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Adam "Say something about yourself!" (Dunton, United Kingdom)

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The 5th Wave (Book 1)
The 5th Wave (Book 1)
by Rick Yancey
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Riding the Waves, 9 Aug 2014
This review is from: The 5th Wave (Book 1) (Paperback)
I picked up a copy of this in the library and intrigued, read the blurb. There is a clear reference to an apocalypse on the blurb but what kind? Undead? Plague? That ambiguity was enough to hook me. I’m glad it did.
This is a wickedly effective page turner that takes the well used sci- fi trope of alien invasion and gives it a decent, scary workout. The story centres on seventeen year old Cassie Sullivan, her family and friends as an Alien mother-ship appears overhead and throws the world into a fever of terrified speculation. It is noted with dread that the Aliens are resisting all attempts at communication. And then the attack ‘waves’ begin and if you want to preserve the surprise I had in finding out what these are, read no further. But I won’t blow what the final ‘wave’ is.
The first wave is ‘lights out,’ a huge EMP pulse that robs the world of power and sends planes falling from the sky. The second, ‘surfs up,’ are huge metal spears thrown down from the stratosphere that impact on costal tectonic weak points, drowning the coasts of the Earth. The third, ‘pestilence,’ is an Ebola type virus spread through birds, and the fourth, the use of sleeper entities implanted in certain human minds at a pre-natal point. These turn the hosts against their fellows.
There’s a terrifying, satisfying logic to the ‘waves.’ Without power we are weakened. An attack on the coasts drives us inland and packs us tightly together, where the pestilence will be horribly effective. The fourth wave destroys trust in the surviving communities, causing humanity to splinter further. And the Fifth....well that’s just as logical and clever, and I won’t spoil it here.
The fourth wave takes up the biggest part of the book, with the other waves only being sketched in retrospect. This works to drive the story forwards. The fourth wave has the longest work, the other waves being over relatively quickly.
The story is told through different viewpoints, but it is Cassie’s that takes most of the narrative and the lead. And what a sassy, engaging lead she is. She has the ultimate in dry and sarcastic wit that provides laugh out loud moments amid the chaos. She’s winningly vulnerable and resourceful. I warmed to her so much that, no matter how gripping the rest of the action, I just wanted her to return.
I did not realise I was reading a ‘young adult’ targeted piece of fiction until about half way through. This is really for the Hunger Games and Twilight market, right round to the fact that it’s a trilogy, begging to be filmed. That the book easily crosses over to a more adult market as is the case especially with ‘The Hunger Games’ is shown by how it didn’t dawn on me until the half way point that this was the case at all. What gave it away to me is perhaps the weakest part of the novel; a central romance between Cassie and the enigmatic Evan Walker, the details I won’t spoil here. But it felt very Twilight and Hunger Games and it is not a good thing I suddenly realised I was reading YA fiction. The burgeoning romance between them is the baggiest section of the book. And there’s also (horrors) hints of a love triangle towards that also echoes Hunger Games.
Justin Cronin, who endorsed this work, did the whole cross over thing better with his ‘The Passage’ novels, which are stronger in tone and to this day I would never pigeon hole as YA.
That’s not to say there isn’t dark stuff here, really strong themes that are cleverly done. There’s genocide, mass killings of communities and the brutalising indoctrination of child soldiers described in some detail. Also, the novel does keep you on your toes, and keeps a nice ambiguous tone about which side a certain military force lies on until the closing quarter.
On the whole this is a cracking read for genre and non genre readers whether young or older adult. The cross over thing has been done better, but on the whole this is an ideal summer beach read.

Aukey Desk Stand Holder Desktop Bed Clamp Mount for iPad Mini, Mini 2 - Flexible Arm, Fully Adjustable, Hover Gooseneck (AK-3D)
Aukey Desk Stand Holder Desktop Bed Clamp Mount for iPad Mini, Mini 2 - Flexible Arm, Fully Adjustable, Hover Gooseneck (AK-3D)
Offered by AukeyDirect
Price: 59.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hand free for your I Pad mini, 2 Aug 2014
Just perfect if, whilst lying in a supor in your bed, you can't even be arsed to hold your i pad mini. Simply reach out to find your device held at an adjustable height and various angles thanks to the stand's bendy 'goosneck' arm.

It's sturdy and very easy to assemble, taking me less than 5 minutes. Clear instructions are included. It can be clamped to the side of your bed, or for the more industrious amongst you to the edge of your desk or pc monitor holder, so you sit facing a row of screens as if in the Captain's Chair of the Starship Enterprise.

Also included are some cable tidy clips.

Aukey Windshield Car Mount Holder Cradle for iPhone 5S 5C 5 4S 4 / Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 S3, Note 3 2 / Google Nexus / HTC One, One 2 (M8) / Amazon Fire Phone / Motorola MOTO X, G / Nokia 5020 1020 520 / LG G3, Optimus; Compact Size GPS; iPod Touch; MP3 Player and other smartphones (AK-3D)
Aukey Windshield Car Mount Holder Cradle for iPhone 5S 5C 5 4S 4 / Samsung Galaxy S5 S4 S3, Note 3 2 / Google Nexus / HTC One, One 2 (M8) / Amazon Fire Phone / Motorola MOTO X, G / Nokia 5020 1020 520 / LG G3, Optimus; Compact Size GPS; iPod Touch; MP3 Player and other smartphones (AK-3D)
Offered by AukeyDirect
Price: 29.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding item, 2 Aug 2014
I think this is the 4th phone holder I've bought for my car. They've either disintegrated during or after assembly, or the adhesive was woefully inadequate for the task, or the device had a grip on the phone like a limp handshake, meaning the the thing slid out of it's holder at the first mild corner.

This however is a sturdy item that's easy to put together (there are clear instructions), holds the phone fast, and has a suction pad that clings limpet like to the windshield. Easy to adjust.


Letters to an American Lady
Letters to an American Lady
by C. S. Lewis
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars C S Lewis as pen pal, 2 Aug 2014
Before reading these letters I made the incorrect assumption that they were between C S Lewis and Joy Gresham, before he married her.

They are not. They span the 13 years before his death (November 1963 on the same afternoon as the death of JFK) and are to a widow four years older than Lewis, Mary, “a southern aristocratic lady who loves to talk and speaks well.” This, together with the JFK link, I learnt in Clyde S.Kilby’s useful and concise Preface. Mr Kilby, who edited the volume, puts the letters in context by summarising the key themes in Lewis’s theological thought that find their way into the letters, and highlighting the key events in Jack Lewis’s life that the letters cover.

In the course of these letters, Professor Lewis moved home and work from Oxford to Cambridge, met Joy, married her, and suffered her loss, and became ill himself. The letters become increasingly poignant as they chart Lewis’s decline, and end a few months before his death, with Lewis explaining he can only write letters that communicate “more of a wave of the hand.”

The correspondence is one-sided. Mary wished to remain anonymous. But we gather that she was beset by problems at work, with unfair and jealous colleagues, with money and housing problems, and her poor health is a recurring theme. Towards the end Jack jokes that between them it’s like a race to the grave. Often, Lewis’s letters open with an “I am sorry to hear…” and you feel that Mary used the correspondence to offload and to seek to understand her suffering of various kinds.

Lewis addresses these themes of sufferings with many of the concepts of Christianity and ideas he describes in his other works; the sense of being refined by fire, of life being a disturbing dream before the true awakening (an idea repellent to many and not only of the humanist/atheistic creed), of the attempt at spiritual discipline being more important than the outcome, and more. We can also find some of his other ideas on sins and virtue, of demonic interference, of man’s relationship to animals, and many others.

Lewis’s letters are brief and so these themes are often concisely and clearly expressed, and sometimes in a hesitant and testing way, as if he was thinking them through for the first time. This, and together with the minutiae of everyday domestic life and its joys and frustrations that the letters capture (cats, the weather, work and so on) the letters have a kind of warm ‘ordinariness’ around them. There’s very little reference to politics and world events (a quoted reference to McCarthy as America’s Hitler stands out) but more on the societal and religious trends that Lewis finds antagonistic and disquieting, e.g. the increase in liberal theology).

The references to his marriage and Joy’s illness and subsequent death are poignant and powerful more for what they leave out. There is no self-pity, no opening of the soul as “With the Grief Observed.” Lewis is too mindful that he has his correspondent’s interests to attend to as well. But we get a sense of the immense pain in the gaps and silences between the letters.

Jack Lewis, due to his fame as a writer and apologist for the faith, had many, many correspondents, and the Preface points out he felt duty bound to answer them all. And so a common complaint in these letter is the amount of letters he has to address on a daily basis, and helps account for the brevity of the letters themselves. But they are also testament to Lewis’s sense of service and duty to those who came to him looking for answers. And it is testament to his power and skill as a thinker and writer that many still do.

Alien Out of The Shadows
Alien Out of The Shadows
Price: 5.31

4.0 out of 5 stars Aliens down t'pit, 2 Aug 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Someone said recently, was it Richard Dawkins, that the universe is not hostile, only indifferent. Ridley Scott’s initial terrifying vision with his film ‘Alien’ was to give us a universe that was both hostile and indifferent to man. A supreme expression of such a universe was the evolutionary apex of a hunter-killer, as designed by H R Giger, a nightmare poster child of the horror in the dark.
Since that film several different directors have given us their various takes on this nightmare, battling studio interference and the law of diminishing returns. We’ve also had novelisations, novels and graphic novels, all seeking to expand this nightmare universe and its protagonists, and take it in new directions.
Tim Lebbon’s novel ‘Out of the Shadows’ is a direct sequel to Scott’s first film, and is reasonably close to the vision and ascetic of that film. It has huge, grimy industrial ships, and a crew that seem to be more ‘truckers in space’ rather than Han Solo heroes. Other echoes to the original include an awe inspiring alien space-craft, artefacts and remains of another alien race, a rocky, wind-blasted planet, and the machinations of ‘the Company,’ Weyland Yutani. And, of course, it has those terrifying Xenomorphs. It also nods to the universe of the sequels, with references to the Marines, and even some of the “what Gods made these” philosophising the oddly misfiring Prometheus gave us.
But it’s also, thankfully and most importantly, a rattling good story and read in its own right.
Ship’s engineer Chris Hooper, aboard the deep space mining orbital ‘the Marion,’ is jolted from his workaday routine when two shuttles from the surface make a frantic dash back for the Marion, pursued apparently by something that terrifies them. This ends with a violent crash, and the lives of the Marion’s crew are now plunged into the horror of an alien infestation, as they also struggle to work out the fate of the miners on the planet’s surface, and the trajectory of their ruined, falling space-station. They then rescue a life-boat, the Narcissus, containing the sleeping form of one Ellen Ripley, and the true horror of their situation begins to dawn.
The story is well paced, using cinematic set pieces and suspenseful build-ups to violent confrontation as the crew unravel the mystery, and Ripley’s story joins theirs. I enjoyed particularly the feeling that all the sequels were being forgotten, and the whole Alien story was being reset to the point that ‘Alien’ finished. It certainly has the tighter, grimier focus of the first film. However, connivances towards the end point at efforts to slot this into the franchise, which felt a disappointment. The sequels got so stupid in the forced continuity of their story arc; a big refresh would have been welcome.
I also enjoyed the reintroduction of Ash, as a homicidal AI programme bent on the continuation of his ‘find and return’ mission of the first film. Peering out balefully from cctv cameras and monitors, he outdoes 2001’s HAL as the omnipresent psycho computer with a cultured and mannered voice. His transmissions to the Company punctuating the narrative are well done.
There is real tension, jarring shocks and the merciless ‘offing’ of characters you would expect from an Alien story. The other alien race is interesting, and there are similarities to the ‘Space jockeys’ of the first film, before Prometheus muddied the waters. The mines are an effective setting, both claustrophobic, with dark corridors, and agoraphobic, opening up into massive chambers containing derelict spacecraft (and lots of Aliens).
What doesn’t work so well? A few of the ‘set pieces’ seem weirdly ineffective, like the perspective is too distant. The initial crash is like this, being viewed through a scanner that in turn looks through a ship’s window. Some of the Alien attacks also feel rushed. Also as mentioned, the contrivances at the end of the story that force it into the wider movie franchise are clever but unconvincing. I was so hoping for the boldness of an approach that would reimagine the whole sequel-scape.
But these gripes aside (as someone says in original movie “quit griping”), this is an above par Alien story that re-introduces the sub-space chills of that very first encounter.

Euro Truck Simulator 2 - Special Edition (Digital Download Card)
Euro Truck Simulator 2 - Special Edition (Digital Download Card)
Price: 18.21

5.0 out of 5 stars Trucking good, 6 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
A lot of simulator games induce a headache, using every key on the key-board with nightmare control navigation systems, and a really anal attention to accuracy at the expense of game-play. But Euro Truck Simulator 2 definitely isn’t that.
I am set on my way with a quick set up screen to design my profile (avatar image, truck colour and model, company logo and name), and a choice of control systems including the simple auto gear controls through to full bloodied authentic manual systems. It’s compatible with a range of accessories like pedals and wheels, but I have just keyboard and mouse, and I’m new to the game and not very good at driving simulators to boot, so I opt for simple auto controls. That’s mouse for left and right, and keyboard for up and down. I choose my tutorial mission, including a departure point from a map of Europe (London for me) and I’m off. I experiment with the many camera angles (cab interior, roof, top down, etc.). I choose the cab so I have a good view of my wing mirrors. And a huge grin starts creeping over my face. This feels arcade accessible, and yet there’s a boys own feeling of “Wow I’m driving a truck!” I’m out of the depot and navigating using my Sat Nav towards the M25! I’m speeding down the M25! Tricky junctions ahead and a bone chillingly authentic “crunch” as I hit metal barriers with the side of my truck incurring damage percentage points. I find a repairs garage and make good the damage (costs my employer money which I guess will be passed on to me). I reach some docks at Cambridge and I’m given the choice to end the mission or try reversing the trailer into the space for added accuracy points. Much hilarity ensues as my trailer swings everywhere apart from the drop off point. My employer will not be impressed. I give up and hit enter. “Satisfactory” I’m told.
Before my next mission I experiment with other features and discover I can choose an internet radio station to be piped to my cab! I look up the controls and learn to use the keys for features such as lights, indicator and horn. I can’t believe I drove all the way from London to Cambridge on the last job without using the indicators! So far I’ve had a blast with this game; it has fun game-play and an authentic feel. I look forward to choosing more jobs and earning enough to start my own business.
So on I go. Going to the job market, picking up work, going from Cambridge to Calais via the Ferry, from Paris to Southampton via the Tunnel, picking up different jobs, earning and saving to visit a dealer and buy my own truck and start my own business. This will unlock a whole new dimension to the game, but I’m a way to go yet. I end my next mission with a ‘Very Good’ rating so I feel nevertheless that progress is being made. I’ll continue playing, my dream being my own truck and thriving firm.
There’s a lot I’ haven’t got into with this game as I’m not there yet, that opens up possibilities of owning and decorating your own truck and watching your own business grow. There appears to be a thriving community of players that also compare screenshots of their trucks and scenes from their journeys, the sun setting over Paris, for example, or dawn in Amsterdam.
This is an immensely playable sim with graphics and detail that are staggering, a feeling of real time and real journeys as you look out at the road and surroundings through entire European trips. You can almost smell your cab. A brilliant achievement.

WaterPark -Tycoon (Digital Download Card)
WaterPark -Tycoon (Digital Download Card)
Price: 9.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Making a splash, 6 July 2014
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This is a perfectly playable example of the management/sim/tycoon genre of video game that has you designing a water park from the loos and changing rooms up.
Sort the essential facilities, build your first swimming pool, equip it with fun extra features like massage jets, fountains etc., make sure people have somewhere to eat and drink and sit down. Add a playground, garden features, and bins. Employ staff to keep the place clean, garden and watch out for the safety of swimmers (lifeguards), all the while staying out of the red and having enough to build bigger and better pools and features. Take a loan to get you out of a tight corner or speed development but remember repayments will bite into your bottom line. Watch the mood of your guests with little mood icons and click to find out what’s ringing their bell or making them unhappy. They could be, for example, huffing about finding the bin, or moaning it’s too expensive. You can make the necessary adjustments to keep them happy, or e.g. keep prices fairly steep in the hope that it will pay for better features that will in the end justify the price.
There’s a tutorial to show you the ropes and then bronze, silver and gold quest based missions, or free play which gives you freer reins on development.
It’s graphically smooth and the zoom in detail is impressive, to the extent where you almost feel like you are walking through your park. Controls are fine, allowing smooth and fast control with your mouse.
It brings nothing new to this type of game, though, and lacks features that other titles have that could improve game-play. There is no speed- up option where you whizz through a slow day and build up your earnings faster, which is a disappointment. It can get a bit slow and fatally you find yourself waiting for things to happen.
This could be a perfectly fine introduction to the management/sim genre for someone, although those well versed in such titles may want to look elsewhere.

The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking
The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking
Price: 5.15

5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely gin, 5 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
“The Trip to Echo Springs” is part travelogue, part literary biography of 6 US writers with a central focus on their alcoholism.
Those writers are F.Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemmingway, Tennessee Williams, John Cheever, John Berryman and Raymond Carver. Olivia Laing tackles them in that order, although there is a lot of inter-crossing of their narratives around different themes, e.g. the effects of childhood trauma, and the roller-coasters of their work, love, marriage, the euphoric highs and catastrophic lows, and of course, their disastrous relationship with alcohol.
Laing draws no pat conclusions in looking at the above themes. Her central exploration is that of the relationship between alcohol and writing. Common themes include how these alcoholics both scapegoat their writing for their drinking, i.e. it leads them to places where they have to drink to get through, those intense arenas of the imagination. Another thread in all their writing lives is how drinking damages their productivity. More than one of them seems only to be able to write until midday before giving the rest of their waking hours to the bottle.
There a slight digression into the science of alcoholism and this is a fascinating short precis. Its brevity is partly explained on how little science knows on the subject, and partly because this is literary biography not scientific study.
Without a doubt, Laing captures how seductively these writers describe drinking, e.g. Hemmingway’s “lovely gin,” and she also captures it in her own descriptive passages, how John Cheever consoles himself early in the morning with “scoops of gin” from the kitchen fridge. She also brings out the parallels in these writers work between the cool reliefs of swimming, the cleansing of total immersion in fresh cold water, with a long cold drink.
But she also draws out well the horrors of the alcoholic’s mind and habits, most terribly the destructive effects on others, on partners, spouses, friends, children, anyone who gets between the drinker and the glass. It’s indeed a shock to read of Carver’s casual domestic abuse of his wife, of Tennessee Williams contemptible treatment of his loyal partner Frank ‘the horse,’ the vast sexual carelessness, the worthlessness and contempt with which others are treated. And the pitiable exhibitions they make of themselves. Think of John Berryman soiling himself at work, of public engagements and television interviews delivered in an incoherent stupor, of horrified friends yet again rescuing the manic drinker from some public and frenzied breakdown (an experience of more than one of the writers), and the sheer waste of it all. Laing is not slow to underscore the waste of life when a life is sold to drink, the wasted hours when more could have been written, the wasted opportunities in work and love. There is a romantic myth of how alcohol fuels magical writing. And it may cause or inspire the occasional hit, but how much more does it destroy?
Laing’s passport to writing on this subject is not her own alcoholism, but alcoholism in her family, in an alcoholic partner of her mother. The scenes where she describes being barricaded in her room as a girl against the howling rages of her mother’s partner are very sad. Not being an alcoholic herself lends her some objectivity, and does not strip her of any authority to discuss the subject, as some may argue. This work is structured around a journey, as Laing travels across America to various sites and shrines of these writers, to the New Orleans of Tennessee Williams, to the rivers and seas beloved by Hemmingway, for example. She picks up minutiae of dialogue, of flashes of scenery from train windows, whilst the impressions of her journey and what she is studying tumble around in her head. These create bridges between her explorations of the writers. They are always relatively brief but I did find myself being mildly frustrated by them, wanting to return to the writers’ lives. That’s because Laing’s journey is not as fascinating as the writers she describes, although it does give the book its distinctive shape.
Finally, this is great ‘gateway’ reading. I felt urged to revisit play and novels I knew, and those mentioned and described that I didn't, including Berryman’s work and his semi-auto-biographical and poignantly and tragically unfinished “Recovery.”
This is a great, memorable read on the magic of writing and the seductive but toxic power of alcohol.

Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold
by C. S. Lewis
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Myth re-boot, 21 Jun 2014
Here is a work that will feed mind, heart, and soul.
It’s a reinterpretation of the old myth of Cupid and Psyche, told in one of the few surviving Latin novels, “the Metamorphoses.” More than a reinterpretation, it’s a retelling and reimagining, in contemporary terms a complete re-boot!
It’s a fantastic tale, wonderfully told. Lewis’s gifts as a storyteller were never more on display than they are here. The story gallops along in a compelling narrative that has the rhythms of the stories we used to love when we were young, and have always loved. It’s a tale of a tyrannous and half mad king of a land called Glome. He has two daughters, the beautiful Psyche and the ‘ugly’ Orual. The sisters are bound by love and guided by a wise mentor, the Greek slave known as the Fox. But shadows fall and Gnome falls under blight, and the Goddess of the land, ‘Ungit,’ will have expiation and sacrifice before the land can be restored. Psyche is chosen…
Lewis here spins a tale that draws on an intoxicating mix of themes told in vivid and compelling imagery. Loss, tragedy, human responsibility, expiation, redemption, vocation, faith versus rationality, all are here and more. Lewis the Christian apologist is at work here, although his meanings are so intrinsically bound up in the story that you never feel ‘preached to.’ Christianity is never explicitly mentioned. Rather, we have a story to chew over and enjoy, and we can let the deeper meanings work through us, or we can go into an internal dispute with them. That’s up to us. But the enjoyment the story gives, the enjoyment that comes from the love of ‘story,’ that’s not in doubt here.
There are strong and vivid characters and character development that is utterly believable, although told in a fantastic setting. There are moments of intense human drama, and fantastical wonder. It’s Lewis at his very best. And in our time (as in most times) when the arguments between ‘reason’ and ‘faith’ clash ever more hotly, this work is supremely relevant. Those unfamiliar with the myth that it is based on (myself included) can still appreciate how it has been re-told through an introductory note that gives a good, detailed summary of the original myth.

Ansible 15716 (The Ansible Stories Book 2)
Ansible 15716 (The Ansible Stories Book 2)
Price: 1.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Desert spirituality, 21 Jun 2014
This is the second short story in Mr Litore's intense 'Ansible' series.

The stories tell tell the story of Starmind, a future interstellar exploration organisation that travels across galaxies not by hulking or sleek star-ships, but through the mind. Starmind team members can project themselves, after rigorous selection and training, telepathically across the void until they 'possess' the mind of another alien being to make the much prized 'first contact.'

In the previous story, "Ansible 15715" (see previous post), the results were terrifying and horrific, an encounter with a hostile soul eating parasite that's on its way to destroy us. This time, there's also terror, but it's of the horror of isolation, of being lost and alone and cut off from your kind.

Ansible 15716's protagonist wakes up in the body of a creature that's a mash up between a spider and a camel and speaks through fluted apertures in its thighs (that's a sentence no-one will expect to write! And it's a measure of Mr Litore's skill as a writer that you accept this and go with the flow). His team members are gone, and it's not clear where. He sends desperate psi-casts (telepathic messages) to home, but he knows chances of reception are negligible. He can only live his life as one of these creatures, neither human, or truly one of them. He's surrounded by an endless desert of salt full of immense and towering structures. He tries to flee, but can find no boundary, and is forced to return to his point of departure.

Stant's world building, in the limited canvas of a short story, is laudable. There is a sense that God is deemed far from dead in this future world. Both of his protagonists so far in this series have prayed to Allah in their desperation and their are references to how religious principles underpin the characters motivations. Mankind's yearning for new territory and contact and the burgeoning power of Starmind is well evoked, as well as the ruthlessness of the vocation. The alien world and its indigenous species is a real feather in the writer's cap. He conjures a race that is truly alien, bewildering in its strangeness, and yet recognisable because it is drawn with such integrity.

The story describes the spiritual isolation of its protagonist, but it's also a hymn to desert spirituality. There is a terrible beauty in being lost in an immensity, and in utter silence being thrown back to reach out with mind and heart to a God who can also answer with silence. Certainly the protagonist is not given a hot-line to the Almighty.

This is an amazing short story and I'm looking forward to seeing the direction future installments take. Will the horrors of the first develop into a story arc amidst more episodic installments? Will we learn more of Starmind and its world? My guess is yes and yes.

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