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Gone (The Gone Series)
Gone (The Gone Series)
by Michael Grant
Edition: Paperback

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Misfits need not apply, 27 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Gone (The Gone Series) (Paperback)
Gone is an engaging read, but as I'm on a reading kick of "Young Fiction" it really suffers in comparison to my other two recent reads: "The Knife of Never Letting Go" and "Hunger Games".

All three stories also begin series, with a sci-fi base, young protagonists and world-weaved mysteries to unravel. The other two simply do it better. Gone never quite frees itself from the clichés it is based on. Intelligent readers will be a few steps ahead of the story, as revelations are fairly heavily signposted, and characters are stamped from some well worn moulds. It's difficult to root for the two surfer bros who use "brah" at every opportunity, or the love interest who's purpose is made clear from the get go. Every character who appears does little to surprise, they are so clearly defined that you know what they're going to do throughout, they never rise above their own predictability.

As something of a geek myself I would be interested to know what other readers thought to the fact that the in-crowd remains the in-crowd. Popular in school: popular in the FAYZ. Powerful in school: powerful in the FAYZ. The mutations mirror social order for some reason. The lack of reversal where a character like Computer Jack could have risen above his bullies is disappointing and leaves less room for the escapism a good book can provide. Maybe it will happen in later books, but that doesn't make it less of a disappointment here.

Gone is still a lot of fun, but it's more like a comic book than a graphic novel. You'll likely enjoy it (I did), but I wouldn't put it at the top of your to-read list.


Aluminium CD Holder
Aluminium CD Holder

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Looks great until you open it, 15 Dec. 2011
This review is from: Aluminium CD Holder
I really liked the idea of an aluminium hard case for a few discs, but that is the only good thing about this wallet. The sleeves are weirdly designed - you have to tear them open yourself and the opening is really strange and awkward to use - it feels like the disc or the sleeve is damaged each time I put something in or take it out.

After a few days of use both zip toggles came off - there was nothing holding them in place at one end.

I recommend looking for a different holder for your discs.


Twisted Metal (Penrose 1)
Twisted Metal (Penrose 1)
by Tony Ballantyne
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously imaginative sci-fi, 26 Aug. 2010
A lot of what's being said in the negative reviews is based on two things: the concept at the heart of this book and the way that characters are used to explore this concept.

As for the concept itself, you have to be willing to accept a strange core conceit: life in robot form. The way that these robots reproduce is novel - the man supplies wire and the woman weaves a mind from it, and this appears frequently throughout the book. Through this he explores free will, nature versus nurture, and depicts what would be sexually graphic scenes, such as a rape, without the immature graphic description of some of his peers (the otherwise brilliant Richard Morgan for example) leaving just the emotional resonance of the act. It is a credit it to the author that he renders what would appear to be simple weaving a deeply emotive act to the reader.

If you can't get on board with this model though, steer clear, you won't enjoy this book.

The other complaint levelled at this book is the weight of apparently unnecessary characters - I presume referring to the story of Olam, which could have been entirely omitted without any detriment to the plot. This story thread is present to give more of a texture to the world and to give the reader a broader view of some of the mysteries of the world of Penrose later in the story. Again, whether you find this thread distracting or enjoyable is entirely down to personal preference.

I for one loved the concept and, though the Olam thread of the story does fizzle by the end, it kept me as hooked as the rest of the book.

The only complaint I would have is that the story is left so open for a sequel that its conclusion feels a little unsatisfying.

Overall, this is one of the most thought provoking and emotionally moving works of SF I've seen in a long time and, like the Schrodinger's plants of his 'Recursion' series shows that Tony Ballantyne is one of the most creative minds writing today


District 9 [DVD] [2009]
District 9 [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Sharlto Copley
Offered by A ENTERTAINMENT
Price: £2.72

4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not the second coming of Sci-fi, 15 Oct. 2009
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: District 9 [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Let's be clear about this - "District 9" is a good film. It is original, has killer special effects and some exceptional performances. It is not however a 'true great' as many reviewers have been saying.

The mark of a great movie as opposed to a really good movie is a satisfying payoff. If the final part of the film isn't satisfying, the whole thing is a disappointing. That's what spoiled this movie for me. The first half of the film had me hooked with its documentary style and thoroughly believable characters and setting (aliens in particular). It had a message and it was radically different from anything I had seen before. The trappings of genuine creative genius.

However towards the end, the film degenerates into standard summer blockbuster action material. It does it well, but it feels like a real let down after everything before this point that distinguished the film so well. The last half hour is more an orgy of violence that could have been half as long whilst retaining its relevance to the plot. The weapons are also the thing that pulled me out of the world that had been created, and one in particular springs to mind. A gun that makes people burst in a liquid spray. It looks ridiculous and really ruins the immersion of all other elements of the film.

I would rate it 3 and a half stars if i could, but for me it didn't quite score 4. It was one of a number of excellent sci-fi movies this summer, but I felt Duncan Jones' "Moon" was more satisfying as a whole.


Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead, 2009 Easter Special   [DVD]
Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead, 2009 Easter Special [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Price: £4.00

18 of 35 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing after all the hype, 11 April 2009
I'm sorry to say that I found this episode to be disappointing.

I'm a long time fan of the show but the quality has been slipping, particularly in recent episodes. I was very pleasantly surprised by the Christmas special, but this episode was a real let down.

I found the major female lead in this installment to be poorly drawn (if well acted). She brought the series to increasing levels of preposterousness! The appeal of the assistants has always been an every-man/woman quality, which the aristocratic thrill-seeking cat burglar was sorely lacking.

The Doctor lives for the excitement as much as the role of saviour, and he needs a contrast and a foil to that. Any of the other characters on the bus were more interesting and believable than she was. At first glance, the initial theft of the artifact could have been used to explain the wormhole. Instead we are presented with a notorious thief and a wormhole coinciding - new levels of suspended disbelief!

This however did not detract from the fun factor. The character of Malcom did that all for us. Horrendously overacted and again, highly uninteresting, this character's only endearing feature was the invention of the 'Malcom' measurement system (which was brilliant!)

Other weak points - the end. Protracted and silly! The aliens would have never reached London if the Doctor had rung the scientist earlier instead of doing a big flyby. The aliens moving fast enough to open space time were outrun by a bus and only managed to get three through and then just apparently sat and waited for the wormhole to close. There were just too many unnecessary gaps.

However, this episode does redeem itself in particular ways. The core concept, the aliens, building suspense and side characters on the bus and in Unit (excluding Malcom and Lady de Souza) were excellent. And of course the preview for the next episode was very exciting!

If only the show could stop making doe-eyes at its protagonist and explore the real people rather than caricatures in its stories whilst maintaining even a little believability, this episode would have rated an easy, solid, five stars.

If only.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Apr 12, 2009 10:37 AM BST


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