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Mike Fisher (Birmingham, West Midlands UK)

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Caretaker (Caretaker Chronicles Book 1)
Caretaker (Caretaker Chronicles Book 1)
Price: £3.23

12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I love a bit of romance, 15 Feb. 2016
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Bland as Christian rock music. The author teaches a creative writing & fiction courses "as an Associate Professor of English for Utah State University Eastern", which was one of the reasons I bought this book - in expectation of a fairly high standard of writing & what I got was a banal teenage-level romance novel dressed up as SF. I love a bit of romance. Some of the best art out there is about love & romance, but this stuff is high school. I found a review on Desert News: "...romance, loyalty and adventure, and it all takes place in a spell-binding world 200 years in the future. “Caretaker” has clean language and no vulgarity. There are a few fight scenes and references to torture. Romance is limited to kissing and the temptation to break marital vows". That tells you all you need to know - this book will not challenge you in the least bit. Advice to the author: If you're going to write space opera science fiction don't use science or engineering as plot devices if you don't have a basic grasp of those subjects. A starship lost due to a loose wire, an advanced alien society with an incorrect understanding of evolution & genomics, a belief that a planet's rate of rotation is due to gravity, childish dialogue by alien & human world leaders, aliens who are cartoon villains with no quality of 'the other' about them. Don't waste your time with this book. Dreadful tosh.


The Cleansing (Earth Haven Book 1)
The Cleansing (Earth Haven Book 1)
Price: £0.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Better written than most SF, 6 Feb. 2016
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Kindle book was free. Better written than most SF. Reasonable characterisation. I gave it one star because of the poor science re genes, DNA, human evolution & one ability exhibited by the invaders which I regard as woo. I don't want to explain my objections because spoilers, but it was a deal breaker for me. Will not be buying the other parts to the story.


Revelations (Extinction Point Series Book 3)
Revelations (Extinction Point Series Book 3)
Price: £3.98

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not dark enough. Characters are 2D, 11 April 2014
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Congratulations to the author for a fine attempt. This completes the "Extinction Point" trilogy. I thoroughly enjoyed book 1 [4 stars] ~ engaging character in Emily & a deep sense of dread & uncertainty as her ordered world dissolves into an unknowable alien horror. I arrive at the end of Bk3 & the Extinction Universe has shrunk down to a comic book depiction of how people deal with disaster.

My reasons for saying the above:-
[1] When Emily linked up with the submarine crew she would have come under the rules of the military ~ the submarine commander would be God in Emily's world.
[2] Emily & her 13 year old friend are potentially the last female humans on Earth. They are in the company of around 30-40 men & she's permitted to blithely flit about away from the environs of the safe camp they've set up.
[3] The submarine crew were unaware that an extinction event had occurred until Emily told them her story. And yet I see no reaction from the crew members to the realisation that each of them had lost all their friends & families except a passing reference to a Welsh guy called Parsons who latched onto Emily's friend who reminded him of his [presumably] dead daughter

Moving on:-
Due to reader demand the Emily/Thor combo will live on into a second series in the same Extinction Universe & perhaps this explains why this third book is watered down in terms of its resolution. We find out why there's an alien invasion of Earth by a vastly more capable civilisation with a deep history that's not revealed here, but the circumstances under which this "reveal" occurs is reministat of Sagan's "Contact" in which the meeting of a human mind with a vaster intelligence is mediated through a rather humdrum interaction with "x" [I'm using "x" to not spoil the story].

Future books in the series:-
[1] I hope there'll be a lot more hard science, for example what mechanism enables the Red Life to thrive in formerly desert regions & how would this effect the climate?
[2] What is the full extent in time & space of the alien agenda?
[3] Can we do away with the disposable characters who we KNOW are going to die next [a la Star Trek security personnel?
[4] I would enjoy a much deeper exploration of the moral dimension behind the alien's actions.
[5] Let's have people acting like people. This is an unprecedented disaster & thus the writing should reflect that ~ author read some Russian novels or All Quiet on the Western Front. :)


Texas Hold Em: Tournaments, Cash Games and Embarrassing Social Gas
Texas Hold Em: Tournaments, Cash Games and Embarrassing Social Gas
by Tony Korfman
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Old Fart Poker Stories & Advice., 21 Mar. 2014
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This book is for anyone who loves poker & especially old school live poker in a home game or casino environment. Tony Korfman is a legend ~ look for the thread dedicated to him on 2+2 forums to get a feel for who he is. These days he must be around 70 years old & as far as I know he still plays cash & tourney in LV ~ probably while wearing that horrible NASCAR jacket on the book cover.

The book is a dogs breakfast of his views on "social gas", the Iraq war, Phil Helmuth Jr. & a whole bunch of other stuff. There's some golden nuggets in there on the subject of tells, poker cheating, BR management & tilt... well worth the second hand "used" price if you can track down a copy for around £4/$6 [inc. delivery]. I don't recommend reading it from cover to cover ~ instead I suggest you flick through & just pick sections that appeal. Tony tends to drift off topic & do a bit of cross country driving before returning to the main road & most of his digressions are not that interesting. The book is 90% Tony self-indulgence & he's prone to repeating himself throughout. BUT who knows ~ one of Tony's nuggets might save you a whole lot of money one day if you're into live poker.

Buy it cheap & put it near the bath for casual short reads. Tony is very funny in places, but mostly his humour doesn't transfer to the page well ~ please don't purchase if you're easily offended by the use of "the f word" or constant references to farting.


Proxima
Proxima
Price: £5.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Approximate Proxima ~ Book needs complete overhaul ~ lazy writing, 20 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: Proxima (Kindle Edition)
Baxter seems to have rushed this book out. I don't think the author is growing in skill with the years ~ he's churning out deeply unsatisfying, plodding reads which lack in humour, wit, irony. No sense of scale in time & space ~ the planetary & solar system scale set pieces at the end of the book should have been spectacular, but Baxter made them seem just a little *meh*.

He gets up to speed & then breaks the flow by flipping into nerd mode for a dozen pages now & then. Using character dialogue to explain the science/history is a really clunky device for poor, lazy writers.

The wheeled AI bot is the most interesting character & should have been developed more ~ the humans are all 2D & I don't care what happens to them in this book or the [presumed] sequel

It wasn't clear to me that it was part of a series when I bought it & so if I'd known the ending would leave so many plot lines unresolved I wouldn't have bought this one book

Learned my lesson ~ I'll stick to rereading the late lamented Iain M. Banks who understood how to play with the readers expectations in a light, humourous & often savage way.


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