Friday, 15 July 2011


Good Holiday Reading. 4*
Steampunk Victorian Britain in the late 1990's and all is not well. Despite advanced technology which has taken Britain to other worlds and the very bottom of the oceans and pretty much dominate all places in between, polluting them as they go, the country is just as socially stratified as it was a century earlier and there's been no Labour Party to introduce an NHS. However, we have our hero to protect the status quo as he fights against villains and monsters and poor proof-reading (see another reviewer). My favourite is the chapter title "Artifical Intelligence" -chapter title indeed, not a word hidden in a long paragraph!

Still, this is all good fun even if I did want the upper crust hero to join the proletariat and start a socialist revolution. Heck, I'd settle for industrial reform and a national health service. Competently written with plenty going on and several young ladies aiming their low cut decolletage in the direction of our irresistible manly hero when the action briefly flags. Ideal for reading abroad when sitting in the shade of a beach umbrella with a chilled beer or an espresso (depending on taste) and pretending you're not watching attractive young women or men (depending on taste).

I'll stop this now before my fantasies carry me too far. 

Perfectly competent, nothing special. 3*
And really, that says it all.

I read it quickly and, most of the time, it kept me hooked. The vampires are more science fictional (aren't bothered by garlic or religious icons) than supernatural (can't turn into bats, etc). The prose flows but isn't remotely inspired or evocative. The characters are moderately interesting. And there's nothing remotely original about it. It's just another competent supernatural (except it's more sf) thriller. If this is the sort of thing you like, you'll like it, though you'll probably forget all about it in minutes. 

External hard drive

Intenso 6002560 1TB 2.5" HDD Black

Unimpressed. 1*
Basically Windows7 on my PC wouldn't recognise this device so the drivers wouldn't download and it wouldn't work. I returned it to Amazon who sent me a second one which didn't work either. I emailed the manufacturers who haven't replied. This time I've asked for a refund and will buy the most popular similar device. 

4*. Alela would rule the world if-
-her songwriting was of the same calibre as her voice. I'm not saying she's a bad song writer, far from it, she's more than competent. Her voice, however, is simply magnificent. I could and would listen to her singing almost anything except opera and rap. The CD on which she was work for hire -Headless Heroes- is brilliant, as is her interpretation of other people's songs. As far as this CD is concerned, it might be her weakest so far because, while pleasant enough, the songs aren't anywhere near earth-shaking.

As for those reviewers who have criticised this album for daring to include the odd bit of electric guitar, I can only conclude that their taste in music is so narrow that they are in danger of vanishing up their own fundament. There's nothing wrong at all with this album except that it underachieves and doesn't come close to being the best that this truly remarkable singer is capable of. That said, I'm still playing it an awful lot. 
Bonus picture (because there's a cat in it).

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