‘Just Not As Good’

Score: 4/5

I thoroughly enjoyed the first in this series. It was really good. This one less so.

It’s not as well paced, not as interesting a setting (to me, anyway), and the cliffhanger endings of chapters get more absurd. Oh well.

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‘Cracking Creepy Horror Story’

Score: 5/5

One common problem programming in dynamic languages and scripts is: sometimes you rename a variable and forget to update all the references, so bits of the program refer to the old variable name and some bits the new.

It’s a common problem in programming. I hadn’t expected it to be a problem with authors.

We’re now on the third incarnation of names for this author. I think. There may be more. I started off reading Michael Marshall Smith. Then I read Michael Marshall. Now, apparently, he’s Michael Rutger. It’s all the same guy.

Anyway, instead of the science fiction of Michael Marshall Smith, or the thrillers of Michael Marshall, we now have the horror writing of Michael Rutger.

I’m not really a fan of horror books. I think I got that all out of my system when I was younger, when I read lots of James Herbert and others. I made it out of that alive but haven’t really had the urge to read any in a while. Still, I like Michael Whatever, so I figured I’d give this a go.

There are some good James Herbert books, and some bad ones. This feels like one of the good ones. The characterisation is decent, the setting interesting, the plot very well paced. The cliffhanger-ending of chapters gets a bit weary but not enough to put me off.

I thoroughly enjoyed it. I do wonder what name he’ll use next though.

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‘Very Introductory, Very Cheap’

Score: 4/5

This was very cheap on Kindle one day, so I spent 99p on it. It’s not super, it’s not in-depth, but for 99p it’s not too bad.

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‘A Great Ethereum Introduction’

Score: 4/5

This is the best Ethereum introduction I’ve read. This is the only book I’ve read specifically on Ethereum though, so that’s not saying much. There aren’t really many books on Ethereum at the minute so I figured I’d start with the one by the author of ‘Mastering Bitcoin’, which I enjoyed.

There’s a lot to Ethereum though, so this is a surprisingly thin introduction to a lot of aspects rather than a deep guide to fewer areas. That’s fine, just unexpected to me. I think I expected something with a lot more depth. Then again, such a book may be quite unwieldy.

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‘An Increasingly Realistic Dystopia’

Score: 3/5

A dystopia about government control being increasingly taken over by private interests to the detriment of society? Yep. If you read fiction to get away from the real world you might want to skip this.

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‘Time Travel, But Dull’

Score: 3/5

I like time-travel stories. I like the way they can warp the narrative, shift timelines and show possibilities.

I just didn’t warm to this book though. I don’t know why, it just seemed a bit dull.

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‘Many Very Long Sentences’

Score: 3/5

It is good to know that, in these trying times of The Great Full-Stop Shortage Of 2020 that we have authors creating works like this.

Take, for example, this sentence from page 11:

Once upon a time on a small, watery, excitable planet called Earth, in a small, watery country called England (which was bound and determined never to get too excited about anything), a leggy psychedelic ambidextrous omnisexual gendersplat glitterpunk financially punch-drunk ethnically ambitious glamrock messiah by the name of Danesh Jalo was born to a family so large and benignly neglectful that they only noticed he’d stopped coming home on weekends when his grandmother was nearly run over with all her groceries in front of the Piccadilly Square tube station, stunned into slack-jawed immobility by the sight of her Danesh, twenty feet high, in a frock the color of her customary afternoon sip of Pernod, filling up every centimeter of a gargantuan billboard.

Yep, that’s one sentence.

There’s a lot in this book that makes me want to like it. Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett influences, Eurovision, space, H2G2-like humour - all things I like. It just doesn’t quite land for me though. While Douglas Adams could write long humorous sentences like the above (and pull it off incredibly well) he didn’t do it all the fucking time.

It’s a nice gag. It very quickly turned into an annoyance. It felt very overused by page 50 but that didn’t hold the author back from using everywhere else too.

Apart from the incredibly long sentences, what have we got? Eurovision-in-space, with the fate of the world hanging on the result. (No spoilers here - that’s basically the premise of the book told to you in the first pages. The term ‘Eurovision’ doesn’t crop up much, though. Dunno why.)

And there is humour too. It’s funny enough, and bits of it are reminiscent of H2G2. But it feels like it’s trying too hard to be reminiscent of it so it all feels a little clunky.

I wanted to really like this book. But in the end I didn’t. Maybe it’s my fault it just didn’t live up to expectations?

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‘I Should Walk More’

Score: 4/5

I should walk more. I know I should walk more. And this book tells me I should walk more.

A book by a neuroscientist about the effects of walking - not just the effects on our brains, but on our bodies and on the environment around us (as well as how the environment in turn affects how and why we walk). It’s a fascinating tale covering many aspects of how and why we walk.

And why we should do it more.

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‘Incredible, Gripping Dark Thriller’

Score: 5/5

I thoroughly enjoyed this! It was suspenseful without being too annoying about it, and well paced. No spoilers so no plot details, but a great one for you if you’re into your crime novels.

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‘Fun But Sometimes Annoying’

Score: 4/5

I enjoyed this book, mostly. The one bit that grated was the American exceptionalism bit - the American Dream and how it was literally magical. Things like that annoy me. I got just as annoyed at Jonathan Strange And Mr. Norrell and its talk of ‘the return of English magic’.

I’m not sure why that kind of thing grates so much with me.

Anyway, when reading this I got the feeling it was paced as if it was an action movie, like it’s trying to be a big-budget National Treasure adventure but with time travel. And maybe it will be.

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