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Profile for Ian Hocking > Reviews

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Europe at Midnight
Europe at Midnight
by Dave Hutchinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book, 28 Nov. 2015
This review is from: Europe at Midnight (Paperback)
An excellent follow-up, full of twisty plot, intriguing characters and wide ranging science-fiction ideas. Requires some attention but worth it. Halfway through, I thought this might be the closest I'll get to a new Douglas Adams.


The Last Pilot
The Last Pilot
Price: £6.47

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not the years, it's the mileage, 30 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Last Pilot (Kindle Edition)
I've read that Ben was working on this book for several years, and it shows. From the level of the sentence right up to the arc of the story, it's a very tight piece of writing. Added to that great characterisation, an exciting backdrop (super-Mach test-flights, astronaut training), along with a compelling family story, and you've a book that's difficult to criticise. Some of the particularly impressive things: accurate (as far as I can tell) representation of aeronautics and rocketry; accurate American English (I'm British, but it reads OK to me); and a great mixture of the poetic and prosaic in the text. The whole thing is very Carver-like (though, apparently, the author hasn't read Carver - he should!), which, coming from a Carver fan, is no small praise.

Basically, I'm suggesting - strongly - you read this book.


All That Outer Space Allows: Volume 4 (Apollo Quartet)
All That Outer Space Allows: Volume 4 (Apollo Quartet)
by Ian Sales
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If the previous novellas were the hop and skip, this is the jump, 30 July 2015
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I've written reviews for each book in the Apollo Quartet and given them 5-stars, so you won't be surprised by the rating on this one. If the previous novellas were the hop and skip, this is the jump. It takes off in a direction that is a little postmodern (often a dodgy sign), but in Ian Sales's hands it works well. What you have here is a character-driven, beautifully realised slice of a woman's life where the 'what might have been' elements are represented by her parallel life as a science fiction author. Great connections to/reflections of the other books in the series. Again, top drawer stuff; ambitious; shows care over its sentences. Nothing not to like.


Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above: Volume 3 (Apollo Quartet)
Then Will The Great Ocean Wash Deep Above: Volume 3 (Apollo Quartet)
by Ian Sales
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling third instalment, 28 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An excellent third instalment in one of the most interesting SF series of recent years. In this story, we switch between an alternative reality in which female astronauts have seriously considered and one in which a deep-sea submersible is tasked with retrieving lost footage from a spy satellite. Like the previous two instalments, this one is fairly short, but pitch-perfect in its research, and compelling in the way it tells a story. There is, as you can imagine, a lot of uncomfortably sexist situations for the astronauts to cope with...and I'll say no more without wishing to spoil the story.

An excellent read; short, sharp; proper SF, proper writing.


The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself (Apollo Quartet Book 2)
The Eye With Which The Universe Beholds Itself (Apollo Quartet Book 2)
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Top drawer, 26 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Another cracking instalment in the quartet. In this one, a retired astronaut, and the first man on Mars, is sent on a secret mission to Phaeton Base—an outpost on a faraway planet.

Like the first in the series, this is hard SF, which, to my mind, just means ‘good’. Sales has done his homework but doesn’t beat you over t'head with it; it just creates a sense that what you’re reading has a depth appropriate to its scale.

The story reminded me very much of the Heywood-Floyd-comes-to-Tycho episode of 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s really just a journey…but what a journey.

An oustanding work of SF, and a very high bar for other writers of science fiction.


Adrift on the Sea of Rains (Apollo Quartet Book 1)
Adrift on the Sea of Rains (Apollo Quartet Book 1)
Price: £2.25

5.0 out of 5 stars Quality stuff, 24 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The first book in this quartet sets the tone nicely: a disaffected astronaut, one of several, is marooned on the moon, and the only hope of returning to Earth lies in a strange device called a torsion field generator.

This story is short, but beautifully written and immaculatively researched. You still get a lot of bang for your buck. Sales sets up some wonderful resonances - but I won’t spoil it for you.

Overall, a great read, and exactly the kind of science fiction I’d like to spend my time reading: accessible, ambitious, genuine, and thoroughly researched.


Expower(R) NFC Water Resistant Wireless FM Radio Bluetooth Shower Speaker with Suction Cup and Hands-Free Speakerphone for Iphone6 6Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note4 and all Smart Device with Bluetooth (Black)
Expower(R) NFC Water Resistant Wireless FM Radio Bluetooth Shower Speaker with Suction Cup and Hands-Free Speakerphone for Iphone6 6Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note4 and all Smart Device with Bluetooth (Black)

4.0 out of 5 stars Good value, basic speaker, 8 July 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A good product; certainly an improvement over an earlier version of the same device (which seemed to have battery issues). No issues with this one, though the strange lady who speaks during the pairing process surprised me the first time! Also, a bit of a background hum when playing audio.


Tech Corp Mini Ultra Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Speakers with Suction Cup for Showers Bathroom - Blue
Tech Corp Mini Ultra Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Wireless Stereo Speakers with Suction Cup for Showers Bathroom - Blue
Offered by petty commodities
Price: £4.75

2.0 out of 5 stars so that pretty much every time I want to use it, 20 Jun. 2015
This has always lost power from one week to the next, so that pretty much every time I want to use it, it's without power. I might have a faulty unit, but I'd advise you not to buy this model.


Nexus: Nexus ARC Book 1
Nexus: Nexus ARC Book 1
by Ramez Naam
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.62

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, fun debut, 6 April 2015
There's a lot to like about this book. It zips along, uses credible scientific language, and emphasises entertainment. I thoroughly enjoyed. On the negative sides, there are some longish sections were the reader is given 'infodumps' (I didn't mind when these were presented as 'briefing' chapters, but the scenes where characters are just exchanging information do go on a bit), and there are some proofreading/formatting problems (inconsistent italics, misplaced spaces), but these are certainly outweighed. A fast-paced, fun read, with some interesting projections about our electro-neuro future.


Gale Force 10: The Life and Legacy of Admiral Beaufort
Gale Force 10: The Life and Legacy of Admiral Beaufort
by Nicholas Courtney
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Well written and researched, 22 Mar. 2015
This was a thoroughly enjoyable and accessible book about one of the most interesting characters from the golden age of the Royal Navy.


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