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Michael Mooney "mrbadexample" (Glasgow)
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Connected: Amazing Power of Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives
Connected: Amazing Power of Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives
by Nicholas A. Christakis
Edition: Paperback

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Only Connect, 20 Jan 2010
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a fascinating topic, dealt with in an engaging manner. Although social networks have always existed, their growth has been limited by distance, and by social separation. On line communities avoid these limitations, while introducing a new restriction on the technology have-nots.
I haven't read anything before which looks at society from this perspective. It's not a dry, scientific read either - I'd call it pop science at its finest.


Orbus (Spatterjay 3)
Orbus (Spatterjay 3)
by Neal Asher
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars Dropped in at the deep end..., 16 Oct 2009
This review is from: Orbus (Spatterjay 3) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is my first Neal Asher, but it won't be the last. If you enjoy Bruce Sterling's "Swarm" stories, or Iain Banks "Culture" books, then this won't disapoint. At 400 pages the book is hardly small, but at times it reads as quickly as a 1930s Space Opera - fast moving, not afraid to go for the funny bone (sometimes via other major organs), and with the viewpoint shared around enough to keep you guessing.
I hadn't realised that there are two previous books in this series, and actually enjoyed being dumped in with a cast of characters who have a life before these pages. Too often, as Roger Zelazny said, characters seem to be summoned up by the author to act out his plot, and they can seem all too shallow as a result. I'm off now to browse through the rest of Asher's work, and looking forward to it.


Wounds of Honour (Empire)
Wounds of Honour (Empire)
by Anthony Riches
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.37

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back To The Wall, 16 Oct 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I have to admit that I'm a sucker for a well written tale of the Roman Legions - it all goes back to "The Eagle of the Ninth", and too much "I, Claudius" on TV.
This is a rollicking read, a worthy addition to a well marched road. I've added an extra star for the location - I've spent a lot of time walking the path of Hadrian's Wall, and it's great to see it peopled again.
I look forward to many more Riches.


I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue 11 (BBC Radio Collection): v. 11
I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue 11 (BBC Radio Collection): v. 11
by Humphrey Lyttelton
Edition: Audio CD
Price: £10.17

5.0 out of 5 stars ...and waiting in the wings..., 23 Sep 2009
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm not sure if this is the last series of ISIHAC compered by the dear and dearly departed Humph, but it can't be a coincidence that the guests are Stephen Fry, Jack Dee, Rob Brydon & Jeremy Hardy. Jeremy is an old favourite on the show, but the other three have recently completed trial stints as Humph's successor (not that my opinion means anything, but I think Jack Dee was best).

That's a nice bonus, as if any cherry was needed on the dark rich fruit cake of these compilations My personal highlight? The first trial of a computer player for Mornington Crescent. She was doing so well before she got distracted by Stephen Fry, too ("We computers have always thought of you as one of us, Stephen").


Dr Ragab's Universal Language
Dr Ragab's Universal Language
by Robert Twigger
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Once I Put It Down I Couldn't Pick It Up, 18 Sep 2009
My title for this review is a bit unfair, perhaps, but it's probably in the nature of puzzle books (which this is, in part) that if you don't enjoy the puzzle you won't be entranced by the book. I did find it easy to put down, and harder to return to.

Characters are (deliberately I think) uninvolving and not fully sketched out. While this DOES add to the feeling of mystery it also works against the conventional way that a novel works, the pleasure of spending a few hours in the company of an interesting new voice.

I'm also interested in the way this book has been marketed, as a literary novel with a dash of magical realism. Magical Realism, as someone once said, is Fantasy written be someone who went to university with a critic. The ideas here are relatively novel in the mainstream, but have been explored quite thoroughly in fantasy. Perhaps if I'd been coming to them fresh, or through, say "The Time Traveller's Wife", the ideas would have been enough to hold me.

I'd recommend reading the book and finding out for yourself- it's a quick read, the writing doesn't clunk, and it's seriously intended - and I have a feeling that those who like it will like it a good deal. If you're fond of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, or The Name of the Rose, you'll probably enjoy this.


The Immortals
The Immortals
by Amit Chaudhuri
Edition: Hardcover

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Quiet Pleasure., 11 Sep 2009
This review is from: The Immortals (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I enjoyed this book for the quality of writing, for its evocation of place, and for the seriousness of its intent (not that the odd wry smile didn't get dragged out of me). Yes, as others have said, it's not a pacey read. I wouldn't go so far as to quote the reviewer who described "Waiting for Godot" as a play were nothing happens, twice, but it is, for all quietly convincing detail, an uneventful read.
Which sometimes is no bad thing. For white water rafting, pick up the latest Brookmyre. For something approaching the Ganges stately progress, immerse yourself in The Immortals.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 18, 2013 12:10 PM BST


McNaughten: A Novel
McNaughten: A Novel
by Siān Busby
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.44

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars McNaughten Rules, 11 Sep 2009
This review is from: McNaughten: A Novel (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
An excellent evocation of the time and place (Victoria's London) and of a mind if not exactly mad then, let us say, disordered. I first heard of the McNaughten Rules as a law student almost 30 years ago. McNaughten's name has been synonymous with criminal culpability for 150 years, and I'd never given a thought to the story behind, and before, the famous case.
Not that you need to be of a legal bent to read this absorbing novel. If I have a slight unease, it's the usual one produced by any novel dealing with real, if historical, protagonists - was this really what they felt?

A well written and intellgent account, though, which can sit alongside Eddie Campbell and Alan Moore's "From Hell" without shame.


Cleaning Out The Ashtrays: Collected B-Sides & Rarities 1989-2006
Cleaning Out The Ashtrays: Collected B-Sides & Rarities 1989-2006
Price: £30.08

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full Strength - No Doubts., 6 Mar 2009
A complete gem of a collection, and the best I've seen in the box-set line since Warren Zevon's "I'll Sleep When I'm Dead". This collects all of the material from Cole's post-Commotions work to his Antidepressant album of a couple of years ago. Despite the title, no barrels have been scraped. All of the tracks were produced for release, either as bonus tracks, versions which didn't make albums, contributions to compilation albums and an absolute gem of a dance remix of "Butterfly"
Not a casual purchase, to be sure, but very rewarding. Cole's extensive notes on the songs are as wry and funny as his lyrics, the box art is lovely, and, all in all, this is a handsome and rewarding collection.

I was looking for his "Folksinger" disks here (two CDs of solo live performances). Can't see them, but will keep looking.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 21, 2009 3:41 PM BST


To Die in Italbar: A Dark Travelling
To Die in Italbar: A Dark Travelling
by Roger Zelazny
Edition: Paperback

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Turning in a narrowing gyre..., 31 Mar 2003
A strange book, this one. Set in the same Universe as "Isle of the Dead" and featuring a best supporting actor role for Francis Sandow, this is, in a way, a bridge between Zelazny's short stories and his novels. He departs from his usual charismatic outsider as protagonist, to share out the viewpoint between half a dozen characters. No one is wholly good or evil, in this one, instead you get an ensemble piece that really sticks in the mind.
Look out for the vingettes, where we're allowed inside each character's head for half a page or so. Zelazny uses the same device, minatrised to a sentence or two, for each of the telepaths in Eye of Cat. Here it works a treat.
The story of the plague bearer "H" and those who pursue him to cure, exploit, kill and exorcise him is well worth your hard earned cash.


Farseer: Blood Runs, Death Wakes, War Calls (Warhammer 40,000 Novels)
Farseer: Blood Runs, Death Wakes, War Calls (Warhammer 40,000 Novels)
by William King
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars All the swash and buckle you could wish for, 17 Mar 2003
Take the sweep of one of Henlein's actioners (say "Starship Troopers") add the scale of great space opera (say EE Smith's "Lensmen" series) drop in a smidgen of "Dune" and slot the lot into Games Workshop's slam bang Warhammer 40k universe, and what do you get? A whole lot of fun, that's what.
Whether you're a misty eyed fan of golden Age SF, a mirror-shaded cyberpunk or a died in the wool gamer, you'll find something rewarding here, in one of Bill's quickest moving, most tightly woven and instantly involving books.
Now if only we can tempt him away from the Ragnar's Wolves and Slayer series', and get Farseer 2 out of him...
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 15, 2012 1:34 PM GMT


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