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Stephen M Blank (Altrincham, Cheshire United Kingdom)

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The Grand Design: New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life
The Grand Design: New Answers to the Ultimate Questions of Life
by Stephen Hawking
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Doesn't quite hit the mark, 17 Oct 2010
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This book has been derailed by its obsession with demonstrating that God is not necessary to bring the Universe into being. I'm sure the publishers were keen to go that route as it would inevitably be controversial and hence add sales. But it detracts from the argument. Also provoking the 'Religion vs Science' argument is a dangerous way to go as this debate is heating up in the USA and elsewhere and, given the level of scientific ignorance in the Establishment, one should not rely on the scientists winning!
There was not enough detail about what M-Theory is and a few formulae would not have put off people who had read 'A Brief History of Time'. I also felt the arguments were presented a little dismissively. Clearly not all scientists agree nor do all philosophers, and they are clever people as well.
Overall, a disappointment.


Conspirator (Foreigner Novels)
Conspirator (Foreigner Novels)
by C. J. Cherryh
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £4.76

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back, Paidhi, 17 July 2010
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I found this an enjoyable read that fell away rather badly in the last chapter. I suspect CJ Cherryh had to do some serious scene setting for the next books in this series. The action seemed to stop and get replaced with a great deal of introspection about politics and Associations in the South and Weest. Also the relationship between Bren and Jago seemed to have cooled.
Still the series is very enjoyable and it's good to have it back.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 4, 2011 9:02 PM BST


The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Millennium Trilogy Book 3)
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (Millennium Trilogy Book 3)
by Stieg Larsson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Three in a row and a bonus, 15 Jun 2010
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I really hoped this final book would live up to the promise of the first two. And I believe it did. I found the Court scene intensely moving and the double ending at once expected but satisfying. I found some parts of the police reaction a bit far-fetched - would Lisbeth and her father, who have tried to kill each other, be placed so close together and unguarded? But this was a great read and I'm only sorry there will be no more by Stieg Larsson


Victorious (Lost Fleet)
Victorious (Lost Fleet)
by Jack Campbell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying end (?) to the Lost Fleet saga, 14 Jun 2010
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Jack brings home the series just as Black Jack brings home the Fleet. Quite difficult to wrap up the war with the Syndics, the Aliens and of course the Romance with Desjani.
I found the last the least satisfying, maybe because romance in general seems to fit awkwardly in SF. The Syndics continued to act in character and this conclusion was well worked.
The Aliens resolution was cleverly plotted through the series although it was a bit 'telegraphed' at the end. And there is room for a sequel or two.


D-Day: The Battle for Normandy
D-Day: The Battle for Normandy
by Antony Beevor
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All embracing review of D-Day, 14 Jun 2010
I was surprised to read so many negative reviews. I found this very readable and comprehensive. I confess that I have not read many historical works on this subject so cannot compare as others can do.

However if you want a good read logically laid out and clearly supported by wide ranging - if not perhaps new - research, this is the D-Day book for you.


Transition
Transition
by Iain Banks
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.82

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Where's the 'M', 30 April 2010
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This review is from: Transition (Hardcover)
I'm a great fan of Iain M Banks, writer of some of the funniest and cleverest SF there is. I've also read novels by Iain Banks, also witty and clever. This is a science fiction novel, not totally original, written with his usual wit and with a lovely twist sorting out one of the less pleasant characters. However the overall plot is obscure and I have no idea why this book would be the one to lead Mr Banks to drop the 'M'. It's not close enough to a 'straight' novel nor far enough away from his SF form.


Diaspora
Diaspora
by Greg Egan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

4.0 out of 5 stars Hard SF, hard physics, 30 April 2010
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This review is from: Diaspora (Paperback)
I enjoyed this tale of Virtual life and space / universe travel. A couple of things irritated me, the use of 'vis, ver, vim' as personal pronouns and the unnecessarily detailed (in my view) scientific expositions in what is after all a work of fiction. I was also nagged throughout by recollecting Roger Penrose's view that people could not live in 'the machine' which led me to wonder if that explained the apparent lack of scientific creativity shown by the descendants of earth compared to the alien Transmuters. There were some lovely moments such as 'standing' on s starship's hull and the final decoding of the Transmuters' message


The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls
The Story of the Scrolls: The miraculous discovery and true significance of the Dead Sea Scrolls
by Geza Vermes
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Academic elegance, 30 April 2010
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This is a wonderful exposition about a subject that had always interested me in a peripheral way. I had never followed up my interest with any real research mainly because the relevant books were either opaque or seemed on the crackpot fringe of conspiracy theories.
Gesa Vermes' book is an excellent read, with sufficient scholarship to ensure the reader will learn plenty and key facts to lay the conspiracy theories to rest. As I have usually found, cock-up beats conspiracy most days and this book gently puts that record straight.
In the course of doing both these things it tells you about the life of a great scholar almost in passing.


Logitech QuickCam S5500
Logitech QuickCam S5500

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quickcam does what it says on the box, 9 Oct 2009
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Simple and easy to set up, espcially if you read the bit that says 'Do not plug in until you have installed software'


Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell
by Susanna Clarke
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If this is her first book, what will the second be like?, 27 July 2009
I found this truly astonishing as a first novel. What courage to commit so much time and effort to create a 750 page, deeply researched work without any idea how it might be received!

It was an excellent read. I must defer to Charles Palliser who thought the 'narrative drive was irresistible' but in my opinion it stuttered in the third volume in Venice before picking up again and driving inexorably to a satisfying conclusion.

I am mainly a hard SF reader but am happy to dip into fantasy (Pullman, JK Rowling, Tolkien) and this was well worth the dip.


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