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The Wintersmith Tour:  In Collaboration With Sir Terry Pratchett [DVD] [2015]
The Wintersmith Tour: In Collaboration With Sir Terry Pratchett [DVD] [2015]
Dvd ~ Steeleye Span
Price: £11.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Maddy looks awful and poor Terry so old and frail, 13 April 2016
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not enough tracks from the Wintersmith album. Maddy looks awful and poor Terry so old and frail.


A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-fiction
A Slip of the Keyboard: Collected Non-fiction
Price: £4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Roundworld mourns but Discworld is still there for us to enjoy., 17 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We feel that we know Pterry through his fiction. Here's the confirmation in warm, witty and, later, angry prose.


The Diviners: Number 1 in series
The Diviners: Number 1 in series
by Libba Bray
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Flapper Buffy!, 14 April 2014
It's the cat's pajamas! I love the authentic feel of the twenties slang. It's like Flapper Buffy with Unc as Giles and Theta, Mabel and the boys as the Scooby Gang. More please, Libba.


Wintersmith (In Collaboration with Terry Pratchett)
Wintersmith (In Collaboration with Terry Pratchett)
Price: £12.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant fusion of two of my favourite creative people, 19 Nov. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Lovely stuff, made me want to read all the Tiffany Aching books again. So chuffed to know that Pterry is a Steeleye fan.


Dodger
Dodger
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.19

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Why isn't it set in Discworld?, 1 Oct. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dodger (Paperback)
Okay, everyone should know by now that I am a huge Terry Pratchett fan. But I was rather underwhelmed by his new book. Dodger is the second non-Discworld YA novel but its similar boy/girl dynamic makes it feel like a re-run of Nation in different costumes. There are Discworldy things which feel more like a nod for form's sake ("kick him inna fork"), but its biggest problem is that it isn't a DW novel.

Given that it is set in a grimy city with a colorful but plucky underclass, through which a noisome river runs-- or rather oozes--what made Pterry decide that it was going to be London rather than Ankh-Morpork? Was it really just to people it with comic versions of Charles Dickens et al, who only bring to mind Charles Darwin et al in The Pirates in an Adventure with Scientists. (As I was reading, I was picturing most of the characters as animated much in that style.) Surely not... he's no slouch at insinuating them into DW. Nobody has any doubts about who the originals for Leonard of Quirm and Bloody Stupid Johnson are.

And no-one thinks that DW is "only" a fantasy world. But what it is, is a place that is a character, and one which has endeared itself to Pterry's fans over the past thirty years; so it seems rather perverse to set a tale in Not-Ankh-Morpork-Pretending-Not-Very-Convincingly-To-Be-London when all it lacks is C.M.O.T. Dibbler and the odd dwarf or werewolf. If C.M.O.T. Dibbler had turned up I wouldn't have been surprised but he would have had more substance than most of the characters.

I can't be the only fan wondering why Pterry went down this route, which could have benefited greatly from having been built on many crusty layers of Ankh-Morpork. Instead, this London has no such layers: it is a TV set of wonky cutouts splashed with the paintballs of period detail beloved of film-makers who have a shallow little story to try and flesh out. For it is a shallow story, with shallow characterization. Dodger, the Lovable Rogue (not all that lovable really), is a bit of a Mary Sue, and so to a different extent is his mentor Solomon. Simplicity, the Rescued Damsel, is well-named: she doesn't even have the depth of Nation`s heroine, and that is particularly disappointing as Pterry is usually good with female characters.

The solution to the characters' dilemma is rather more distasteful than ingenious, and I can't help feeling that an Ankh-Morpork urchin would have come up with something with more flair, perhaps aided by Gaspode rather than the doubtfully-named and mutely noisome dog Onan. (IS that a joke? Really?)

For the record, I did enjoy Dodger-- while I was reading it. But unlike the DW books, I won't be reading it again.


Long Lankin
Long Lankin
by Lindsey Barraclough
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Do not read this at night!, 30 Sept. 2013
This review is from: Long Lankin (Paperback)
I found this book in the children's section of my local library. Well, I don't know about kids, but it honestly creeped the crap out of me, and that has not happened in a long, long time. Despite the youth of the characters, I'd have put it in the adult section. With a warning on the cover.
It was the title that made me take it off the shelf. "Long Lankin" is one of the old ballads that had the Steeleye Span treatment back in the 70s, and it sticks with you.
"Beware the moss, beware the moor; beware of Long Lankin..."
For some reason I always imagined the moor to be in Yorkshire, but Lindsey Barraclough has taken her cue from the "moss", setting her tale in East Anglia's sucking fens.
"Be sure the door is bolted well, lest Lankin should creep in..."
Back then, I heard it as merely the story of a murder, but according to wiki, "It gives an account of the murder of a woman and her infant son by a man... a devil, bogeyman or a motiveless villain... [later] versions add peculiar incidents that add to the grisliness of the crime. Lamkin and the nursemaid collect the baby's blood in a basin which, along with the idea that the name Lamkin or Lammikin indicates the murderer was pale skinned and, therefore, perhaps a leper who sought to cure himself by bathing in the blood of an innocent collected in a silver bowl, a medieval cure." These are key elements in the book.
Told from three viewpoints, the setting is the Fifties. Cora and her four-year-old sister Mimi are sent to stay with elderly Aunt Ida in her crumbling mansion. Their aunt REALLY doesn't want them there, fobids them to explore the nearby church, and all the windows in the house are nailed shut. The girls befriend a local boy, Roger, and his small brother Peter. I was instantly catapulted back to my own childhood. Barraclough's writing is pitch-perfect, the kid's sounding just as I remember from a small country town in the Sixties ("he can't run for toffee").
The first three-quarters of the book are a spine-chilling masterclass in Jamesiana, adhering closely to the Ominous Thing rule: "into this calm environment let the ominous thing put out its head, unobtrusively at first, and then more insistently, until it holds the stage."
Fans of Monty will appreciate this image: "Moving slowly, creeping along the ground, it approached a bright patch of moonlight by the wire fence. It is shaped like a long tall man, yet it crawls like an animal."
They will also recall a hand similar to this one, "with thin, almost transparent, blotched flesh, crooked, bony fingers and curved black fingernails like iron claws, reached out and curled around the edge of the doorway."
And indeed this: "It [the window] was thickly covered with huge flies, crawling over the diamond panes, their fat black and white bodies packed tightly together. Flesh flies-- flies that don't bother to lay eggs, just maggots."
By this time I was looking apprehensively at the darkness outside, and wondering what could possibly come next.
However, Lankin, when he materialises in suitably horrible form, lurches into a dramatic, but less scary, battle for little Mimi, in which Aunt Ida plays a surprisingly heroic role. It's not exactly an anticlimax and it's not un-thrilling, but it's a little more conventionally horror-story than the subtle build-up. And, by golly, it ends on a completely unexpected cliffhanger. There is a sequel in the pipeline. I hope Lindsey Barraclough has been writing like fury, because I want to know what could possibly come next.


Banana Boat Moisturising Aloe After Sun Lotion With Aloe Vera & Vitamin E  Preserve & Extend  Your Tan 470 ml
Banana Boat Moisturising Aloe After Sun Lotion With Aloe Vera & Vitamin E Preserve & Extend Your Tan 470 ml
Offered by Venture Blue
Price: £7.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars good buy, 16 May 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
better than high street prices, big bottle to take away to the West Indies, know the brand, it is excellent.


Dark Matter
Dark Matter
by Michelle Paver
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.89

5.0 out of 5 stars A truly creepy ghost story, 25 Nov. 2012
This review is from: Dark Matter (Paperback)
I became hooked on ghost stories at quite an early age. But my introduction to M.R. James didn't come until I was aged around 13, via a copy of Ghost Stories of an Antiquary loaned to me by a friend. Canon Alberic's Scrapbook creeped me out fairly thoroughly, but very few stories since then have managed that feat. (Some of William Hope Hodgson's, for instance: it MAY be coincidence that these two writers have been the biggest influences on my own ghost story writing!) Until last week, in fact, when I read a book recommended by that very same friend. The book is Dark Matter by Michelle Paver.

As a hothouse plant, I hate long cold winter nights, ice, snow, darkness. They are primal fears, of course, for it really isn't very long in terms of history since humans were unable to combat those things. So Paver taps into a very ancient terror in setting Dark Matter in the long dark of the Arctic winter, where Something lurks, putting out its ominous head-- its round, wet malign head-- unobtrusively at first, until it holds center stage... and then comes back for an unexpected and devastating curtain call.

The year is 1937 and Jack Miller, an ordinary young man with a large chip on his shoulder, joins an Arctic expedition to what turns out to be a haunted site named Gruhuken. Accidents and illness contrive to isolate him, and he becomes increasingly aware of not being alone in the perpetual night. His husky dogs disappear (save one), and he realizes that the figure he has glimpsed can open doors...

This is not the climax, nor is the mysterious fire that destroys the expedition's lodgings; on the contrary the true horror is low-key, almost thrown away, just as the reader is breathing a sigh of relief. And there's more, implied not explicit (as many of the best horrors are), years later in the Caribbean, where Miller has ended up: However far Jamaica may be from Greenland, the same sea laps its shore, and the same things tap into it, like a supernatural internet.

Paver's writing is clean and beautiful and spare, her descriptions vivid; not a word is wasted. This is her first book for adults. I hope she writes many, many more.


Predication 2012: Volume 1 (Transformation Trilogy)
Predication 2012: Volume 1 (Transformation Trilogy)
by Richard Barker
Edition: Paperback
Price: £4.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Don't judge a book by its cover!, 10 Nov. 2012
This novel surprised me, especially after being threatened with a "didactic experience" on the back cover. The story, however, is unexpectedly involving, and the main protagonist, Jean, turns out to be an engaging character... both rare things in a book with an agenda. Despite some clunky dilaogue ("Maths don't light my box"!) and phraseology, and the need to deliver large chunks of exposition, the narrative moves at a surprisingly spanking pace, and I found myself wanting to find out what happened next.

I have to confess I started out underlining things with a view to commenting, but soon realised that it was much better to treat the story as I would a painting by Douanier Rousseau-- as a piece of vivid naivety. The drive of the narrative, in other words, overcomes the linguistic shortcomings as well as the sometimes baffling time-shifts.

Knowing very little about the Mayan calendar's ramifications was, strangely enough, no drawback either: it has much in common with the current vogue for historical-conspiracy tropes, but has the advantage of historical authenticity. Newcomers to the "Mayan Long Count" would be advised to read the Afterword first, as it gives an insight into the author (who is dyslexic) and the background to his writing the book.

Readers should not be put off by the cover, which, apart from promising "philosophy and narratology", makes the book look like an almanac. You can't, as they say, judge a book by its cover, and the contents of this one are far more interesting than the packaging.


Demon Weather: Da Silva Tales (Volume 1)
Demon Weather: Da Silva Tales (Volume 1)

5.0 out of 5 stars Demons Beware! Review by Martin Pereira, 9 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Martin, who is originally from Portugal, was kind enough to send me this review:

If you like fantasy literature, you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince. Likewise, you give a lot of books to Goodwill for every one you keep. In genre fiction, if it's not sub-Tolkien, it's a supernatural romance or a Harry-ish Potter. But once in a while something comes along that's worth the wait. Or someone. In a field where characters made from something other than cardboard are few and far between, a one-eyed sea-captain who sees ghosts, named Luís da Silva, kicks - as you might say - serious ass. He is a terrific character. (And of course I am predisposed to like the book as the hero is Portuguese and the story is set in Lisbon!)
Demon Weather is the first novel to feature the intrepid Captain. Ingenious, funny and fast-moving, the story also grabs a dozen familiar fantasy conceits by the neck and gives them a new twist. Ghosts and demons and even buildings have distinct personalities. The secondary characters are as well-drawn as the Captain, though with a broader brush. His third mate, an American who just happens to be a werewolf, is especial fun.
There is even a sub-text about parent/child relationships, from da Silva's spiky reconciliation with his estranged father to a young witch breaking free of her domineering mother; the Captain's own children have an important part to play. The villain of the piece, not your average evil sorcerer by any means, and his sword-fighting niece, also have a father/daughter dynamic, albeit warped by his obsession.
The demons are monstrous and scary, the baddie is satisfyingly malevolent, the action is thrilling and the characters are compelling. A great read!


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