Flying Pigs

Pigs Might Fly: The Inside Story of Pink Floyd
by Mark Blake (2013)

This book covers Pink Floyd from their Cambridge beginnings in the early sixties to their triumphant re-formation at Live 8 in 2005 24 years after their last live performance together and the death of their troubled founder-member Syd Barrett a year later.

Despite this being an update on the original 2008 book, it predates Pink Floyd’s latest album ‘The Endless River’ (2014). It’s very extensive an thoroughly covers the bands history. However at 180,000 words there were times it could have done with a bit if trimming.

Wonderful Life

It’s a Wonderful Life is a 1946 American Christmas fantasy drama film produced and directed by Frank Capra, based on the short story and booklet The Greatest Gift, which Philip Van Doren Stern wrote in 1939 and published privately in 1943. The film is now among the most popular in American cinema and because of numerous television showings in the 1980s has become traditional viewing during the Christmas season.

The film stars James Stewart as George Bailey, a man who has given up his dreams in order to help others, and whose imminent suicide on Christmas Eve brings about the intervention of his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody (Henry Travers). Clarence shows George all the lives he has touched and how different life in his community of Bedford Falls would be had he never been born.

This is the first time I have seen this American classic.  It’s easy to see why it’s so popular, portraying an idealized past. And with suitably   saccharine ending.



Chris Franzen

Christoffer Franzen [of Lights & Motion] writes a kind of slowly evolving transcendental music without without falling into a big yucky pile of goo. It ranges from ambient to intense post-rock.



Heavy Water

The Heavy Water War

The Heavy Water War is a 2015 six-episode war drama TV miniseries produced by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. It is a Norwegian/Danish/British co-production, directed by Per-Olav Sørensen that tells about the German nuclear weapon project and the heavy water sabotage in Norway to disrupt it during the Second World War, with a particular emphasis on the role of Leif Tronstad.

An excellent war drama involving physics and the birth of the atomic  ge.



Kill Snow White

Killing Snow White
(Fairy Tales Retold #3)
by Jamie Campbell (2013)

The queen has been portrayed as evil for too long. Now it is time for her to tell her side of the story. She once had everything – a loving husband, a ready-made family, and the respect of everyone in the kingdom. Until the day the king died.

As Snow White tries to do everything in her power to hate her step-mother, the evil queen only has love for her. She has always wanted a daughter and was hoping their relationship could be salvaged.

Another fun story that tries to rectify the misrepresentation of evil in fairy tales. Snow White is the evil bitch, her step mother just another hard working woman trying get by.

Callsign: Bishop

Callsign: Bishop (Erik Somers)
(Chesspocalypse #5)
by Jeremy Robinson & David McAfee (2011)

An Iranian terrorist cell has gotten their hands on weaponized Ergot-B—a compound that causes violent hysteria, madness and death within 24 hours—and plan to unleash the weapon on major cities around the world. Successful deployment would begin a bloodbath as those exposed would kill everyone they encountered before succumbing to the compound’s lethal effects.

Erik Somers—Callsign: Bishop, is called in to investigate, but his first discovery shocks him to the core. Dawoud Abbasi, the terrorist leader planning to unleash Ergot-B, is his biological father.

This could have been a long novel, with the entire Chess Team involved. It’s the first Chess Team novel set in modern Iran, and there was plenty of scope for an interesting thriller. Instead it’s just one team member taking on the Jihad. Still, it’s up to the usual Robbinson standard.

Callsign: Rook

Callsign: Rook (Stan Tremblay)
(Chesspocalypse #3)
by Jeremy Robinson & Edward G. Talbot (2011)

After a failed mission claims the lives of his five man support team, Stan Tremblay, Callsign: Rook, flees Siberia and finds himself on the secluded coast of Norway, north of the Arctic Circle. Exhausted, cut off from the outside world, and emotionally beaten from his defeat in Russia, Rook just wants to find a place to rest. The small coastal town of Fenris Kystby seems like the perfect place.

Within hours of arriving, he discovers that the town is not as tranquil as it appears. The townspeople are mistrustful of outsiders, a pack of mysterious wolves stalk the local tundra, and two villagers have been killed by a creature that defies explanation. To make things worse, there are rumors of something sinister, something the townspeople refuse to discuss.

Despite the hostility of the locals, Rook commits to stopping the creature murdering townspeople. As the body count rises, he quickly learns that the greatest threat might walk on two legs. And when he uncovers the town’s hidden past, Rook knows only one thing for certain: something is rotten in Norway.

By now we know what to expect. An agent alone, facing hostile forces and an indifferent local population. You get a bit of insight into Rook’s character, but not at the expense of the action. Another good read.


Fate’s Fables

Fate’s Fables 1-8
By T. Rae Mitchell

This was read after being impressed by a short story I liked.
The book is eight novella length stories previously separately published. The quality of the prose is apparent at the start of the book as the character of Fate is setup and her journey to a fantasy land explained. The author generates eight mythic fairy tales at the start of east story, these contain a problem that has to be resolved or fixed. In the first half, they are generally fun and a romp to get through. But as the tales accumulate, bringing characters from past episodes forward, it becomes darker and heavier in tone. Soon romance becomes a major theme of the story and things become too serious.

The inherent problem with this form is that as a single (400 page) novel it lacks a narrative that can reach a conflict and resolution in the final act. Staying with lots of characters just makes things confusing and the ending not as rewarding as it could be.
It may have been better to read each episode separately over a longer period of time. It would also have helped if the stories were more self-contained. Still, this is an experienced author with sufficient skills to write compelling novels.