Currently Listening

Jeff Wayne’s The War of The Worlds

Wooooo…. an audiobook making an appearance on Kindleworm, whatever next?

If you go to Audible you get a 30 day free trial and you’re allowed to keep the audiobook you chose.   I chose this because i remember the original Jeff Wayne double album from years gone by; yeah, real vinyl played on a record player and all that — showing my age here.   Anyway, this is like a super extended full story version of that and it caught my attention.

It’s a bit of an annoyance as you can only listen to it using the Audible app, but it still works after you cancel your free trial membership.

Review coming when i’ve finished listening to it.

H. G. Wells’s Page

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Reading Occasionally

The Burning Wheel — Aldous Huxley

Aldous started his writing as a poet and this is his first book.

It’s a bit heavy, so i’m taking it a bit at a time.

Aldous’ Page

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The Camille — Colby R. Rice

This novella is titled as ‘Til Dolls Do Us Part on Colby’s website and Colby says it is the first episode in what i hope will be a rather long series.

Set in 2054 when nano technology and AI has taken over most things and even the nano technology is intelligent.

As this is a novella don’t expect too much, but it’s certainly a great taster for what may be coming from Colby in the future.   That being said, it can also be read as a stand alone if you’re just wanting something quick to read.

Colby is a great writer and really keeps your attention once you start reading.   Do check out her other books.

Also available in the ‘2054’ anthology.

Colby’s Page

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The Writer and the Witch — Robin Sloan

A wonderful, fairy tale style, short story that you can read for free by simply popping in to Robin’s website while you’re passing.

And don’t forget to give all of Robin’s books a read: they’re really good as well.

Robin’s Page

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Shadow of the Colossus — Nicole Grotepas

I had hopes that this final book in the series would redeem the waste of my time reading the previous three, but sadly, it didn’t.

The fight scene on Paradise: five gangsters who are supposed to be killing Holly and her crew turn up with just one pistol between them, and then the one with the gun decides to engage in an infantile name-calling match instead of shooting people while Odeon simply walks up to him and knocks him out with a stick.   The realism is woeful.

Utterly abysmal ending: Holly’s at a party at the club, dancing, and then suddenly she wakes up having been flown to a different moon after being mysteriously kidnapped from the club in front of all the guests and the rest of the gang.   Really?   And then, enter her kidnapper: Oh, so you’re the Heart?   Yes, you want to join me?   No, i’ll never join you.   Ok, bye then.   Finish.   The end.   WTF?

We get no explanation as to how Holly was kidnapped and appears the next day on a different moon.   Nicole just leaves a huge gap because it’s just so utterly implausible you couldn’t write anything remotely believable.

Pathetic.

We start these four books being lead to believe that the Shadow Coalition were the most fearful organised crime gang in the solar system, yet every time we encounter them they show themselves to be the most stupid, inept, idiots in the solar system.

The worse thing about all this is that the story and Holly’s crew had such potential to become something really good, but instead it all just petered off, book by book, until we’re left with an ending in this book that amounts to nothing but a writer demonstrating that they just couldn’t be bothered.

And, just to add insult to all the injury, there hasn’t been any steampunk whatsoever.   Why is Nicole advertising this as a steampunk space thing when there’s no steampunk?

I won’t be reading any more of Nicole’s books.

Nicole’s Page

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Heart of the Colossus — Nicole Grotepas

Well the good news is that all the missing words that plagued the first two books appear to have been dealt with in this book: i only noticed a couple.   There were a few other typos, but compared to the first two books this one was far, far better edited.

The story is much the same, with our usual gang of protagonists going back to save all the children they couldn’t save last time.   The problem is that while in the first couple of books you can just about suspend belief that a newbie gang can take on some extremely well established gangsters and manage to get away with it simply due to luck and being somewhat under the radar, as the story goes on this becomes much less believable and the most serious, dangerous and established organised crime gang in the solar system is portrayed as a bunch of amateurs who are incapable of shooting a gun straight.

It’s very obvious that the Shadow Coalition is now fully aware of who Holly Drake is, where she is, and that she’s a threat, because they keep sending hit men and women to kill her.   Yet, we are given that the foremost criminal enterprise in the solar system — that everyone is wary of because they’re so organised, ruthless and dangerous — can’t manage to kill one single woman who is terrified of shooting a gun in anyone’s general direction.

And still no steampunk, at all, whatsoever.

Ho hum.

I may as well finish the last book and see how it all ends.   Not very recommendable so far though.

Nicole’s Page

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Hands of the Colossus — Nicole Grotepas

The second book in the series continues in much the same way as the first.   Unfortunately, this also includes the typos, missing words, etc..   I’ve never come across a book that has typos like these.   It beggars belief that a writer can publish a book in this condition: it’s like someone wrote an algorithm that randomly stole words out of the books.

Other annoying things are that this series is clearly labelled with the term “Steampunk” in the subtitle: there isn’t anything steampunk about it.   Labelling your spaceships “Zeppelins” doesn’t make your book steampunk.   Apart from one broken antique watch there’s no clockwork stuff and i haven’t noticed any steam engines or other such steampunk elements.

I like steampunk and i was looking forward to reading some steampunky, space adventure stuff, but all i’m given is a broken antique watch to satisfy my clockwork urges.   It really isn’t acceptable to label something as belonging to a genre when it clearly isn’t.

So, all in all, there’s nothing much new in this book that wasn’t in the first book.

I’m now going to have a little break from this series to read some short stories and then i shall return and finish the series — just coz i kinda like the characters and i’d like to know how they all get on.

Nicole’s Page

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Eye of the Colossus — Nicole Grotepas

A great beginning to this series.   Listed as ‘Steampunk Sci-Fi’ on Amazon but i didn’t get any hint of steampunk.   Mostly it’s a crime/heist story set in a far off solar system on the six moons of a gas giant with 3 alien species alongside the humans.

The story is good, well thought out, with interesting characters that get you on their side: 10 out of 10 for that part.

What lets it down are the typos that are sprinkled throughout.   Sometimes you feel like you’ve been tripped up and you have to go back and read a passage only to notice a word is missing: it’s distracting to say the least.   Running a book through a spell checker is not editing, spell checkers don’t pick up on missing words and stuff.   Oh, if only independent writers would hold back on publishing for just a week while they get some picky pedant to read the book and pull up all their typos.

Still, one can put up with the errors simply because the story is really good, and pacey, and keeps you turning the pages with great characters that grab you and drag you along with them.

Shame about the typos but they haven’t stopped me from diving straight into book 2: Hands of the Colossus.

Nicole’s Page

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A Cup of Sake Beneath the Cherry Trees — Yoshida Kenkō

This small book is a selection of quotes from Essays in Idleness.

The writer begins the book with this statement:

What strange folly, to beguile the tedious hours like this all day before my ink stone, jotting down at random the idle thoughts that cross my mind …

We are then regaled with a selection of those random thoughts, and quite good thoughts some of them are too.

Although written approx 1330 in Japan, a lot of these thoughts are as relevant today in the wider world as they were back then.   Yes, admittedly, some might be a bit dated and endemic but there are some very timeless thoughts for the modern, wider world to enjoy as well.

There’s also a delightful curmudgeonliness to the thoughts, like you’re listening to your favourite grand parent having a rant about what’s bothering them this week.

I shall certainly get a copy of Essays in Idleness and have a full read of Yoshida Kenkō’s thoughts.

Kenkō’s Page

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Eats, Shoots and Leaves — Lynne Truss

An absolute delight of a book.

Lynne has managed to take a rather dull and tedious subject — that of punctuation — and made it interesting and fun to learn.

Yes, it can come across as nothing but a curmudgeon having a rant, but it’s an intelligent curmudgeon having an amusing rant that is very educational.

We are now in an age where the written word is being used more than any other time in history to communicate; most people barely talk any more, preferring to text, or email, rather than pick up the phone or visit in person.   At no other time in history has the correct meaning and interpretation of the written word been more important, while punctuation, which gives the meaning and interpretation to the written word, is so utterly neglected and misunderstood.

Yes, punctuation is important, and while some of it is art, a lot of it is not:

… is there any art involved in using the apostrophe?   No.   Using the apostrophe correctly is a mere negative proof: it tells the world you are not a thicko.

Whether or not you think your punctuation could use a little housekeeping, this is a fun and interesting book to read and you will learn a few things while reading it: well worth it!

Lynne’s Page

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That Is That — Nirmala

It was free and i thought that there may have been something in it worth reading.

I felt that the first half of the book was quite good and gives the reader some interesting points to consider, but then, about half way through the book, he started babbling on that the universe is governed by some divine omnipotent being that knows what its doing — like WTF!!!

And then the book just goes downhill from there as i will always just switch off once someone starts creating gods to support their spiritual point of view — and attempting to disguise this god in spiritual mumbo jumbo speak just made it worse for me.

It’s like the first half is there to draw you in before springing his divine-being trap upon you, and then spends the last half of the book running around in circles, repeating himself, trying to justify something or other.

Like i say, it was free and you may find something worth while in it, but i certainly wouldn’t suggest paying for it and i won’t be reading anything else by Nirmala as i don’t do god grovelling.

Deleted

Nirmala’s Page

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Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland — Lewis Carroll

When i read this last time i never wrote a review for it: possibly because i’d only just written a review for Alice’s Adventures Under Ground and didn’t really see the need to say much the same for this book.

So what brings me to reading this book again and writing a review now, you may ask.   Well, it’s because i just finished reading Heartless by Marissa Meyer and i so wanted to see how well it would flow into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland if it was read as a prequel.

Now i’m certainly not saying that this book needs a prequel, but if it were to have one then Heartless has my full blessings to occupy that honoured place.

Yes, one can argue that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a plenty wonderful book and stands perfectly alone without any need for a prequel, but, having just read Heartless beforehand as a prequel, i can fully attest that it makes for a much better reading experience if you do.

Here be some more ‘Alice and Wonderland’ books.

Lewis’ Page

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