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Topics - andyw1691

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Feedback / In Dark Service
« on: June 23, 2014, 02:19:44 PM »
Is Stephen Hunts Author Corner going to be expanded to have an 'In Dark Service' section?

Enquiring minds want to know...

 :)

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Starfarer's Tavern / A superior intellect
« on: October 09, 2013, 09:09:42 AM »
Now here’s a thought. In Count to a Trillian and its sequel The Hermetic Millennia we have one Illation Montrose who was initially a normal but intelligent human. He then inject a serum which makes him a post human genius dramatically increasing the power of his brain. He is able for example to logically divide up his mind to deal with different tasks or problems. It also gives him the ability to control his body down to a cellular level. At one point he adjusts his eye’s sensitivity and image processing sped to give him an advantage. Despite all of these improvements and vast intellect Montrose remains human with very human emotions including anger and bearing grudges.

Now the crux of this post – is it reasonable to assume that a superior intellect would still retain normal human emotions?

Just wondering…

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Starfarer's Tavern / And another thing....
« on: May 04, 2012, 07:17:13 AM »
I'm having another rant!

I have just read the blurb to a new urban fantasy novel. It goes on to say "No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try." However, following the title on the cover it says that this is the first Miriam Black book. This sort of implies that there will be more Miriam Black books, so she must survive this one then. Talk about a spoiler!

Andy

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Starfarer's Tavern / What is it with dragons?
« on: May 04, 2012, 04:00:03 AM »
I'm currently reading yet another story that has dragons in it. These dragons appear to be the traditional european variants with big wings (most Chinese dragons don't have wings). As the dragons are rather large and have tough scales and talons not to mention a big mouth full of very large teeth they are going to be a bit on the heavy side. in fact they are going to be very heavy indeed.

The thing is I have held Eagle Owls who are quite large but very, very light. Their bones and feathers are built for lightness as light things generally fly better than heavy things. They also need very large muscles to drive the wings. None of this is ever evident with dragons. Everyone seems to except that you can get a 5 ton lizard with bullet proof armoured scales flying by sticking a pair of wings on the side of it. It's complete and utter nonsense. You might as well make them exceptionally intelligent too.

I'm not a fan of dragons.

Andy

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Sliding Void / Page Numbers?
« on: March 04, 2012, 01:21:11 PM »
I have just downloaded Sliding Void and Transference Station from Amazon. As they are getting excellent reviews I'm looking forward to reading them. I did notice that neither of the books from Amazon have page numbers. Does anyone have an idea how many pages are in each volume?

Thanks.

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Saying hello / It's me!
« on: February 21, 2012, 04:06:53 PM »
I suppose this is a belated hello as I have been posting comments for a while now. My reading material is mostly Sci-Fi  although I also read some fantasy, crime/detective, factual, historical and just about anything else including graphic novels (and yes I do have some comics).

What grabs my attention with a novel or short story is a new idea or a slightly different approach on a well known theme.
Anyway, I live in the UK and English is my preferred language although I revert to my second language – gibberish – when stressed, asked difficult questions  or inebriated.

Andy

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I was reading the article on www.sfcrowsnest.com about the best up coming Scifi and fantasy books for 2012 posted by Jessica Martin.

I was somewhat surprised that of the 32 books that were listed only 5 were tagged as SciFi. Is that a true reflection on the market for science fiction novels or does it reflect the personal choice of Jessica? I should point out that this is no way intended as a criticism of the article or Jessica's reading taste. As I mostly read science fiction I'm somewhat concerned that it might be a market segment that is rapidly dwindling.

On the other hand, I'm looking forward to the next novels in the Beyond Armageddon series by Anthony Decosmo and the Tribes of Hakahein series by Scott J Robinson. These don't get a mention in the article but are due out very soon. 2012 might not be a completely barren year for science fiction after all.  :)

Andy

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Discuss books / Doc Sidhe by Aaron Allston
« on: February 02, 2012, 02:40:43 PM »
I have just finished Doc Sidhe by Aaron Allston. It's quite an old story as the version I read was copyrighted in 1995. It's a story that has two related earths; the grim world (where we live) and the fair world, where its an alternative 1930's populated by the descendants of elves and other fair folk. The Doc Sidhe of the title is similar in a lot of respects to the Doc Savage character, apart from being a true blood elf.

While it's an enjoyable romp, there's very little substance to it. The story is told from the perspective of Harris Greene. He is a professional kick boxer and gets caught up in events that take him to the fair world. This is one of the things I didn't enjoy so much about the book. Doc Sidhe is just one of the characters that Greene runs into. OK, so Doc is the very rich team leader of a bunch of good guys who Green teams up with. But the story is about Green and is estranged girlfriend. The other characters have very little depth. This is also true for Doc Sidhe's arch enemy as very vague reasons are given as to why he has turned so evil.

Perhaps I was expecting a bit too much from this novel. It is an easy read and there are no despicable twists or puzzles for the reader to solve. I still don't understand why it received such rave reviews on the amazon.com web site though.

Andy


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Discuss books / the Tomorrow Project
« on: January 25, 2012, 05:57:44 AM »
This is a collection of four short stories which attempt to project what impacts current or expected technologies will have on us in the future. The first story Last Day of Work by Douglas Rushkoff goes the furthest into the future. It deals with how mankind guided technology development up to and past the point where technology guided mankind's development to be come a feedback loop. Its an interesting idea that the development of one can effect the development of the other, that then effects the development of the original. Its ironic that there's a typo in the second sentence of this story. Was it put there by the humans or the technology?

The second story is The Mercy Dash by Ray Hammond. This is really just a vehicle to showcase possible and in some cases very possible future technology. It is well written and the Virtual Assistants are probably not to far away.

I'm not quite sure about the third story, The Drop by Scarlett Thomas. Mind control of devices is certainly a possibility but I do hope that the author is wrong about reality TV shows being the number 1 form of entertainment. Especially when just about every family could be put up for viewing.

It was the last story The Blink of an Eye by Markus Heitz that caught my attention. I think this could be very near the truth in 10 years time. It covers what happens when you install a lot of sensors in your house and connect them to a virtual assistant. Quite spooky, but perfectly believable.

You can download the stories from http://newsroom.intel.com/docs/DOC-1490

Andy

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Discuss books / Old Man's War - John Scalzi
« on: January 24, 2012, 05:35:05 AM »
Just wondering if anyone has read Old Man's War by John Scallzi. The book was originally published in 2005 but is worth considering if you have not read it. The book contains some very interesting idea's on the future of humanity. The hero of the story joins the army at the age of 75 and is given a new enhanced body to become a more effective soldier. In the future it seems the army wants experienced people with knowledge and skills.

As well as the excellent military elements there's also some moral aspects to the story to get you thinking. It is one of the few physical books I have managed to keep and will re-read it in the future.

Andy

11
Discuss books / Beyond Armageddon by Anthony DeCosmo
« on: January 16, 2012, 05:58:40 AM »
Has anyone been reading the Beyond Armageddon series of books? I bought the first book in the series to try out my Kindle. It looked to be a fun Sci-Fi novel about alien invasion and so it turned out to be. While not great it intrigued me and I bought the second volume, and the third and the fourth. Anthony DeCosmo's writing style has improved with each book. This is shown in the plot lines which are growing more complex.

As the name suggests armageddon strikes the earth firstly as a series of 'disappearances' and secondly by the arrival of half a dozen very aggressive alien species. Step forward your local friendly car sales man to save the world. He meets what could be called a guardian angel figure who gives him three gifts. After that, it's up to him to try and make the best of things.

It's a very interesting read and worth the purchase price.

Andy

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Discuss books / Short Stories
« on: May 22, 2011, 01:08:02 PM »
The thing I like about short stories are the ideas or twists to accepted norms that they contain.  'Escape Velocity - The Anthology' is a collection of forty-eight science fiction stories and is an interesting mix. As with any collection of stories there are some that I very much like and there are some which I won't say I dislike but I just can't see the point of them. With this collection, I'm glad to say that there were only two stories which fit in the latter category.

Before I discuss the stories and to get to the gist of the review - would I recommend this collection? The answer is; absolutely yes!

As there are so many stories I'm just going to mention the ones that for me stand out. I won't be able to delve to deeply into the story without providing spoilers as they are after all, short stories.

The first story - 'Finding Fraber' by T.M. Crone did not disappoint. You have to have a special plot twist to turn an astrophysicist into a suspected murderer. There is enough material here to develop it into a full novel or comic book and I do hope the author takes it forward.

The second story, 'Zuggyzu and the Humans', is also worth a mention as it is cleverly written and it's good to know not all the aliens have it in for the Humans. You will cringe and smile at the actions of the humans. Indeed there are a number of stories were the actions of the humans involved are utterly disappointing but utterly believable. 'Sixes, Sevens' by Simon Petrie is a fine example of this and yes, I did share his pain.

While the first two stories covered alien interactions the third story is a different take dealing with humans on the moon. A Smaller Step by Michael Anderson is worth reading just for the twist at the end of the tale. I can't really say much more without spoiling it. It's a story of what might have happened. You never know, the conspiracy theories out there might be right.

There are a few stories which feature time travel. The one that really struck me was 'The Rising Cost of Insurance' by Branden Johnson. It delivers such a cruel twist which in retrospect is perfectly obvious. There are also a few featuring robots which has been an area of interest to me since I read Asimov's stories many years ago. Of particular note was 'An Empty Kind of Love' by Adam Colston (although I can't say why without giving the plot away) and 'It's Easier to Pretend in the Dark' by David Tallerman for being uncomfortably close to how things are likely to develop with domestic robots.

I could say more as there were other excellent stories here on a diverse range of subjects. There are even a couple that could be described as horror stories. However, to keep this posting from becoming overly long, I would like to say I enjoyed the collection and I would recommend it to others.

If you are a kindle owner (I am) you can get the collection dirt cheap at Amazon - £2.13! I think this must be a mistake as the paper version is four times this.

Andy

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