Monthly archives: August 2014

Casino Royale (James Bond, #1)

royaleauthor: Ian Fleming

review: After all the Bond films, going back to the source is an interesting experience. The book is leaner than I’d expected, and harder edged. Bond himself softens towards the end, but for most of the story he’s a driven and not particularly likeable character, but fascinating for it.

The edition I read had a short essay in the front, putting the book in the context of its period and legacy. It commented that Bond could be seen as the start of a strand of stories which were careful to include technical details to give their worlds more depth. We learn about baccarat, Bond’s Bentley and various firearms, but the information is concisely delivered, rather than shoveled on, as it would be in the techno-thrillers which are Bond’s descendants.

From:: Ian Pattinson Goodreads reviews

Sniping for Dummies

A company called TrackingPoint have a range of targetting scopes which will do most of the calculations needed for long-range shooting, so you don’t have to. They calculate for range and target tracking, but not wind- which, I guess, is something you can’t work out with an optical system- and should greatly improve the accuracy of shooters with little or no training. Something like this is going in a story, I just haven’t decided which one.

Update This documentary suggests that the sights can take wind into account. It also gives some more information on the weapon system and shows it being used to hunt.

Out Now- The Old Woman In The Rock

Rockcover2-150On an abandoned space station built into a hollowed out asteroid, the old woman has raised The Boy and created massive books from data gathered across a multitude of worlds. But now it is time for a mysterious visitor to take The Boy and the books away, if her own past doesn’t catch up with her first.

A short story from an abandoned world reached through the Lesser Universe.

The Lesser Universe is a parallel dimension of strange physics and barely understood dangers. But spacefarers have risked their lives in it for centuries, because it offers them a short cut between stars. Intrigue, wars, treachery, and even romance, happen on the many worlds the Lesser Universe has opened up to humanity, and sometimes slide into the strange domain itself.

Available for the Kindle from Amazon.

Keep talking, Iain – your idiot ideas will run your party right out of office | Vox Political

Iain Duncan Smith typifies the classical definition of an idiot – and his latest speech will prove it by ignoring Britain’s real problems in favour of self-centred, ideologically-motivated foolishness.

The Greeks used to believe idiots were ignorant people, incapable of ordinary reasoning, whose judgement in public and political matters was poor – but who refused to change their minds.

via Keep talking, Iain – your idiot ideas will run your party right out of office | Vox Political.

Israel left reeling after Cameron almost criticises it – Pride’s Purge

Israeli officials were left reeling today after UK prime minister David Cameron very nearly pledged to almost criticise them.

In a dramatic turnaround, Mr Cameron shocked political pundits after he blasted the Israeli Army for massacring civilians in Gaza by not quite saying something not very nice about it.

Read the rest at- Israel left reeling after Cameron almost criticises it | Pride's Purge.

Valiant (The Lost Fleet, #4)


author: Jack Campbell

This is the second book in the Lost Fleet series that I’ve read, and in some ways, it’s indistinguishable from the first. The story has much the same steps- the fleet jumps into various enemy occupied systems on the way back to their home space, there are a couple of massed space battles where Captain John Geary’s old-fashioned tactics prove superior, the fleet loses a few ships, but destroys far more, someone in the fleet puts the mission in danger because they don’t agree with Geary’s command and the captain (who was recently defrosted after a hundred years in a life pod) discovers more differences from the old days.

It’s entertaining enough, and it hasn’t put me off reading the last one in the series (there’s another book between this one and the finale, but I haven’t got it on my bookshelf). The soap opera of Geary’s intertwined professional and personal relationships with his two closest aides is a bit tedious, but the careful doling out of information about a hidden alien enemy is done well, as is the gradual way the defrosted captain is winning over the hearts and minds not just of his own fleet but also some of the enemy.

I’m sure there is more complex and subtle space opera out there- I’ve just got to find it- but this is enjoyable lightweight entertainment that has served as a starter course in some concepts of space combat that I may use in my own works.

From: Ian Pattinson Goodreads reviews

Judge Dredd: The Complete Case Files 03


author: John Wagner

Still a big batch of classic Dredd, this collection suffers in comparison to the concentrated thrill power of the previous edition.

Lacking an epic tale, where the second edition had two of the greats, this collection feels bitty and a little disjointed. Having said that, the inventive future city stories are still in evidence and lots of interesting and important background is developed.

The stand out tale is the introduction of Judge Death (and Judge Anderson) as the cross dimensional wraith comes to Mega City 1 to pass judgement on the city- by killing as many of its citizens as possible.

The classic artists are still in evidence, but the double page spreads which were so common in the previous collection have gone- Dredd must have been relegated from starting on the centre spread.

Only a disappointment after the highs of the previous edition, this is still a good selection of classic Dredd.

From: Garth Owen Goodreads reviews