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Steve Gardiner "Bruin" (Newcastle, UK)

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The A. Merritt Megapack: 19 Classic Novels and Stories
The A. Merritt Megapack: 19 Classic Novels and Stories
Price: £0.37

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great old-fashioned fantasy, 22 May 2014
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This is fantastic! I read the novels by Abraham Merritt about forty years ago, and still have a couple of the paperbacks. But to have everything in a collection for 36p! The stories are in the pulp tradition, but are a cut above the usual standard, with vivid storytelling and half-decent characterisation. Thanks to the Wildside Press for yet another superb Megapack collection! Highly recommended.


Mindbridge (Gollancz SF collector's edition)
Mindbridge (Gollancz SF collector's edition)
Price: £3.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A classic SF tale - but..., 17 May 2014
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This is one of my favourite Haldeman novels, along with Forever War and Forever Peace. A strong character study of a flawed and conflicted faced with extraordinary dilemmas, It was inevitable that I would buy this as an e-book, It's one of those books you like to read every year or two, just to remind yourself how good it is.

HOWEVER:

I should point out that as usual with the Gollancz / Gateway e-books, this is absolutely riddled with OCR errors. I find it shocking that a respected name such as Gollancz should allow this level of sloppiness, but it happens time after time. I buy a lot of e-books, and this is absolutely the worst publisher. The Megapacks (by Wildside Press) you can buy on Amazon for as little as 37p have gone through far more thorough proofreading!

Please, Gollancz / Gateway, employ a proofreader for your e-books! (I'm available at very low rates!)


Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two
Sleeping In Traffic: Part Two
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Retro-prog, 14 Feb 2014
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Beardfish have always been an impressive band of excellent musicians who've enjoyed plundering the styles of 70s proggers; Yes, Genesis, Gentle Giant, with a touch of Frank Zappa and King Crimson. This however, is a breakout album where they've really found their own voice - you can still hear echoes of the other bands but Beardfish are firmly in control and enjoying themselves.. They've even included a 36 minute epic which out-epics most other bands!

The main difference with this album is that all the chord changes, tempo shifts, dazzling solos, hang together and make sense, Past works, while technically very impressive (and I still like them a lot) are a little more random and less expressive.

It's an album that requires repeated listenings; you can miss a lot the first few times and can only appreciate over time. But there's enough immediacy to make the repeat visits a pleasure. Highly recommended.


Wonderous - a Tribute to Yes
Wonderous - a Tribute to Yes
Offered by westcott_mailorder
Price: £2.99

2.0 out of 5 stars A misnomer..., 13 Feb 2014
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This tribute album by Wakeman's second son Adam (who has inherited not only his father's facility with keyboards, but also, more distressingly, his very, very long hair) trawls through the back-catalogue of Yes, and manages some reasonably accurate but completely uninspired rehashings of:

1. Revealing Science Of God (7:58)
2. Long Distance Runaround (3:25)
3. America (10:00)
4. Roundabout (8:20)
5. Going For The One (5:21)
6. Owner Of A Lonely Heart (4:24)
7. And You And I (8:48)
8. Wonderous Stories (3:49)
9. Awaken (6:11)

Rick Wakeman also features on a couple of tracks (not sure why) and replicates his arpeggios with some aplomb. Judy Tzuke is one of the guest vocalists, and her voice fits nicely with the material. Sadly, the other vocalists aren't up the job. The bass is strangely muted, which given that Chris Squire's pounding bass is such an integral part of Yes, hampers this album even more. The guitar work is no more than competent, and really suffers by comparison with Steve Howe.,

So, if you want to hear 9 classic tracks by the formidable group Yes, please buy the appropriate Yes albums! This is a vastly inferior and redundant effort - if you are into tribute albums, try "Tales From Yesterday", which features much better singers and musicians, and isn't simply a slavish copy of the originals...


Fringe: The Complete Series [DVD] [2013]
Fringe: The Complete Series [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ Anna Torv
Price: £42.75

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fringeworthy, 12 Feb 2014
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For quite a long time, TV executives had been trying for a while to find a new X-Files, capturing the public's imagination and showing that the truth is out there. Fringe outdoes the X-Files - the truth is WAY out there, in alternate universes.

What starts out as a slightly mutated police procedural with added mad scientist, and "mystery-of-the-week"-style episodes. develops into a seriously convoluted story arc, with the plot flitting between the two main universes and their inhabitants (the same but different). More science fiction than the X-Files, but with plenty to satisfy horror fans; JJ Abrams is a very clever man; he knows what the public wants.

This is a series that rarely hits a bum note, and unlike Lost actually has a satisfactory conclusion,. Highly recommended.


James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty": A garden path short story
James Thurber's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty": A garden path short story
Price: £7.47

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars 23 pages for £7.47??, 14 Dec 2013
Amazon, you really need to remove this travesty from your site. This doesn't even include the (excellent) short story by James Thurber! I'm sure the author has produced a decent enough dissertation about "garden path stories", but to try to sell it commercially at such a price is at best unacceptable.


PROFESSOR CHALLANGER: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
PROFESSOR CHALLANGER: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION
Price: £0.77

3.0 out of 5 stars CHALLANGER??, 13 Dec 2013
Hmmm - doesn't bode well for the proofreading if they can't even get the character's name right on the title page!


Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
Price: £5.31

130 of 141 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Different, but still Discworld, 14 Nov 2013
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The majority of the negative reviews on here - in particular the WONDERFUL review by A Nailor - kudos to you, that is the best review I've read on Amazon - aren't entirely wrong. I can completely understand why people are saying that the language, the characterisation, the plotting are all slightly... well, off. This has been true to a greater or lesser extent of all his novels since Monstrous Regiment, and may be (I'm really not sure) a result of Terry having to accommodate the use of speech recognition software in dictation of the novels. Certainly, they are very different animals from the earlier novels, which are much easier to read and full of snappy dialogue and splendid jokes.

So why am I giving this 5 stars? I certainly struggled through the first hundred pages, and felt my heart sinking more and more at the long and convoluted sentences, and the rather jarring scenes which seemed to have little to do with the plot.

But then, something just clicked. I slowed down my reading (and in fact went back to the beginning and reread it with a different mindset). Yes, it's not the same old Discworld, but underneath that it is still the product of the superb mind of Terry Pratchett. It took a lot of effort, but I could see what he was doing, and began to appreciate it. The humour is still there, if not so obvious and instantly accessible.

There's less overt magic, which as a fantasy addict I regret, but this is a grown-up Discworld, where magic is gradually giving way to the increasing industrialisation of Ankh-Morpork.

Do I miss the old Pratchett? Yes, of course. But this is a new phase in the developing world, and I'm glad that Terry Pratchett is still giving us valuable new insights into human (and other species) behaviour. Long may he continue to do so!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 6, 2014 1:37 AM GMT


The Ray Cummings Megapack: 25 Golden Age Science Fiction and Mystery Tales
The Ray Cummings Megapack: 25 Golden Age Science Fiction and Mystery Tales
Price: £0.37

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good old-fashioned fun, 13 Oct 2013
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Having read a couple of Ray Cummings' short stories in the past, I was intrigued to pick up this Megapack. As usual, it's incredibly good value at 34p for 26 novels and short stories, including his most famous work, The Girl in the Golden Atom. This is based on the notion that each atom of our world contains its own self-contained universe. This was a thrilling idea which possibly inspired Richard Matheson's novel The Shrinking Man (later the film The Incredible Shrinking Man). Beyond that, it's a basic adventure / hidden world story, and quite entertaining. Other stories in the Kindle edition were of a good to excellent standard, if at times a little repetitive. Possibly the stand-out tale was The White Invaders, written in 1931, telling the story of the fight against, not aliens, but humans from a different dimension. It is tense, well detailed, and exciting.
As always with the Megapacks, the formatting and proofreading is excellent, with active links to individual stories.

Recommended.


The Tom Corbett Space Cadet Megapack: 10 Classic Young Adult Sci-Fi Novels
The Tom Corbett Space Cadet Megapack: 10 Classic Young Adult Sci-Fi Novels
Price: £0.36

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly dated but fun, 13 Sep 2013
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I had never heard of Tom Corbett before looking through the usually excellent Megapack series by Wildside Press. I had however read the Kemlo series (not yet available from Wildside but I'm hoping) which was a similar set of children's novels from the 50s. They are really dated, scientifically completely inaccurate even for the 1950s, rather sexist, and yet are daftly entertaining.

The Megapack includes 7 of the 8 novels written under the pseudonym Carey Rockwell (there are copyright issues regarding the eighth), plus three bonus early space-opera novels by Blake Savage, Andre Norton and and Donald A. Wollheim - all for 38p!

Given that this is such a cheap buy, I'm impressed at the proofreading and formatting; they put the Gollanz/Gateway ebooks to shame. The Gateway Kindle books are riddled with OCR errors, and seem rarely to be proofread at all, often for more than ten times the price of this series. The few errors there are in this (and all the other Megapacks I've read) don't detract from your enjoyment.

So if you want a real blast-from-the-past which will keep you chortling for many hours, this is recommended.


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