Saturday, August 04, 2007

Book Review: River God by Wilbur Smith

I've been carrying this book around with me for a while, but I'm finally glad that I've taken the time to sit down and read it.

River God is a story about ancient egypt set four thousand years ago in the Rein of the Pharoah Mamose and is told from the perspective of the eunuch Slave Taita. If this story was set in modern times, Taita would almost certainly be a professor or other learned scholar, but in ancient Egypt he is regarded as one of the best healers, engineers and teachers in the land.

Taita is appointed as teacher and guardian to the warrior Tanus and later to the Lady Lostris who ultimately is betrothed to the Pharaoh. The story covers the life of the Lady Lostris, her love for the warrior Tanus, and of their ultimate struggle to retake their beloved cities from the invading hoards from the Lower Kingdom of Egypt and the invaders from the desert to the west.

The Nile plays a large character in the story and the passing of years is marked by the annual inundation of the lands that brings life to the region.

Overall I'd give the story 8 out of 10.

I am now reading the sequel to this first story: The Seventh Scroll - a modern day tale where archaeologists find the actual scroll that Taita conceals in Lostris' tomb.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Book Review Stephen Baxter's Mammoth Trilogy

I can't believe it's nearly been six months since I've posted on here and much more worrying so long since I finished reading a book, damn work, the Twat and too much alcohol, but finally I've now finally completed reading Stephen Baxter's Mammoth trilogy.

Longtusk is the second story in Stephen Baxter's Mammoth trilogy, although this is a trilogy all three novels can be read independently.

The story follows the life of a young bull "Long Tusk" who loses his family in a fire and then is taken in by a tribe of Neanderthals. The Neanderthals (Dreamers) are in competition for land with tribes of Homo Sapiens (Fireheads) and Long Tusk gets involved in the war. The Fireheads keep a herd of Mastadons to do heavy lifting and hauling and Long Tusk became one of this down-trodden herd.

Long Tusk eventually finds both freedom and his family and succeeds in saving the last of the mammoths from the Fireheads by crossing the land-bridge from Alaska into what was to become modern day Siberia.

Icebones is the third installment in Stephen Baxter's Mammoth trilogy and is probably the best book of the Trilogy because - get this - it's set on Mars! Mammoths on Mars, what a cool concept!

The story follows the life of Icebones the daughter of Silverhair who was the central character in the first Mammoth book.I did spent quite a lot of the time reading the book trying to work out how the Martian ecology had been changed by man to enable Mammoths to survive there, but this actually does become clear at the end of the tale, so I won't spoli it for you.

Icebones awakes after being in suspended animation during the journey to Mars (and I believe that she must have been kept in suspended animation for several hundred years while the Martian ecology was established by man or The Lost as the Mammoths call us as the map of Mars at the front of the book is timestamped 3000AD).

On awakening, she discovers other Mammoths who have been living in a zoo, all bred by the Lost using genetic manipulation techniques. The Mammoths cannot stay at the zoo site on top of Olympus Mons because the greatest volcano in the solar system is erupting. (Probably why the man abandoned the planet).Agreeing to become the Mammoth's new Matriarch leader, Icebones uses the knowledge passed down to her by her mother Silverhair of the legends of the great mammoth cycle of life and leads her new Mammoth family across the planetary surface in search of a new place to live.

The Mammoths travel through the Valles Marineris (which is a canyon system that stretches a third of the way around the equator of Mars), facing hunger, thirst, floods and the dreaded dust storms of Mars to the sanctury of the Footfall in the lowlands of the Hellas Basin where other Mammoths are living freely in a lush lowland steepe.

All three of these Mammoth books are now listed on if you want to read this trilogy of books I'll happily give them away for free on a first come first served basis.


Thursday, February 22, 2007

128 ok it's official - I have no life.

It's been said that allegedly if you've seen over 85 movies you have no life. I have my own opinion about that, but now is not the time. Mark the ones you've seen. There are 239 films on this list. Copy this list, go to your own blog, paste it in and put x's by the ones that you have seen. Add them up, change the header adding your number, and post it.

( ) Rocky Horror Picture Show
(x) Grease
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean
(x) Pirates of the Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest
( ) Boondock Saints
(X) Fight Club
(x) Starsky and Hutch
(x) Neverending Story
(x) Blazing Saddles
(x) Airplane
(x) The Princess Bride
( ) AnchorMan
( ) Napoleon Dynamite
(x) Labyrinth
( ) Saw
( ) Saw II
( ) White Noise
( ) White Oleander
( ) Anger Management
(x) 50 First Dates
( ) The Princess Diaries
( ) The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
(x) Scream
(x) Scream 2
(X) Scream 3
(x) Scary Movie
(x) Scary Movie 2
(x) Scary Movie 3
( ) Scary Movie 4
(x) American Pie
(x) American Pie 2
( ) American Wedding
(x) American Pie Band Camp
(x) Harry Potter 1
(x) Harry Potter 2
(x) Harry Potter 3
(x) Harry Potter 4
(x) Resident Evil 1
(x) Resident Evil 2
(x) The Wedding Singer
( ) Little Black Book
( ) The Village
(x) Lilo & Stitch
(x) Finding Nemo
( ) Finding Neverland
(x) Signs
( ) The Grinch
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre
( ) Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
(x) White Chicks
(x) Butterfly Effect
( ) 13 Going on 30
(x) I, Robot
( ) Robots
( ) Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story
(x) Universal Soldier
( ) Lemony Snicket: A Series Of Unfortunate Events
(x) Along Came Polly
(x) Deep Impact
(x) KingPin
(x) Never Been Kissed
(x) Meet The Parents
(x) Meet the Fockers
( ) Eight Crazy Nights
( ) Joe Dirt
(x) King Kong
( ) A Cinderella Story
( ) The Terminal
( ) The Lizzie McGuire Movie
( ) Passport to Paris
(x) Dumb & Dumber
( ) Dumber & Dumberer
(x) Final Destination
( ) Final Destination 2
( ) Final Destination 3
( ) Halloween
( ) The Ring
( ) The Ring 2
( ) Surviving Christmas
(x) Flubber
( ) Harold & Kumar Go To White Castle
(x) Practical Magic
(x) Chicago
( ) Ghost Ship
( ) From Hell
( ) Hellboy
( ) Secret Window
( ) I Am Sam
( ) The Whole Nine Yards
( ) The Whole Ten Yards
(x) The Day After Tomorrow
(x) Child's Play
( ) Seed of Chucky
( ) Bride of Chucky
( ) Ten Things I Hate About You
( ) Just Married
( ) Gothika
(x) Nightmare on Elm Street
( ) Sixteen Candles
( ) Remember the Titans
( ) Coach Carter
( ) The Grudge
( ) The Grudge 2
(x) The Mask
( ) Son Of The Mask
(x) Bad Boys
(x) Bad Boys 2
( ) Joy Ride
( ) Lucky Number Sleven
(x) Ocean's Eleven
(x) Ocean's Twelve
(x) Bourne Identity
( ) Bourne Supremecy
( ) Lone Star
(x) Bedazzled
(x) Predator I
(x) Predator II
( ) The Fog
(x) Ice Age
( ) Ice Age 2: The Meltdown
( ) Curious George
(x) Independence Day
(x) Cujo
( ) A Bronx Tale
( ) Darkness Falls
(x) Christine
(x) E.T.
( ) Children of the Corn
( ) My Bosses Daughter
(x) Maid in Manhattan
(x) War of the Worlds
(x) Rush Hour
( ) Rush Hour 2
( ) Best Bet
(x) How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days
( ) She's All That
( ) Calendar Girls
( ) Sideways
(x) Mars Attacks
(x) Event Horizon
(x) Ever After
(x) Wizard of Oz
(x) Forrest Gump
(x) Big Trouble in Little China
(x) The Terminator
(x) The Terminator 2
(x) The Terminator 3
(x) X-Men
(x) X-2
( ) X3
(x) Spider-Man
(x) Spider-Man 2
( ) Sky High
(x) Jeepers Creepers
( ) Jeepers Creepers 2
(x) Catch Me If You Can
(x) The Little Mermaid
(x) Freaky Friday
(x) Reign of Fire

Ok right, it's official I'm at 85 now, I have no life....

( ) The Skulls
(x) Cruel Intentions
( ) Cruel Intentions 2
( ) The Hot Chick
(x) Shrek
(x) Shrek 2
(x) Swimfan
(x) Miracle on 34th street
(x) Old School
( ) The Notebook
(x) K-Pax
( ) Krippendorf's Tribe
( ) A Walk to Remember
( ) Ice Castles
( ) Boogeyman
( ) The 40-year-old Virgin
(x) Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring
(x) Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
(x) Lord of the Rings: Return Of the King
(x) Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
(x) Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
(x) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
(x) Base-ketball
( ) Hostel
( ) Waiting for Guffman
( ) House of 1000 Corpses
( ) Devils Rejects
( ) Elf
(x) Highlander
(x) Mothman Prophecies
( ) American History X
( ) Three
( ) The Jacket
( ) Kung Fu Hustle
( ) Shaolin Soccer
( ) Night Watch
(x) Monsters Inc.
(x) Titanic
( ) Monty Python and the Holy Grail
(x) Shaun Of the Dead
( ) Willard
( ) High Tension
( ) Club Dread
(x) Hulk
( ) Dawn Of the Dead
(x) Hook
(x) Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
(x) 28 days later
( ) Orgazmo
( ) Phantasm
(x) Waterworld
(x) Kill Bill Vol. 1
(x) Kill Bill Vol. 2
( ) Mortal Kombat
( ) Wolf Creek
( ) Kingdom of Heaven
( ) the Hills Have Eyes
( ) I Spit on Your Grave
( ) The Last House on the Left
(x) Re-Animator
( ) Army of Darkness
(x) Star Wars Ep. I The Phantom Menace
(x) Star Wars Ep. II Attack of the Clones
(x) Star Wars Ep. III Revenge of the Sith
(x) Star Wars Ep. IV A New Hope
(x) Star Wars Ep. V The Empire Strikes Back
(x) Star Wars Ep. VI Return of the Jedi
(x) Ewoks: Caravan Of Courage
(x) Ewoks: The Battle For Endor
(x) The Matrix
(x) The Matrix: Reloaded
(x) The Matrix: Revolutions
(x) Animatrix
( ) Evil Dead
( ) Evil Dead 2
(x) Team America: World Police
(x) Red Dragon
(x) Silence of the Lambs
(x) Hannibal

One hundred and 28 - phew. How many can you do?

Friday, January 05, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

Let's review shall we?

Now that 2006 is over ... what were your favourite books of the year?

I've just looked back at the few books that I have read this year and to be honest, it is such a pitiful list that I'd really not bother commenting. I've really let my reading slip this year and in the previous year too. I know exactly what has done it. Too many DVD box sets of episodic tv too watch. It's certainly easier watching and episode or two of the X-Files before turning out the light than it is to read a good to honest real book. I guess this will be one of my New Years' resoultions: Read more and read more of what I want to read not just because it's there or on a list to be read, even if it means re-reading my old favourites.

Last night I acutally finished a book. Well, not just a book, the multi-series set of the Chronicles of Narnia which ends with The Last Battle. Ok, I first read this set of books when I was a child, even then, the dialogue of the children of the post-war years was a little strange but now 50 years later, they still hold the old charm.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Musing on Movies: Just Say "No"

"Oh, him? He's harmless. Part of the free speech movement at Berkeleyin the sixties. I think he did a little too much LDS."~~Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

What do you think about smoking, drinking, and/or drug use in films? Doyou think that it affects whether or not/how much you use them? Do youthink it influences kids to use them? Do you think that films that showbinge drinking/getting drunk (not a glass of wine with dinner or JamesBond's martini) or smoking should automatically be rated R? (There is currently a proposal to the MPAA about this.)

Personally as long as it's not too over the top, I've got no problem with cigarettes or alcohol being shown in movies. I don't think that the rating categories should be changed either. I do have a problem with drug use, and when I watched "Trainspotting" with Ewen MacGregor I was actually quite shocked, I'd never really seen images like those before.

I do know that there was serious discussion during the filming of Lord of the Rings about Gandalf's pipe smoking and the blowing of smoke rings and whether they should be included in the plot in this modern day and age, fortunately Peter Jackson stayed true to Tolkien's original tale and those scenes didn't end up on the cutting room floor - although I've got to wonder just what was in the longbottom leaf pipe tobacco that Merry and Pippin were smoking after the battle of Isengard!!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Book Review: Mammoth - Book One: Silverhair by Stephen Baxter

I bought this book because I was collecting Stephen Baxter's works on Ebay, but this is not a science fiction novel like Baxter's others works, it is a more down to earth story about the handful of Mammoths that are still struggling to survive in the modern world. Although not specified, I assume that the Family were moving around an Island off the coast of Alaska - somewhere remote anyway. The story does however have a little SF twist at the end, but I'll not spoil it further.

Over the Great Years of the Mammoth's history on earth, their numbers have gradually dwindled until there is just one Family of Mammoths led by a brave Matriarch wandering the icy tundra. The story begins during the harsh winter, and follows through into the melting spring warmth when the last of the mammoth families stumble across the Lost (or a wandering gang of modern-day humans) together with their dangerous Fire-Sticks (guns).

I have registered this book at I do not think that I will want to read this novel again, so at some point I will probably release it into the wild.

7 out of 10


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Book Review: Stark by Ben Elton

Stark by Ben EltonThe earth is dying and the rich and powerful owners of the global corporations indulge in a global conspiracy to create their own kind of future and leave the earth to drown in a future of pollution, hunger and scum.

This story is about a few members of the public who stumble onto the truth, and try to publish their findings, but the world is not interested and as the powerful members of the conspiracy own the press and police. The story doesn't get out, so they resort to journeying to the launch site in Bullens Creek Australia themselves to try and find out exactly what is going on.

Ben Elton's sarcastic level of humor carries the reader through the first half of the book until the story starts to pick up when the main characters of the Stark "resistence" arrive in Australia.

I've finished this book today and I have registered it at Book I'm going to leave it on the bus on my way home tonight. With so many Emmets in St Ives at the moment it could end up anywhere on Earth!

Rating 7 out of 10

Next read: The Draco Tavern by Larry Niven