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Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Frederik Pohl
Edition: Paperback
Price: 7.19

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shows how a well written story will always work., 9 July 2003
In a Science Fiction novel, humanity is often measured by the fall of empires and the turn of the galactic wheel. Man Plus focuses on humanity as it affects an individual. The sheer joy, and indeed sometimes great sadness, of this novel comes from the emotions pounding through Tarraway as he journeys from man to "man plus". We see how it affects his family and his friends, and we see how his actions affect them.
The story of whether or not Tarraway succeeds in becoming adapted for Martian life is handled with panash by a writer whose simple yet eloquent style I have come to admire, but as is often the case it is the journey to that end that is the most rewarding part. And in this novel that reward is high indeed.


Night Watch: (Discworld Novel 29) (Discworld Novels)
Night Watch: (Discworld Novel 29) (Discworld Novels)
by Terry Pratchett
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Vimes is the old reliable, for both the city and Pratchett., 7 Nov 2002
Let me say at the start of this review I am a Pratchett fan. A City Watch fan in particular. However some of Pratchett's recent work seems to have lacked the genius so prevalent in most of his books, hence I approached this new title with trepidation.
I make the assumption that most of you who are looking at this review have read Pratchett books before, so there is no need to go into detail about the 'history' of Vimes. Suffice to say I have always felt he was one of Pratchett's strongest characters, however the most recent watch books have brought in so many new characters that you begin to lose the connection and emotional resonance with those that are already there (a case of quantity over quality). How does Pratchett buck this trend? By doing what it seems everyone is doing at the moment and writing a prequel.
A prequel of sorts that is, seeing as this is Discworld we get Vimes time travelling back to his early days in the watch. This turns out to be a masterstoke as we get to focus on a small group of watchmen again, plus we can see how the character of 'our' Vimes has progressed since he first started. Pratchett also gives us an excellent villain, a Moriarty to Vimes' Holmes if you will, and the struggle between them does draw you in.
For regular readers there are plenty of in-jokes and references to later books. And it is always interesting to see how characters began.
In essence, this is a good book. I wasn't sure at first, after about 50-60 pages I thought it was 'iffy', but give it a shot - I ended up finishing it the day I got it. Let it drag you in; you won't be disappointed.


The Gods Themselves
The Gods Themselves
by Isaac Asimov
Edition: Paperback

8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In parts strange, in parts wonderful, in parts unfulfilling., 15 Aug 2002
This review is from: The Gods Themselves (Paperback)
This is not one book, or rather it is one book but one that is made up of three separate books connected by a single strand.
If you've not been confused by that sentance then you are perfectly capable of understanding this book.
The three stories centre on a different group of people whose discoveries/ actions are all connected to one major event. This is the sort of thing that has been done many times before in movies/ books/ TV shows et al. and as usual there are some problems. Occasionally we find ourselves torn away from the characters before we can emote with them. This drive-thru syndrome effects the third book especially as we don't really feel part of what's happening.
The third book, while working in the context of the novel, isn't the stongest branch on the tree. I wished he could have gone back to the characters of the first book and developed them more thoroughly - but then that might be because I thought his early ccharacters were very well realised and allowed you to connect with the story to the point where you wanted to know more. Asimov has taken a different route and it does work, it just 'lacks' something.
If I have made the third book sound unappealing, let me assure you the first two are works of a gifted autor - the second showing a mind brimming with imagination and talent that provides a glorious environment and characters. I have always prided myself on being able to guess twists. I didn't guess Asimov's here. And it is not one of those twists where you think the author has just thrown in a twist at random to cheat you, this one works and makes you reconsider much of what comes before.
This is an excellent book, only slightly let down by a poorer third instalment. A must for any serious reader of fiction this surpasses much of Asimov's more famous work.
A wrongly neglected classic that deserves a wider audience.


Speaker For The Dead: Book 2 in the Ender Saga
Speaker For The Dead: Book 2 in the Ender Saga
by Orson Scott Card
Edition: Paperback

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Evolution in a literal sense., 8 Mar 2002
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Card's original Ender's Game I was eager to get my hands on other copies of his work, however a friend of mine - the one who had introduced me to the Ender saga in fact - warned me that I would be disappointed with the sequels. Gladly I can say he was wrong.
The first thing to note is that this is not Ender's Game 2 - don't expect it to be the same as the first one, it's not. Instead this is an evolution of the storyline that devolops the character of Ender, mirroring the developing maturity of Card himself as a writer.
The luscious character descriptions remain, Card once more gives us characters we can emote to, and his main strength - the interaction and tension between those characters is amongst the best in the business.
The creation and realisation of alien societies reminds me of times of Asimov in The Gods Themselves (another underestimated work) and never at any time feels artificial or unbelievable.
Although you may guess some of the twists before hand this is a good book - it is not worse than Ender's Game, just different and deserves to be judged on its own merits.


Crusade : War Zone & The Long Road [VHS] [1999]
Crusade : War Zone & The Long Road [VHS] [1999]
VHS
Offered by pkeylock
Price: 1.44

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good introductory episode, but..., 8 Feb 2002
Okay, there will be three types of people looking at this review (i) those who saw the show on TV and are thinking of buying it on video (ii) those who saw B5 and wonder what the spin off was like (iii) people looking for a good science fiction show. If you fall into category (i) then you know how this series goes and that The War Zone was probably one of the best episodes in the series, acting both as a good introduction to the characters and plot and as a fast moving episode all in one. The Long Road I felt was weak, even though Galen featured prominantly it seemed corny compared to the first episode - this should have come later in the series I think, not at the start. To group (ii) readers, firstly this is not as good as B5. This is not a criticism as such as it is a competent show just don't expect vast plot arcs and storylines. The character of Gideon has his moments but as usual it is the aliens that make a series - Dureena is poor in these episodes but develops, while Galen impresses from the start (played very well and incorporates some of Marcus's best traits). I would encourage you to buy this video to dip your toe in the water as it does give a good impression of the series. Finally group (iii). I would encourage you to buy Babylon 5 over this, however if you like the Star Trek style of episodes where everything wraps up after 45 minutes you could do worse than these. Crusade, and especially these episodes, does not require prior knowledge of B5 (although it helps) and is a good place to introduce yourself to the B5 universe. There is action, there is humour, there is quality... but it's not B5.


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