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Retromancer Charity Auction

Hello there folks, if you recall, last year I auctioned the one and only signed and personally dedicated proof copy of Necrophenia to raise money for the Stroke Association. A goodly sum was raised too. So, I have now in my possession the first ever proof copy of Retromancer.

Doctor Grordbort's Contrapulatronic Dingus Directory (Catalogue Edition)

I want one! I want one! I want one! Yes its that time of year when the christmas catalogues are stacking up and all the corners have been turned down, the circles of flourecent marker dominate whole sections and a big sigh of oh no!

Space Captain Smith. (chronicles of Isambard Smith 1)

Space is often a difficult place to live in, and here in the 25th century the British Space Empire dont do difficult.
The Captain has a new chance to take the John Pym Spaceship on a mission, They don't really want him back, he is trouble no matter how much distance is between them!
With the Captain on board is his faithful friend Suruk the Slayer, the reason Smith keeps coming back.

The Affinity Bridge.

Amazon ASIN: 

A sky high detective adventure with Airships.

When you pick up this book the cover is a glorious thing, it glitters and wants you to read it.
How many Airships have you seen around, let alone walked through the airship hangar where they are made. Expand your average transportation ideas and wonder if this would have been a different, happier evolution with robotic airship pilots flying over london.
With a fantastic description of old london, smog and a big dollop of reality the settings in the book are descriptive enough to put you there.
It is a detective novel.

The Venus Conspiracy

Amazon ASIN: 

This is an entertaining murder/mayhem action book, the strength of which was in the scientific research that had gone into it. The hopeless romantic Doctor Bacci creates a drug which can stimulate true love by tampering with the face recognition DNA and other areas of the brain. The science is very good, viral vectors are used to transmit the new DNA and it explains how the new DNA gets past the brain's 'firewall'. All very interesting stuff. What the Doctor doesn't realise is that true love can control people and the opportunities for abuse are endless.

Glasshouse

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I find I need to get in a particular mood to read a Charlie Stross novel. This suits me fine, since once I'm in such a mood there are few other authors I find satisfy it. I generally find myself in such a mood about once a year, which means Charlie is writing them slightly faster than I'm reading them.

Robert Rankin at the Brightonomicon Audio Launch

Robert Rankin at the Brightonomicon Audio Launch

Robert Rankin and Count Otto Black

Robert Rankin and Count Otto Black

From the cover of Brentford Mercury issue 48

Robert and Rachel - the happy couple

Robert and Rachel - the happy couple

From the cover of Brentford Mercury issue 47

Robert Rankin with Guitar

Robert Rankin with Guitar

Six - August 2009

Another month, another newsletter. I won't be putting to much in this as I am currently putting the next magazine together for publishing and mailing out by (hopefully) the first week in September.

Good to have some down-time after the madness that was July - The Brentford Dock Weekend, The London Film and Comic Con and then the Pirate Birthday Party - so what's up coming and worth mentioning?

Shop

Dead famous

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This was an Isis Audio (Unabridged book) read by David Thorpe. I've not read (or listened to) any of Elton's Novels before & picked this one totally at random. I was initially rather disappointed by the concept, but soon grew to like the work itself. Thorpe is an excellent reader & his voices fitted perfectly.

DA'CON

DA'CON

SEPTEMBER 24-26TH 2010

What is it?

Foundation

I've always been aware of Asimov's Foundation as a series that ought to be read and I must say I enjoyed the first book, though I wouldn't call it the greatest sci-fi ever written. Maybe you need to have read the whole series to get that impression. I don't know.
It starts with Harry Seldon's prophesy of the the destruction of the mighty Galactic Empire and the need for all human knowledge to be secured before then in the Foundation in order to rebuild.

The First Men In The Moon

I'm not sure what H.G Wells was intending with this book. As science fiction, it's rather poor. As a story, it's a bit of a 'Boy's Own' adventure. As a satire of the archetypal 'Brit abroad' and social comment, it's rather enjoyable, I'm just not entirely sure that was Well's intention.

Mr Cavor, a scientist, invents a substance that negates gravity and builds a sphere that will travel to the moon. Unfortunately, he takes Mr Bedford, a failed entrepreneur with him which causes no end of problems.

The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin (nee, The Death of Reginald Perrin)

This was where Reggie started. For anyone who doesn't know, Reginald Iolanthe Perrin (RIP) is a middle class, middle management, middle of the road man - with issues. He's stuck in a depressingly pointless job working for Sunshine Desserts, with depressing work colleagues (well except maybe his secretary, Joan) and he is going slowly mad.

This book was the first incarnation of Reggie. It was soon made into a TV series staring Leonard Rossiter & much more recently a TV series staring Martin Clunes. I shall ignore the latter series & make comparative reference only to Rossiters Reggie.

The Centauri Device

I found this a very hard book to read & am immensely glad it was only 200 pages long, the story washed over me (& not in a good way). Things, places, people, situations are often not fully describes, as though I'm supposed to know what's going on already.

The Wasp Factory

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I've given this 5 stars because though its content at times is stomach churning, sick making and repulsive, it is nevertheless an exceptional book. It is the story of Frank who lives with his father on a small island in Scotland. Living according to his self created mythology of protection which includes the regular sacrifice of small animals in imaginatively cruel and vile ways. Several times I put the book down, resolving not to read any further. The attack on the rabbits with a flame thrower and the burning dogs were the worst parts for me.

The City and the Stars

A novel of three several parts: a self contained City, an open community & a voyage amongst the stars. I found the initial part set in the City of Dispar to be the most intriguing section, featuring many classic SF wonders for 1956. Some great concepts of virtual reality, computer simulation, human storage & regeneration, along with moving walkways, domes cities & robot assistants.

Despite it's far-far future setting, once Alvin (not a very SF name is it) leaves the City it becomes a simple tale of exploration & discovery.

Revelation Space

Revelation Space is first full length novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds. I'd put this firmly in the Space Opera bracket with some Hard SF leanings. I rather enjoyed this book on the whole, the main characters were interesting but not that likeable (maybe that's what made them interesting?) The set pieces and locations where well defined & moved the narrative on well, especially the final journey into they mysterious “moon”.

The Bull From The Sea

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This is the sequel to 'The King Must Die' and is an excellent account of the later life of the Greek Hero Theseus. My only criticism is that there was no indication on the book that this was part 2 of a series, so I read it before 'the King Must Die'. It stood up well on it's own but needed the first story to give a better understanding of Theseus's motives.

The book begins after his triumphant return from Crete where he killed the 'Minotaur'. Coming home, he finds himself and his bull dancers have become foreign to their own people and the return is difficult for all of them.

Night Watch

I actually listened to this on audio book (cassette tapes!), read by Stephen Briggs. I've got to say for a humorous fantasy, there is very little humour or fantasy in there. That said it's a decent book, with good characters, a good story & it's pretty grim in places too, especially when they come across the torture chambers.

The basic premise is that Sam Vimes of the Night Watch is accidentally sent back in time along with the criminal Carcer. The History Monks will help him return but not before he gets involved in a major Revolution.

Worlds End (Sandman Vol. 8)

Amazon ASIN: 

Like volumes 3 & 6 this is really a collection of short stories. Framed around people trapped at an Inn (poor buggers) whilst a storm rages outside, telling stories to help pass the time in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales style. Volumes with one continuous story arc work better for me than these shorter stories though. The artwork is stunning as ever, with each section illustrated by a different artist(s) highlighting a different style for each story.

The stand-out story for me was Cerements. Where we visit the Necropolis, a city of the dead.

British Summertime

Paul Cornell is well known for writing some of the best episodes of the new series of Doctor Who, along with some excellent comics. As a result I was keen to try out some of his novels, and I wasn't disappointed with British Summertime.

The King Must Die

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This is an excellent account of the early life of the Greek Hero Theseus.
It tells the story of Theseus from his birth, his adventures while returning to King Aegis, his father and his choice to go to Crete with the sacrifice of young men and women to the Minotaur at Knossos.

Mary Renault has taken the stories and stripped out the myth, and reworked them into a plausible history which is just as, if not more fascinating for having had the magic and myth removed.

Mobius Dick

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This is an intelligent and well written book which explains the dangers of quantum mechanics. The main Character, John Ringer, a theoretical physics professor meets an old flame, though she claims to be someone else. At the same time, Ringer is receiving odd texts on his phone and a man called Harry is in hospital suffering from a new illness called AMD, the symptoms of which are false memories and hallucinations. The story also randomly jumps back and forth in time to give us fascinating views into the life of Erwin Schrödinger and Schumann.

The Liar

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I'd never read any Stephen Fry before & knew nothing about him as an author, so had very little idea what to expect from this 367 page novel from 1991. If you had to guess you'd probably go for “funny & clever”? Well, you wouldn't be to far off the mark with that, but it still wasn't quite what the book I had envisioned.

This is the story of Adrian Healey. An overly clever young man, with a chronic tendency to lie & exaggerate in virtually every situation he finds himself in.

The eyes of the Dragon

Amazon ASIN: 

I stopped reading Stephen King’s books a while ago as I was finding them formulaic. However, this one was recommended to me as something different. And it was. This is a fairy tale written in the old fashioned style and is the standard tale of a usurped throne and a wrongly imprisoned, handsome prince, but I’d say it’s definitely for the adult market.

The style of the writing is very entertaining, especially the way the sing song ‘Once upon a time’ voice deals with things like the king’s erectile problems and his reluctance to perform his husbandly duties.

Five - July 2009

I'm a few days early with this newsletter but I wanted to make sure you all up to date as there is a lot going on through July and I wanted to give you as much notice as possible....

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