Hello

Hello & Welcome
ugh face

I’m currently rebuilding the website as the old one got totally messed up when i was playing around with things (no idea what happened).

So i thought that while it was a total clusterfuck mess of SQL, i would take the opportunity to give it a whole new life and everything.

So if you go clicking on things you might find that very strange things happen. Don’t moan, i know a lot of things are broken, i’m working on it, it takes time.

I’ve got tons of old posts and pages from three websites that i’m working through and will be gradually posting all the stuff i want to keep on here while fixing all the broken things as i go through, one post, one page, at a time.

On top of doing all that, i will, of course, be continuing to add more new content and my latest posts will always appear directly below.

Or, if you prefer, you can also follow me on Twitter and Pinterest where i put a link to all new posts.

Enjoy


Other Minds — Peter Godfrey-Smith

Other Minds -- Peter Godfrey-SmithOne incredibly interesting book for anyone who enjoys learning about evolution — and cephalopods, of course.

Written by a philosopher, the writing is really accessible and really engages the reader: unlike a lot of scientists’ approach to this subject.   It dives deep into the world of the evolution of large brains and intelligence and how they have evolved along completely different evolutionary paths.

It also explores the world and habits of cephalopods, particularly octopuses, but a fair bit about cuttlefish as well.   These really are the most incredible creatures.

Well worth a read.

And here’s something that’s worth a watch:

Peter’s Page

#philosophy #petergodfreysmith

The Twilight Kingdom — Anthea Sharp

The Twilight Kingdom -- Anthea SharpI quite enjoyed that. As i said about the first book in this trilogy, if you can get over the YA thing and just focus on the Faerie mixed up with VR thing then these books are really good.

As i also said, the worse thing about this trilogy was Tam’s back story and family issues that really detracted from the story in book 1, were a much lesser distraction in book 2 and actually worked with the story in book 3.   But the annoying thing was that in order for them to work with the story in book 3 there really was no need whatsoever to make it such an annoying part of book 1, or to be so depressing about it all.

I think that in these days of publishers cutting costs, editors are doing a worse job than ever. A good editor would have made sure that Tam’s family stuff was tidied up and tied in better with the overall story.   But it is what it is, and the trilogy is still really worth a read if you’re into Faerie stuff and like the idea of the Faerie realm using a super advanced VR system to bridge to our realm.

There is a second trilogy in this series, which i may come back to in the future, but for now i’m having a break and reading some other things.

Anthea’s Page

#fantasy #antheasharp

The Bright Court — Anthea Sharp

The Bright Court -- Anthea SharpJust like the first book in this series, i had to give it 4 stars, and for similar reasons.

While this book didn’t let Tam’s ridiculous family issues interfere with the story line as much as the first book, i kept finding myself bracing myself for another onslaught of it, which thankfully, this time, was kept to a minimum.

It wasn’t until i finished the book that i felt like i could relax and enjoy the story i had just read.   And this was definitely better than the first book.

As i said, Tam’s family issues were kept to a minimum, while the Faerie and VR stuff got turned up a little further with more people entering Feyland.

I’ve just started book 3 and it’s already looking like another great story.

Anthea’s Page

#fantasy #antheasharp

The Dark Realm — Anthea Sharp

The Dark Realm -- Anthea SharpI gave this book a go because i got the first 3 books of the series on an Amazon 99p thing and i liked the idea of Faerie being able to bridge through VR.

The good bit was the Faerie and VR stuff, all really well done and really enjoyable.

The not so good bit was the young adult thing, but that is irrelevant if the story is good enough and the young adults protagonists fit well within the story.

The bad bit, and why i only gave this 4 stars, is Tam’s back story.   I really can’t see the need in making his life so utterly depressing with such a total chaos of family life.   This brought nothing to the story and was, at times, a big distraction from it.   It made me think of Ready Player One but in that the protagonist’s back story worked with the narrative, whereas in this book it detracts from it as it doesn’t bring anything to the story.

So yeah, 5 out of 5 for the Faerie and VR stuff, but a big 0 out of 5 for the stuff on Tam’s family life.

But well worth a read for anyone interested in folk lore and VR.   Tam’s family life has certainly not put me off diving straight into the second book in the series.

Anthea’s Page

#fantasy #antheasharp

The First Adventure — Anthea Sharp

The First Adventure -- Anthea SharpI was expecting a lot more about Jennet’s history prior to Feyland #1, which is what this book is supposed to be about.   But all it does is gloss over a few things that are already covered in the next 3 books and then when Jennet has her first encounter with the Dark Queen it’s exactly the same, word for word, as the second encounter in Feyland #1.

Basically, if you read this before the first three novels then you’ll spoil those novels — you’ve been warned.   If you do feel like reading it then only read it after you’ve read the novels.

In and of itself, it’s not a bad little book.   It’s just that it doesn’t work with what comes afterwards.   It’s all a bit confusing as to why Anthea published this.

Anthea’s Page

#fantasy #antheasharp

Gulliver’s Travels — Jonathan Swift

Gulliver's Travels -- Jonathan SwiftI decided to read this after reading The Toymakers, in which Gulliver’s Travels gets more than a passing mention.

I used to think that Gulliver’s Travels was a children’s book, but how wrong i was.   Maybe that’s the way the establishment wants everyone to think about it, but it really isn’t for children.   It’s an incredible critique/satire of the society at the time, but unfortunately it is just as relevant today as it was back then.   It’s a shame that society took no notice of what Swift had to say and simply condemned this book to a child’s bookshelf as fantasy nonsense.

For example… hypertension, and its complications, is one of the human race’s biggest killers globally, and it is simply caused by consuming sodium chloride (salt).   Swift knew back when he wrote this book that salt was a luxury of no use to humans and that you soon adjust to not using it and realise that you actually don’t need it.   Yet here we are today stuffing our faces with this debilitating substance that our bodies simply don’t need making ourselves sicker than ever:

I was at first at a great loss for salt, but custom soon reconciled me to the want of it; and I am confident that the frequent use of salt among us is an effect of luxury, and was first introduced only as a provocative to drink, except where it is necessary for preserving flesh in long voyages, or in places remote from great markets; for we observe no animal to be fond of it but man, and as to myself, when I left this country, it was a great while before I could endure the taste of it in anything that I ate.

So if you are one of those people who thought that this was a children’s book, then go and read The Toymakers and then read Gulliver’s Travels, you may just get a different view of it.

Jonathan’s Page

#jonathanswift

Gingerbread — Robert Dinsdale

Gingerbread -- Robert DinsdaleHaving been totally blown away by Robert’s 5th book, The Toymakers i put him into Bookbub as one of my saved writers and when this, Robert’s 4th book, popped up, i didn’t need asking twice to read more of Robert’s words.

And i wasn’t disappointed.

As with The Toymakers, there’s the PTSD element in one of the main characters and how that affects their lives and the people in it.   Or, as Robert described it in his interview at the end of this book:

… those wild, desperate places that people learn to bury inside themselves so that, after having endured terrible things, they can find a way to live on.

And Robert does this masterfully, and he does so in a prose that is accessible, flowing, easy to read, and with that perfect level of descriptiveness that the story needs.

Within the story that is Gingerbread, there are tales being told from a grandfather to his grandson.   Tales at first that seem just something from folklore and myth, but as we go through the main story the little tales that grandfather tells reveal something far more.

At times this book is harrowing, it moves you, and deeply, or at least if you have any compassion it will.

When Robert published this book he wrote an article for Waterstones about it: “The Truth In The Tales”.

At the end of any book, the question the reader has to ask themselves is, “Do i want to read more from this writer?”   After The Toymakers, the answer was a definite absolutely, and after Gingerbread i’m definitely more absolute about it.   Yes, i’m absolutely certain i’m going to be reading Robert’s 3rd book, Little Exiles, in the not too distant future as it’s in “The Pile”, and i’m also very much looking forward to many more incredible books from Robert in the years ahead, i’m hooked.

Sadly, Robert’s first and second book aren’t yet in Kindle format — we live in hope.

Robert’s Page

#robertdinsdale

The Toymakers — Robert Dinsdale

The Toymakers -- Robert DinsdaleWhen this book came up on Bookbub as a 99p deal i was immediately attracted to it.   Yes, i do judge books by their covers, and also by their titles.   So i went to Amazon to check it out and it stated that it would suit those who enjoyed reading The Night Circus.

So as i’d very much enjoyed The Night Circus and with it being only 99p i went ahead and bought it.

But to be quite honest, it’s nothing like The Night Circus: they’re 2 very different books, IMHO.

The Toymakers is, at the end of the day, a story very much about unrequited love, sibling envy, and PTSD; whereas The Night Circus is neither of those things.

While both are set in magical spaces, there are no other real similarities whatsoever.

But having said all that, i did very much enjoy reading this book.   It is a fantastic journey through decades of 20th century London, including WW1 and WW2.   It delves well into PTSD and its affects on those who come back from the horrors of war and have to fit back into the lives they left behind.

And the ending …

… well, i never expected that.   What a wonderful twist in the tale.

If you’re looking for a really decent read, then look no further than The Toymakers.   I doubt many will be left disappointed.

Superb!

Robert’s Page

#fantasy #robertdinsdale

Septimania — Jonathan Levi

Septimania -- Jonathan LeviHave you ever found yourself in a dream that is just totally fucked up and makes no sense, but you’re dreaming, you have no choice, and the dream just goes on until you finally wake up in a cold sweaty bed needing a change of sheets, a hot shower and mug of cocoa?

Well this is the literary equivalent of that dream, but it’s not your own fucked up dream, it’s someone else’s fucked up dream, and you’re stuck in it until the end.

I say “you’re stuck in it”, like you couldn’t just delete it from your Kindle if you wanted to, but that’s the thing, you just don’t want to — or perhaps you just can’t.   Like the fucked up dream, you just seem get stuck in this book and you continue to read, page after page, and have to wait until the very end when it decides it’s going to release you from its clutches.

I won’t say more as i wouldn’t want to spoil it for any other literary masochists out there, other than “buyer beware”: it will seriously disturb you that you wasted your time reading it — you’ll never be the same again — you have been warned!

Seriously though, it’s a classic!

Jonathan’s Page

#jonathanlevi

Lotus Blue — Cat Sparks

Lotus Blue -- Cat SparksI really enjoyed the book right up until the end, which just didn’t seem to come up to the standard of the rest of the book.   After a really enthralling adventure it really felt like the ending was rushed to its conclusion.

It’s not too far fetched to imagine a future like the one depicted within this book, or the causes for it.   The more we begin to rely on drones and augmented soldiers to fight wars, slowly but surely handing over more and more control to computer intelligence, the closer we get to the characters in the book and ultimately entities like Lotus Blue.

I’m hoping the ending in this book isn’t the end and that there’ll be more books in this dystopian future.

Cat’s Page

#dystopian #catsparks



Currently

Fiction

With the rise of the machines on the horizon . . .
 
. . .me thinks it’s a good time to re-read Asimov.

Fiction

The Belly of the Bow -- K. J. Parker 0ooh yean, K. J. Parker.

Nonfiction

Back to the Zen.