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Lucas (UK)

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Space Marine (Warhammer 40, 000)
Space Marine (Warhammer 40, 000)
by Ian Watson
Edition: Paperback

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Pain is the righteous, purifying scalpel...", 13 Feb. 2008
(If I got that quote exactly right) Anyway, you're looking at a truly unique book.
As the other reviewers mention, this is set in the wargame universe of Warhammer 40,000- like Star Wars on a really bad trip, it's a strange and perverse blend of high space-opera sci-fi and dark Gothic horror/fantasy, where a brutal theocracy, the Imperium, dominates Mankind for it's own protection, and safeguards fragile minds from the "daemons" or entities dwelling in the "Warp" (or hyperspace, in other fictional terms). But it was published in '93, and the tone of this background and IP has since become nominally more accessible, esp. to GW publishers the Black Librarys' recently focussed core readership: young adults (or dumbed down, in other words...)
The story is a rites of passage of three vicious but complex underage thugs, as they're enlisted and indoctrinated into the Imperial Fists chapter (monastic regiment or legion) of the Adeptus Astartes- or Space Marines -the surgically enhanced, armoured supersoldiers of the Imperium (like knights templar in space). Lexandro d'Arquerbus, the egotistical aristocratic upstart, Yeri Valence, the working class tech-clan one, who dreams of 'justice' in a cruelly unfair world, and Biff Tundrish, the undeducated but philosophical, lower than low 'scumnik' or scavenger. They're not 'friends', but a curiously intense bond developes out of mutual distrust, envy, resentment, curiosity, condescension and the enforced Brotherly proximity of their priveleged stations on the Fortress-Monastery. There also seems to be an underlying ardour for Lexandro on Yeri's part, which adds poignancy to his inner quest to find 'justice' in life, as Lex has nothing but contemptuous disregard for his Brothers.
As the story progresses, they don't 'mature' so much as develop their world-views (and it's a strange, dark world they live in...) to increasingly complex degrees, as Lex becomes fixated with conquering pain through willpower and the honour bestowed therein (overt 'heroic' masochism and self-penance are a running theme in the Imperial Fists, and this book), while Biff ponders existence in general, in search of the 'pattern' that will provide meaning to his life, curiously lacking even as the legendary protector of Humanity that is a Marine. Along the way, they battle cunning subhuman dwarves, gigantic war robots, warped cultists, deranged Planetary rulers, and glimpse the unspoken, Lovecraftean horror of "daemons"... And, finally, face the most hideous concepts of alien life since H.R. Giger.
This is no future-war pulp, like more recent Black Library offerings, but an extremely sophisicated, dark and off-beat sci-fi 'adventure'.
Imagine if William Burroughs had written a Star Wars novel... Then you have an idea of what this book is like- but not quite. You'd still have to read it to believe it.

The Vampire Chronicles
The Vampire Chronicles
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but..., 5 April 2005
This review is from: The Vampire Chronicles (Audio CD)
Theatre des Vampires are among the best symphonic black metal acts ever and have yet to produce a bad album, but this is probably their most conventional - first, the brooding Preludium has Lord Vampyr's distinctive tones against a storm, setting a morose atmosphere that continues through the album in patches, though not their most polished intro - of the songs, Enthrone the Dark Angel, When the Wolves Cry and Thule start well but try to sound fierce in angry metal tradition, and it doesn't quite work - the Theatre's strength seems to lie in the quietly sinister and broadly atmospheric, that and the echoing vocals would've carried the song - then they bring in standard heavy metal bass chords and rely too much on these to carry them; Throne of Dark Immortals, Carpathian Spells and Woods of Valachia part 2: the Revelation are a little more polished and darker sounding, but some slightly cheesy guitar still creeps in there; Exorcism the same - it's more sombre, with fierce moments; Cursed has Lord Vampyr's emoting over the sobbing of nymphs, which coud have been a little subtler, but it's quite sorrowful in the way Theatre are really good at, increasing pace thereafter; and lastly The Coven has the trademark organs, bass chords a bit more twisted, and ends with the crying of innocents - that and the repeated lyrics "Come to the Sabbath" show some of their inspirations, maybe.
Overall, this is not bad, but not the most distinctively Theatrical example of what they can do.

Live Bait For The Dead
Live Bait For The Dead
Offered by WORLD WIDE MEDIA MARKET (12-24 Days for Delivery from California)
Price: £20.11

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Remember, drink bleach!", 7 Oct. 2004
This review is from: Live Bait For The Dead (Audio CD)
This two disc set is brilliant, and a must-have for disrespecting Cradle fans everywhere.
Disc one is live from Nottingham 2001, always a good addition to pre-recorded stuff, with familiar tracks Lord Abortion, The Forest Whispers My Name, From The Cradle To Enslave, and Dusk And Her Embrace standing out, and interspersed with Dani Filth's typically larger than death stage presence.
Disc two is a little different, an oft winning trait of the Filth - Deleted Scenes Of A Snuff Princess and the Under Martian Rule remix of From The Cradle To Enslave near being pounding dance tracks - a major musical departure from their usual stuff that'd be, so maybe not all hardcore fans will quite get it - while Born In A Burial Gown, The Fire Still Burns, Scorched Earth Erotica, and No Time To Cry return to more familiar (burial) ground with duelling of ghostly aria tones and serrated snarls, and also less angry, vaguely approachable guitar riffs common to more traditional metal - showing their inspirations, maybe?
Anyway, great stuff

Confessions Of A Trickbaby [DVD] [2000]
Confessions Of A Trickbaby [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Natasha Lyonne
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £7.99

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent mondo trasho, 5 Mar. 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
As well as what the other reviewers said, this film is a pretty biting social commment on the US justice system, a theme also big in Freeway (Matthew Bright's earlier cult movie, of which
this is a kind of semi-sequel). This is pretty hard to define, being violent, sad, funny, harrowing and just weird by turn, and seeming to jump from B-movie spoof to gritty crime drama to black comedy to even sort of a love story (though about as twisted a sort as you get), before suddenly going off on a kind of weird horror tangent, as the Hansel and Gretel idea comes back into it in a pretty big way (it reminded me a lttle of From
Dusk Till Dawn in that way). It sounds like a disjointed mess that wouldn't work, but it's not- good directing keeps it together, while the terrific acting moves really things along
(especially from Maria Celedonio, who I've never seen in anything
else), while at the same time as all this, you get the impression of (the writer/directors) personal opinions too, as anyone who's familiar with the real life cases of Aileen Wuornos or the Menendez brothers may notice a couple of parralels in the story.
Generally, you would either love this film (like me) or hate it,
but you really wouldn't forget it easily. I heard someone say that some people would overrate this, but more would probably underrate it, and I'd second that, and suggest anyone sees this to make up their own minds.

The Sandman: A Game of You
The Sandman: A Game of You
by Neil Gaiman
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ""You?" said the caterpillar. "Who are you!?"", 1 Mar. 2004
Further to what the reviews above say, this book is a story
identity, and while pretty dark, is really brilliantly written.
I won't give the story away too much, but this a kind of modern
Alice in wonderland type story, which sounds like it's been done
before, but not at this level, taking in modern feminist,social,
and gay issues. This book was suggested to me, and even if,
like me , youre not into comic books generally, this is well worth a look.

The Last Supper [DVD] [2003]
The Last Supper [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Cameron Diaz
Offered by Quality Media Supplies Ltd.
Price: £13.49

11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Socio political comedy, 6 Jan. 2004
This review is from: The Last Supper [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
This film is classified as a comedy, but described as a razor- sharp social debate, and I think it works better as the former.
Certainly it's smart and well scripted, with it's knowing deconstruction of the kind of smug principles of the '90s armchair liberal (and I've been a little guilty of that), but at times the feel of the film seems just a little too knowing. The acting is all great, particuarly from Courtney Vance (you'd probably know his face) and this is the best I've seen Cameron Diaz do. The film is mainly funny in a dry sort of vein, with the occasional dark slapstick (like the woman who doesen't drink wine). I guess I'm not selling it too well here, at least not as the bitingly incisive social commentary it thinks it is, but as cool, cynical comedy goes this is right up there at the top, and definitely worth seeing. If you like Six Feet Under or (at a stretch) Alley McBeal, you'd probably get this.

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