The second in the Slabscape series of webbacks (see http://slabscapedia.com). Some comments from Kindle readers as of May 2015: 'Truly fantastic', 'GreThe second in the Slabscape series of webbacks (see http://slabscapedia.com). Some comments from Kindle readers as of May 2015: 'Truly fantastic', 'Great read, fun, fast paced and a really interesting mystery in a future setting', 'Playing with causality for profit - love it. In an infinite universe the writer has infinite options to pursue.', 'Loved it', 'Shame when it came to and end.', 'Bakers writing style is creative, humour filled, and generates some fantastic ideas to contemplate. His fearlessness in messing with causality, and taking the breadth of time in his step, is also great to read.', 'Baker has envisaged a brilliant future with his Slabscape books, the ship itself rivals Bank's Culture GSVs at their best, and being the sci-fi geek that I am, I'd happily vacation (live) there.', '`Dammit' literally and seamlessly continues on from `Reset', as if you've just turned another page and you'll find your mind being boggled in a way it's probably not been boggled before. The 'Slabscape' saga is a compulsive read for all those with a vivid imagination, a strange sense of humour and a passion for sci-fi.'...more
I've read this twice and I've recently put the audio book (narrated by the man himself) on my iPod so I can exercise my thoughts while I drag my over-I've read this twice and I've recently put the audio book (narrated by the man himself) on my iPod so I can exercise my thoughts while I drag my over-fed carcass around the landscape. When I first read it, I wanted to reject almost everything in it, but then I hadn't written a feature-length screenplay at that time. By the time I'd read it again I'd written one and half screenplays and was wondering why my brilliant outline wasn't currently turning itself into a masterpiece. That's when it started making sense.
McKee doesn't have all the answers, or claim to have them, but what he makes you do is focus on what a story is and what makes a story compelling. It's more like a handbook you can dip into when you need a friendly nod in the right direction so my print copy is kept by my desk and has dozens of page corners turned down as memos. Although he specifically focuses on storytelling for the screen, many of the principals he espouses apply equally to other media. You don't have to agree with everything McKee thinks, but if you want to improve your storytelling abilities, you do at least have to approach the subject in a clear and ordered fashion. This book helps you do just that....more
I first heard about this book in a discussion forum on Goodreads and managed to order a used copy from the States. I'm glad I did. This is exactly theI first heard about this book in a discussion forum on Goodreads and managed to order a used copy from the States. I'm glad I did. This is exactly the type of book that would fascinate anyone interested in writing about believable universes or future worlds. Even if you are going to ignore true physics, it's really handy to know where the cracks are or where there may be some wiggle room. World-building, alien-design and new science has to have some level of coherent thinking behind it and this book helps out by covering a wide range of topics that interlink from physics, chemistry and biology through to space flight, wars and alien biology.
Of course the book is out of date - it says so in the first line of the introduction. The only way it could be up to date would be to have an information resource that is constantly updated, variously peer-reviewed and interpreted into bite-sized pieces of understandable and accurate explanations of new scientific advances along with their potential implications. I think the resource is called the Internet. Good luck finding what you need from it though....more
Quotes from Amazon reviews; "Slabscape is a very humorous and believable sci-fi outing. Drago as a character is easily the most thought-out and well wQuotes from Amazon reviews; "Slabscape is a very humorous and believable sci-fi outing. Drago as a character is easily the most thought-out and well written character I have come across this year.", "a fun read", "a fantastic sci-fi read full of brilliantly techy and sometimes weird imagination. I can't wait for the sequel(s)", "mind blowing and breath-taking - where does he get his ideas?" and "an absolute gem!"....more
A lovely, gentle book filled with casual observations of a time and place. As an entertainment, it's witty, insightful and beautifully drawn. As a socA lovely, gentle book filled with casual observations of a time and place. As an entertainment, it's witty, insightful and beautifully drawn. As a social document, I suspect it is priceless. I'm emotionally invested in the central family and hope there will be a sequel because I really want to know what Francis chooses to do with his undoubted talents....more
I know someone who loves this book and has bought several copies to give away to his friends (I'm one of them). He would give it six stars if he couldI know someone who loves this book and has bought several copies to give away to his friends (I'm one of them). He would give it six stars if he could. I give it three out of respect for the author who clearly has an impressive talent but the simple fact is this book is not for me. I don't enjoy being thrown around and confused, no matter how expertly, and I felt frustrated for most of the time.
If you enjoy being led down an evocative, obscur path and prefer the journey to the destination, you will most likely thoroughly enjoy The Quiet Girl. If you prefer to have a clear grasp of what you've just read after you've forced your way through a jumble of misdirection and hard-to-suspend-disbelief moments, then you'll feel cheated....more
In my view Banks is the best contemporary writer out there. I massively admire his SF work (written under the 'M' initial) and I buy everything he wriIn my view Banks is the best contemporary writer out there. I massively admire his SF work (written under the 'M' initial) and I buy everything he writes in hardback as soon as it comes out (all except the whisky book - and I will get that sooner or later). So I'm slightly saddened to give Stonemouth only 3 stars. As the mouse-over caption above says, I 'liked it' but I can't claim to have 'really liked it'.
I was puzzling over this and I finally distilled my reaction down to two reasons; first, I eagerly anticipate each new Banks book but I found this one didn't reach my, probably over self-hyped, expectation. It's a fine book, it's well paced and the locations and characters are beautifully drawn (of course). It's fascinating to see how Banks can move into the skin of his protagonist and so accurately adopt the narrow voice and immature attitude of someone who isn't the most admirable or reliable of people. I just wanted more. Banks can enthrall but I was only mildly entertained. Banks can throw your preconceptions into the trash and leave you dizzy or filled with wonder but I was never surprised or challenged.
The second reason was I got the impression that this book was written to be optioned. That the story structure, characters and location choices were aimed squarely at a future TV series or film director. No doubt Banks will hit his mark but from my purely selfish point of view, I was willing him to take me somewhere new, or at least fresh. He didn't.
I will, of course, still buy his next book (hopefully a culture novel) in the first week of publication and be as excited as a birthday-boy to see where his soaring imagination takes me. It's just that when you have a book in your hands by a writer as skilled as Banks, you hunger for a masterpiece each time. Of course, that's not possible. My bad....more
Excession is a masterpiece, a game-changer and sets a new standard in how to think and write about the future. Brilliant, mind-expanding and, as alwayExcession is a masterpiece, a game-changer and sets a new standard in how to think and write about the future. Brilliant, mind-expanding and, as always, superbly well written. I've read it so many times and lent it to so many friends that my copy is falling apart. I must buy the hardback....more