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P. Borrington "philipborrington" (Lincolnshire)
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How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise
How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise
by Chris Taylor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining read but where's the music?, 12 Oct. 2016
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An entertaining read, which benefits from the author's lack of direct access to George Lucas and thus allows for constructive criticism throughout. The structure is interesting with non-chronological chapters delving into the Jedi religion, real-life stormtroopers and merchandising, breaking up the linear story of the films. Highly recommended to both casual (like me) and hard-core SW fans but...

...where is the music?? Taylor gives only cursory acknowledgement to John Williams' music which seems odd as the general theme of the book is the cultural impact SW has had and the impact of the music has been enormous, with Williams' SW score virtually re-inventing symphonic film music. SW is recognisable all over the planet by its music and I think it deserves more prominence here. Try thinking of SW without hearing the main theme or the Imperial Death March, or the force theme in your head, it's impossible. My all time favourite... the love theme playing over the final scene in The Empire Strikes Back. Star Wars is the music and the music is Star Wars...


The Eagles
The Eagles
by Ben Fong-Torres
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Photos But..., 28 May 2015
This review is from: The Eagles (Hardcover)
Great photos but average biography. Like most music journalists, Fong-Torres thinks the music world revolves around them and of course the most important event in the history of the Eagles was their charity baseball match with Rolling Stone magazine. Some of the writing is good but occasionally descends to sixth form style.
By the way, don't pay £20 for this, I got mine for a fiver from The Works.


Me Talk Pretty One Day
Me Talk Pretty One Day
by David Sedaris
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

3.0 out of 5 stars A Mixed Bag, 7 April 2014
This review is from: Me Talk Pretty One Day (Paperback)
Was looking forward to reading this after hearing it reviewed on Radio 4's 'A Good Read'. It is a mixed bag though with highlights including the guitar teacher and the lisp but too many unfunny and rambling chapters. Was hoping to read all of his but now not so sure...?


Sirius (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
Sirius (S.F. MASTERWORKS)
by Olaf Stapledon
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Thought-Provoking and Moving, 18 Feb. 2014
My first Stapledon but definitely not my last, Sirius is a thoroughly engaging read. The plight of Sirius - neither dog nor man - is handled brilliantly by Stapledon. Like the best sci-fi, Sirius has aged well, the ideas transcending the period. Darkly comic as well, I particularly enjoyed Sirius's brilliance at the sheep dog trials despite his master's terrible instructions. Recommended.


Under the Dome
Under the Dome
by Stephen King
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but not vintage, King, 6 Feb. 2014
This review is from: Under the Dome (Paperback)
A good yarn from Stephen King but far from his best. Personally I preferred 11.22.63. King isn't really interested in sci-fi but in people - ordinary people - and how they react in extraordinary situations.
At times great, at times silly, way too long and containing the most over-the-top villain in Big Jim Rennie you'll ever read. He should have had a cape and twirling moustache...


Next 100 Years, The
Next 100 Years, The
by George Friedman
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, 6 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Next 100 Years, The (Paperback)
Fascinating, informative, well constructed and argued. Of course, no-one knows precisely what will happen in the future but this all rings true. Friedman has the USA dominating the 21st century but would anyone bet against that?

Whether any of this comes to pass or not, this is a brilliant read, highly recommended for the open-minded reader.


The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.29

5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Book, 30 Dec. 2013
Have just completed my second read of The Time Traveler's Wife and have added it to my all time favourite list. A love story with time travel rather than the reverse, TTTW is moving, poignant and brilliantly crafted. The book is correctly titled - this is Clare's story, beautiful, wonderful Clare, who sacrifices a normal life to wait (and wait) for the man she loves. A book to cherish, devour, re-read, love. Thank you Audrey Niffenegger.


A Week in December
A Week in December
by Sebastian Faulks
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Good, not great, 24 Dec. 2013
This review is from: A Week in December (Paperback)
In the best novels the author cannot be detected. The reader is drawn into the story and the author disappears. Unfortunately, reading A Week In December, I felt that Faulks was in the room with me, reading the book aloud and occasionally looking up with a wink or a wry arching of the eyebrow, as if to say 'isn't it clever?'

Which is a shame because Faulks can write and the hedge fund manager and would-be terrorist are well drawn, interesting and compelling characters. Most characters though are superfluous to the general goings on and seemed shoe-horned in to make the whole thing more Dickensian in scope. And did we really need 486 pages on high finance? (I exaggerate but not by much). This is the author saying 'I've bloody well done all this research so you're going to read it!'

The Americans do this state of the nation thing so much better, Jonathan Franzen's The Corrections and Freedom being the apogee of the form.


Dune
Dune
by Frank Herbert
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Greatest Novel Ever Written?, 8 Aug. 2013
This review is from: Dune (Paperback)
For me, yes. Dune is not 'hard' sci-fi, more of an epic family saga. Terms like Bene Gesserit and Kwisatz Haderach would be silly in a lesser author's hands. No such problem for Frank Herbert though who has crafted the most epic tale ever (and yes, I have read The Lord Of The Rings). The interplanetary intrigue would fall flat though without the superb depth of characterisation Herbert creates. Even relatively minor characters feel fully formed and the major characters are amongst the greatest in all literature.

To create an entire ecosystem, an entire political system, a religion with more depth than some real ones, believable science (and constraints on science) in addition to the superb characterisation places Herbert amongst the greats.

Ridiculously, because Dune is 'genre-fiction' it well never be acknowledged by the literati.

Their loss.


The Marriage Plot
The Marriage Plot
by Jeffrey Eugenides
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.98

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Falls short of greatness, 13 Mar. 2013
This review is from: The Marriage Plot (Paperback)
Like others I loved The Virgin Suicides and Middlesex. However Eugenides' long absence has allowed Jonathan Franzen to emerge as the king of American dysfunction. The Marriage Plot goes some way to restore his position but just falls short of greatness.

When focussing on his three protagonists, their hopes, feelings and disappointments, Eugenides displays why he is one of the best writers on the planet. Unfortunately he wears his research heavily and at times I felt like shouting at the book 'Ok Jeffrey! We get it! You know about Derrida and deconstruction! You've travelled around India and learnt about yeast! Enough already!' It is a shame because I suspect many readers will not get past the first 80 or so pages and thus miss out on a lot of good stuff to come.

Middlesex remains his masterpiece.


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