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Mr Pottermack's Oversight (Dr. Thorndyke)
Mr Pottermack's Oversight (Dr. Thorndyke)
by Richard Austin Freeman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A good place to start the Thorndyke stories, 31 Aug. 2015
This is a great place to start reading R. Austin Freeman’s Dr Thorndyke stories. Although a chap called Holmes remains the greatest fictional detective, Thorndyke is the greatest – certainly most convincing -- of the scientific detectives. The inventor of the field of “medical jurisprudence” Thorndyke’s meticulous approach to solving crimes is highly convincing, without being in any sense dull. This is one of his “inverted mystery” stories (like TV’s Columbo) where the reader is shown the crime taking place, then gets to follow the great detective as he sifts the clues. Mr Pottermack’s story is a classic both as a detective story, and as an example of the adage that, ‘if you are in a hole, you really should stop digging’.
Freeman was great at writing characters, from the protagonists in the crime, to his friend Jervis, and his factotum Polton. The one person who remains somewhat shadowy is Thorndyke himself, which may be why no successful dramatisation of these great stories has been produced.
Highly recommended.


Panic in Paris
Panic in Paris
by Jules Lermina
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Back to the beginning of French SF, 27 Jun. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Panic in Paris (Paperback)
If Brian Stableford’s only contribution to SF had been the Hooded Swan series of space operas published in the 70s, he would still be worthy of high regard by the genre. He has published much fiction since then, but it is only recently I have come across his epic efforts in translating French SF, especially from the earliest days. It turns out there is a heck of a lot more to early French SF that Verne! The French Science Fiction collection now runs to well over 100 elegantly translated books.
“Panic in Paris” (originally titled “Frightening Adventure”) is a great place to start. It starts with the mystery of a dead English boxer found in Paris, and ends with monsters rampaging through Paris. I’m not giving much in the way of spoilers out – the cover shows various monsters on a spree decades before Godzilla stomped his first city. The translation is highly engaging, and a lot of fun with some great characters, not least the British policeman, Mr. Bobby.
The paperbacks are quite expensive, as POD products, but they are very good quality. They are all available in Kindle, including a number of titles that aren’t (yet) out in paperback.
Highly recommended.


Van der Graaf Generator - The Book
Van der Graaf Generator - The Book
Price: £11.21

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No photos in the Kindle edition, 27 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I would agree with the many comments about the written content of the book. I learned a lot about the band, and their various musical offshoots. However, I have a big problem with the Kindle edition - it doesn't contain any of the photographs mentioned by other reviewers, such as "Mark". This is disappointing, so, regretfully, minus two stars. An updated edition, with the photographs, would be appreciated.


Stand On Zanzibar (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Stand On Zanzibar (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Price: £5.99

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just some comments on the Kindle edition, 21 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
At long last out in Kindle format, SoZ is one of the pinnacles of SF and I don't intend to comment on the writing here, other than to give the deserved 5 stars. I do want to say something about the adaptation to Kindle - which has worked very well. The original paper book is quite heavily formatted, with a number of sections in double columns, for example. SF Gateway evidently spent a lot of time getting the formatting to work as an electronic book, and they have done a great job. Many Kindle books are sloppily formatted, with footnotes and even tables of contents not working, this is not the case here and this is an example of the care that should be taken. Well done SF Gateway - an example to many other publishers.


The Library (Short Reads)
The Library (Short Reads)
Price: £0.98

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Just one story . . ., 2 Jan. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
And a new introduction. The introduction is quite well done, even if the editor seems unaware that the Hazel Heald story was in fact a very substantial revision by HP Lovecraft, so substantial that most people would class it as one of HPL's own stories. Other single stories from issue one of this famous anthology have also been released in this truncated format, making a costly way of collecting the whole thing. The "Pan Book of Horror" has many fond memories, I would hope that a proper version of the series will appear in Kindle format, and at a reasonable price.

The single story included is quite good, but little more than an appetiser.


Kingston Technology 1GB Secure Digital Card
Kingston Technology 1GB Secure Digital Card

63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Couriers are rubbish, 31 Dec. 2006
I agree strongly with Rakesh Joshi's comments about Amazon's increasing use of couriers. These companies are all, so far as I can tell, staffed by incompetent clowns who care nothing for the customer. Royal Mail is a much better bet, why won't Amazon let customers opt always have their products delivered by RM?


Nektar - Nektar Live 2002 [DVD]
Nektar - Nektar Live 2002 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Nektar

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nektar triumph despite the editing, 17 Mar. 2003
A long-awaited release that manages to triumph despite poor editing and photography.
After a twenty odd-year hiatus, progressive rock legends Nektar reformed in 2002 and played a hugely successful show at the nearFEST festival in Trenton, New Jersey. Though largely unknown in the UK even at their peak, Nektar had a big following in on the American East coast, and the show sold out in 45 minutes. Synthesiser pioneer Larry Fast, percussionist Scott Kretz, and vocalists Maureen McInty and Michelle Eckert were added to the band for this special event. Off-stage, Mick Brockett recreated his famous Liquid Light show. Despite only two weeks rehearsal, the band played a flawless set, featuring many of their classic tracks such as "Remember the Future" and "Recycled". By all accounts, they were received rapturously by the audience, gaining standing ovations after every song. Sadly, the camera failed to pick up on the audience enthusiasm - one of many production mistakes.
Incredibly, the editor chose not to show the historical moment when Nektar stepped back on stage, preferring for some unknown reason to show a pointless computer graphic instead. This set the trend for the early part of the show. There were some nice old black and white movies of the band capering like figures in an animated LS Lowry painting. But these surely should have been kept back as extras, not superimposed over the concert footage? As so it went on. During "Nellie the Elephant" (which is not the song you think it is!) we are treated to -- you guessed it - a flying, computer generated elephant. In general, the editing was poor with the camera lingering on band members (especially the back-up singers) when they weren't actually doing anything.
As the show progressed the editing improved, and the pointless graphics disappeared allowing the band to shine without distraction. And shine they did. This was truly a glorious concert and, despite my comments, this is an essential buy for fans of real music, and I'll be first in line to buy the second DVD, which includes the complete "Remember the Future", and is due out soon.


The Collected Stories Of Arthur C. Clarke
The Collected Stories Of Arthur C. Clarke
by Arthur C. Clarke
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brillinat, but not quite complete, 1 Aug. 2001
I concur with your previous reviewer's comments on this marvellous and indispensible collection. However, this isn't quite a complete set of ACC's short stories. It is a compliation of previous collections. As such there are a few stories missing, which is a bit of a pity. One which springs to mind is his HP Lovecraft pastiche "At the Mountains of Murkiness", recently published in the Robert M Price edited "The Antarktos Cycle".


Njal's Saga (Classics)
Njal's Saga (Classics)
by M. Magnusson
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic saga, 13 Dec. 2000
Njal's Saga is probably the best introduction to the great body of literature that is the Icelandic Sagas. Magnus Magnusson and Hermann Palsson's translation adds greatly to the reader's enjoyment.
I would tend to disagree with Amazon's review that suggests it portrays a "grim world in which justice means vengeance and all men are either lucky or doomed". The saga of Njal and his family drives the narrative forward, but the really important issues are political and religious. At the start of the saga Iceland is still a country "without laws", and the old gods are still worshipped. In those days, men were (as it were) men, and bloody vengance is a recurring theme. During Njal's life the country moves towards an organised government, with a written legal code. Running parallel to these political developments, is the introduction of Christianity to Iceland.
That may make the story sound a bit dry, I assure you it isn't -- the ancient, unknown writer (with some help from Magnus and Hermann) weaves a fascinating story.


Space Patrol: Volume 1 [VHS] [1963]
Space Patrol: Volume 1 [VHS] [1963]
VHS

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engage Yobba Rays!, 5 Dec. 2000
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
On the 7th of April 1963 I was given an early eight birthday present with the first broadcast of the new ITV puppet series "Space Patrol". Gosh, I was pleased! There had been rumours that this series was going to be something special. I remember being told that it was by the same people who made "Four Feather Falls", which was an old favourite of mine. Of course, being (nearly) eight, I didn't really appreciate the niceties of who the producer and director was. But the show was brilliant, and became an immediate favourite.
It's a long time ago but I can still vividly remember being mesmerised by the weird, unearthly opening tune (eat you heart out Ron Grainger!). Then there was the opening shot of a boiling, blazing sun (complete with solar flares), quickly giving way to the whirling, mysterious Galasphere wending its way through the Solar system.
Though the show relied on relatively few sets, the ones they used were superb - especially for the time. The signature shot of the view downwards as a Galasphere takes off from United Galactic Organisation HQ, was still fresh in my mind when watching the videos nearly three decades later.
Roberta Leigh, who created, wrote and directed the show, was keen to be as scientifically accurate as possible. To that end she consulted with Colin Ronan, who was then Vice President of the British Astronomical Society. This made the shows seem wonderfully authoritative to me at the time. I was For example, rather than just taking off and arriving "moments" later, the space travellers went into suspended animation to make their journeys. As a dedicated reader of "Look and Learn", I was well impressed with this accuracy. Of course, they didn't get everything right, as episode titles such as "The Swamps of Jupiter" suggest. In fact most planets were rather Earth-like but, I think we can put this down to dramatic reasons, rather than laziness.
"Space Patrol" was populated by a rich cast of "real" (for a puppet show) characters. The main "star" was Captain Larry Dart, normally accompanied by his trusty sidekicks the Martian Rusty (probably the first person ever to have a gelled-up, spiky haircut), and the Venusian Slim. Perhaps my favourite character was the Martian parrot Gabbladictum who was taught to speak English by Professor Haggerty, who was a bit of a stereotype (begoraah!).
So how well has the series stood up after nearly 30 years? The answer is very well indeed. This is probably down to the strength of its stores. Despite being a 27 year old kid's puppet show (and in black and white), "Space Patrol" is still hugely entertaining viewing.
So, "Engage Yobba Rays!" and buy the videos.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 31, 2010 11:44 AM GMT


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