Customer Reviews


48 Reviews
5 star:
 (3)
4 star:
 (1)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (12)
1 star:
 (28)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


7 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bugz - a prophesy?
At a time when we are all pre-occupied with the rise and fall of the economic order, something that is actually as natural as the tides,it still behoves us to consider wider and more weighty matters such as how and why we are here, and in the process perhaps put our own everyday concerns and worries in context. The book Bugz by David Jackson does just that. Set in the...
Published on 20 Oct. 2008 by Keith Barnfield

versus
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Expensive nonsense
Very early in my reading of this book I started to wonder if it was a vanity publication. Google revealed that the publisher is actually an art gallery, which, perhaps, accounts for the fact that it's beautifully produced, printed on wood-free paper, with (joy!) a ribbon bookmark securely sewn into the binding and lavishly illustrated. The publisher's web site suggests...
Published on 6 Dec. 2008 by Steve Craftman


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Expensive nonsense, 6 Dec. 2008
By 
Steve Craftman (Neath) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Very early in my reading of this book I started to wonder if it was a vanity publication. Google revealed that the publisher is actually an art gallery, which, perhaps, accounts for the fact that it's beautifully produced, printed on wood-free paper, with (joy!) a ribbon bookmark securely sewn into the binding and lavishly illustrated. The publisher's web site suggests that this is their first foray into publishing. Never mind - the only way from here is up.

The only sense of strangeness in the world of the eponymous Bugz is the author's obsession with the letter "z". Thus we have Bugz named Zein, Zotl and Zim, locations Zytopia and Zyberia, a religion called Bugzhism, and units of measurement known as zectars and zegas. That "z" gets to be as tedious as the heavy metal umlaut (search for "metal umlaut" on Wikipedia).

The dialogue is unconvincing, frequently tending towards the pompous for no apparent reason, and the narrative is sprinkled with irrelevant detail as through the author is trying to pad out an already over-wordy book. Having ploughed all the way through this nonsense I feel as though I put as many hours into the book as the author.

When I read the blurb on the back of the book, the two books that came to mind were Isaac Asimov's "The Gods Themselves" and Robert L Forward's "Dragon's Egg", both of which I enjoyed hugely, so I was hoping for something along similar lines. As it turns out I would strongly recommend a dog-eared paperback copy of either of these books over "Bugz:contact".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An awfully hard slog, 5 Jan. 2009
By 
Chantal Lyons "C.S. Lyons" (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I didn't finish this book, and normally if I do not finish a book, I do not review it. But I feel that in this case, potential buyers have to be warned that their money would be better spent on other books.

Initially the bizarre charcoal drawings dominating various pages are intriguing, but soon become tiresome. Although previous reviewers say how pleasing the weight of the book is and how lovely the ribbon is, even the most beautiful cover in the world couldn't save this story. It never grips you, it never makes you want to know more or care about the characters (who are themselves too 2D for my liking). I just don't think the book is competently written enough to make for an enjoyable read. Other flaws that make it hard to like are the author's annoying penchant for the letter 'Z' (its constant use laughs in the face of sci-fi fiction) and the use of invented terms which you have to keep going to the back of the book to discover the definition of (it reminds me all too well of English Literature lessons spent referring to the back of the book to discover what on earth the author is trying to say).

The idea itself, of sentient particles inhabiting a different dimension, peaked my interest but ultimately the story is poorly executed and fails to entertain.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars REGRETZ, 22 Jan. 2009
By 
DAVID BRYSON (Glossop Derbyshire England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
It would give me much greater pleasure to award this book a more favourable notice than I honestly can. For one thing the book is beautifully produced, but far more importantly the theme it tackles is simply tremendous. We are to imagine sub-atomic pico-particles possessed of individual identities and individual intelligence, and we are introduced to a scenario in which they make contact with our own human race. Such a theme would have taxed the highest powers of the dark visionary Olaf Stapledon himself. Stapledon started at the other end, the big end so to speak, with his universe of intelligent stars and nebulae. Who else might have been able to do justice to the proposition envisaged here I don't know, but it would have taken someone with genuine vision, and at random the names of H G Wells, Arthur C Clarke and Doris Lessing occur to me as being at least possibilities. However it is not Stapledon, nor Wells, nor Clarke, nor Lessing whom we find here, but Mr David Jackson `Born in Ilkley, and having a keen interest in history...A great fan of the Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov'.

What strikes me most about the story is how culture-bound it is. It takes place in towns that Mr Jackson has been to - Cambridge, Geneva, Venice - and to that extent I was comfortable with it, being familiar with these places myself. However when these beings of unimaginable alienness fight out their decisive Armageddon in Cambridge of all places, what it put me in mind of was nothing so much as Dr Who back in Tom Baker's day, with the Time Lord ensuring the future of the cosmos wherever it suited the show's limited budget to do so. Another aspect that surely must strike any reader forcibly is that the Bugz think and act much like intelligent insects in some pulp science fiction. Theoretically such entities should be indefinable except by arithmetical or algebraic expressions, but here we find them with shapes, colours, sexes and even modes of conveyance. They have been in existence since the Big Bang itself, but their motivations are awfully like the motivations of a race that is barely a couple of million years old . What has happened to their cultural intellectual and emotional development in all that time? Above all, considering they have the entire cosmos at their disposal why on earth (forgive the phrase) are they getting so excited about the inhabitants of one minor planet? What makes us so important? - other than because this author is one of us, of course, and he thinks like this so they have to think like this as well.

The prose style may betray the influence of Asimov, and that would be a pity as prose style was not one of Asimov's greater talents. The characterisation is flat and the story-line is frankly boring. It was a real struggle to make it to the end of the book. A certain amount of cod-science is only to be expected, and I am used to it from, say, even so gifted a writer as Iain M Banks. Come to that, neither Stapledon nor Wells knew a fat lot about physics, and it does not bother me in the least. However Mr Jackson should have taken elementary care over what he says, for instance how can a constant be reduced to anything whatsoever, as on p 246? A constant is what it says it is - constant. The proof-reading is generally good, and I may have to give up the rearguard resistance against the solecism `wreaked'. However `it's' for `its' will not do: among them the author and proof-readers should have made up their mind whether they want `artefact' or `artifact'; and when I behold `irridescent' I suspect that among them they don't even know how to spell it. Strangest of all is an inexplicable, and plain ridiculous, fixation with the letter z. This symbol is confined to languages using the Roman and Greek alphabets, and in most of them it is nothing special - not in German, not in Italian, not in Spanish, and in French often so unimportant that it is silent and not even pronounced. However in English it could be perhaps thought of as slightly exotic, and that, in keeping with the generally culture-bound tone of the narrative is presumably why the Bugz seek to indicate their approach by beaming a letter z on to the nocturnal waters of aqueous Cambridge. I don't really know why Mr Jackson strains his inventiveness to call his subatomic personae Ziel, Zein and such like. He might as well have called them Zmith Jonez and Robinzon and gone on his way rejoicing.

This is not the sort of assessment I would have liked to offer, but I do not have the option of not reviewing the book, so this is what the assessment has to be. My heart sinks when I see the suffix `zero' to the book's title, but while wishing Mr Jackson well I have to echo Mr Punch's advice for those about to marry, just in case he has a sequel or sequels in mind - `Don't.'
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Naaaaaah, 5 Dec. 2008
By 
P. M. Fernandez "exilefromgroggs" (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I'm sorry. I really wanted to like this. And it does have some good features. The book is really attractive, and with excellent monochrome illustrations. And the concept - the interaction between conscious entities that are 0.0000000000000000000000000000001 times the size of humans, and humans - is an interesting one. Some of the science and history bits and pieces are quite interesting and reliable, and some of the concepts that I think are supposed to bring humour are a little bit funny ("fat police").

But those aren't redeeming features, unfortunately. It should be noted that I haven't finished the book yet, so I don't know if all will become clear at a later stage. These good features ought to be set against the fact that the dialogue is dreadful - REALLY dreadful - most of the details concerning the bugz are frankly implausible - why should logic and harmony prevail at that scale? - a huge and intriguing epistemological question has been left begging. Why should their universe have so many features similar to ours - specifically, the classical era of Athens? Why should they need libraries? Why do they have individual memories and characters? If organisms are that size, then what possible connection can they have with organisms that are as big to them as - um, I haven't checked, but let's say a solar system is to us? Why would there be a one-to-one correspondence between Bugz and humans? And WHY should they be so obsessed with the letter Z? The characters and situations are hackneyed and the features which were presumably supposed to add elements of raciness come across as childish, whilst real relationships are under-conveyed.

This is not good fiction, and not good SF.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terribly hard work - and not worth it, 28 May 2009
By 
simonpeggfan (Maidenhead UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I was honestly quite concerned at how hard I found this - it was as if I'd lost the ability to read books and make any sense of them. It's the first book I haven't finished for nearly 20 years.

I couldn't recommend this to anyone I'm afraid.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite as epic..., 24 Dec. 2008
By 
P. Millar "dazzle" (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
With a plot involving sentient quantum particles from another universe stranded on Earth and influencing human scientific development this should have made for an interesting, and epic, tale. The book promises much but ends up being derivative of everything from Greek mythology (gods meddling in human affairs), James Bond, space opera and fantasy. The science is hard science but the novel is not sci-fi, I would describe it more as fantasy with the creation of an 'alien' civilisation. Unfortunately the aliens are not that alien and come across as quite human even before they make contact with the humans. It is basically a quest - save the world hybrid that doesn't live upto it's blurb. It could also have done with a decent editor to help improve the writing - which swings from cliched tedium to some alright passages.

Having said that I did finish the book, it is quite an easy read, as I found the plot pulling me along with it. I would probably not read anymore by this author but the novel did have a small amount of merit which kept me going till the end.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bugz Failz Theirz Zeitgeist, 17 Dec. 2008
By 
This review is from: Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
As a science fiction fan one of my biggest woes is poorly written work in the genre. The ideas portrayed in science fiction are often abstract and strange to comprehend. However, the best authors make even the most complex of ideas an ease to understand and enjoy. David Jackson's `Bugz' does the exact opposite. Personally I found the central storyline was actually rather simple - tiny intelligent beings manipulating the world of man. However, it was written is such a ham fisted way that many parts were almost unreadable. A book can be intelligent and academic without reading like gibberish.

The worst parts of the book by far were those in the Bugz universe. The over use of Z in every word smacked of old fashioned and lazy sci fi writing. Also the calling every characters Zot, Zit, Ziet, Zill etc or whatever is a quick route to reader confusion. The human parts of the book were better and if the entire setting had been here a half decent novel would have been released. On a more positive note the actually quality of paper and illustration is of the highest order - pity about the content.

`Bugz' feels too much like one author's clever idea that failed in translation from brain to page. Perhaps Jackson was striving to write an epic novel of historic portions, but he ended up with a whimper. One final thing, when trying to come up with the name you can give a species of tiny super beings you HAVE to come up with a better name than Bugz. It would be funny if it was not so sad.

Sammy Stinker
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrific as a work of art.Interminably dull as a work of fiction., 6 Dec. 2008
By 
russell clarke "stipesdoppleganger" (halifax, west yorks) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I would normally, when doing any review, give a synopsis' of the item for the delectation of any potential purchasers but frankly for Bugz Contact ( Book Zero) i cannot be arsed. Other reviewers have already done a sterling job of this so repetition isn't really necessary and more to the point it,s all so tedious- reading about it all again will be doing no one any favours . Plus it saves me the tedium of writing about it .Everyone's a winner then.
I really wanted to like this book so all the above pains me some what. It,s sumptuously packaged with lovely charcoal illustrations .So much so it feels more like a work of art than a book . As a book, unfortunately Bugz is irredeemably dull. There is the basis of a good idea here and a lot of work and research has clearly gone into it but the book immediately becomes bogged down with boring scientific prose. It,s often not a work of fiction, more like a physics lecture.
The story rambles too , grinding wearily along with it,s monotonous narrative mirroring it,s monotonous characters .After 30 pages i was puffing out my cheeks in frustration .After 100 pages my head was nodding like a Tory peer on the back bench of the house of lords. After 200 pages i was dreaming of Halle Berry in naughty night attire and smashing the winning runs in the 2009 ashes series though to be fair i tend to do that anyway. Reading this book ultimately was more gruelling than cycling to work during a recent snowstorm and that was bloody hard work let me tell you.
Not good then. Some will love it,s quirky plot and rambling scientific exposition. After all you expect that to some extent with science fiction. However I feel it,s not too unreasonable to expect interesting things to happen . Vivid characters , exciting scenario,s , horrible alien species if at all possible but failing that some excitement....any excitement......please. Bugz Contact is about as exciting as a copy of The Watchtower but alas nowhere near as short. The illustrations are better though.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Patchy but interesting, 15 Jan. 2009
By 
Brian Hamilton "brianhamilton14" (Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I picked this book up with high hopes, some of which were dashed, others were fulfilled.

Bugz is what I would class as hard science fiction. There is some heavy physics on offer here but strangely these are the most compelling parts of the book.

Where this novel suffers is in the characterisation. Some of the characters are paper thin and seem to exist to exposite to further the plot.

I am the type of reader who has several books on the go at once and will put one down and pick it up again a few days later. Unfortunately I put this down and have not picked it up for a couple of weeks. This book demands a lot from the reader. For the die hard sci-fi fan this book will fit the bill but the weak characters make the reading heavy going at times.

Good, but flawed.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars It may turn out to be the begiining of someithing big?!?, 23 Dec. 2008
By 
artemisrhi "artemisrhi" (Forest of Dean) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I loved the illustrations and the layout of the book. Along with the blurb on the back I started reading it with anticipation: the forward was fascinating...but it was down hill from then on. It may be the start of a classic scifi saga and I wouldn't completely rule that out, this volume could be a lot of scene setting and background that upon completion of the entire series will be the soucre of much pleasure to fans. As it stands I wouldn't recommend the book to anyone.
By the by I found it rather odd that there were some rather strange gratuitous sexually references that didn't seem to be there for any reason at all and in my eyes would detract make the book less acceptable for some of the target audience.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1
Bugz :Contact (Book Zero): 1 by David Jackson (Hardcover - 24 Aug. 2008)
£17.43
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews