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A. Caldwell (UK)

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The Collected Jorkens Volume 1: v. 1
The Collected Jorkens Volume 1: v. 1
by Lord Dunsany
Edition: Hardcover

1.0 out of 5 stars Nice stories but rip off profiteers have got involved.... leave well alone!, 6 May 2016
Please do not buy, I have all three of these books, but the prices astronomical, and morally wrong. Thankfully the Jorkens cannon is soon due for a reprint, and these prices will go the way of all profiteering, to a much more reasonable price. FYI a good 1st edition of the original books, with no dust cover costs a fraction on these price.... buyer beware!

Psychedelia ( 5cd box set)
Psychedelia ( 5cd box set)
Price: £42.63

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Its an excellent set and I've been fairly impressed with the sound ..., 22 April 2016
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This is for the 5 Cd Rubble box set - a reissue of a rare set of vinyl LPs released by Tiny Alice, plus an addition CD's worth of songs never released by Tiny Alice. If you are a massive fan of obscure 60's Psychedelia and freak beat you may have some of these, but, its highly unlikely you'd have them all ... Its an excellent set and I've been fairly impressed with the sound quality. I rate it 5 stars, its expensive so probably you have to really love this stuff.... I do!!

Old Venus
Old Venus
by George R. R. Martin
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £20.00

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Contemporary SF Authors Go Classic on Venus! An Outstanding Anthology, 7 Dec. 2015
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This review is from: Old Venus (Hardcover)
Old Venus.

It's amazing (to someone of my generation) to think that until 1962 most people assumed that Venus was a potentially viable planet for life. It was thought to be an extremely wet, swampy, humid, rain drench and cloud covered Earth. As a result the Golden ages (1936- 1959 ish) of SF had all manor of rocket ships going, colonies based, and swashbuckling adventures had there. After 1962 this became rarer and rarer. This anthology asks contemporary authors to reimagine the classic Venus Story. Although, inevitably there are a couple of miss fires here, (see below) I feel the overall anthology is stunning and utterly enjoyable, the editors have done a superb job in putting it together.

Frogheads by Allen M. Steele, is a great twisting mystery that reminded me in places of Vance's inter-planet detective, Magnus Ridolph. It's fast paced and examines the ethics of colonisation, race and drug-use. It has some nice characterisation, there is a fair bit of light and shade and a 'weird pulp' conclusion.4/5

The Drowned Celestial by Lavie Tidhar, is a classic bit of SF a rip roaring 'buddy' adventure. Good fun and fast paced. Nice and 'pulpy'. 3/5

Planet of Fear by Paul McAuley, is beautiful story with some great characterisation and fabulous biology. It is unusual in a short story for me (not part of an established series ) to care so deeply about the characters, I did. I loved the paranoid suspicions of Captain Chernov, the strength and feistiness of Katya Ignatova, the international tensions and the brooding horror. My only sadness of the story is its abrupt conclusion. 4/5

Greeves and the Evening Star by Matthew Hughes. I starting reading this and seriously thought about skipping over it when I realised (within two sentences) that this was a SF Jeeves and Wooster! I love P.G. Wodehouse and didn't like the idea of a mash up at all. It Just felt all wrong. But I kept going I am so glad I did! Nothing makes me laugh like Bertie Wooster, except now perhaps Bartie Gloster. (... See what he did there?) Not only did I hurt myself laughing and brought on an asthma attack but I throughly enjoyed the story. It is immensely well written, exciting and perhaps the funniest short story I have read in the last ten years. 5/5

A Planet Called Desire by Gwyneth Jones. A very pleasant inter-species (or at least race) love story. Very well done, not cheesy nor over-played. I thoroughly enjoyed the politics and the relationships of the story the dialogue was subtle, smart and in my mind had a number of Jack Vance overtones. 4/5

Living Hell by Joe Haldeman is an adventure, a race to rescue a number of female scientists from Venus' equator, enjoyable classic science fiction with a great finale. 3.5/5

Bones of Air, Bones of Stone by Stephen Leigh is a cracking exploration of the anthropology (if that is the right term for the study of the Venusian race) it's religion and customs. Seen through the lens of a daring expedition and unrequited love. I thought the characters were very interesting well fleshed out and the science fiction fascinating. 3.5/5

Ruins by Eleanor Arnason is an interesting "slow dive" into the Politics of a Venus colonised by the Russians, who won the Venusian space race and the ensuing crippling debt it brought, and the CIA the "most powerful organisation in the Solar System". The adventure takes place in a Venusian Jurassic Park amidst the ruins of perhaps the first inhabitants of Venus. Fascinating story with lots of great ideas but sadly the whole is slightly less than the sum of its parts. 3/5

The Tumbledowns of Celeopatra Abyss by David Brin. I absolutely loved this story, and didn't want it to end. I enjoyed Jonah, his resourcefulness, his courage and his thoughts on the world in which he finds himself. A very satisfying story set in a string of underwater towns and farms where most certainly Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. Brilliant! 4.5/5

By Frogsled and Lizardback to Outcast Venusian Lepers by Garth Nix is a second fast pace rescue mission. I loved the world that Nix wrote of, interesting deep characters and a fabulous space opera feel with a tension that had me racing through, a very strong story. Absolutely superb. 5/5

The Sunset of Time by Michael Cassutt. A 'Venerian' pre-apocalyptic story, exploring some interesting themes of religion, exile and science. 3/5

Pale Blue Memories by Tobias S. Buckell. An Edgar Rice Burroughs type story complete with an inter-planet continuation of World War Two, German Nazis, US Marines and "First Contact" with Venusians. It explores interspecies love, loss and slavery, both in American's past, nazi ideology and as worked out on Venus. With so many great ideas, and an ERB take this story should have been an absolute corker, sadly it just didn't come off to my mind. I guess I just couldn't 'get' the irony of a classic heroic tale told from the view point of a less than heroic, uninspiring, (to my mind), central character and ultimately found the story fairly depressing. 2/5

The Heart's Filthy Lesson by Elizabeth Bear. There are some nice ideas here, I loved the suit, but found the actual story fairly hard going, I wasn't gripped by the story or the plot, sadly, it was a slog to the finish. 2/5

The Wizard of the Trees by Joe R. Lansdale is just perfect pulp classic sci-fi, and I utterly loved it. It's a classic Edgar Rice Burrows type story, with shades of the "30's Flash Gordon" film serial, which, perhaps at least in my mind, out strips the master! Our hero, tempered by his experiences serving as a US army "Buffalo soldier" and member of Buffalo Bill's travelling show finds himself stranded on Venus. It has occasional similarities to "Pale Blue Memories" in that our hero is black (with some Cherokee Indian heritage too), however, the questions of race and colour are done, in my view, much more subtlety and with greater effect. The whole story, the battles, the plot and of course the love interest who happen to be a Venusian princess (what else could she be in this kind of story) is incredibly pleasing. 5/5

"The Godstone of Venus" by Mike Resnick is a superb SF noir story. The tough old trouble-shooter with his fascinating and extremely well written partner embark on a mysterious mission in to the Venusian Marshes with a beautiful blue Venusian a dodgy gambler and a stolen vehicle what's not to like? Brilliant short story! 5/5

Botanica Veneris: Thirteen Papercuts by Ida Countess Rathangan by Ian McDonald. A superbly told story, told by an aristocratic Irish Countess. It's a jules Vern travelogue adventure across Venus, with cracking language and vocabulary. Each part of the story is introduced by a particular genus of Venusian flora of which our Countess describes and 'papercuts'. A wonderful tale filled with some fascinating characters. It a very strong finish to what has been a superb anthology! 5/5

I loved this book and look forward to reading Old Mars!

To Live Forever
To Live Forever
by Jack Vance
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars One of the things I utterly love with science fiction and fantasy as genre is the ..., 12 Nov. 2015
One of the things I utterly love with science fiction and fantasy as genre is the way that not only is there much greater scope for story, adventure and imagination there is an increased opportunity to develop and explore ideas. Jack Vance always gets me thinking, always makes me want to stop and ask "What are the issues here?".... "Where are convergences with my world?" Vance is at his best when he is savoured. In "To Live Forever", the big ideas of population, morality, work, and striving are explored. But there are other deeper, subtle nuances here. Such as, what makes a soul? What makes a human? Are our memories, attitudes and experiences the sum total of who we are and what we do? There is also an exploration of inequality and meaningless leading to despair depression and suicide.

In this near utopia that is The Reach and the City of "Clarges" a nation surrounded by barbarians and nomads, a few people, restricted by ratio in order to prevent over crowding, have the ability to live forever. Disease has been in irradiate and old age all but removed, except for those who opt out and chose to live a normal life with a normal life span. For the others ( those who opt in ) there becomes an obsessive striving, not for cash but for a longer life. Money is not important, it's time that counts, time given over to public service in order to move up though five ranks of life extending treatment- this striving is as measured as 'slope'.

Into this world comes Gavin Waylock, a man who once tasted the glories of the highest rank who through an accident is brought low. This is his story. I've got to say that surprisingly I liked him. In my head he sounds a lot like Cugel (Jack Vance's famous anti-hero), he's as resourceful as Cugel even as deceitful, but not as utterly self centred and appears to have remorse for his actions. Perhaps, the hero of the story is The Jacynth Martin with her single minded pursuit of Gavin Waylock, somehow she sees the havoc this man might bring and sets out to stop him, I get the feeling that she can't help herself but like him ( my own opinion of him). I thoroughly enjoyed the story, I loved the interplay between the two of them and the way the world worked. The dialogue as always in Vance is outstanding witty and subtle the conclusion was a lovely and clever surprise. A great book!

Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth)
Wizard's First Rule (Sword of Truth)
Price: £4.07

2.0 out of 5 stars Not what I remembered at all, 12 Nov. 2015
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Second time reading it through. ( I first read it in 2002) The first time I enjoyed it, I couldn't put it down and would have given it a 4. However this time the overly sexual nature of things really got to me. I thought the the pediophilia of the villain (or at least his subordinate) the killing of children by the villain, the scenes of torture, the ridiculous love story, which to me seemed very two dimensional, was all very clumsily done. Finally, the philosophy of Goodkind which unsubtlely shine through every page ruined any enjoyment for me. This series and author is not for me.

Who's Wrong? - Mod Bedlam 1965-1969
Who's Wrong? - Mod Bedlam 1965-1969
Price: £12.86

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Baby you Got it!, 30 April 2015
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A beautifully varied collection of The Truth's work with some rare gems. I became familiar with the Truth thanks to Piccadilly Sunshine 8, rubble 14 and Doin' the Mod comps and had them firmly pigeon-holed as a mid sixties mod band but they are more thank that. There are excellent, sensitive and pretty covers here too, too pretty in fact to make The Truth a strictly mod band. The Left Bankes "Walk Away Renee" and Ray Davies' "I Go To Sleep" in particular is a haunting highlight, the arrangement beautiful and perhaps my favourite cover of this song, with almost a Moody Blues vibe. The cover of the Young Rascals " Sueno" is energetic and powerful with an exciting exuberance. The previously unrealised "Busker Bill" and "I Can't Make It Alone" are both worthy additions to my CD collection, Busker Bill has an almost "Toy town" feel. The album highlight for me is a pounding, stomping, baby You've Got it and Hey Gyp ( Dig the slowness) which grooves along nicely thank you very much.

Ka-Pow! An Explosive Collection 1967-68
Ka-Pow! An Explosive Collection 1967-68
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £5.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As hip as a early morning drive down the Kings Road in an 1966 E-Type with Twiggy!, 30 April 2015
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This band and compilation came out of nowhere for me, to such an extent I thought it must a modern band, faking it, masquerading as a "Swinging Sixties London mod group". I am so glad to be wrong, and can't imagine that I will ever find another band as consistently excellent, beautiful and energetic as this. A discovery beyond my wildest dreams.

The second shock after finding that it is a genuine sixties group is that they are an American Band. They capture the sound of a Small Faces and Who drenched Carnaby street so perfectly in some of their songs, and better, I think than any other American band. Once "Turn Another Page" version 1 exploded on my stereo I knew I was in for something incredible, special and utterly remarkable. The album just builds song after song. Every song is outstanding, how many times can that be said? Interestingly version 2 of " Turn Another Page" sounds as if Steve Marriott, Ronnie Lane and Kenney Jones are mucking around in the background, (... I know they're not but they could be!). Musically they are accomplished and the recording quality, as always with Big Beat is outstanding. There are some high octane US garage moments, even "tan-lines" of "Turtlesque sunshine", but, the overall direction of this compilation is of a very mid sixties Anglophile mod band, these guys must have been mainlining The Who, Small Faces and Kinks. Just check out " I Go To School " and pinch yourself when you realise it was NOT written by Pete Townsend in 1966. Or that "What the World Needs Now / Tired of Waiting For You / Joy to the World" is not an arrangement from Paul Weller that's been messed about by an early Pink Floyd.

The compilation it seems is a very thorough collection of nearly all the tracks of the various line ups of Powder and their earlier incarnation the Art Collection. My only niggle is the omission of the b side to the fuzz inspired "Kick Me", "She's a Mod". Maybe it was too dated in comparison to the rest of the tracks, for completeness I'd have like it included, and it's not a bad track having listened to it elsewhere. The liner notes are fascinating written by Big Beat's Alec Palao with extracts and quotes from band member Rich Martin together with some outstanding pictures of the the band looking as hip as drive down The Kings road in a 1966 E-type with Twiggy. This is my find of the year, and if I could give it ten out of five I would. Anyone who enjoys sixties beat, mod and garage has to give this a go, it's thrilling!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: May 28, 2015 5:08 PM BST

Hot Generation: 1960s Punk from Down Under
Hot Generation: 1960s Punk from Down Under
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £13.45

5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked Classic of Austrailian Beat, Mod and Garage, 30 April 2015
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I bought "Of Hopes & Dreams and Tombstones", a couple of years ago, and it has been a constant in my car, and throughly enjoyable so gave this companion album a go, and am really chuffed I did! This is slightly rawer and more energetic than "Hopes and Tombstones", and in my opinion better. Overall, the majority of the songs are more gentle and melodic than the 13th Floor Elevators, more varied than the Seeds three cord wonders and the recording and sound quality sharper and clearer than some other "garage and punk comps". I only make the comparison because it's called " Hot Generation! 1960's punk from down under", the tag I feel slightly misses the mark.

I think there are slight stylist difference between Australian Garage/Punk and U.S. Garage/Punk, and that's born out in this particular compilation. The British influences are more overt, with "mod" and "freakbeat" overtones and even one or two Beatlesque shades. Examples being the title track "Hot Generation!" It just can't help being "Who" like towards the fade. There are superb covers such as The Zombies "She does Everything for me", which is played less well, but more energetically than The Zombies, The Birds, "How can it Be", (found on the The Birds "Collectors' guide of Rare British Birds"), and The Spencer Davis Group's "High Time Baby". There are other covers too by lesser known bands and plenty of early Kink inspired fun.

There are many superb moments here, my personal highlights being such an Easybeats penned (though never recorded to my knowledge) " Good Evening Girl", the guitar driven masterpiece by Russ Kruger, " Keep Me Satisfied" the energetic "Pogs Theme" by the Pogs and "I Want", by Steve and the Board; 2 minutes and 39 of Kink inspired magic!

As always Big Beat has done an outstanding job in the sound quality and the wonderful inset notes -12 pages of them. Sadly, this compilation seems a little overlooked and off the beaten track, honestly it shouldn't be, there is much to delight and thrill any fans of 60's beat, garage and mod. A great purchase!

Piccadilly Sunshine Part Twenty
Piccadilly Sunshine Part Twenty
Price: £9.60

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beaufiul end to a much loved series, 26 Mar. 2015
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Sadly, this is the final slice of the beautiful Piccadilly Sunshine series. It has been a exquisite fading yellow tinged adventure. These final twenty tracks are as strong as any in the series and as in the previous 19 as there is a slightly mixed bag, some whimsical, yet others incredible slices of British popsike. There are some fantastic baroque moments on this outing, Gerry Lockran's "Standing on Your Own" and The Zombie-like Hamlet's beautiful baroque Feb 1967 disc " She Won't see the light" are particularly beautiful. The laters sound quality, being in my opinion stronger and cleaner than its apprearnce on Fading Yellow One. A Piccadilly Sunshine album usually has at least one 'also ran' but I'm struggling to find it, at one stage I thought it might be Steve Darbishire's " Trains Trains", but this has grown on me beautifully. The climax of the album for me is the penultimate track "Hey Joe", yes that one, but as I've never heard it before. This has to be one of the most covered songs of the mid to late sixties, and I have it from artists from the Sufaris to Love, my favorite not being Hendrix but The Byrds. Saker's is a British baroque masterpiece and on its own worth the price of admission. A mighty end for an amazing series.

Winged Victory
Winged Victory
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding!, 18 Dec. 2014
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This review is from: Winged Victory (Kindle Edition)
A throughly great read, the questions and emotional roller coaster of war come to life in this classic of air warfare. As mentioned a number times this is the one book Second World War RAF pilots wanted, as it so well described the life and actions of a war flying pilot. The book which is semi-autobiographical is about the flying and friendship of a number of hut sharing pilots. Their thoughts, questions, fears and philosophical debates as they wait for the next "show" are brilliant. Written well before the Second World War, the author died in the early thirties, Yates, clear predicts that there will be another world war. His own personal experience of the last few days of active war flying lead him to write ....

"They called this the war to end war; so men were encouraged to fight on. Somehow it was understood to mean that the final victory of the Allies would end war for ever. But the blood of the German dead would remain unavenged; it would go on calling and calling through future years. War could never be ended by victorious war. "


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