Profile for Jon Gritton > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Jon Gritton
Top Reviewer Ranking: 136,436
Helpful Votes: 57

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Jon Gritton (North Yorkshire, UK)

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3
pixel
SODIUM:6 Defiance
SODIUM:6 Defiance
Price: £2.59

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Pacey page-turners, but paper-thin as well..., 18 Nov. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: SODIUM:6 Defiance (Kindle Edition)
This review should really be considered one for the whole "Sodium" series rather than this book alone as my comments apply equally to each book. I should first say that I've read the whole "Sodium" series, and all of the "AMP" series, and did so at a fair pace so the works certainly qualify as "page-turners" and have enough going for them that I felt compelled to buy the next in the series each time. That said, the writing style is "unusual", particularly the decision to have no dialogue. As another reviewing has said, this creates a distance from the story, like listening to someone telling you about a movie rather than watching it yourself. There were many occasions when I wanted to scream at the book to give me some actual conversation and when the situation demanded this treatment.

From a SF point of view everything is very simplistic; need more speed? No problem, here's an upgrade. Need better armour? Don't worry, it just so happens here's a new suit. The narrative flies along much like gameplay where all that's needed is time to receive "power-ups" with no real logic or struggle.

The author also occasionally drops in huge time periods and cataclysmic events that are dismissed with a single sentence. At one point the main character spends ten (?) YEARS in a cell, then escapes one day and simply returns to previous behaviour. The story undeniably has pace, but that pace comes at the expense of paper-thin characters and a very simple world-view.

Make no mistake, these ARE page-turners and they represent good value. If you're looking for something to while away the long hours then they'll do fine, but if you're looking for good SF, look elsewhere.


Revolution - Season 1 [DVD] [2013]
Revolution - Season 1 [DVD] [2013]
Dvd ~ David Lyons
Offered by MediaMine
Price: £9.50

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, some flaws, but perhaps not as many as suggested..., 6 Aug. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I've just finished watching this series via Prime and it certainly held my attention, and as others have mentioned there are some inconsistencies but I think they're mostly forgivable in a made-for-tv series. Some reviewers have questioned the existence of maps and clothing and the like, but we were quite capable of making very high quality products of this nature long before electricity came along. Others have questioned why people aren't starving when very little of the food we eat today actually needs electricity to produce, wheat would still grow, cows would still provide beef and milk, etc.

If the show has flaws (and let's face it, which shows don't?) it is for me that it relies too heavily upon the idea that without electricity we are virtually cavemen. Widespread distribution of electricity is a technology only a little over 100 years old, and *reliance* upon that electricity much less so. This may be more of a problem for those of us not living in the US; I'm fairly confident that if we lost electrical power in my Yorkshire town, life would continue much as it does now, we just wouldn't be able to post Amazon reviews.

If I feel this way, why 4 stars? Because despite the flaws, I found the series compelling and the idea interesting, perhaps more for what it could become (and I've not even read the descriptions of Season 2 yet) than what Season 1 was. Once I accepted the scenario, I found it easy to overlook the inconsistencies and enjoy the story, especially as the season draws towards a close. Season 2 may be a whole different matter, but I'd recommend sticking with Season 1 to give the story time to develop.


Post-Human Series Books 1-4
Post-Human Series Books 1-4
Price: £0.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy science and research, but good value if you have time on your hands..., 24 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Firstly, let me say I did read the entire work and in that respect it deserves some credit as it's really way too long and in dire need of good editing, but I can't say I really enjoyed it. For me - and it may just be me - the poor science and plain errors got in the way far too often. For example, the author quotes the "Turing test" many times, especially during the first book, but clearly has either not researched what the Turing test actually is, or has chosen to depict it as something it is not. All a machine requires to pass the test is to convince a human that they are talking to another human being; there is no requirement for "super-intelligence" or self-awareness. This is not the only example; the work appears to solve every quandary with magnetism of some kind; magnetic fields "nulling gravity", allowing for inter-planetary flight, deflecting lead bullets and acting as a physical shield, used as a weapon; you name it, magnetism is the answer. Towards the end there is a spattering of simply bizarrely inaccurate science twaddle that I had to re-read several times to make sure the author was actually saying what he was.

As other reviewers have noted, the plot is intricate but it's too involved and towards the end it's very difficult to keep hold of who is what and where. Mr Simpson appears to have tried to shoehorn every idea he has into a single work and I can't help feeling it could have been much better if he'd been more selective and aimed for a simpler plot rather than heading straight for the super-sized space opera that few authors can pull off successfully.

This may sound like a 1 star review, but I DID keep reading and you can't complain about the price or value for money in terms of pages. However, if you like your reading to be well-researched you may find it hard to deal with.


The Eden Plague (Plague Wars Series Book 0)
The Eden Plague (Plague Wars Series Book 0)
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A refreshing look at the "super-human" genre, thoughtfully considered and executed., 15 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Like other reviewers, I was almost put off by the first few pages. I found the initial pages laden with unnecessary similes and showing too many signs of an inexperienced writer (surprising, given the author's fairly long list of previous works). However, I persevered and I'm very glad I did. I think the initial pages attempted to put us in the mind of someone with a mental health issue which is surely very difficult to portray and while this doesn't excuse the over-use of simile, it does mean that the writing settles down quickly and becomes more readable.

The plot lies firmly in the "super-human" genre, though presents only a single trait and doesn't got to ridiculous extremes, preferring to focus on the peripheral consequences of such a situation, something it does very well and without becoming boring or "debate heavy".

Beyond here be slight spoilers - be warned!

My only two complaints would be towards the end of the book. Given that the trait is contagious - and apparently quite easily transferred between humans - the plans to spread the contagion seemed overly dramatic and obvious - inevitably drawing attention from the authorities. Knowing this was a risk, the protagonists could surely have come up with plans that allowed them to infect random people across the globe surreptitiously and then allow the contagion to spread naturally, as highly contagious infections do, without exposing themselves.

My second complaint was finding that the book was part of a series. It seems these days that no one is prepared to write single works but that everything must be part of some 10 book saga. In this case I felt this first book could have been a little longer and stood very well on its own without the epilogue and the endless extension into multiple volumes.

As usual, I really wanted to give 3.5 stars but given the choice between 3 or 4, it falls heavily towards 4, primarily because the author - rare in such books, I find - carefully considers the sociological and political implications of the plague rather than simply having the protagonists flying around and fighting crime in lycra. I haven't decided whether to buy the later volumes or not yet, as I feel they may spoil what was really a good stand-alone novel.


TeckNet® C016 USB HD 720P Webcam, 5 MegaPixel, 5G Lens, USB Microphone & 6 LED
TeckNet® C016 USB HD 720P Webcam, 5 MegaPixel, 5G Lens, USB Microphone & 6 LED
Offered by SPEEDY GOAL LIMITED
Price: £10.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Does what it says..., 26 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This little camera installed straight out of the box and worked immediately. It's only downside is the mount, which doesn't give you many options for mounting on top of a screen - it's possible, but it's unstable. Mounting on a mini-tripod or directly onto a flat surface is fine though. Quality is excellent and there's nothing else to add!


The Colony
The Colony
Dvd
Price: £2.49

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fine for a Rainy Day, but incomplete, 5 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Colony (Amazon Instant Video)
The premise is nothing entirely new. Earth has become frozen and the surface buried under ice and snow. "Colonies" exist under the ice surviving as best they can. When a nearby colony goes "off-air" our heroes set off to set what's happened and find out to their cost. So much, so average Hollywood storyline. However, it's what happens that lets the movie down so much as what *doesn't* happen. There are plenty of ideas here but they're all explored only in surface detail and then dropped. There are no explanations - for anything - and the decisions made are often laughable.

It ends far too soon - perhaps a good thing in some respects - but I couldn't help feeling the whole movie took place at the wrong time in a longer story. What happens at the very end might have made a more interesting story than the one filmed and might have involved less running around in tunnels using inexplicably large pipes but no real open spaces or rooms.

Imagine the love child of "The Thing" and "The Day After Tomorrow" that was born with all the weaker elements of the two movies and few of the stronger ones and you'll be close.


The Stone Man - A Science Fiction Thriller
The Stone Man - A Science Fiction Thriller
Price: £2.32

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Real Page-Turner - Effortlessly Crossing Genres, 5 Mar. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I was drawn to this book by the description - the concept of a "stone man" was fascinating - but I was cautious and downloaded the sample first. That sample flew by and I went straight back to Amazon for the whole book. The story has a beautiful arc, including surprising revelations that were woven in without being obvious or unrealistic. The author talks at the end of the story about his aims for realism and the effort put in here really shows. Like all the best books I simply couldn't put it down and found excuses to read at any opportunity until it was done (far too soon).

It's four stars rather than five only because I felt it could have been extended and edited at the same time. While there is plenty of story here - have no doubt, you won't be disappointed - it could have moved on beyond where it finishes in many ways. If it were longer I'd perhaps be inclined to edit some of the longer passages of introspection which at times threatened to slow down what was otherwise a cracking pace. This criticism is very minor though, this is a fine book with a great premise, well written and totally compelling, I'll be keeping an eye on Mr Smitherd from now on!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 10, 2014 10:15 AM GMT


A Departure
A Departure
Price: £1.14

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read from an unusual perspective., 22 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: A Departure (Kindle Edition)
"A Departure" is a Post-Apocalyptic novel from the point of view of an 18 year old boy, Michael. The book remains focused on Michael throughout and this makes it unusual in a genre that typically covers many scattered characters, most of which are much older. However, this is not a "teen" novel - the writing itself is mature, although as has been mentioned by other reviewers there is occasional evidence of the author's relative inexperience of the wider world and the effects of ageing in particular - it seems I should be grateful I can still walk unaided as I approach my fiftieth birthday!

I had only a few minor snags worth mentioning. The plot describes how two-thirds of the UK population simply dies one day but the events of the remainder of the novel seem as though it was almost everyone; two-thirds of the UK population dying would still be well over 20 million people alive and kicking but the landscape Michael travels through appears practically deserted. If you assume that there were in fact many more deaths and read the book as though only a few hundred thousand - if that - survived then the events that follow make a lot more sense.

There are some odd illogical elements; petrol stations that could still fill fuel perfectly normally without any power or staff to operate the kiosk controls, a camp of starving homeless people when there was no clear reason for them to leave their homes and supermarkets still full of canned food just a few miles away, characters saying things like "I remember fireworks" when the catastrophe only happened a few months earlier, but generally speaking it flows along very nicely. Only in the final chapters is there some evidence that the author wanted to get the work finished and gave up any pretence of research as the geography becomes a little odd and some time spent studying the landscape and distances involved between London and the South East coast might have been useful.

In truth I wanted to give this 3.5 stars for the occasional lack of logic and thought but the writing itself pulls it towards a 4. Some of the reviews here are going quite far in their comparison with the greats, but I'll certainly be looking out for the next work by Mr Ward.


Breakers (Book 1)
Breakers (Book 1)
Price: £0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasure to Discover, 2 Sept. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Breakers (Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
There's nothing better than finding a new author, knowing that there are more books to devour after the first and I am very pleased to have discovered Robertson. The story is essentially the lovechild of The Stand and Independence Day - most of Earth's population is wiped out by a plague which is closely followed by an alien invasion, the originators of the plague. The author has, however, taken a much more interesting perspective of the aliens than is commonly found in popular SF. These are not all powerful, totally unbeatable beings who inexplicably can be wiped out by something trivial but much more "ordinary". They can be killed with our weapons, they can be blown up. Their advantage is primarily that there are so few humans left and that we continue to kill each other as well as the invaders.

As mentioned in other reviews some of the characters lack definition and at some points I found it difficult to follow conversations among groups but this is a minor niggle. There is also quite a lot of ponderous thought from the leads that prompted some page-skipping but generally speaking it's hard to put down and flies along quite nicely.

I only had two proper moans and they really only apply to non-US readers: Firstly, the author uses a LOT of very US-local terms; store names, sports grounds, product brands, etc. which don't translate well outside the US and which had no other clues to their nature. Although it was usually possible to guess what was being referenced, sometimes it wasn't and this held up the flow. It would take little to add a few words of extra description to help overseas readers. Secondly, the author constantly uses "couple" without "of", as in "a couple miles", "a couple beers", etc. While I know this is common in spoken American English, I've not come across it much in written work and found it jarred with me, the more so perhaps because he uses the term so frequently.

However, these are very minor complaints. I read this first book in less than 2 days and immediately bought the sequel and have plans to buy anything else he puts out. Great work, keep it up!


Nespresso CitiZ and Milk by Krups XN730540 Coffee Machine - Fire Engine Red
Nespresso CitiZ and Milk by Krups XN730540 Coffee Machine - Fire Engine Red
Price: £139.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to Perfect..., 2 Sept. 2013
I'd been looking to buy a "capsule" type coffee machine ever since they first appeared but kept telling myself it was a foolish expense, that it wasn't worth it and any number of other excuses I could find. On one of my regular trips around the Amazon store I came across the Nespresso CitiZ, read the amazing reviews and took the plunge: I'm glad I did. I've not been so impressed by a product in a long time; it's very very clear that the designers worked long and hard to make this machine as easy to use and as easy to *clean* as possible. Everything that could get dirty comes apart and can be washed easily - even the milk frother can be washed in a bowl (although it's not dishwasher friendly apparently). The milk frother itself is clear evidence of the clever design: The "mixer" element is magnetic so has no gears or seals within the chamber and this allows it to wipe perfectly clean very easily.

All in all, it's a great machine, with excellent design, that makes great coffee.

The only tiny, tiny, niggle I have - not enough to be worth dropping even a single star - is that it's a shame the makers couldn't be more generous with the sample capsules. Mine came with only 13 (the documentation mentions 16) and when you consider these must cost the company pennies each, it's a bit tight to give away this few with a machine costing around £170.

My advice would be buy this machine above all others - and get the milk version - but make sure you order some extra capsules at the same time you order (or before) so you're not staring sadly at it and waiting for a delivery. The Nespresso club site is excellent ([...] - another example of great design - and really easy to use with great information. You can sign up without knowing your machine serial number and add it later if you like so there's no reason not to buy in advance and ensure you don't run dry.


Page: 1 | 2 | 3