style of just about any author I have ever read. I think it shows that Vinge is an academic and not a writer first and foremost. I found the book rather dull and earnest, certainly very worthy but on the whole, rather drab like a university lecture. I found myself longing for the witty, self-deprecating style of Iain M Banks. I imagine that his version of the same story would be half as long, far more easy to read and accessible to the ordinary reader. I feel sorry for those posters who say that this is the best book that they have ever read as they have obviously denied themselves the work of so many wonderful authors. This book gets a big thumbs down from me which makes me sad because it came so highly recommended.
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