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Amazon Customer (Caerdydd)

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In the Mouth of the Whale (Quiet War Book 3)
In the Mouth of the Whale (Quiet War Book 3)
Price: £5.99

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best SF book of 2012, 23 Dec. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is a wonderful book, almost certainly the best novel I read this year, so it's a real disappointment to see it getting such indifferent and at times stupid reviews.

I'm sorry to admit that I'm sometimes more interested in plot than quality of writing, but even I noticed how outstanding McAuley's prose is here, with descriptive passages frequently achieving real beauty and poetry. The plot is both original and ruthless: the villains of the piece, the True, are utterly vile and despicable, yet the story is largely told from their perspective. It is impossible to find any single character to wholly identify with, all the "humans" in the story are to a greater or lesser extent alien from our perspective.

This is not a warm and cosy story, you get a real sense of the vast, immeasurable depths of space, and of how in trying to navigate them we could lose our own humanity.

Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life
Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life
Price: £2.99

2 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Beware: not a novel, 18 Aug. 2012
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Contrary to appearances, this is not a novel. Instead it is an extended essay on the history and social significance of the Doc Savage comics. If that's your cup of tea then you may find this book considerably more interesting than I did.

The Face in the Frost
The Face in the Frost
Price: £2.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A lost classic., 18 Aug. 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A Face in the Frost is an almost forgotten fantasy classic, out of print for decades but now resurrected in e-book form by those nice people at SF Gateway. The story of a conflict between good and evil wizards, it's set against a charming and original background, with highly engaging and frequently comic characters. The horror scenes of black magic have a genuinely unsettling nightmare quality. It may be marketed as a Yound Adult novel but it's a perfectly satisfying read for adults as well.

A great little book of the sort they just don't seem to write any more, and an absolutely flawless transfer to e-book, which is something you can't always say with the SF Gateway output, unfortunately.

Hurt: The EP
Hurt: The EP
Price: £2.97

10 of 16 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A musical catastrophe, 18 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Hurt: The EP (MP3 Download)
"Hurt" was written by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, and graphically relates his descent into drug induced squalor, degredation and self pity. The definitive version of the song was recorded by Johnny Cash as he neared the end of an incredibly full life of ecstatic highs and abysmal lows, which is amply reflected in the enormous emotional power of his version and the accompanying video.

Leona Lewis, in stark contrast, is a seemingly perfectly pleasant but utterly bland young woman who won a popular karaoke competition a number of years ago. She is surely one of the least qualified people on the planet to cover this song, unless the tabloids have somehow failed to uncover her hidden life of addiction, depression and squalor, which I somehow doubt. As a result this must surely rank as one of the most abysmal cover versions of all time; it is astonishingly bad, a mockery, a disastrous travesty of a record. I am almost tempted to think it is some sort of malevolent joke, both on Leona and the unfortunate record buying public.

An utter, utter disgrace.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Aug 17, 2012 4:34 AM BST

Snow Crash
Snow Crash
Price: £4.99

52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Avoid the Kindle version!, 16 Oct. 2010
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This review is from: Snow Crash (Kindle Edition)
OK, first up, this is a great book which every SF fan should read, but for heaven's sake buy the paperback!

The Kindle edition is the most atrocious piece of typesetting I've ever had the misfortune to read. It has clearly not even been spellchecked, let alone proofread. At one point chunks of words from one line were being randomly inserted into words in the line above, rendering the paragraph into complete gibberish. The first introduction of the crucial Babel/Infocalypse term is completely mispelled, despite it being in bold and a triple sized font.

I'm astonished that Amazon has the barefaced cheek to charge nearly five quid for this shoddy garbage, and I've half a mind to demand my money back.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 11, 2012 11:01 AM BST

Terminal World
Terminal World
by Alastair Reynolds
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £18.99

94 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Steampunk with a brain., 17 Mar. 2010
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This review is from: Terminal World (Hardcover)
I have to say that I strongly disagree with the rather indifferent reviews of this book posted so far. I have read all of Reynolds' books to date and this makes a strong claim to be his best.

For starters, and almost incidentally, it is the best steampunk novel I have read. Reynolds produces a plausible plot device for examining a society trapped at a particular technological point, and his steam or dieselpunk technology is grittily plausible and realistic, not a series of fashion accessories or nostalgic anachronisms, as is all too common in this genre.

Secondly, this book requires a bit of intellectual effort on the part of the reader. The reader is required to use some imagination and to draw inferences and make conclusions from tiny nuggets of fact dropped into the characters' conversations. The book contains no "infodumps". The true nature of Spearpoint is not spelled out directly, even at the end of the novel. An observant reader will fairly quickly come to a huge revelation about the nature of Spearpoint's world which never becomes remotely obvious to any of the characters involved. One particularly ironic point is the existence of a quasi-religious "Testament", which most of the characters dismiss as mythological, but the more objective viewpoint of the reader can see is largely historical fact about the planet's history.

There are also some excellent action scenes, particularly a desperate airship assault on the city in the face of progressive technological failures, reducing the crew from machine guns and diesel engines to cutlasses and crossbows in the space of ten minutes. The characters are excellent, particularly a foul mouthed bodyguard heroine.

If you like your SF one-dimensional and spoon fed to you as easily digestible gloop, this book probably isn't for you. If you are willing to use your intellect and your imagination to fill in the tantalising gaps left by the author you will be amply rewarded.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 19, 2012 12:33 PM BST

Scouting For Girls
Scouting For Girls
Price: £2.73

17 of 28 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Atrocious, 3 Sept. 2008
This review is from: Scouting For Girls (Audio CD)
The musical equivalent of a war crime. Scouting for Girls have set back the progress of the whole of Western civilization by at least 18 months.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 27, 2013 9:23 AM GMT

The Execution Channel: Novel
The Execution Channel: Novel
by Ken MacLeod
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A return to top form., 2 Jun. 2008
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This is MacLeod's best book since "The Cassini Division". Everything he writes is worth reading, but with the exception of "Newton's Wake" his last few books have seemed a bit staid and lacking in the real passion of his earlier work.

No-one could accuse "The Execution Channel" of being a passionless work, it's filled with righteous anger at the amoral cynicism of the War Against Terror, and the corrosive effect this has on the morality of everyday life.

There is a splendidly complex conspiratorial plot and plenty of action to speed along the storyline, and the novel finishes with a terrifically uncompromising Hard SF finale, which has enough optimism and faith in the future of humanity to wipe out the sour taste of government corruption and brutality.

Offered by Bridge_Records
Price: £2.71

5 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dull, dull, dull., 12 Nov. 2007
This review is from: Spirit (Audio CD)
Tired, cliched, commercial dross, and horribly oversung too, in a cheesy Mariah Carey-esque fashion. I'd like to say I was disappointed, but it's a sadly predictable X-factor career path isn't it?

Felaheen (Arabesk)
Felaheen (Arabesk)
by Jon Courtenay Grimwood
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific conclusion to the series., 13 May 2003
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This review is from: Felaheen (Arabesk) (Hardcover)
Jon Courtney Grimwood's North African cyberpunk noir detective series comes to a triumphant conclusion with "Felaheen", in which the truth of Ashraf Bey's origins are revealed, or at least hinted at.
The North African backdrop is as lovingly detailed as before, and the plot twists and turns violently, with several surprising revelations. As usual the writing is very dense, and if you lose concentration for a minute you might miss a subtle clue or the violent death of a character introduced on the previous page.
Most of the familiar characters are back and a few new ones appear, most significantly Raf's incredibly sexy and devious mother. The final revelations in the book cast Raf's life into a whole new light, and made me want to go back and reread the whole series.
This is probably the best book of the series, so if you've read the rest you need to buy this NOW. I can't recommend these books highly enough, anybody who loves SF, detective novels or just great writing and characters, should buy Pashazade, Effendi and Felaheen right now.

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