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H M Reynolds "'The Eight Hour Hell' (Author of)"

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1Q84: Books 1 and 2
1Q84: Books 1 and 2
Price: 3.95

4.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing alternate reality, 8 Jun 2014
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It has always seemed to be to be a frightening concept to me, to be trapped in a parallel reality, similar to our own, but not quite the same.

This is what happens one of the protagonists of the story. The characters are interesting and the mystery of the story holds you until the last page.

There was a slightly dubious bit where a grown up author has sex with a teenage girl, justified by mysticism, which I did not feel completely comfortable with - but at least it will make you think about the issues involved in that.

Did not feel like I had to continue to read the next books in the series as a lot of the loose ends had been wrapped up by the end of this one.

Doctor Who - The Beginning (An Unearthly Child [1963] / The Daleks [1963] / The Edge of Destruction [1964]) [DVD]
Doctor Who - The Beginning (An Unearthly Child [1963] / The Daleks [1963] / The Edge of Destruction [1964]) [DVD]
Dvd ~ William Hartnell
Price: 10.75

5.0 out of 5 stars Doctor Who as it was meant to be, 8 Jun 2014
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Growing up in the Tom Baker era I had never seen any of William Hartnell's episodes, so was interested to see what they were like.

They are certainly better than some of the hyperactive episodes of modern Doctor Who, actually having a plot and characters with grown up motivations.

Would probably be a bit slow moving for modern teenagers though.

Only disappointment is that I have subsequently found that some of these episodes can be watched free online, if you can find the websites.

Xbox 360 250GB Console
Xbox 360 250GB Console
Offered by Staraxe Ltd
Price: 208.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what I wanted, 8 Jun 2014
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Think the new generation of consoles are a bit pricey, so thought I would order a second hand one from the old generation, to last me until the prices come down.

Was told in a computer games shop that you needed this model with the built in hard drive to play certain first person games.

But got this one on Amazon for the same price that the computer games shop were selling the cheaper version without the hard drive.

A Christmas Carol
A Christmas Carol
Price: 0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars A well loved classic, 11 May 2014
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This review is from: A Christmas Carol (Kindle Edition)
When I came to this book, I thought I was familiar with the story. It is a part of popular culture now. The story has been told many times and in many variations including the version by the Muppets and a modern Hollywood version.

I was surprised to find that I did not already know all about the story and the book still had some secrets to give up.
One example was in that Scrooge was already convinced he should change by the time the first ghost had departed. Somehow I had the idea that he took all night to be convinced.

When Dickens was writing, Christmas was much more entwined with Christianity. In our modern plural society we see often see Christmas as being more about getting together with family and would be more able to appreciate that a sense of goodwill to all men could arise from secular sources as well, or that people from other backgrounds might also participate in the season.
However, other than that, we can still relate to this story today - the idea of someone who treats others badly and then has a dramatic conversion is a timeless concept. This book was written over a hundred and fifty years ago now - I predict it will still be being read in another hundred and fifty.

Different Seasons
Different Seasons
Price: 6.49

4.0 out of 5 stars Seen the films? Now read the original novellas, 11 May 2014
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This review is from: Different Seasons (Kindle Edition)
I read this again for my book club, having originally owned the book a few years ago. I was interested to find out how the stories matched up to the films.

The Body - this was made into the film 'Stand By Me'. This is a film I always enjoy watching. Who doesn't have a time in their past they look back on with nostalgia?
For me, the film was slightly better than the book. There is a section in the book where the character inserts a section of a novel he is writing, which I found myself skipping through. The story would have been better with this cut out (although the other story that Geordie tells around the campfire is a classic element that should remain).

Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption was of course made into the Shawshank Redemption. The film and the book are equally good. With good detail of prison life and a positive ending, despite all the suffering the lead character goes through.

Apt pupil was also made into a film, although I must confess I haven't seen it.
The main characters are quite twisted, so though you might start out sympathising with them, it is difficult to do so, by the end.

Breathing lessons is quite a good story, one that has never been tapped to make a film or TV series. I liked the concept of a gentleman's club in which stories were told at Christmas time. There seems to be a tradition of telling spooky stories at Christmas.

Overall ratings for individual novellas:
The body: 4 1/2 stars
Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption: 5 stars
Apt pupil: 4 stars
Breathing lessons: 4 stars

Last Chance To See
Last Chance To See
Price: 3.59

5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining reminder, 11 May 2014
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A book about the extinction of species could have been negative in many ways - it could have been sad or pessimistic about all creatures who no longer exist. It could have taken the subject too seriously.

Instead we are presented with an entertaining travelogue, as a science fiction comedy author and a scientist attempt to travel the world to see a number of species on the brink.

In many ways they are an ideal combination - Douglas presents their experiences in his own, entertaining writing style, dealing not just with the animals themselves, but the trials and tribulations of getting to see them, and the people they meet along the way. Mark Carwardine is obviously passionate about animals and fills in the blanks of some of the knowledge that Douglas does not possess.

Reading it gives you a bit of the feeling of when you go travelling yourself, but most of us probably wouldn't get to go and see the rare and exotic species this species manage to.

I saw the recent series in which Mark Carwardine and Stephen Fry went back to revisit the animals, so I know that some of them have sadly become extinct now. The only extra thing I would have liked to see would be an update on which ones have succeeded, but failing that I would recommend the reader to watch the Stephen Fry series next and find out for themselves.

The Doors, A Collection, Mini Box Set
The Doors, A Collection, Mini Box Set
Price: 18.29

5.0 out of 5 stars Great value, great music, 8 May 2014
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I have owned the soundtrack to the Doors Film for a few years and became interested in obtaining more of their songs after watching it again recently on TV.

Found this Amazon. The set is great value, having all their albums in one very reasonably priced collection.

Although inevitably, some of the albums are better than others - The Doors and Strange Days are the best, but the others are worth a listen to.

The Great and Secret Show
The Great and Secret Show
Price: 3.59

3.0 out of 5 stars A unique mythology, 8 May 2014
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I read this a few years ago and was interested to revisit it. However it isn't quite as good as I remembered it.

Clive Barker creates a unique sense of mythology in his books, there is the sense of entering an exciting and slightly dangerous world.

This one is about the battle between two individuals, which becomes a battle between different elemental forces that they represent.

If you do like it, there are another two books in the sequence.

Back To The Future Trilogy [DVD] [1985]
Back To The Future Trilogy [DVD] [1985]
Dvd ~ Michael J. Fox
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: 17.49

5.0 out of 5 stars A rare thing - a trilogy with good sequels, 8 May 2014
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Feel good movies for a dark winter night's viewing.
The first is a classic, which you can watch several times without tiring of its premise. It hits the beats in all the right places.
And there are edgier elements too - would a film in which a mother makes a pass at her son be made nowadays?

Both the sequels are good too.
Back to the Future II is slightly darker and (to some) confusing with its time twisting plot. It manages to revisit the original film and bring new ideas.

Back to the Future III is lighter in tone and a good end to the series.
Some people say it was a pity that the original George McFly isn't in the second and third films, but his part was much reduced anyway.

Overall, as my title says a trilogy with three good films.

The Usual Suspects (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1995]
The Usual Suspects (2 Disc Special Edition) [DVD] [1995]
Dvd ~ Kevin Spacey
Offered by WorldCinema
Price: 9.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A modern classic, 8 May 2014
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A noir crime thriller about five down on their luck guys in the wrong place at the wrong time, who try to make something out of it.
Most remembered now for the twist, but the urban myth of Kaiser Soze is one that has entered popular culture too.

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