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Alex "mrblack43"

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4 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunately not a Batmobile as advertised..., 27 May 2013
I purchased this believing that it was a scale model of the Batmobile from Batman Begins. You can imagine my disappointment upon opening the box when I found that it was in fact a computer mouse and that I would not be pancaking cop cars on the evening news.

Vellum: The Book of All Hours: 1
Vellum: The Book of All Hours: 1
by Hal Duncan
Edition: Hardcover

16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The cyberpunk 'His Dark Materials', 10 Mar 2006
This book is not an easy read. While not quite as impenetrable as "Finnegan's Wake", Hal Duncan's style is certainly unique; seamlessly blending dialogue and narrative. But what's even more unusual is his radically new and disjointed approach to story-telling, which forgoes, for the main, the notion of 'characters' and instead introduces us to archetypes; identities shared across time and space. A concept, a person, an entire reality may last for a chapter - or even just a page - before being disposed of in an almost casual fashion, only to be resurrected or returned to later on. There is no real central plot, rather, the story progresses from the viewpoints of many antagonists and protagonists: biker chick-turned-angel Phreedom Messenger; shell-shocked World War One veteran Seamus Finnegan; sometimes-psychotic/sometimes-psychic anarchist Jack; Thomas Carter, who is attempting to reach the limits of the infinite Vellum; and Metatron, an angel using nanotechnology to recruit soldiers for the coming war between Heaven and Hell.
Hal Duncan's vision of the Vellum, which encompasses many different universes (including our own), allows him to play with a whole host of otherwordly ideas and dreamlike landscapes. If you can imagine a more adult, more complex 'His Dark Materials' with influences ranging from cyberpunk to Sumerian mythology, then you're on the right track.
Perhaps inevitably, Hal Duncan's multiple plot strands and realities make for a whole lot of unanswered questions - which the forthcoming sequel, 'Ink', will hopefully address. As a stand-alone book, however, 'Vellum' is a thought-provoking and richly detailed read - although to digest it fully takes a great deal of concentration and an open mind.

Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas™ Official Strategy Guide (Signature)
Grand Theft Auto:San Andreas™ Official Strategy Guide (Signature)
by Tim Bogenn
Edition: Paperback

28 of 40 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Full of omissions, errors... in a word, shoddy., 12 May 2005
The producers of computer games as well-respected and successful as the Grand Theft Auto series should really have better sense than to licence out official companion material to such shoddy, amateurish companies.
This is a really poor product. The walkthrough aspect of the book is more plot synopsis than guide; and the hidden weapons locations are marked in completely the wrong place on their 'handy' maps. I would go even as far to say that the book is 'faulty'. after all, it certainly doesn't do what it is supposed to - and that's make the game easier to play.
One of the chief reasons for purchasing this guide would likely be to find all the hidden items (horseshoes, oysters, gang tags, photo ops) - a feat that would be nigh-on impossible without some form of assistance. BradyGames' official guide manages not only to indicate most of these items as being an inch or so (which could be several hundred meters in-game, given the massive size of the play area), but also to use completely different numbering systems for their maps and keys (photo op #9 on the map is really #35 on the key! Genius)! Their attempt to assist further with screenshots of the locations of each item is made worthless by virtue of the fact that said screenshots appear to be from a different build/version of the game: they display objects and scenery which are not actually present in the finished game.
I would expect inconsistencies, vagueness and even outright errors in guides created by fans on a non-profit basis, not in the premium official product. Imagine my surprise, then, when I eventually found myself resorting to the former to eke out the last hidden secrets of the game. The bottom line is that GTA: San Andreas is not a difficult game by any stretch of the imagination - yet this strategy guide manages to make it one.
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