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Steve P (South Wales, UK)

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The Undercover Economist
The Undercover Economist
by Tim Harford
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Readable Introduction, 6 Jun. 2011
Well-written and highly readable book that gives a good grounding in some of the key concepts in Economics.
This is not an anecdote-laden digest in the style of Freakonomics, but instead seeks to look at why free markets work.
This may sound like a rather dry and academic approach, but it is actually very interesting - and should be required reading for those who believe more government and more regulation is the answer to the world's problems.


Black Man (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Black Man (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Richard Morgan
Edition: Hardcover

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not up to the standard of his early books, 4 Sept. 2007
I really enjoyed the Kovacs books, but Morgan's appeal for me was seriously dented by the disappointment of Market Forces.
I decided to try Black Man anyway, as it sounded like he may be heading back in a similar direction.

Unfortunately Black Man, whilst slightly better than the silly Market Forces, is also a mediocre book. The book is very much on the 'Fi' side of 'Sci-Fi'. Very little science - which is not automatically a bad thing as long as there is a good dose of plot and character to counteract the lack of hard science. The plot is a low-grade detective novel, with some fairly one-dimensional characters.

It seems that Morgan fills his books with whatever is happening in his life at the time, which is understandable, but does not necessarily make for a good read. Also, where was the editor, Morgan seemed to be on a mission to include the acronym 'LCLS' at least once on each page, maybe he has been sponsored by a lighting manufacturer ?


Market Forces (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
Market Forces (GOLLANCZ S.F.)
by Richard Morgan
Edition: Hardcover

6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointment after his first two efforts, 14 Nov. 2004
After reading the author's first two novels,and finding them thoroughly enjoyable this was a bit of a let-down.
The whole novel feels like it is an extrapolation of a chance discussion in a pub about road-rage and the inequities of modern society. Unfortunately the extrapolation is not in the least bit believable.
The author provides little in the way of back-story to explain how Britain turned into this dystopia, and what is provided is late in the book and is unconvincing. Even in the far-future setting of his first two novels the setting and premise of the books was coherent and believable. In a near-future setting the reader is likely to be even more sceptical and need more persuasive explanations of how the universe came to be as it is.
The violence in the book seems intended to shock, and appears to be an attempt to gain notoriety rather than adding to the story. I am not squeamish about violence in fiction, Morgan's first two books, and some Iain.M.Banks carry off the ultra-violence well without feeling forced.
I would suggest skipping this effort and waiting instead for Morgan's next real sci-fi entry, rather than this sub Mad-Max political novel. (Having said all that - I personally am still looking forward to his next book as the first two were really very good, and he hasn't used up his accumulated goodwill from Altered Carbon and Broken Angels as yet.)


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