Posted: March 8, 2014 in book reviews, books, comedy, douglas adams, fantasy, fiction, novels, science fiction
Tags: book reviews, books, comedy, douglas adams, fantasy, fiction, novels, science fiction
I am reviewing the Science Fiction novel The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe by Douglas Adams which is an excellent story which I borrowed from a friend. This is the sequel to The Hitch-Hikers Guide To The Galaxy. The 2 main characters in these books are Arthur Dent & Ford Prefect with the latter being an alien. Of course in the old days there was a car called a Ford Prefect. Anyway this book continues with Arthur going to the restaurant at the end of the universe on the alien ship. He is given a disgusting synthesized drink although it is perfect nutrition wise for a human. There appears to be a clock counting down and when they ask about it are told it is a bomb and it is how many seconds they have left. They escape with seconds to go. They find out an alien race built a super computer to find the meaning of life and the answer it gave was 42, which they didn’t understand. They then built the Earth which was a super computer designed to come up with the question that came up with 42. This was then obliterated before it could give an answer in the story. This is a very funny story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you live in Britain they are due to repeat the radio series that these books are based on BBC Radio 4 Extra which is a digital station.
Posted: March 8, 2014 in book reviews, books, comedy, doctor who, douglas adams, fantasy, fiction, novels, science fiction
Tags: book reviews, books, comedy, doctor who, douglas adams, fantasy, fiction, novels, science fiction
I am reviewing the science fiction novel The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams which is an excellent novel which I borrowed from a friend. This novel which is part of a series of 4 and each is around 150 pages came about because Douglas wrote a radio play for Radio 4 in Britain and that proved extremely popular in the 70′s. I think it’s fair to say this science fiction series is one of the greatest ever. It did spawn a tv series on BBC television and more recently a film was made starring Martin Freeman. Douglas Adams did become quite a popular author especially in Britain and he wrote some of the screenplays for Doctor Who although under a pseudonym. He did die around 10 years ago and was only in his 50′s. The plot to this book is Earth and our solar system are due to be demolished to make way for a space super highway. The main character meets an alien in a pub in London and in the final seconds before everything is due to be demolished they teleport aboard the alien space ship. The aliens are rather amused they have this primitive earthling aboard their ship and treat them quite well. A lot of what happens even amongst the aliens is an allegory of our society. For example there is a robot with a brain the size of a planet but all he does is guard a doorway which results in him being depressed because he isn’t doing anything with his potential. The aliens are mostly nice and I think this book would be suitable for younger readers. I really enjoyed reading and will be doing all 4 books in the series in the near future.
Posted: March 7, 2014 in christopher walken, david cronenberg, film reviews, films, martin sheen, movies, paranormal thrillers, stephen king, thrillers
Tags: christopher walken, david cronenberg, film reviews, films, martin sheen, movies, paranormal thrillers, stephen king, thrillers
I am reviewing the paranormal thriller movie The Dead Zone which is an excellent film. This film is based on the Stephen King novel and is directed by David Cronenberg. It stars Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen & Herbert Lom. The plot is Walken is involved in a road accident and is in a coma for 5 years. When he awakes he has psychic powers and his girlfriend has married someone else and had a baby. He saves various people from death including a young girl in a burning house and a lad who is due to go through the ice if he plays ice hockey. In the latter he is unable to save all of them. His ex girlfriend and her husband are capaigning on behalf of a charismatic independent candidate in the elections played excellently by Martin Sheen. Walken realizes he is going to become president of America, later and start world war 3. He realizes he has to stop him and the conclusion of the film is a good ending but you will never guess it. Walken gives one of the performances of his career. This film was released around 1985 and was very successful. I really enjoyed this film which I first saw a long time ago and bought this DVD from Amazon.
Posted: March 7, 2014 in book reviews, books, fiction, historical fiction, history, novels, robert harris, roman empire, the romans
Tags: book reviews, books, fiction, historical fiction, history, novels, robert harris, roman empire, the romans
I am reviewing the historical fiction novel Imperium by Robert Harris which is a very good book which I bought from a car boot sale. Like most historical fiction novels this novel is based on fact with some things where the author is unsure being probably happened. The plot focuses on corruption in the Roman Senate and is set at the time of the Roman Empire & how Cicero became an emperor and was the only one ever elected unanimously. One Roman senator has taken land belonging to a Sicilian family illegally & Cicero who is a lawyer as well as an orator takes up the case. He risks everything including his life and reputation in doing this and his although she can be a bit crafty does give him her support. He does uncover a plot to bribe people for votes in a forthcoming election which is why he gets elected on an anti corruption platform. The Roman regard being a roman citizen as being a way of always being safe where ever they go and some of the Senators spread rumors that Sicilian pirates are murdering people regardless of whether they are Roman citizens or not. It infuriates the people. I really enjoyed this book which is well researched and well written. I think Robert’s best book is Fatherland which was his 1st novel and was made into a successful feature film. I think Imperium would make a good film or tv drama. Apparently Robert lives in Berkshire, England & had a career in current affairs and politics in both tv and newspapers prior to becoming an author. I have reviewed several of his books in the past.
Posted: March 7, 2014 in book reviews, books, fiction, novels, robert ludlum, thrillers, warfare
Tags: book reviews, books, fiction, novels, robert ludlum, thrillers, warfare
I am reviewing the thriller The Road To Gandolfo by Robert Ludlum which is a very good novel which I bought from a car boot sale. Robert used to be the biggest selling author in the world and his books were so successful he didn’t have to even write a novel every year. He is an ex film producer and he tends what you might call intelligent thrillers. This book is a little bit more light hearted than his usual stuff and in the introduction he says it was great fun to write. This book was written in 1976 when the Vietnam War was coming to a close. This book is set in the near future at that time and the plot is their is a General who is being dishonorably discharged from the army. Apparently he has shot the testicles off an important statue in China and although he admits he probably did do it, he claims he was drugged and set up and didn’t know what he was doing. The Americans are in important negotiations for trade with China and don’t want to upset them so decide he must go. Apart from being a General he is a war hero who has served in every major American conflict starting with World War 2. The lawyer assigned to defend him is due to leave the army and the 2 become good friends despite the lawyer being involved in a previous case the General doesn’t approve of. They form a company to collect and sell religious artifacts. Their search leads to a prominent member of the Catholic Church who served in Monaco during World War 2 and was staunchly anti Nazi despite pressure from those around him. This story is a bit like Indiana Jones and they are determined to wreak revenge on the Chinese. I did quite enjoy reading it and it’s around 300 pages so is a reasonable length.
Posted: March 6, 2014 in book reviews, books, florence, history, holidays, italy, touring, tourism, travel, travel guides
Tags: book reviews, books, florence, history, holidays, italy, touring, tourism, travel, travel guides
The book I read to research this post was The Insight Guide To Florence which is a very good book which I bought from a car boot sale. This book was written a few years ago and apparently the 1st Insight Guide was written in 1970 and was the 1st travel guide to incorporate lots of photos into a guide and also contains lots of information written by local writers who understand Florence really well. Most foreign visitors to Florence travel by air and although there is a nearby local airport there is a more major airport at Pisa, 50 miles away connected by an express coach service which tends to coincide with the flight times. You can travel by train and can get the chunnel service from London, Waterloo to Paris and get connecting services from there although you might have to change trains several times. The rail price is usually more than the air price so unless you particularly want to travel by rail is probably a bad idea. Famously the birth rate in Italy is very low and the population of Florence is declining with around 350,000 residents in 2001. Florence of course is the greatest renaissance art centre in the world and had the first art school in the world where one of the teachers was Michaelangelo & one of his greatest works the sculpture David is housed there and it is now a museum. Florence is in Tuscany and much of this area at one time was ruled as part of the Etruscan Empire before being invaded by the Romans. Like much of Italy for much of its history it was a self governing city state controlled for hundreds of years by the De Medici family. They were also huge patrons to the arts which is largely why it flourished. Florence also had a thriving wool industry buying wool from northern Europe & dying the wool and making things like clothes from it. I really enjoyed reading this book which is fascinating & I think it rivals the lonely planet and rough guide travel books.
Posted: March 5, 2014 in book reviews, books, coruscant nights, fantasy, fiction, michael reeves, novels, science fiction, star wars
Tags: book reviews, books, coruscant nights, fantasy, fiction, michael reeves, novels, science fiction, star wars
I am reviewing the science fiction novel Star Wars Coruscant Nights 1 Jedi Twilight by Michael Reeves which is a very good book which I bought from kindle. This novel is part of a trilogy and set in the aftermath of Star Wars Revenge Of The Sith when Darth Vader had just joined the Empire and was trying to get rid of all the jedi knights. This novel is set on a planet called Coruscant hence the title and features a jedi padawan the lowest rank of jedi who isn’t featured in any of the films. The book is better than I expected and the plot is killer squads of stormtroopers are going around Coruscant killing jedi and one particular jedi tries to escape from them but is killed but the hero finds the jedi and he gives him a message to rescue a droid in the possession of a Hutt because it contains valuable data on its memory. This he tries to do with his group of friends also jedis. Darth Vader has such a powerful feeling for the force he can find jedi with a reasonable amount of accuracy. This is how they are getting rid of them. They do locate the droid and obviously the ending allows for a sequel or two. I did quite enjoy this novel and think it’s one of the better additions to the Star Wars series. Interestingly what happens in one novel impacts on what happens in the other novels in the Star Wars series & authors see it as quite an honor to be asked to write a Star Wars novel. Michael has written quite a lot of Star Wars novels and I think is quite an accomplished writer.