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R. Davidson (London)

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Killing Pretty (Sandman Slim, Book 7)
Killing Pretty (Sandman Slim, Book 7)
Price: £6.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Some nice return to form, even if still 'Pretty Standard", 18 Oct. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is yet another of the Sandman Slim novels... I had begun to worry they might be edging towards formulaic, but this one is back on track. Stark has more challenges in this book, notably his inability to 'shadow walk' and his relationship with Candy/Chihiro. The former is a decent logistical challenge that demands a bit more from our hero (although still not a huge deal) and the latter provides some much needed character development.

I still feel that these stories all boil down to some will-to-power wish fulfilment, Stark is never really troubled for long before he simply kicks ass in the Dan Dare style (and then in a single bound, he was free!) but the narrative, the attitude, the LA backdrop... make for hugely entertaining reads every time.

The Martian
The Martian
Price: £4.99

4.0 out of 5 stars The Dan Brown of Sci Fi? but in a good way., 29 July 2015
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This review is from: The Martian (Kindle Edition)
This book is quite unusual, in the way it narrates the story and the level of technical detail it provides for the solutions to the cliff hanger problems. It's a bit like the Sci Fi Dan Brown... but that does make it sound a bit trashy. All I mean is that it's got quite a clear mechanism for providing conflict/tension and it rolls them out chapter by chapter.

The character of The Martian is likeable, funny and intelligent. His view/narration is provided via his logs, in contrast with the 3rd person narration that relays the actions of NASA on Earth and the small team of astronauts flying between Mars and Earth.

I am normally quite a slow reader but I was half way through this within a day - in part because the conversational style of the log reports makes them very easy to digest and in part because the tension and problem solving mechanism makes for a good page turner.

I'd recommend this to anyone that's already into sci fi because it's an interesting addition to the genre. For the less geeky reader, the technical descriptions and back-of-a-napkin math might be a little offputting.

American Gods
American Gods
Price: £5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Good characters, enjoyable read, 7 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: American Gods (Kindle Edition)
This is a classic and often held up as one of Neil Gaiman's best works. The characters are engaging and the plot moves along at a steady pace with enough mystery and promise to keep you turning the pages.

I don't want to describe the plot too much but will say that I was left with the feeling that not a lot had happened, despite the breadth and depth of the characters. That did not reduce my enjoyment of the book because the characters are really interesting and the world that is developed is fantastic(al).

Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 for Business
Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 for Business

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Does what I need, 3 Mar. 2012
OK, I'm not a gamer, I don't need 59 buttons and super fast response time. This bluetooth mouse worked from the moment I switched it on. It was easy to find it and pair with it as a bluetooth device. No hassle with drivers or anything - I'm running Windows 7 and it recognised it as a mouse straight away.

Overall, it's comfortable to use and a hassle free mouse.

Belkin F8T016NG Mini Bluetooth Adapter - Windows XP and earlier not Windows 7 or later
Belkin F8T016NG Mini Bluetooth Adapter - Windows XP and earlier not Windows 7 or later
Offered by DIRECT 4
Price: £4.95

4.0 out of 5 stars Works on Windows 7, straight out of box, 6 Feb. 2012
Received this item this morning. I almost burst out laughing when I saw the size of it. Seriously, the device is tiny!

After hacking open the hard plastic case (not a fan of those things), I just plugged the mini usb device into the port on my desktop and let it do its thing.

Windows (7) told me that it was installing a device, went through some steps and then it was ready. Simple. I've just tried connecting my Samsung Galaxy S2 to it - no probs. Windows did suggest there might be a problem with the phone or 'peripheral bluetooth device' because it didn't have a driver but I have just tried sending a photo and it worked quickly and easily.

I'd recommend this device.

by William Gibson
Edition: Paperback

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seminal cyberpunk, 23 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Neuromancer (Paperback)
There's not much needed to be said about this book. Gibson predicted the future. In the early 80s he saw a time when information was the key commodity, where people networked over long distances using computers (internet) and where hacking was the height of crime.

He spawned the term cyberspace which has given us cyberpunk (the genre) and, cybercrime.

This book is a total film-noir homage. I kept imagining Humphrey Bogart's voice for the main character... The writing may not be the best (Gibson improves with each book) but the story is cool, gripping, scarily prescient and well worth getting into - which doesn't take long.

If you've got any interest in sci-fi, modern culture or classic books, and you haven't read this, then do so.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 10, 2011 9:57 AM GMT

The Death of Grass
The Death of Grass
by John Christopher
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best apocalypse ever, 23 Mar. 2011
This review is from: The Death of Grass (Paperback)
You'll hear the word 'prescient' bandied around when looking for reviews of this book. I always take that sort of thing with a pinch of salt. But, the parallels between the concerns of John Christopher and the concerns of today (reduction in biodiversity to fit with consumer demand resulting in damage to the environment and ultimately some sort of superbug that eventually harms humanity) are striking.

Upon reading the introduction, it is pointed out that this book was one of a few backlashes to John Wyndham's 'Day of the Triffids' which showed the stiff lipped British attitude triumphing over a similar catastrophe. This book is much darker. He sets up the British Nationalism of the post-war era and then rips it down. To this end it is similar to Lord of the Flies.

The post-war setting does mean that the protagonists are much more capable, and most have seen action and killed before so it is easy to think, well it wouldn't be like that today. But that's a mistake. Read 'The Lucifer Effect' if you find yourself thinking that.

The story takes some pleasant, typical English people with stiff upper lips and then very quickly places them in a situation where law has gone and the needs of the group are paramount. It's a gripping, dark, story that builds up to an ending that won't disappoint.

Read this book.

Introducing Hanggai
Introducing Hanggai
Price: £7.90

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gimicky? Only time will tell, 7 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Introducing Hanggai (MP3 Download)
I saw these guys at WOMAD (2010). I'd never heard of them but found myself standing in front of a stage of men dressed like the cast of Monkey Magic. There seemed to be an old one at the front shouting belligerently, if tunefully, and an invisible man playing the didgeridoo. As it turns out, the didgeridoo didn't exist. It was Mongolian throat singing (a bit odd for a Chinese band I thought). Despite the only English they knew being 'cheers', this band held the captivation of the crowd and were both entertaining and endearing.
And so I bought the album...'s a really great sound. If you were to take western rock style composition and Chinese/Mongolian themes and added in the novelty of a didgeridoo, you'd only get close to what this is. I've been told that it was once very 'in' to listen to throat singing in polite society but that the gimick has lost its appeal. I doubt that this will happen to Hanggai. They're a proper band and these are 'proper' songs that will fit into your collection like any others.
I look forward to seeing them live again and would recommend it to anyone. The CD is well worth a punt. If you're still unsure, check them out on YouTube or maybe even Spotify... I don't know anyone who's been disappointed.

Behzti (Oberon Modern Plays)
Behzti (Oberon Modern Plays)
by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappionting, 13 April 2010
There was a lot of controversy over this play when it was first peformed. The author had to temporarily leave her home because of the death threats from extremists who weren't happy with her portrayal of temple life. I read the play hoping to find a clever and observant message portrayed in a sensitive but powerful way and to be shocked at how anyone could get upset over it.

Unfortunately, the play is blunt and seems to be set out to offend. The beginning is good, there is a lovely relationship between the girl and her mother that is emotionally charged and well portrayed. There is also a tender romance that draws the reader in. The problem arises when we enter the temple, a bed of rape, drug abuse and corruption. The characters are caricatures of sin and depravity or 'dishonour' but they are too corrupt to be believable. The leader of the temple is a serial rapist of women AND a homosexual. The former would have been powerful, adding the gay affair is childish and confusing.

The author said at a panel discussion that she likes to push people until they open up or shut down. She has done that. Those who this message should be aimed at will be turned away from it and it should have been expected that some would be insulted and protest - even to the point of threats to the staff and family of the author (I don't excuse it, I'm just saying it should have been expected). Those who have no need of hearing the message will go on about how freedom of expression has been stifled by fanatic followers of religion. The divide gets bigger, not smaller. Any good that could have been achieved is lost.

This could have been powerful but instead is just sensational.

No Title Available

1.0 out of 5 stars cheap junk, 15 Mar. 2010
OK, I wasn't expecting much from this. It was a novelty present for my friend who is a fan of the club and who likes hip flasks. However, this is worse than cheap. The design is printed onto a piece of linoleum which is then glued and wrapped round the flask. Both the gluing and the wrapping have been done terribly! It's badly lined up, lumpy, etc. I'd recommend not buying this at all!

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