Posts tagged with 'review'


“The Adjacent” by Christopher Priest

Imagine a prism. White light goes in on one side, and the different wavelengths comprising the light are split because they travel at slightly different speeds in the glass. Since the other side is at an angle to the first – the prism is a triangle – these different wavelengths come out as a rainbow. That’s what it is like reading a Priest novel: the true story, whatever it may be, goes into the triangular prism, and comes out as variations of the same tale. In The Adjacent , his latest novel, somehow...

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Endeavour, Series 1

One of the pleasures I had from the late 80s and early 90s, before I moved to the States, was watching Inspector Morse on the telly. The episodes were longer than the average TV cop show and had a leisurely pace which perfectly suited the Oxford setting. It also helped that the title role was sympathetically played by John Thaw – leaving you with a slight disturbing thought that Morse was perhaps an older gentler Jack Regan – with his sidekick, Sergeant Lewis, by Kevin Whatley. Undoubtedly...

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Best of Young British Novelists 1983

Recently one of my favorite authors, Christopher Priest , discovered a stash of first editions of three of his novels, including the one that had the most effect on a much younger Bucknall, The Affirmation . (I reviewed it here , and reviewed Priest’s latest, The Islanders , set in the same fictional place, here . I’d forgotten until just now but I’d reviewed another of his novels, The Prestige, here .) He offered these first editions up for sale on his blog at very reasonable prices so I jumped...

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Review of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book

Given the links on my site, it should come as no surprise to you that I have written a technical book, originally for a publisher, and then, once the copyright reverted to me, re-published by myself, first as a physical print-on-demand book , and then as an ebook . (If you want to (re)read the blog posts about my experience in physical publishing, you can find them here , here , and here ; my experiences with publishing an ebook were summarized here and here .) So at the end of last year, when I...

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“The Islanders” by Christopher Priest

While we were away last week in Paris for the Marathon, I finished The Islanders , a novel by one of my favorite authors, Christopher Priest. Well, actually, I find it hard to call it a novel. It is novel certainly, but a novel? To call it so might imply that it has some kind of plot and a protagonist who changes and learns throughout the story. Instead The Islanders is something way more. First of all, it is structured as a gazetteer, a guidebook to the Dream Archipelago, a belt of islands that...

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Wheeler Dealers–Volvo P1800

So it seems there’s this TV show in England called Wheeler Dealers . The premise of the show is to find a classic car in need of some TLC, buy it, do it up, and then sell it on. It’s presented by a duo: there’s Mike Brewer who does the buying/selling and Edd China who does the repairs. I’d never heard of the show before, but I was doing some surfing regarding Volvo 1800S parts and came across a particular episode that featured a white P1800 (a 1968 1800S, F reg, as it happens). I decided to add the...

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Samuel Youd (aka John Christopher) (1922-2012)

For some reason I missed this from a month or so back. I’m subscribed to David Langford’s Ansible newsletter on science fiction topics, but for some reason I missed reading March’s issue where he noted the death of John Christopher . I dare say the majority of my readers who have heard of John Christopher know him as the author of The Tripods trilogy, which was filmed by the BBC in the 80s. I have neither read the books (which essentially were a Young Adult fantasy series) nor seen the TV series...

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Exile: a review

Over the weekend, I finished Exile , a three-part drama series from the BBC. I’d ordered the DVD from Amazon.co.uk never having heard of the production, but since it starred John Simm (I hugely enjoyed his performances in both Life on Mars and State of Play ) and Jim Broadbent (think any number of TV productions or movies, he’s one of the top actors of his generation) I felt that I couldn’t go wrong. The basic plot goes like this: Tom Ronstadt (Simm) is fired as reporter/editor at a glossy news magazine...

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A Very Peculiar Practice, series 1

After the longest time dithering around, finally someone at the Beeb got round to publishing the complete set of this remarkable TV series from the mid-80s onto DVD. I bought it pretty much as soon as it appeared on amazon.co.uk. I’ll admit that it was one of those shows that I remember with fondness, all the way from the Elkie Brooks theme song to the awesome character-driven comedy, via the two nuns. I can’t remember when the last time I would have seen it; I dare say it was repeated since its...

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"Nothing To Be Frightened Of" by Julian Barnes

I picked this up the last time we went to England in September, and I was half way through it when I got the phone call from my sister in mid-December that my Dad had been admitted to hospital with a heart attack. The book is not a novel, but a non-fiction book that explores, amongst other things, Barnes' attitudes to death, God, art, the fallibility of memory, and Jules Renard. It's partly autobiographical, especially about his relationships with his parents while they were growing up and...

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Review: Bad Science by Ben Goldacre

It almost goes without saying that, when I'm on holiday in England, I pick up a bunch of books to bring back and read. All right, all right, I not only pick them up, but also pay for them. This last visit, I was in Waterstones in Windsor, and to flesh out a three for the price of two deal, I bought Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. The blurb on the cover looked persuasive — "A fine lesson in how to skewer the enemies of reason and the peddlers of cant and half-truth" said The Economist...

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