Monthly Archives: July 2009

A Windy Universe!

I’ve been doing some research today, as I wanted to (re) confirm the reading order for the Dune Prequels written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson, and I’ve made the happy discovery that they aren’t finished with the Dune novels just yet!

It looks like in early September, a further novel called The Winds of Dune will be released.

Picking up where Dune Messiah left off, the official website says ..

“Paul has walked off into the sand, blind, and is presumed dead. Jessica and Gurney are on Caladan; Alia is trying to hold the Imperial government together with Duncan; Mohiam dead at the hands of Stilgar; Irulan imprisoned. Paul’s former friend, Bronso of Ix, now seems to be leading opposition to the House of Atreides. Herbert and Anderson’s newest book in this landmark series will concentrate on these characters as well the growing battle between Jessica, and her daughter, Alia.”

It certainly sounds good!  I hope BH and KJA can continue to develop stories.   I just pray that KJA’s influence doesn’t cause the book to have hundreds of chapters, each of which may be less than 5 pages!

A difficult quest…

This seems to be a bit of a challenge!

I’m after a some CD Blanks.   Not too difficult I hear you say, even Tescos sell them these days.  No, but I want some specific ones.   They used to be fairly common a few years ago, when you used to have to be careful which CD media you bought.

In fact I’d guess that the vast majority of you probably aren’t even aware that you can get CD’s of differing lengths/sizes, are you?  If you’re interested, see the section in Wikipedia on Capacities.  There, see?  My blogging can even be educational too!

Anyway, I want some 90 Minute Cd Blanks.   Only I don’t want a box of ten in Jewel Cases, which seems to be one of the few ways I can buy them.  I want a “Cakebox” style pack of 50 or even 100.

Even trusty Amazon seems to list only one source of the standard CD Blanks like these:

1×25 Verbatim CD-R 90 / 800MB 40x Speed, Cakebox Extra Protect
.. and they have limited supplies, so I guess I’d better get clicky and order some before they sell out!

Trouble is, even these aren’t really what I want.   You see I want some LightScribe compatible ones of that size, so I can print on the surface of the CD with my Lightscribe writer.

But alas, it seems my quest is too difficult!  Unless any of my avid readers can help…?

Blast from the past!

I’m wondering how many of you remember this advert on TV…?


Sadly it seems the lesser spotted Milkman is just about extinct, in favour of the Supermarket alternative.

What’s Next

A bit of a mixed bag in this post.  Still with a heavy Literary focus I’m afraid, and for those not quite so geeky or interested in Scifi/Fantasy as I am, there’s probably not a great deal here for you to find interesting.

I’m still not reading as much as I once did, instead listening on the Train to to Audiobooks quite a bit, partly because the fantastic iPhone/iPod makes it so easy.  This has also grown in to the Car because of the MP3 CD Player in the current Car, so one CD can quite easily last for 4-5 long trips to Manchester and Back again!

Audible is a great source of material for UK listeners, and you can download the MP3 and burn it to CD yourself.  There’s a reasonable collection of Scifi and Fantasy titles in their library.

There are one or two other sources, I heartily wish that Graphic Audio would hurry up and get their International MP3 Download service sorted out for us International listeners, but hey, Can’t have it all I suppose.

Amazon does also sell one or two MP3-CD’s and Audio Books, so it’s not the end of the world.

Of course there’s always Big Finish too with their ever increasing collection of Doctor Who stories.

In the odd moments when I do pick up a book, I’ve recently enjoyed the Biography of Theo Paphitis called “Enter the Dragon“.  Theo is one of the famous Dragon’s Den entrepreneurs.  I’m also currently enjoying the latest in Jack Campbell’s “The Lost Fleet” series.  The recent one is called Relentless (Lost Fleet).

I’ve also been sad to hear of the recent passing of David Eddings, author of Magician’s Gambit (Belgariad)Enchanter’s End Game (Belgariad)Castle Of Wizardry (Belgariad)The Sapphire Rose (The Elenium)The Diamond Throne (The Elenium)The Ruby Knight (The Elenium) and many more Fantasy works.    Rest in Peace David!

David Eddings

(7 July 1931- 2 June 2009)

Book: Hell’s Gate by David Weber & Linda Evans

Normally I’m quite a fan of David Weber;  I loved his Honor Harrington series, and the new series that started with off Armageddon Reef was a blast, but Hell’s Gate (Multiverse I) spectacularly failed to engage me.

The style of writing is as you’d expect, but even at 50+ pages in, the reader is still being subjected to intense character build up rather than any engaging action.  Only one plot “event” seems to have happened so far, with the rest just being build build build.

Perhaps that’s a symptom of the fact that this is a “new” novel, or the first in an intended series (called “Multiverse”) rather than one being set in an established environment.  There is a sequel called Hell Hath No Fury (Multiverse II).

Now as is becoming my habit, I part wrote this review during the time I was reading the book, so It will be interesting to see how my impressions change as I continue to read.  Sadly so far the book has failed to pull me in, and I’m finding it something of a chore to continue reading.

// EDIT // – So much so in fact that I ended up abandoning the title before I got even 1/4 of the way through.  It just wasn’t getting any better.

I wonder how it’s worked in co-authored novels like this one.  How much input did the two respective authors have, and was it in Storyline and Character development?  Actual writing?  Brainstorming?

All in all, I’d say this one was a useless 0/5 stars_0

Called for his Pipe, and his Tudors Three…

Yes, I’m happy that the amazing series The Tudors has been renewed for a FOURTH season by Showtime!   We’ve not yet been fortunate enough to see Season 3 in the UK.  It seems that Season 3 started in the US on 5th April, so I live in hope of an early Autumn slot for Season 3 on this side of the water.

Seasons 1 & 2 are of course available on DVD and Blu-Ray, and I’d thoroughly recommend the Blu-ray versions if you have the equipment to play it back.  It really brings to life the level of detail in the sets etc.

If only History had been this interesting or exciting when I was at School!!

Season 3 seems to feature a fairly significant cast change, as Henry has done a good job of disposing of most of the Season 1 & 2 characters.

Some interesting casting in Season 3 though, with Max Von Sydow as Cardinal Von Waldburg, and Joss Stone as Anne of Cleves.   I still can’t get MVS out of my head in his amazing role as Ming the Merciless.  I know he’s been in lots of works since, including one of my all time favourites “Dune”, but I still struggle to imagine him in any other role.

Max Von Sydow as Cardinal Von Waldburg

Max Von Sydow as Cardinal Von Waldburg

Max Von Sydow as Ming the Merciless
Max Von Sydow as Ming the Merciless