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Rowena Hoseason "Hooligween" (Kernow, Great Britain)
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Beyond
Beyond
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dismal social drama dressed up as sci-fi. Avoid, 23 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Beyond (DVD)
Imagine sitting through 90 minutes of fraught domestic quarrelling, between a young couple who've had a kid which he definitely didn't want and she said she couldn't possibly have... but somehow conceived anyway. Now they're saddled with a brat, he's lost his job, won't go work in her parent's pub because his pride can't stomach it, and any hint of true lurve which existed between them has evaporated into the ether leaving only a very bad smell.
That's the core of this poor 'romantic drama'. It's nothing more than a shriek, superficial coming-of-age tale in which young people have to stop partying and face the blindingly dull responsibilities of having a family.
The sci-fi / alien invasion / post-apocalyptic thread is little more than window dressing.
If you found this film looking for sci-fi then move along, there's nothing to see. This is more like one of those BBC 'play for today' productions; a grim northern drama of people behaving stupidly.
Agh. What a waste of an evening.


The Blue Blazes (Mookie Pearl Book 1)
The Blue Blazes (Mookie Pearl Book 1)
Price: £5.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Urban fantasy meets old-time evil, 22 April 2015
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Mookie Pearl is a great creation, a fictional protagonist who just for once isn’t gifted, handsome, wise-cracking or a wizard. He’s an ugly, pug-faced lunk (albeit an unusually intelligent lunk) who breaks heads and solves problems with blunt instruments as a mob enforcer. He’s a heavyweight of the underworld – and in this universe, a compelling, coherent construction from the pen of Chuck Wendig – Mookie moves effortlessly from the criminal underworld to the subterranean, paranormal underworld. That’s where goblins and ghouls and bad things lurk, and where Mookie does most of his work.

This is a hard-assed, no-holds-barred blend of black-humoured noir and the sinister supernatural, with substantial action set pieces thrown in. There’s little philosophising or moral debate, but a whole chunk of inventive concepts stitched together into a convincing construct and peopled with realistic characters (and that’s surely saying something for half-men half-goats, or the living corpse of a fire victim). It righteously rattles along, deftly pulls the plot lines together, and offers a far more substantial read than the average ‘wizard high jinks’ urban fantasy. There’s quite a few tributes to ‘golden age’ horror tales in here, too.
There's more about the plot and characters over at murdermayhemandmore.net

The Blue Blazes is also blunt, violent and bloodily explicit, so not for folks who lean more towards the ‘romantic’ side of the supernatural spectrum. This is hard-boiled and reasonably hard-core, and a blast from beginning to end.
9/10


Blue Blazes
Blue Blazes
by Chuck Wendig
Edition: Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Urban fantasy meets old-time evil, 22 April 2015
This review is from: Blue Blazes (Paperback)
Mookie Pearl is a great creation, a fictional protagonist who just for once isn’t gifted, handsome, wise-cracking or a wizard. He’s an ugly, pug-faced lunk (albeit an unusually intelligent lunk) who breaks heads and solves problems with blunt instruments as a mob enforcer. He’s a heavyweight of the underworld – and in this universe, a compelling, coherent construction from the pen of Chuck Wendig – Mookie moves effortlessly from the criminal underworld to the subterranean, paranormal underworld. That’s where goblins and ghouls and bad things lurk, and where Mookie does most of his work.

This is a hard-assed, no-holds-barred blend of black-humoured noir and the sinister supernatural, with substantial action set pieces thrown in. There’s little philosophising or moral debate, but a whole chunk of inventive concepts stitched together into a convincing construct and peopled with realistic characters (and that’s surely saying something for half-men half-goats, or the living corpse of a fire victim). It righteously rattles along, deftly pulls the plot lines together, and offers a far more substantial read than the average ‘wizard high jinks’ urban fantasy. There’s quite a few tributes to ‘golden age’ horror tales in here, too.
There's more about the plot and characters over at murdermayhemandmore.net

The Blue Blazes is also blunt, violent and bloodily explicit, so not for folks who lean more towards the ‘romantic’ side of the supernatural spectrum. This is hard-boiled and reasonably hard-core, and a blast from beginning to end.
9/10


Recreation: Yes, you do look a little familiar... (Lena's Friends)
Recreation: Yes, you do look a little familiar... (Lena's Friends)
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A glimpse of a very different type of life, 21 April 2015
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This diverting short story reminded me of the biker fiction you used to find in magazines like Back Street Heroes. It opens a window onto an alternative way of life, and introduces a couple of key characters from the author’s forthcoming novel.

These people don’t conform to the conventions of ‘straight’ society. They ride customised motorbikes. They go party in muddy fields at weekends. And one of the pair is a working girl – a highly paid happy hooker – while the other has come across her in professional circumstances, if you see what I mean. So obviously, if explicit sexual references offend you then it’d be best not to read this.
That’s not to say that this story is especially graphic or particularly erotic – because it’s not. Instead, the sub-text of ‘Recreation’ explores the arguments in favour of paying for sex from the male and female perspectives in the transaction. It’s an interesting moral debate; not the focus of the story, but a part of its background. Certainly more depth than you might expect in the average short story, although some of it felt strangely sanitised to me. The bike rallies I dimly recall were rough and raucous places, and certainly didn’t have such sweet-smelling toilet facilities as in this story…
The text is easy to read, although it would have benefitted from better editing to tidy up some typos. I also really, really dislike the use of ‘that’ instead of ‘who’. It turns people into objects, although perhaps that was the author’s intention, who knows?

‘Recreation’ will definitely strike a chord with anyone familiar with motorcycles and old British bikes in particular. And if you’ve never so much as sat on a bike or never been to a festival… well, this is a pretty good way to find out what goes down on the other side of the tracks!


Once Upon a Time in the Future
Once Upon a Time in the Future
by A. K. Kulshreshth
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.61

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern interpretations of ancient parables, 15 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Don’t take the title of this anthology literally. These are not mainstream sci-fi short stories, not in the conventional sense of the genre. They are imaginative reinterpretations of the Indian epic, the Mahabharata. So this slim collection of spiritual stories is an unusual mix of ancient and modern, striving to capture a moment of infinite possibility and of cultural reflection.

The tales may be a little tricky for Western readers to get a handle on, each being a modern interpretation or development of traditional Sanskrit parables. Each story is self-contained but the mythology forms an over-arching continuum of moral reflections on the notions of truth, honesty, responsibility and loyalty. If you enjoy folklore, fables and fantasy then they can be read as such, or you can search for more significant spirituality within.
Each is preceded by an overview of the original parable which inspired the modern interpretation, and these summaries can be a bit tough to digest, containing many unfamiliar names, most of whom are brothers, cousins, tribal leaders, wise men, teachers, wives or sons. It’s not exactly easy to get a grip on the relationships between them – but you don’t necessarily need to, in order to enjoy the new story which follows. Each of these either re-tells the story in a modern context, or examines it in more detail from an unusual perspective. There’s a couple of intriguing murder investigations – one of them almost a traditional locked room mystery – and in these stories the notion of moral responsibility and of accepting consequences is more important than the nuts and bolts of who / howdunit.
There are gods and deities in these pages, gods of patience and guidance, eternally nudging people towards the right path but never forcing anyone in a particular direction.
The result is a charming collection – perhaps not to be read in one go, but taken slowly, a story at a time, over a couple of weeks. The writing is easy to access, not without considerable wit and occasional satirical comment, so these are easy to enjoy.
There's more thoughts about this book at murdermayhemandmore.net

A thought-provoking collection. Something rather unusual; an anthology to stimulate the spirit as well as the intellect. Definitely recommended for any with an interest in Eastern philosophy.
8/10


Off World (The Lost Planet) [Blu-ray] [Region B German Import]
Off World (The Lost Planet) [Blu-ray] [Region B German Import]
Dvd ~ Alana Dietze
Offered by skyvo-direct
Price: £12.11

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Dodgy B-movie which boldly goes where everyone has been before, 15 April 2015
Low budget, low production values; little to recommend it even if it's not actually awful.
One of those films which could have been much better with a little twist here and there, but turned out to be entirely unoriginal and derivative, a mash-up of any teen horror one-murder-at-a-time flick and Predator.
Saving graces? Some nice spaceships at the start. Decently funky armoured bad guys. Great dreads on one of the female leads. Snappy ending.
Downsides? The badly / hardly broken leg plot device. Dodgy FX on the aliens. Limp script.
One to rent / d/load if you're bored...
5/10


Off World
Off World
Price: £0.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi B-movie boldly goes to places where everyone has been before, 15 April 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Off World (DVD)
Low budget, low production values; little to recommend it even if it's not actually awful.
One of those films which could have been much better with a little twist here and there, but turned out to be entirely unoriginal and derivative, a mash-up of any teen horror one-murder-at-a-time flick and Predator.
Saving graces? Some nice spaceships at the start. Decently funky armoured bad guys. Great dreads on one of the female leads. Snappy ending.
Downsides? The badly / hardly broken leg plot device. Dodgy FX on the aliens. Limp script.
One to rent / d/load if you're bored...
5/10


I'm Travelling Alone
I'm Travelling Alone
by Samuel Bjork
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another new name in Nordic noir, 12 April 2015
This review is from: I'm Travelling Alone (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
This atmospheric debut novel is far smarter and more subtle than its slightly clumsy cover title and marketing blurb suggest. I almost left it on the shelf – put off by the suggestion of a serial killer preying on kiddies on international air-flights. But I gave it the benefit of the doubt and was rewarded with a well-plotted, mature and intelligent thriller.

ITA introduces a police investigative team with the emphasis on the lead duo. This pair shares many similarities with Saga and Martin from The Bridge: a savant-style female lead, brilliant but vulnerable and slightly out of step with society, paired with (in ITA) her mentor, a worldly-wise, feet firmly on the floor male detective. The dead body found in the woods pulls both of them back from the brink of obscurity and isolation, and entangles them in a complex and thought-provoking investigation.
The bit-players are also interestingly drawn, from the protective teenage boy living in the backwoods, who takes care of his neglected younger brother, to the high-tech/hacker who is seconded to the task force without knowing exactly what he’s getting involved in.
The short chapters switch perspectives between half a dozen concurrent plotlines, a tactic which can be used to artificially enhance an otherwise unremarkable story. In this instance it ratchets up the intrigue while keeping all the key players on the move, gradually drawing the disparate elements together.
The writing and translation are rather more ‘plain’ than ‘poetic’, but it’s far from superficial. The author contrasts the bleak hinterland of rural Norway with the thrum of the city, and deftly uses the plot to explore the darker side of the human psyche. ITA examines the loss of a loved one and the destructive tendencies this can unleash – ranging from murder to conspiracy to suicide. The way that different characters react to similar experiences forms the skeleton of the story, over which the author skilfully drapes the more obvious plot of the police procedural.
There's more thoughts on plot and character over at murdermayhemandmore.net

Enjoyable on many levels, then. I look forward to reading the next thriller from this author.
8/10


Konig Retro AM/FM Radio with Carry Handle - Glossy Reddish Brown with a Wood Grain Effect and Cream Sides
Konig Retro AM/FM Radio with Carry Handle - Glossy Reddish Brown with a Wood Grain Effect and Cream Sides
Offered by Delightful-UK
Price: £29.93

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned but handsome FM radio (NOT digital), 12 April 2015
I bought one of these three / four years ago and was delighted to find a non-digital but good quality FM/LW radio which also looks at home in a retro-themed room, my alongside 1950s style toaster! Helpfully, the radio case is easy to wipe-clean, as mine does live in the kitchen.
It's easy to tune, has chunky and robust switches, and is practical to carry to another room with its full-width handle -- and runs on batteries so it comes outside and to stop me going berserk with boredom while weeding, too. Decent battery life: I haven't needed to change my original set for occasional 'roaming' usage.
Really like the 'tone' control to tweak the bass / treble balance, too; useful when swapping from music to spoken word. Just the job for Radio 4...
Can see that some people (esp used to digital radios) might find the twiddly knob method of retuning to different stations a bit of a faff as there's no presets for different tunings.
Also, you do need to waggle the old-fashioned extendable aerial around sometimes to get the best reception. I have managed to bend mine. Of course. Just like the good ol' days...
But that's pretty much the point: this is a retro radio, not just in looks but also in function.
Available in heaps of colours; the 'old-English white' is maybe the most retro. The blue shade is a bit 'bathroom' for my tastes.
Worth checking the various listings cos the prices seem to vary by a few quid depending on the supplier. I've seen the same radios badged as several different brads - they only seem to differ in the stick-on badge...
Downside? Well, no digital signal (obviously) and no station pre-sets. Also, be aware that the plastic casing is quite brittle, and the knobs are not massively high quality. If you intend to use this as a portable radio then I think it could get damaged quite rapidly. I'm not sure it'd survive falling from hip-height to the ground, for instance. I think the casing might crack or break if bumped against a solid wall. And a child would probably twist the knobs clean off. In somewhere like a conservatory, with big temperature swings, I have a suspicion that the unit wouldn't like all the expansion / contraction.
If you're going to use it as I do - plonked on the kitchen worktop, goes outside a coupla times a year, then it should be absolutely fine. Mine has, after all, survived very well in the steamy atmosphere alongside the stove!
7/10


Konig Stylish Retro Table Radio - Baby Blue
Konig Stylish Retro Table Radio - Baby Blue
Price: £29.02

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Old-fashioned but handsome FM radio (NOT digital), 12 April 2015
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I bought one of these three / four years ago and was delighted to find a non-digital but good quality FM/LW radio which also looks at home in a retro-themed room, my alongside 1950s style toaster! Helpfully, the radio case is easy to wipe-clean, as mine does live in the kitchen.
It's easy to tune, has chunky and robust switches, and is practical to carry to another room with its full-width handle -- and runs on batteries so it comes outside and to stop me going berserk with boredom while weeding, too. Decent battery life: I haven't needed to change my original set for occasional 'roaming' usage.
Really like the 'tone' control to tweak the bass / treble balance, too; useful when swapping from music to spoken word. Just the job for Radio 4...
Can see that some people (esp used to digital radios) might find the twiddly knob method of retuning to different stations a bit of a faff as there's no presets for different tunings.
Also, you do need to waggle the old-fashioned extendable aerial around sometimes to get the best reception. I have managed to bend mine. Of course. Just like the good ol' days...
But that's pretty much the point: this is a retro radio, not just in looks but also in function.
Available in heaps of colours; the 'old-English white' is maybe the most retro. The blue shade is a bit 'bathroom' for my tastes.
Worth checking the various listings cos the prices seem to vary by a few quid depending on the supplier. I've seen the same radios badged as several different brads - they only seem to differ in the stick-on badge...
Downside? Well, no digital signal (obviously) and no station pre-sets. Also, be aware that the plastic casing is quite brittle, and the knobs are not massively high quality. If you intend to use this as a portable radio then I think it could get damaged quite rapidly. I'm not sure it'd survive falling from hip-height to the ground, for instance. I think the casing might crack or break if bumped against a solid wall. And a child would probably twist the knobs clean off. In somewhere like a conservatory, with big temperature swings, I have a suspicion that the unit wouldn't like all the expansion / contraction.
If you're going to use it as I do - plonked on the kitchen worktop, goes outside a coupla times a year, then it should be absolutely fine. Mine has, after all, survived very well in the steamy atmosphere alongside the stove!
7/10


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