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Books Review

The Magic Goes Away

It’s been tough to be a reader during lockdown. The struggle is real. I downloaded four Inspector Montalbano books, but then really didn’t enjoy with the first one I tackled – A Nest of Vipers – not in the mood for Andrea Camilleri’s style (or that of his translator). The other three remain unread. I […]

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entertainment music Review

A New Bob Dylan Album You Say?

I’m reminded today of an hilarious moment in Tim Moore’s rather excellent book French Revolutions, about his attempt, as a fairly rickety and unfit man, to complete the route of the Tour de France on a fairly rickety bicycle. When you’re cycling, you’re moving at the kind of speed that means you notice all the […]

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bastards Books entertainment film movies Review

Set texts for the lockdown

I noticed, early in the lockdown, how certain film topics seemed to be creeping up the lists of recommendations on the platforms. There was Outbreak, something called Pandemic (bit on the nose), 93 Days, The Forgotten Plague, and, of course, Contagion, the Steven Soderbergh film with the stellar cast that had completely passed me by. […]

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bastards concerts entertainment gigs live music Review

Reunions – Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

Someone posted a ‘funny’ clipping on Twitter this morning about a town in California declaring itself a ‘sanctuary city’ for businesses and flagging its intention to defy the statewide lockdown rules. (For future historians puzzling over this fragment, there was a viral pandemic in 2020, and the United States, led by sociopaths, had the highest […]

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entertainment Review Television

Devs vs. Westworld

Sooner or later, science fiction comes down to the question of what it means to be human. The situations and settings vary, but the question is one of the oldest we have: the ontological debate between free will and determinism. Philosophers, religionists, and scientists have all approached the problem in various ways. We are biologically […]

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entertainment Review Television

Upload (Amazon Prime): actual science fiction

Huh. I read a couple of reviews of this series and they were lukewarm at best, and yet I found it really enjoyable and burned through it in a couple of nights. Now suffering bingewatch remorse. As ever my tastes are off beam in comparison to the critical opinion in the quality press, but I’ve […]

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Books entertainment Publishing Review Writing

Lockdown by Peter May

I’m not against a bit of opportunistic book marketing. Lockdown feels like ‘Instant Karma’ but for books. I bet it wasn’t always called that, but right now it feels as if it has been ripped from the headlines. Published at the beginning of this month, this novel dates from 2005, when, according to its author, […]

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Books entertainment Publishing Review Writing

Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear

My first problem with Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear is that although I read and enjoyed it, I just had to look up the title before I could review it. My second problem is that it has a subtitle: A White Space Novel. As an SF reader of long standing, this gives me the heebs, […]

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Books entertainment Review Television

Bosch – Season 6 review

“My lane? Has no lines.” I note that I failed in my duty to review Season 5 of this excellent police procedural from Amazon Prime. I think that’s probably because I didn’t enjoy it as much as seasons 1–4. Season 5 felt as if it was playing its Greatest Hits a bit, with (yet) another […]

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Books entertainment Review Television

The Night Fire by Michael Connelly – review

The 6th and penultimate season of Bosch coming soon to Amazon Prime, and I was intrigued to see that one of the novels the season will be based on is Dark Sacred Night, which was the previous Ballard and Bosch novel, published in 2018. This makes me wonder whether Renée Ballard, Connelly’s most recently created […]