Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Paperwhite Shop now Shop Now Shop now
Profile for Ariadne Tampion > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by Ariadne Tampion
Top Reviewer Ranking: 751,029
Helpful Votes: 83

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
Ariadne Tampion (Leicestershire, UK)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1
pixel
Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Man Plus (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Frederik Pohl
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply brilliant, 12 May 2010
This book has to be one of the best SF novels ever. It is fast-paced, exciting and stuffed to overflowing with provocative ideas.

Many Martian colonisation stories focus on 'Terraforming' the Red Planet; 'Man Plus' goes the contrary route of 'Areoforming' the human body. Thus astronaut Roger Torraway becomes a 'cyborg', much of his body replaced by machine to enable him to survive on the bare surface of Mars. The descriptions of the engineering necessary for this feat are lucid and plausible. The issues involved in connecting up machine and organism are not shirked. Background information given to this end is always concise and relevant; the discussion of the frog's eye is a classic.

I deliberately read Man Plus a few weeks before surgery. The intention was to make what was about to be done to me seem trivial in comparison to what was done to Roger. But the book turned out to be far more upbeat than reviewers had led me to believe: I found myself perceiving my surgery as a missed opportunity. Instead of a realignment of my first and fifth right metatarsals, why couldn't I have had the whole foot replaced by a robotic one with computer to enable me to dance the ballet?

The fact that not just the computer technology but the social mores are very nineteen-seventies didn't bother me at all; maybe even served to accentuate the book's innovative genius.

As the end approached, I longed for Roger to get together with the woman who truly loved him while steeling myself for yet another corpse-littered SF stage. When it arrived, I laughed out loud. Absolutely brilliant, no doubt about it.


Alan Turing: The Enigma
Alan Turing: The Enigma
by Andrew Hodges
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.29

76 of 79 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deciphering Alan Turing, 12 May 2010
This is an immense book; a staggeringly thorough biography; the author appears to have left no stone unturned in his search for the real man behind the 'enigma'. Alan Turing emerges as a man who was ahead of his time in his ideas of machine intelligence and his understanding of his own sexuality; but one who was paradoxically also 'born too late', for the breadth of his interests might have sat better in the Victorian era than within the twentieth century cult of the expert.

It is definitely worth reading if you can commit the necessary time and attention to it (I read it while recovering from surgery). Not only is it a thick volume with very small print, but it abounds with highly technical descriptions of Turing's work. Otherwise, wait a couple of years from the time of this review and there will no doubt be a profusion of potted biographies to celebrate Turing's centenary year in 2012.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Mar 2, 2013 12:09 PM GMT


Blue Mars
Blue Mars
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Find out how it all ends!, 12 May 2010
This review is from: Blue Mars (Paperback)
This is the third volume of a hefty trilogy, and worth reading, not least for the sense of achievement, if you have ploughed through the first two!

The story now extends from Mars to encompass the whole Solar System, although it is still Martian centric. I really could not make up my mind whether it is intended to be a utopian fantasy or a dire warning, or indeed, whether it is meant to be deliberately ambiguous. With a longevity treatment and associated sterility treatment widespread, one child per woman is the norm. In place of traditional families, people live and work communally in co-ops. Sex detached from pair-bonding and reproduction becomes entertainment. A graphic description of an orgy in a bath house left me feeling that this was something I personally would definitely not want to be involved with!

It is the slowest moving of all the books, with long descriptions of science and landscapes. Only an author of Robinson's standing would be allowed by his publisher to include so much padding. There are so many loose ends to be tied up, but, at such a slow pace, you have to become resigned to the fact that not all of them will be. As it crawls to its conclusion, I strongly recommend having a full box of tissues to hand in preparation for a highly emotional journey.


Green Mars (Mars Trilogy)
Green Mars (Mars Trilogy)
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Possibly justified self indulgence, 12 May 2010
This is the second volume of a trilogy which is most definitely not for the faint hearted. I read the three books while recovering from surgery, and would recommend them only to SF fans in a similarly compromised situation.

It follows the first Martian colonists as they regroup in the wake of their unsuccessful first revolution and prepare for a second revolution, rebranded a 'phase change' by diplomat Art Randolph who masterminds it. This leads to the running question throughout the book, bearing in mind that Art works for one of the Terrestrial 'multinationals', as to whether the Martians are being duped.

It is slower moving than the first volume, 'Red Mars'. So much space is given to discussions of the philosophy of science and economics that it might be described as 'self indulgent'. One gets the impression that because Robinson won the Nebula award for 'Red Mars', no copy editor would dare suggest he prune any padding from a sequel.

Its great saving grace is that the characters, who appeared to represent ideas rather than human beings in 'Red Mars', become more real. My favourite character became the scientist Sax Russell: certainly partly because I could relate to his perception of scientific conferences as 'Utopia'; possibly also because of the endearing way in which he allows himself to be seduced by the evil Phyllis Boyle; probably mostly because of his irrepressible ability to see positive opportunities in every situation. There is, however, a circle of shadowy secondary characters who are harder to get to know, and I often found myself annoyingly flicking back through both books to try and find earlier references to them, in order to rediscover their roles.

There is more humour than in 'Red Mars' - as if the author is more relaxed now that he has won a Nebula Award. Again, there are surprises in the plot, and I frequently had the feeling that I had absolutely no idea where it was going.


Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)
Red Mars (Mars Trilogy)
by Kim Stanley Robinson
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars From Enid Blyton to the Good Book, 12 May 2010
This is the first volume of a trilogy which is most definitely not for the faint hearted. I read the three books while recovering from surgery, and would recommend them only to SF fans in a similarly compromised situation.

This first volume might alternatively be called 'False Start on Mars'. It follows the first Martian colonists from their selection back on Earth to the point where all the work they, and subsequent Martian settlers, have done is smashed up in a revolution. Thus the story changes tone dramatically in its course: from something reminiscent of an Enid Blyton school story to something resembling the Book of Revelations.

Running through this big story is a smaller one of the rivalry between two men with a similar vision for Mars but very different styles, and the woman who must choose between them. One interesting quirk of the narrative is that each chapter has a different central character, so the reader gets to see the situation from a multiplicity of different perspectives. The characters themselves feel more like representations of ideas rather than representations of real complex human beings, but this weakness is amply compensated for by the surprises contained in the plot, and is indeed in the tradition of mythology.


How To Marry A Millionaire [DVD]
How To Marry A Millionaire [DVD]
Dvd ~ Marilyn Monroe
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £10.26

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marilyn's gift to myopic girls, 30 Dec. 2009
The reason I love this film so much is because I have a spectacle prescription of -10, and the eternally sexy Marilyn Monroe is playing a girl with eyesight like mine, thereby definitively showing that short-sightedness can indeed go hand in hand with sexiness. It gets even better when the man she attracts tells her that she looks even better with her glasses on than without them because they make her look mysterious!


He, She and it
He, She and it
by Marge Piercy
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A foil to Automatic Lover, 30 Dec. 2009
When a second person told me that my more recent book, Automatic Lover, was 'like' this one, I decided I needed to check it out. There are certainly similarities: both involve intimate relationships between women and machines; many of the same detail points are made about these relationships. But these details fall into the 'blindingly obvious' category, and I am sure any author handling the same subject matter would have come up with them.

The differences are an order of magnitude greater. Piercy's book is a retelling of the Frankenstein story in not one but two different forms: one in the future and one in the past. Perhaps the intention is to convey the message that the moral injunction against creating artificial life in human form extends across all time. Mine is an exploration of the potential and pitfalls of humanoid artificial intelligence, inspired and informed by my association with the contemporary AI community: it presumes that as the technology develops, industry will have to rise to the inevitable market demand for humanoid robots as companions, carers and sexual partners. The settings chosen by Piercy and myself, both from 'pulp SF', give a hint to this essential difference. Mine is the upbeat one of extra-terrestrial settlement; hers the dystopic one of a post-disaster Earth.

The female characters around whom both stories revolve are very different women. Piercy's Shira is a victim of circumstances, who gives in to the insistent desire of the machine; my Andrea is a strong woman, who takes the initiative to build the life she wants with the machine partner she seduces. Piercy's Malkah survives in a man's world by living like a man; my Wendy is strong and wise because she insists on putting her maternal responsilities above her career. Shira has a son, but she appears so self-absorbed that the mother-love she is supposed to feel for him is unconvincing. Wendy's maternal feelings and behaviours permeate her every perspective and action.

The central robots, too, are very different. (Piercy's is described as a 'cyborg' because he has 'some grown biological parts'.) Piercy's Yod is troubled by being the only one of his kind; my H values the fact that he was created identical to many other robots on the production line but made unique by his relationship with Andrea.

One incidental problem I have with Piercy's story is that it is set too close in the future. It is set in 2059, but Shira is 28 years old and returns to the town where she grew up to find it largely unchanged from her childhood. Even allowing for the fact that the book was written in 1990, I find it hard to believe that the social changes and construction projects implied could have taken place within that timescale.

I have given the book three stars because, as the author of its antithesis, I reserve the right not to like it. But it is most certainly not a bad book. If you like your SF dark and dystopic, then you will like it. If you prefer your SF upbeat and fun, you will prefer mine. If you are simply an afficionado of robot romances, read both and then enjoy your own compare-and-contrast exercise!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 31, 2011 2:38 PM BST


Drive in Movie Double Feature: Creation & War [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Drive in Movie Double Feature: Creation & War [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Offered by supermart_usa
Price: £7.44

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wilde about Turing/resonance of Ravel?, 1 Oct. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Creation of the Humanoids - If Oscar Wilde had been alive in 1962, he might have written the screenplay; possibly as a tribute to Alan Turing. As an engineer by training and the author of 21st century robot romance 'Automatic Lover', I had to clench my teeth at the way some enormous engineering challenges are glossed over. But the characters are so engaging that I loved it anyway.

War between the Planets - This film appears to distill the essence of a space war hero adventure in the way Ravel's 'La Valse' distills the essence of a waltz.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 19, 2015 12:33 AM BST


Page: 1