Little Red Riding Hood — Charles Perrault

When i found out that Christina Henry was writing The Girl In Red, i did my usual with Christina’s books and went back to the past where her stories have their roots: this time it’s Little Red Riding Hood’s turn.

While most people have heard the Brothers Grimm version of this tale, most don’t realise that they plagiarised the whole thing from this book, which was written long, long before the Grimms were even born.

What’s striking about Perrault’s version is the very obvious metaphorical warning to young maidens about men who only have one thing in mind and how they will seek to mislead them to get what they want.

Shorter than the Grimm version, but much better.   Recommended for anyone interested in the tale being told properly.

Charles’ Page

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Island of Doom — Arthur Slade

And so this quite entertaining series comes to an end.   It was fun, kept on moving along at a good pace, well written and edited.

The only downside was the ending went a bit down hill.   Like Hyde has created and unleashed the fraken-creatures-from-hell-that-can’t-be-stopped-because-they’re-already-dead and then …

… well i won’t spoil it.   But it was rather silly to say the least.

So yeah, i was expecting a much more rip-roaring ending, but it all ended well in the end so i won’t labour the point.

To sum up all four books: it’s a great adventure if you’re not looking for something to take too seriously.   If you’re feeling in the need for some far fetched silly then this might be the series for you.   I certainly enjoyed reading it as i like a bit of far-fetched silly now and again.   I’d put it on the bookshelf next to Magnificent Devices, as that’s enjoyable, far-fetched silly in much the same way.

Arthur’s Page

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Empire of Ruins — Arthur Slade

This time the Verne flavour is Five Weeks in a Balloon, but instead of flying over Africa, Modo and the crew go flying over Australia in search of a strange and ancient artefact.

Of course, to keep with the main story line of this tetralogy, and also to keep things exciting, the Clockwork Guild is back and also flying in a balloon over Australia searching for the same artefact.

And, once again, the same caveat applies, don’t apply 21st century thinking and science to anything and don’t take it too seriously and you’ll find it a rather enjoyable yarn that’ll pass the time nicely.

And so i dive straight into the fourth and final chapter: Island of Doom

Arthur’s Page

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Black Dog — Neil Gaiman

The third book in the American Gods series.

Another good little novella, very much in the similar to The Monarch of the Glen, with Shadow getting himself caught up in things uncanny and folklore-ish once again.

Yes folks, it’s just more of that really good Neil Gaiman writing.

Neil’s Page

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How to Draw Absolutely Anything Activity Book — ILYA

Not anything like i was expecting.

I bought this because i’ve just gotten back into drawing after nearly 30 years of not doing any and i thought it might help a little.   I was expecting a book about how to draw, literally, but this isn’t really about that.

This book is more about working on your expectations and why you draw in the first place.   It’s more about drawing as just something you should do and what it should mean when it becomes as normal to living as eating and drinking.   What’s the point in drawing if you don’t know why you’re drawing?

What are you drawing for?   What do you really want to draw and why?

These are a few questions that the book made think about without directly asking them.

So don’t expect a book that tells you how to hold your pencil properly or what lead you should use on what paper, expect a book about your expectations and then go and draw something, anything, it doesn’t matter, just draw.

To sum this book up nicely would be this quote from the last few pages:

DON’T SAY “I can’t draw” especially when what you mean is, “I don’t draw.” DON’T SAY that either.

ILYA’s Page

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The Dark Deeps — Arthur Slade

More of Modo and the Permanent Association with a very enjoable 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea flavour to it.

This time the Clockwork Guild have created an invisible man to liven it all up for us readers.

And a French secret agent joins in the fun.

Same caveat applies as in the first book of this series, and in Jules Verne’s books also: just don’t think too hard about the science.   Put your 21st century scientific judgement aside, simply enjoy the tale being told and let Modo and the rest take you on a journey to the bottom of the Ocean.

Well written and very enjoyable.

So now i’m going to dive straight into book 3: Empire of Ruins

Arthur’s Page

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Mission Clockwork — Arthur Slade

Having previously read the first 2 books in the series many years ago — before the 3rd and 4th hadn’t been written — i looked forward to coming back and re-reading this when i finally collected all four books: it was as enjoyable as i remembered it.

It’s the kind of steampunk that isn’t going to explain the workings of everything to you.   The best way to approach this series is to just leave your curiosity on the shelf as to how everything actually works, not question the science behind it all, and simply allow yourself to be taken along for the ride.

And it’s a good ride that never lets up from beginning to end with some great characters that draw you into their story.   Arthur gives us some well-likeable, root-able goodies while conjuring up some despicable, evil-doing baddies to balance everything nicely, and even throws some double crossing in to make things fun — just coz.

Just some good old, well written, steampunk fun.

And i’m looking forward to devouring book 2 as i dive straight into that without a rest.   It really is quite unputdownable.

Arthur’s Page

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How Emotions Are Made — Lisa Feldman Barrett

A very interesting look into how Lisa currently believes our brains create our emotions.   Lisa pushes well against the tide of established beliefs and makes a fairly good case for her theories.

But, we’ll probably throw this one on the “scrap-head-of-wild-scientific-ideas-that-came-and-went” in a few years time, along with all the other thoughts that currently suit the zeitgeist.

Interesting though.

Lisa’s Page

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Self Aware — Matt Martinez

A.I. and that — and it was free so i thought i’d may as well give a new writer a try.

It was rather a disappointment.

At no point does it explain how this AI is a cyborg — or how a cyborg could be classed as an AI.   It makes clear that it was completely manufactured so where the term cyborg is relevant to this i have no idea.   One would think that a when one sets out to write about a cyborg one would spend at least a minute or two at Wikipedia and find out what the term meant.

This is also a short-story/novella kind of thing and one would also think that with the couple of minutes at Wikipedia the writer would get a friend who can read to go quickly through the book and point out the errors.   Missing words and jumbles are pretty inexcusable for a book this size.

And the story is quite unimaginative and wishy washy, with no effort being made to the actual realism of experimenting with a military cyborg or AI or whatever it is.   How did this get out of the laboratory, why wasn’t it isolated from the facility’s mainframe/network?

Nothing much here to make me want to read anything else by this writer.


Matt’s Page

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All the Retros at the New Cotton Club — DeAnna Knippling

A free book that i received when i signed up to the Wonderland Press newsletter.   I think you get a different free book now so you’ll have to go to Amazon and buy it now.

This is my first book by DeAnna and i was delightfully impressed with it.   Although it’s just a short little novella, it does allow you to sit quietly for an hour or so and read the whole book, quite easily in one sitting, with a cup of coffee and slice of cake — or whatever your reading thing is.

If you’re into the AI/VR stuff with downloaded/uploaded human minds (a bit like what goes on in Altered Carbon) then you’ll most probably really enjoy this.

I do hope that DeAnna writes some more stuff in this sci-fi arena: the “New Cotton Club” seems like a wonderful playground for many more literary adventures.

Wonderful stuff for a freebee, but worth paying for as well.

DeAnna’s Page

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