Monday, 20 September 2010


An Amazon 4 star review.
Just what I always wanted-

which was an Ipod dock/speaker system. If you're reading this for the Iphone it won't be of any use to you.

On the other hand if you want it for your Ipod (mine is a 160Gb Classic) it seems pretty good. It's small and very portable, though I wouldn't carry it around with your Ipod plugged in. Once it's on a flat surface the connection seems pretty secure. I have tried with the case on and it does slot in but it's easier without it. I drive around a lot in a van for our local animal rescue charity which only has a cassette radio installed and I don't have any cassettes or listen to the radio much. This works fine on the seat and on the floor with the sound clear above the engine noise.

And it does sound pretty good to me, though I'm not one for subtleties and tend to play Rock a lot of the time. The bass sound in particular is very good. I have tried a couple of classical tracks and Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries will blast your head off as well as any guitar solo but you'll have to turn the volume up for quieter pieces, though I should tell you that I'm a little deaf. Can't give you any techie details I'm afraid but if you want something portable to play the music on your Ipod this seems fine to me. It's small enough to fit on most flat surfaces -I can see me listening to it while I soak in the bath- and loud enough for anything but the noisiest parties. I don't know how long the batteries last and it was a little fiddly getting them to work at first but that might have been me.

I've only had it just over a day but I like it a lot as it really is just what I wanted. Recommended for everyone except demanding music snobs. 

An Amazon 4-star review.
For serious film and fantasy enthusiasts

Let's make it absolutely clear what this book isn't.

It isn't for the novice and it isn't for the casual fan.

It isn't a comprehensive survey or intended as a reference book.

It isn't intended as any form of definitive statement on fantasy film.

It isn't a light read.

What it does seem to me to be is both an introduction to fantasy film (and literature) for the intelligent novice and an opening of the debate of what exactly is a fantasy film. As such it is aimed at those with a serious interest in film such as students and academics rather than the general public. The opening chapters cover the history of fantasy (literature and film) and an analysis of what exactly fantasy as a genre is as opposed to its bedmates Science Fiction and Horror. It then continues with a critical analysis of ten fantasy films (including Spider-Man which I would argue is SF, unless you want to create a separate genre of comic-book movies). You'll probably have a job finding it on the shelves of most public but not university libraries.

The author, Katherine Fowkes, has read widely while researching the book and quotes liberally from numerous writers. As these writers often have different ideas on the nature of fantasy indicates clearly that she is interested in opening up the debate on the subject thus the book is most effective as a source-book of ideas. That it is so much about differing ideas is what gives the book its strength allowing the reader to do their own evaluating and on this level it's very stimulating albeit sometimes a little hard going.

For some reason, which I can't quote chapter and verse on, I have the feeling that she doesn't really get the written form of Science Fiction, at least not at its high end; she does have a grasp of. that hideous conflation, Sci-Fi which is generally applied to SF films, very much the low end of SF, though I'm displaying my own prejudices here.

For its target audience this is an excellent learned and thought-provoking book though, as its author I'm sure would be the first to admit, it's not by any means the final word on the subject.

These were picked  by me from the monthly freebie for review list from the Amazon Vine programme. This in no way influences my reviews. Actually most of my Vine reviews tend to be less enthusiastic than the stuff I buy as I would rarely have actually bought any of the stuff offered on Vine. Having said, I've been pipped at the post several times before for an Ipod docking station as I really wanted one as I said in the review; I just wasn't convinced they were actually worth it. They are.
A couple of months ago Viners were offered the remastered World At War tv series and many (including me) grabbed it and weren't we disappointed when it just turned out to be a sample single disc. The complaints were numerous. Me, I just reviewed the one disc on the basis it was just the one disc. Then suddenly, after we'd ordered from this month's list, it appeared again on our to review page. Two days later it arrived -all the discs but just in paper sleeves and some discs without a proper label. I imagine those few naughty people who like to sell stuff on (which is against Amazon's rules) were really disappointed.

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