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Thom Rowson

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Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
Raising Steam: (Discworld novel 40) (Discworld Novels)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.00

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Left imagining what could have been..., 25 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
It pains me to say this - the Discworld novels have been, for the better part of two decades, the only books I regularly return to - but this isn’t actually a very good book. It’s bursting with good ideas, but somewhere along the way the story got lost. My concerns can be summarised in two points: firstly, there has been insufficient editorial control, and secondly, if this was the first Discworld novel I picked up, I probably wouldn’t try to get my hands on another.
Let’s deal with that editing issue first. Terry Pratchett is a man whose head overflows with ideas. He sees things in the real world, distils them to their purest essence and reflects them on the page; it’s the subtlety of that process which has always drawn me to his work. In Raising Steam, all of that subtlety has gone. It is a raging torrent of thoughts, of clever little parodies, but because no-one has had the guts to ask Terry to weed some of them out, none of them are ever properly explored. This means that almost every page is a little plot of its own, with a quick and comfortable conclusion. It’s very hard to pick out an overall plot (or indeed Terry’s satirical point), and there’s none of Discworld’s traditional creeping, insidious fear in your mind that there’s something lurking just round the corner for the protagonists. Pratchett used to be a master of weaving together strands to make something whole; this is more like a sampler, with a little taster of each thread but no sign of anything coherent coming together.
Good editing would have solved that problem, just as it would for this review. It’s not Pratchett’s job to do this, either, and so I don’t feel he can take the blame. Somewhere further down the line, someone hasn’t done their job properly. This book needs to be stripped back, slowed down and more thoroughly written. I’m well aware of why this might not have happened, of why things might have been hurried, but the fact that the book has come out in this form is a disservice to Terry.
My second point, way back up there at the top, regards returning custom. I’ll buy the next Discworld book, and the one after that, and so on, until Terry’s Alzheimer's-riddled mind finally prevents us from enjoying the fruits of his labours. Just as we can guarantee there is no justice in the world (why couldn’t it have been Piers Morgan, or Tony Blair who got ill?), so we can also testify to that. But I wonder if others, who have not spent half their lives buying everything Discworld, might say the same. I wonder if a young me, picking up Raising Steam, would then feel inclined (as I did after stumbling across Soul Music), to then manically devour everything TP had ever written. For years there have been in-jokes, less-than-subtle shouts back to previous points in the series. For the most part these haven’t hindered the experience, but in Raising Steam I can’t help feeling it’s all gone a bit too far. As a fan, I love these little moments; I adore the harks back to past stories, especially the Moist von Lipwig sub-series. But, for a newcomer, these must be confusing and daunting, and give the book a rather exclusive feel. The Discworld fanbase is broad and all-encompassing, but it's always leaned toward the comfortably geeky - this is a book which will speak to those fans, but is unlikely to create more of them.
Ultimately, because it is a Disworld novel, and because TP is still a master of the style, I enjoyed Raising Steam. Just not as much as I desperately wanted to...


LUPO USB 'Bullit' Car Charger for iPhone 3G/3GS/4 iPod Touch Nano Classic Shuffle - BLACK
LUPO USB 'Bullit' Car Charger for iPhone 3G/3GS/4 iPod Touch Nano Classic Shuffle - BLACK
Offered by LUPO STORE
Price: £0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Fine, not exactly as advertised, 5 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Although the specs say 800mA, the unit I received says it only outputs 500mA. That's probably just about enough to charge your phone when it's not in use, but if you want to use this with your iPhone in sat nav mode (i.e. with Google Maps) you'll find that it's not capable of charging the phone, merely slowing the rate at which the battery runs down. Useful to an extent, but you still wouldn't have much of a chance of getting from, say London to Edinburgh using your phone as sat nav and still have any charge left at the end.
The tell-tale that this isn't quite up to scratch is to check a standard Apple mains adapter, which outputs 5V==1A. I'll keep this as it might come in handy one day, but I'll be looking for a 1A adapter for my car, too. The lack of power may explain why I and at least one other reviewer constantly get the 'Charging is not supported, etc.' error when using this adapter.


Black Rubber Custom Printed Personalised Case Cover for iPhone 4 4S
Black Rubber Custom Printed Personalised Case Cover for iPhone 4 4S
Offered by PersonaliseItOnline
Price: £4.87

5.0 out of 5 stars Very nice case, 24 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
There are two reasons to recommend this case: firstly, the case which is used as a base is really good - wraps around the phone nicely, with covers for the power and volume buttons, and cut-outs for the ports and the mute switch, and feels like the perfect combination of plastic and rubber. The second reason to recommend it is the personalisation, which is very well executed.
I should also say that the customer service from PersonaliseItOnline was excellent - there was a small manufacturing defect with my case, which was immediately resolved by Peter from the company, who sent me out a new case the same day. He couldn't have been more helpful.
For those wondering how to upload an image for the case back, I found the easiest way was to go to the PersonaliseItOnline website (Google it, I'm not allowed to leave a link) once you've placed your order, and use the upload form there, as well as adding your Amazon order number.


First4Spares Element for Beko & Flavel Fan Ovens
First4Spares Element for Beko & Flavel Fan Ovens
Offered by SPARES-2-GO
Price: £10.89

3.0 out of 5 stars Works, but not well manufactured, 18 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
First of all, let me say that this element once installed works perfectly. It was just a bit of a job to get in...
There were two key issues with the item I received, both related to the mounting holes. An element of this type has three mounting holes: two on the plate by the spade connectors and one slot type hole diametrically opposite the plate, allowing for adjustment. In my case, there were problems with all three. The two holes in the mounting plate ought to be threaded to accept screws, and neither had been. Not only that, but the slot connector was drilled in the incorrect location, meaning that even at its furthest extent the screw wouldn't locate properly.
Luckily I'm fairly handy, and have all the right kit, so I could drill out the two holes on the mounting plate, and then use a pair of nuts and bolts in place of the mounting screws. I extended the slot connector with a file. But if you're not able to do this, you'll be sending the element back.
Perhaps it's just a one off - after all, plenty of other people seem to be happy with theirs - but it was a bit of an annoyance.


2430MAH High Capacity BA S540 Battery for HTC Wildfire S
2430MAH High Capacity BA S540 Battery for HTC Wildfire S

3.0 out of 5 stars Worked, but isn't high capacity, 15 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this to replace the ailing unit in my Wildfire, which was overheating and discharging in less than an hour. It does exactly what it should in terms of powering the phone, but I wouldn't call it high capacity - when my phone was brand new the HTC battery would last two or three days, but this never managed more than a day.


iPhone 4 / iPhone 4G Hard Case - Perforated Mesh Black - Trade Accessories Accessories
iPhone 4 / iPhone 4G Hard Case - Perforated Mesh Black - Trade Accessories Accessories
Offered by Goods-cool.
Price: £8.94

3.0 out of 5 stars Looks good, but you get what you pay for, 15 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
If you're prepared to accept that a case this cheap is going to be a bit, well, cheap, then you won't be disappointed. It looks great, but the quality of the plastic and the finish leave a little to be desired. There were quite a few bits of sharp flash on the moulding of mine, which I removed with a scalpel to neaten it up. Fits the phone perfectly, but then so do hundreds of other iPhone cases. I've given the case 3 stars based on build quality rather than value for money.


TECHGEAR® APPLE iPHONE 4 / 4S Front & Back CLEAR Screen Protectors with cleaning cloth
TECHGEAR® APPLE iPHONE 4 / 4S Front & Back CLEAR Screen Protectors with cleaning cloth
Offered by TECHGEAR Solutions
Price: £1.79

5.0 out of 5 stars Works well, 15 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Does exactly what you'd hope for from a screen protector - it's the right shape and, providing you clean the screen well first it'll stick on perfectly. I've only bothered with the front protector as I have a case over the back, but it ought to work as well as the front did. The two-phase application - where you first peel off one side of the coating then the other - works far better than a single stage design.
Overall, highly recommended.


100% Genuine Apple USB Data Cable Dock Connector MA591G/A for iPhone 4 S 4S 4G
100% Genuine Apple USB Data Cable Dock Connector MA591G/A for iPhone 4 S 4S 4G
Offered by G For U
Price: £2.59

2.0 out of 5 stars When it works it's good value..., 15 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Bought this as a cheap lead to charge my iPhone 4 in the car, but it's a bit intermittent - the cable itself looks well enough put together, but there's a problem with the connector which means that my phone will more often than not give the error 'charging not supported with this accessory'. When it works it's fine, but that's only half the time. It's cheap, and you get exactly what you pay for. Won't bother returning it because it would cost more in postage than I paid for it.


Kampa Junior Airlock Airbed Blue
Kampa Junior Airlock Airbed Blue
Offered by Palmer Riley Distribution Ltd
Price: £18.72

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but with room for improvement, 15 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
We bought this to take camping with our youngest, who's at the crawling stage, and tends to rove around his cot a bit in his sleep. It managed to contain him well enough - he ended up with his head jammed in one corner, but the sides were high enough that he didn't escape.
The only reason this doesn't get five stars is the approach to inflating/deflating the base - it's on a separate vale to the sides, and the placement of the valve is such that if the sides have already been inflated you have a really tough time getting to the valve. Given that it's of a type which doesn't fit most pumps, you have to do this by mouth, and that can be complex. And, assuming you managed to get it inflated successfully, deflation is also an issue - you have to somehow squeeze the valve open while rolling/folding up the rest of the bed, and given its positioning this is a pain. Move the valve for the base to the underside of the bed and this would be a five star product.
Overall, this bed does exactly what you'd want it to do at a reasonable price, and with good build quality.


Sakura Car Mats in Black for Skoda Fabia (Fits 2007 on Models)
Sakura Car Mats in Black for Skoda Fabia (Fits 2007 on Models)
Price: £25.48

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent aftermarket mats, 15 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
These mats do exactly what you'd expect - they fit my wife's Fabia perfectly, and look well enough made that they ought to last a while. They're great value, too. What more could you want?


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