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®Gadget Bay© -MP4 & MP3 Player Nano Style Scroll 5TH Gen, FM Radio -8GB, (A choice of 8 colours from the drop down menu) Green
®Gadget Bay© -MP4 & MP3 Player Nano Style Scroll 5TH Gen, FM Radio -8GB, (A choice of 8 colours from the drop down menu) Green

2.0 out of 5 stars Infuriating to the point of violating the Geneva Convention, 22 April 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I will say this, the product does the following well: Stores a lot of music, plays a good variety of file formats, and is small. It's just a shame it's infuriating to use.

I've been told the 'iPod wheel' on other versions of this product is just for show, i.e. it doesn't work, and I wish it was the case on this product. Whatever knock-off sensor it uses is terrible at detecting motion as when scrolling through tracks or raising/lowering the volume it will suddenly reverse the direction you were going in. I've toyed with it for hours (or at least it felt like hours) to work out a pattern to this effect but there doesn't seem to be any. Furthermore, once in use, the sensor is sensitive to touch all round the device, to the point where I have to gingerly grip it top/bottom with my finger/thumb to ensure it doesn't suddenly change track or volume before the control-lock kicks in. Added to this, while the screen will rotate very quickly when the product is even close to being on it's side, it's not that keen on going back.

I know it's cheap so I wasn't exactly expecting perfect engineering, and once it's going it's fine (assuming you don't want to actually change artist or albums in a hurry), but it's just so damn trick to use that I can't recommend it.

Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidons Children 1)
Blue Remembered Earth (Poseidons Children 1)
by Alastair Reynolds
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not exactly what it says on the tin, 13 Mar 2013
Well, I've never been lied to by the back of a book before. I say this because, apart from serving as a rather needless Chekhov's gun, the potentially menacing 'Mechanism' referred to in the description plays absolutely no role in the story. I hope this doesn't count as a spoiler, as knowing this gives nothing away about the actual plot of the book. However, any reader expecting a tale set in a grim superficial utopia where humanity's freedom of action has been handed over to some sort of technological Lethiathan will be disappointed to find this isn't the case. Blue Remembered Earth does have a good story but it is, shall we say, not as advertised.

The above however points to a wider problem I had with Blue Remembered Earth; there are a lot of concepts and characters introduced, but none of them really develop into anything. Most space sagas these days try to weave multiple narrative strands together, with different characters and power blocks helping or hindering the protagonists, but here these elements feel very superficial. There's no sense of 'what's really going on', of a grand conspiracy or cover-up or why any of the factions involved are behaving as they are, other than to move the plot forward that is. As the reader, I never really felt as if the veil was being slowly lifted as the story went from one set-piece to the next. Fundamentally there's no sense of a story coming together. This lack of gradual revelation is highlighted by the fact 'the truth' is entirely revealed in a lengthy exposition chapter near the end of the book, and said truth comes as much of a surprise to the protagonists as it was me. The novel feels like it should have been either a much sorter story following Geoffrey and Sunday as they just solve a set of clues in a science fiction setting, or developed into a much larger multi-book epic with more detailed and intricate interactions between the competing factions and the previously mentioned all-powerful 'Mechanism'.

Blue Remembered Earth is well worth reading (or at least borrowing from a friend) if you're a fan of Alastair Reynolds, but it's hardly him at his best.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 13, 2014 11:27 PM GMT

The Romulan War to Brave the Storm (Star Trek: Enterprise)
The Romulan War to Brave the Storm (Star Trek: Enterprise)
by Michael A. Martin
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.24

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't bother Braving the Storm, 25 Nov 2011
It is with a heavy heart I have to say this was probably one of the worst and most disappointing novels I have ever read, and this is from someone who will occasionally by a book because the cover is shiny. There's is very little to recommend it on other than to say that it didn't take me long to read and at least it completes the story arc begun in the previous books of this series.

The main reason for the `worst' opinion is I'm not entirely sure one could class it as a novel in the conventional sense. It's structured like the storyboard to a novel, the notes an author might leave for his more talented co-writer to flesh out. I have a strong suspicion this series was meant to be far larger, as nothing else would justify the release was is essentially the cliff notes for potential books one would send to an editor or at least stick to an 'ideas' board in an office. There's nothing one normally associates with a novel, no character development, few action sequences, no overriding central plot (apart a vague "we're at war") and indeed no real feeling of the context (a gritty interstellar war) within whith the book is set. There are hints of such things, Archer dealing with his reputation following the events of "Kobayashi Maru", loss of various colonies and battles etc, but these are not elaborated on in-text. Any development happens `off screen' as it were, with the reader being rather clumsily informed about them through pieces of dialogue. I was disappointed with the previous books as Martin seems to avoid writing action sequences; for this book he has included coherent plots and character development to his aversions.

The book is also perhaps even more disappointing as a piece of Star Trek canon. It goes without saying I bought this as I am a Star Trek fan and anyone reading this review has, I'd imagine, searched for this book for the same reason. The Romulan War and the birth of the Federation have been massive parts of ST history that until now have been left untouched and... That's it?. For example, The Battle of Cheron (oft mentioned, never elaborated) should have been an epic confrontation that explains Romulan animosity even 200 years later, and that's the best Martin could do? To say why would give away spoilers but, while I know all fans have their own vision of "how things should have been done", I don't think I've been more disappointed since Darth Vader was revealed to be a whiney emo kid with mother issues.

Again, much of this stems from the structure. I doubt it will give anything away to say the Federation is founded at the end of the book, but this sentence is about as many words as Martin devotes to explaining how it came about. Given the "earth stands alone" nature of the past few novels, a little more detail would have been nice. As for the war itself, the Romulans we know are careful and manipulative, but such Machiavellian plans are impossible to develop with such a disjointed narrative. Martin therefore relies on increasingly insane super villain-esque events to inject the story with a bit of drama and tension, yet given all these threats are introduced and resolved in a half dozen pages, they fail to do even this. While it is no doubt hard to write a compelling story that can fit seamlessly into a detailed existing universe, many authors have done so without resorting to events so extreme others (in universe that is) would definitely have mentioned at some point when referencing the war.

To Brave the Storm is disappointing as both a Star Trek book and a general piece of science fiction. I would advise buying this only if you think that vague sense of closure that comes from seeing something to the end is worth the £4 price tag.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2012 8:34 AM GMT

The Romulan War (Star Trek: Enterprise)
The Romulan War (Star Trek: Enterprise)
by Michael A. Martin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.11

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Romulan Scuffle, 11 Nov 2009
The Romulan War is probably the most mentioned yet never elaborated part of Star Trek lore; it has been referred to as Earth's first great space war, the starting point for the Federation and so on and so forth. Hence my genuine excitement that it was to finally be realized in this series of books, even with the horrific disappointment other recent prequels / back story outings have generated (such as season 1-3 of the Enterprise TV show itself). While not being a complete rabid fanboy myself (there's no point pretending I'm not a little), I still feel that if one is to take on such an important part of canon, justice should be done to it; and The Romulan War manages it... just

The good:
Even though I was not happy with the `computer hijack' plot device of the previous books, the solution presented here at least nicely papers over the more glaring continuity issues between the design of the NX series and the Kirk era Starfleet, and while doing so nods to a certain movie; both things that should please me and I'm sure will other fans too. In fact Martin appears quite adept at panel-beating the dented wreck of the Enterprise TV series into some sort of recognised timeline, effort for which he should be applauded.

He also does a fairly good job of conveying comparative technological dark age of this early war; Journeys between planets take time, sensors are primative and even the more powerful races don't have `that' many ships. Its description of the problems faced in planning an interstellar war is to be commended. Certainly sets this series in stark contrast to both the last few seasons of DS9 and the recent "Destiny" collection of novels.

Finally, as with the previous two novels in there series, don't expect this to occupy you for more than a day or two; I managed to read this over the course of one particular wet Sunday. This is no bad thing, as personally I don't read Star Trek novels expecting (or wanting) Paradise Lost, however this approach does raise some issues with the story telling

The bad:
I'm unsure if the novel is meant to resemble a lecture in Pre-Federation history, but nevertheless it reads like cliff notes from the Romulan War seminar. The action jumps around an awful lot, often each scene lasting little more than a few pages before we're treated to the goings on somewhere else in the universe. It's often hard to get a coherent picture of the war's progress due to this and the in-species labeling applied to different planets depending on the character whose plot strand we are now following. Had the novel been weightier, this could be forgiven; P.F Hamilton's amazing "Night's Dawn" trilogy managed the interweaving narrative style fantastically, however each book was nearly a 1,000 pages long. With at least 6 different perspectives, events in the "The Romulan War" simply happen too quickly.

This is made worse by the newscasts. As a framing device it worked well for the "Articles of the Federation" novel, but here it is simply irritating. No information is provided that couldn't have either occurred in someone else's plot-strand or been mentioned by a character in passing. I'm sure there's some biting satire I've obviously missed (one reporter is a pacifist and the other nihilistic, freedom of press Vs responsibility etc) but the story zips by so fast they appear nothing more than a token attept at real-world relevance. To have any real meaning they should have been longer and more detailed, or reversely cut completely...

...In favour of space battles. Because there are none. At all. Surprising for space story with the word "war" in the title. In fact occasionally it reads as if pages containing said scenes were accidentally left out when the proof was sent to the press, often reading:
"...and then the fighting began" "Captain Archer was thankful the battled was over...". This is no exaggeration, they are simply missing. I'm sure this was a decision by the writer; however I'm not entirely sure why given the subject matter.

Closing comments:
The main issue here is the book feels unsure what it wants to be; a sci-fi shooting romp, a study on the "war is hell" nature of conflict or a tense cold war spy thriller in space and it ends up being none. Nevertheless it is an entertaining read that, even with its problems, I found hard to put down and I will certainly be waiting for the next in the series as it continues Humanities fight against the Romulan hordes. I would recommend it to fans of Star Trek, but I would advise you not to expect too much

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