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Rob 'n Beck

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The Hot Zone: The Chilling True Story of an Ebola Outbreak
The Hot Zone: The Chilling True Story of an Ebola Outbreak
Price: £3.66

5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing and sobering read, 25 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
An amazing book; scary as hell. Very sobering.

The Last Days on Mars [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
The Last Days on Mars [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Liev Schreiber
Price: £10.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good fun sci fi yarn, 24 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. If you are looking for a gory zombie flick, then better to look elsewhere. This is a cooly paced, good looking sci fi yarn. Although it should be classified under the horror theme, it felt more like a thriller drama, which worked well IMO.

Brown Cuff Style Leather Watch Strap, 20mm, With Buckle
Brown Cuff Style Leather Watch Strap, 20mm, With Buckle
Offered by watchesbytimepiece
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Solid watchstrap, 19 Oct. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Really nice watchstrap; just the thing I was looking for.

The Social Club
The Social Club
Price: £6.44

5.0 out of 5 stars A real gem, 19 July 2014
This review is from: The Social Club (Kindle Edition)
The Social Club is the latest novel by David J Rodger. Rodger's books span two different but related genres placed within the same future world. One strand pursues cyberpunk/horror (gritty near-future Lovecraftian) whilst the other strand focuses on survival-horror/thriller (the same world, but a few years after the zombie apocalypse). The Social Club is set in the latter. I mention a zombie apocalypse, but in fact it is so much more (as revealed in Rodger's excellent roleplaying game, Yellow Dawn, which is available via Lulu).

The novel's action occurs within an island of civilisation - an enclave - located in zombie-infested London. It's a sinister place; an Orwellian society complete with ruling single party, personality cult, and strong-arm security force. The story is essentially a detective thriller, in which our hero unwittingly finds himself drawn into a case behind which are the movers and shakers of the enclave. The machinations of the various players is set against political happenings in the wider world, providing additional turns along the way.

Much of what happens are the sorts of things one would expect in a contemporary detective thriller, although lying behind this are dark sinister dystopian forces and the undead horrors waiting just beyond the borders. This backdrop sweetened and deepened the narrative and allowed some twists to the knife.

The story is mainly character-driven. The central protagonist is well constructed; someone I liked and rooted for and whose motivations and actions made sense in the context. Although the story develops at a fairly slow pace, the narrative is both engaging and easy to read. However, the pacing may not be to everyone's taste. I did not encounter much in the way of zombie action, but frankly, this was not a problem. Their presence beyond the enclave is never far away, and provided a persistent - if subconscious - tension. The ending contained sufficient open threads and 'unfinished business' that I wondered if Rodger is planning a sequel. Some readers may leave the table a bit unsatisfied by this; however, I felt the denouement was mature and unpatronising by its lack of complete 'closure'.

The proofing is a bit rough at the edges, with the odd typo here and there. But this is easily forgivable given that Rodger does all his own editing and layout on top of everything else. Don't make the mistake of labelling Rodger as a mere 'vanity' publisher. His writing and narrative style are well developed, and with eight full-length novels and a short story anthology under his belt (with more on the way; and not forgetting the roleplaying game and associated campaign book), I reckon David Rodger can stare down any full-time writer.

In sum, I found The Social Club to be a solid addition to a growing collection of books set in a consistent, well-constructed and interestingly portrayed dark future. It's a pity Rodger is not better known within the sci-fi literature and roleplaying communities, because a lot of people are missing-out on some real gems.

Call of Duty: Ghosts (Xbox One)
Call of Duty: Ghosts (Xbox One)
Offered by games-wizard
Price: £18.62

16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Multiplayer leaves me feeling frustrated and angry, 19 Dec. 2013
= Fun:2.0 out of 5 stars 
First off, I've been a huge CoD fan for many years, and have been playing the series online since Modern Warfare 1 (CoD4). So, I was looking forwards to this iteration of the franchise. What follows is my own opinion of playing this game online in competitive matches.

It pains me to say this, but in my opinion this is the single worst, most unplayable version of CoD I have ever played online. I really want to like this game, but I simply can't. Why:

First, the maps are large and seemingly comprise a maze of through routes containing lots of clutter, which is a camper's paradise. Indeed, camping seems to be a popular play style now. I find moving across the maps in order to play the objective very difficult because of the frequency by which someone pops up and shoots me. This makes for a real uphill struggle.

Second, the seeming haphazard spawning means that very often, it's easy to be shot from behind at random as a consequence of spawn location. This is unacceptable, especially given the size of many of the maps.

Third, you die very quickly in this version; there is little you can do to escape being shot because you are dead already. In previous versions of CoD, I've been happy to play hardcore mode, and so I'd normally be ok with this. But, when combined with the large cluttered maps with their unexpected ambush opportunities, this makes for very frustrating gameplay.

In sum, whilst the game may suit some players, I personally find the on-line element effectively unplayable. I can't get any traction with many of these maps and playing them is a trial. Indeed, I often find I simply cannot stay in a game to completion; playing this game leaves me feeling angry and frustrated. If the problem was a technical issue, then it could be solved, but we are stuck with these maps. Given how much I have enjoyed the previous iterations in this franchise, I cannot begin to express how disappointed I am with Ghosts. Unless you are a top-notch player, then my advice to you is to avoid this title.

ORDEL® Slim Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard For Apple iPad 3 4 Air & MINI
ORDEL® Slim Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard For Apple iPad 3 4 Air & MINI
Offered by Ordel
Price: £14.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good service, 19 Aug. 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Original keyboard accidentally sent with German layout, but the vendor was happy to replace this for a UK layout straight away and without any fuss. Great customer service - thanks!

Whole World (Book & CD)
Whole World (Book & CD)
by Fred Penner
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars My four year old loves it!, 2 Sept. 2012
This is my four-year-olds favourite book! The music is beautifully played and enjoyable to listen to, with lots of 'atmospheric noises' (bees for the 'mountains and the flowers' city noises for the city etc# which act as prompts for which verses to sing. It's played through once so that the child can sing along with it, before being repeated again without the words, so they can sing it themselves. I like the fact that the language is inclusive #'He's' is interspersed with 'She's'# which felt a little bit strange at first, but I think it actually makes it less of a religious-toned song and places the emphasis more upon us, as custodians of the planet, making us think about the responsibilities we have. There are some brilliant pointers at the end about environmental awareness and what we can all do to help preserve our beautiful planet, which makes this suitable for older children who might want to discuss the issues in more detail. Colourful and attractive illustrations too. I'd definitely recommend it.

Homefront (Xbox 360)
Homefront (Xbox 360)
Offered by passionFlix UK
Price: £5.70

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gem of a game, 8 July 2011
= Fun:5.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Homefront (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Overall a really solid game. The single-player element is interesting and challenging. The real gem of the game is multiplayer.

Single Player
Plus Points: Solid story-line, challenging opponents, good environments, politically savvy (shows harsh reality of an occupation, highlights resentment of civilians caught between resistance fighters and hostile occupying troops).
Negative points: Rather linear storyline, graphics look a bit old fashioned (but actually graphics are fine - simply an issue of artistic style IMO), storyline is rather short

This is the real strength of the game - big battles with lots of options. Seems to sit somewhere between CoD and Battlefield Bad Company (but is very different to either of these). Ok, there were some teething problems (e.g. full servers) when the game first hit the stores, but these have been resolved. Nowadays, I have no problems finding servers, and stability is solid. Don't judge the game on these early problems because they are no longer an issue.
Plus Points: Good fun, plenty of players, good blend of intense action and some tactical thinking, vehicles and drones, career advancement, nice in-battle points system that allows you to 'buy' one-off perks (such as air strikes, vehicles, drones), smooth controller movement, generally good team balance system
Negative points: collision model could be sharper (sometimes you shoot the cover when actually aiming over the cover)

The Blessing Tree
The Blessing Tree

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and uplifting, 4 Jan. 2007
This review is from: The Blessing Tree (Audio CD)
I bought this CD on impulse while visiting a Roman villa, after seeing it in the gift shop, so I wasn't sure what to expect. The bumph on the front described it as being a bit like Enya, which I think does it a bit of a disservice.

Yes, some of the tracks (particularly the ones with the made-up language) are clearly influenced by Enya and other similar music, but it is more than just a derivative album, it has a character and bauty all of its own.

The songs are delicately arranged and the singing is beautiful and uplifting. It reminde dme of very early Enya or Clannad - before it got more electronic.

That said, there were a couple of times when the arrangements grated on me - specifically the mock-Irish sounding flute and drum arrangemnts on Breton Drum which sounded just a little too contrived. But six months on from buying it, I am still in love with its magic. Favourite track is The Wishing Tree.

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