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Mr. James M. Littlewood

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9/11: Inside the Hijacker's Plane
9/11: Inside the Hijacker's Plane
Price: 1.90

3.0 out of 5 stars Captures the tension of the 9/11 hijacks, the sense of resilience, and dark hints of abandonment, 6 July 2014
Reviewing a fictional work about the events of 2011 can be almost as troubling as actually writing about them, such is the heat of passion and debate that can be aroused. Once again, Anders has chosen to focus on a single minor hero without in any way resorting to crass grandstanding or pomposity (The same cannot be said for all fictional treatments of this subject). The research broadly holds up, and the sense of suspense is never far from the surface. There may also be a gentle irony underpinning some of the characters, but in a way that seems tasteful and proportionate.

Straying into the choppy waters of what the authorities knew and attempted to act upon - or the reverse - is never easy where 9/11 is concerned. Subtlety is the key here and subtlety is certainly in evidence in this book.

I am not sure if Anders should make the mistake of many equally cinematic writers and attempt further 'sequels': the tendency towards the 'Trilogy Syndrome' and so forth. Usually, by the third book or film, the scenarios become far too solidified in the minds of audiences. In any case, he is a talented enough writer to diversify into equally dramatic terrain.

But in any case, this is a gripping, deftly crafted work, and a welcome follow-up to his previous book.

9/11 The Jumper
9/11 The Jumper
Price: 1.86

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well worth reading - dramatic but sensitive, 7 Feb 2014
This review is from: 9/11 The Jumper (Kindle Edition)
Although a little puzzling at times, the sheer density of this work is manageable, as it starts out in a fairly straightforward fashion. It is only on a second or third reading that it becomes clear that this is not only a very good book, but also, very sensitive to the subject matter, and the occasional quirks are there to give clues as to the horrors that are about to unfold (i.e: the description of a 'screaming' coffee machine). The story ends with a strange list of unconnected words that give the feeling of falling into chaos. Appallingly, we all claim to 'know' about 9/11 from the television, but this is hardly the whole story. I would have given this review more 'stars' except that, as a former history student, and a British student who only heard about the attacks after learning normal classes on my course had been suspended, I am very wary about give five-star reviews to historical subjects that I do not claim to know very much about, although I have to say that the attention to detail does seem to suggest a degree of authenticity.

The whole question of what happened during the terror attacks of September 11th 2001 is kept strictly to the internal world-view of the characters in the building, especially Steve, who in a very loose sense, might be described as a 'martyr': an innocent victim, yet who in some way seems compelled to live out these events, as if no other course of action were possible.

There is a horrible black humour at the heart of this story - not to denigrate anyone who died or suffered - but to illustrate the utter hopelessness of the scenes that unfolded: between the characters in their office banter, and in the use of irony to illustrate the deadly horrors that are about to unfold, such as the banter about seeing "The Jets" team, which has a disturbing double-meaning, as well as notions of Steve wishing to melt or blending into the scenery, which become an all-too-disturbing reality. "How can anyone write poetry after Auschwitz?" was a famous epithet of another recent catastrophe in history. Well, similarly, an answer is given here to "How can anyone write fiction about 9/11?", especially with a glimmer of hope, love - and dare one say it - levity. We write because we MUST write: because we have no choice BUT to write. This is our humanity. What else can we do?

The front cover looks a little clumsy and amateurish, and does not really convey the quality content, which is worthy of greater analysis. I certainly think this book has the potential to make a good film script, but only with a very careful "low-key" respectful treatment (i.e: not a dreadful blockbuster 'action movie'), and the retention of the authorial voice in the form of a monologue. Having heard Tom Selleck do monologues, I can easily imagine someone like him in the role of Steve, quietly going about his business.

I get the impression Peter J Anders is not a New Yorker from his use of language, but he captures the feel of New York, and its people, and balances the sense of humanity and despair, which, given the subject-matter, must have been an extremely difficult thing to do.

Halcyon Days -Deluxe-
Halcyon Days -Deluxe-
Offered by davehopetrading
Price: 7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb re-release made better by "How Long Will I Love You?, 7 Feb 2014
This review is from: Halcyon Days -Deluxe- (Audio CD)
Some pop acts transcend generations. England's Ellie Goulding is one of them, and possibly comparable female acts such as Little Boots. The "one for the Dads" Christmas hit "How Long Will I Love You" drew me in, and then I came to appreciate many other great songs, such as "Burn". It's clear that this album is about broadening her appeal, and the change suits her. Even if we had never seen what Ms Goulding looked like (which is an obvious bonus), there is a certain "studenty" sex appeal that comes over quite clearly in her voice, and in lyrics that balance the heartfelt with the downright thoughtful. There are some great ballads on here - not released as singles - as well as some dance tracks that keep the sensitivity in evidence. Even if this sounds at times like a female NUS President at a kareoke contest, circa 1998, frankly, who cares? She has captured a particular kind of 'studenty rave' beautifully, and that feeling of being young, curious, in love, introspective and slightly at odds with the world. Treasure Ellie Goulding. She is a rarity and you'll miss her when she's gone.

Atherfield's Final Formula
Atherfield's Final Formula
Price: 0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars Nigel Hems' most accessible work to date, 25 April 2013
This is perhaps Nigel Hems' most accessible work to date. For those people who struggled to grasp some of the deeper philosophical themes that are embedded through his writings, this is perhaps the best place to start. This is certainly a story that, with the right marketing, could outsell every other story that Nigel Hems has written so far. The change in style is noticeable. Atherfield's Final Formula may disappoint lovers of his more cryptic works, but what's wrong with that? It shows that this is writer who is comfortable with writing in numerous formats without losing the continuity of form that we have come to expect from him.

To the charge that this is a more 'commercial' work, well, I would have to say yes, in my view, but it's none the worse for that.

The story deals with a scientist who has to make a moral choice between allowing his findings to be published and obeying his spiritual and moral conscience. Or at least, that seems on the surface to be what the story is about. I don't want to give the plot away!

It would, however, be wrong to state that Atherfield's final formula fails to address wider philosophical discourses. Most immediately, one is struck by a Satre-like subtext: a sense of things entering existence and then melting away. There are other implications too: some more troubling than others. The whole point of the story is that the formula must never be found, because it is the essence of everything. Perhaps it cannot be found. Perhaps it has already been found, and we simply remain unaware of it. The turn from science to religion is also a turn from certainty in the empirical sphere to a human craving for the eternally beyond - that human cry that beaurocratic science often brutally snuffs out with its own cruel fundementalisms. Even the notorious scientist and atheist polemicist, Richard Dawkins, comes close to this type of statement when, in a BBC documentary with Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, he warns of a 'Nazi' science that would be capable of far more chilling effects than any religious fundamentalism, because it could perform its cruel deeds with greater scientific and logistical efficiency.

As with any 'indie' artist, occasionally there are hits sung not only by university students and intellectuals, but the plainest of folk. Nigel Hems has a No.1 hit on his hands without having to abandon his 'indie' credentials one little bit. He should start opening the champagne. In years to come, he will angrily have to remind people he has written other stories when they keep going on about this one. This story deserves to be the one that he will come to hate, the one people come up to him in the street and quote from until he is sick of it.

Nigel Hems has reached out to the world and invited it to respond. Will you?

The Figures
The Figures
Price: 0.77

5.0 out of 5 stars A sinister mind-game played out in a strange landscape, 28 Feb 2013
This review is from: The Figures (Kindle Edition)
We are now into the third chapter in Nigel Hems' literary career on Amazon Kindle, and already it is clear that this is writer with a bold and brilliant future that deserves a wider audience. I have never heard of Ex-El-Ence publishing, but from a brief survey of their other output, I would say that he should seriously consider finding a well-known big-name publisher who can give his works wider exposure, as he is clearly in a different from Ex-El-Ence's other authors.

The figures are reminiscent of Tod Browning's Freaks (1932) that melt into a primeval swamp of revenge, blended with hints of Kafkaesque judgement and a creepy chess game played out on an unfamiliar stage. Once again, there is Nigel Hems familiar motif of a supposed 'innocent' caught in a web that he (usually a 'he') does not understand.

What is the story? The story is our minds, not how things appear in plain sight. If you want 'reality' in a flat sense, this book is not for you. But there is nothing 'flat' about this version of reality. It is us, through a distorting mirror.

Although 'The Letter' was an interesting novella, The Figures recaptures the brevity of his first work 'Events'. It shows that Nigel Hems is at home with both the short-story and novella formats, and this third Kindle Edition work is an essential part of any fan's collection.

Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Free Speech: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
by Nigel Warburton
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Free speech explained at last!, 27 Jan 2013
It's weird how I reviewed this book on free speech and it's disappeared! This is a great book and it was written in a way that makes you think about things like porn as free speech, or even what the BNP say. Should we censor things that might be dangerous, and who decides what's right or wrong? I got this book from a friend who was at university. It's not a hard read, though, and I think everyone should read this book.

Journey's Greatest Hits
Journey's Greatest Hits
Price: 4.19

4.0 out of 5 stars Journey are cool. :-), 27 Jan 2013
This review is from: Journey's Greatest Hits (Audio CD)
I got into Journey because of Don't Stop Believin' which I heard from the Glee soundtrack. I prefer the Glee version, but this one is the original, and to have thought of a song like that in those days is just amazing. It's a good album to chill out to like a lot of 70s and 80s rock, because I don't really like a lot of heavy emo or metal. It's a shame more people don't know about this. Every song on this album rocks. Journey need bigging up and I am a fan now I've heard this.

Harry Hill's Cream of TV Burp [DVD]
Harry Hill's Cream of TV Burp [DVD]
Dvd ~ Harry Hill
Price: 3.90

5.0 out of 5 stars Bring back TV Burp!, 27 Jan 2013
Harry Hill is just a legend! I used to make sure it was one thing I always watched. The songs are really funny, I loved it when he broke into the sets of other shows, and everyone liked the fights! I don't watch much TV because you can get better stuff on the internet, but this was great!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 9, 2014 4:26 PM GMT

Take Me Home
Take Me Home
Price: 5.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ace tunes and gorgeous guys too! xxx, 27 Jan 2013
This review is from: Take Me Home (Audio CD)
I preferred this One Direction album, even though the cover of the new release is hotter. "Live While We're Young" just blows your head off, but there are some other good album tracks like "Last First Kiss", which has great lyrics. They're much better than a lot of other boybands, and really, all the tracks on the album have great lyrics. I'm not surprised they are big in America, because their boybands aren't as good. I hope they go on for ages - even longer than Take That, because they're so cool, as well as being unbelievably cute!

I'm fed up of buying albums on iTunes and not having something I can get hold of! Buy the CD and get the pictures! It's a bit more expensive sometimes, but worth it. A great album.

The Letter
The Letter
Price: 2.66

5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps you guessing, but it's marvellous, 27 Jan 2013
This review is from: The Letter (Kindle Edition)
I like stories that are mysterious, and where you don't get to know what's going on until the very end. Nigel Hems has done one better, because even when you've read the story, you still aren't much clearer what is happening. I had to read it loads of times before I really got any idea about the characters or anything that was going on. I read George Orwell at school and it was a bit like that, only not with a normal story. George Orwell tells you a straight story about things, whereas Nigel Hems messes with your head by making you wonder what's doing on.

The writer is playing tricks on us. Loads of things in the story are symbols that mean other things, like the photograph, or the way he talks about women. I sometimes wondered if the letter really existed at all, or if we were just being made to think that. I even got the idea that there might be two letters. The letter is like a character in the story, only most people wouldn't think that.

The story is about a man who is always being bossed around and made to do stuff he doesn't like. He gets in trouble, first for losing the letter, then when he finds it and when people tell him off and don't like what it reveals. So there are contradictions all the time, and we never know who is lying or not. We don't know what's in the letter, because Nigel Hems never tells us, which is brilliant and means you want to read and find out.

When the narrator crosses the bridge, he thinks he is free from the people that are bossing him around. Only he isn't, because when he gets to the other side, he meets some scruffy people who look like tramps. But the thing is, they aren't tramps. They are like authority, only not properly dressed: like when you get nightclub bouncers. It's a bit like life, because when I go to the benefit office and they are bossing me around, I then get bossed around at home or out on the street, so everyone is, in effect, slagging me off. So there's no escape from it, and it ends up doing your head in, and then you start to wonder if it's you. So when time gets messed up, it's not because Nigel Hems is a bad writer. He is doing your head in for a reason. He is showing you how much pressure people are under from authority and how it can mess your brain up and things seem to be a jumble.

It makes you wonder if what Nigel Hems is really talking about is authority, and how it's everywhere, from the benefit office, the police, and even people on the street slagging you off. You are never free from it. If you ever hear people say they are living the dream, this is true in their minds, only it's not. Maybe we are all living the dream because reality can be so awful, it's like a nightmare, where the things that happen seem jumbled up.

This is a book you have to read when you have time to think. It's not a book for everyone, but if you stick with it, it grows on you. But honestly, it's really brilliant, and I am certainly going to buy "Events" as well, just to find out if it's as good, which I'm sure it will be.

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