High Avenging Angel"Tales of the High Avenging Angel: #1-3" a dark science fiction tale by Dietmar Arthur Wehr.

Former star pilot, Hoch Racheengel, the "High Avenging Angel" is a brave attempt by the author to be original but it is only partially successful. Set in a world the author calls "space noir", an idea based on the old cinematic idea of "film noir" the book has a fair degree of action and violence with stories ranging across Earth and several other systems. The tales all followed the same basic outline overused convenient high-tech devices leading to a lack of believability and suspense. Although I found the book readable I felt it a shame it couldn't have been more adventurous and interesting. A good try that failed to meet its potential.

BlankGrey My all-time favourite film, a heady mix of science-fiction and fantasy, James Cameron's "Avatar" combines aspects of "Dances With Wolves", "Titanic", "The Last Samurai" in a heady mix of science, fantasy and romance. As he often does, Cameron takes a swipe at the industrial excesses of corporate commercialism, with human/corporate greed clashing with the natives of a distant world. Credited as the one which kickstarted modern 3D film technology, "Avatar" set the 3D bar and, in many ways, has a lot to answer for.

I was a huge fan of Marvel's "Iron Man" film featuring Robert Downey jnr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man and, thought it was not as good, I still liked its immediate sequel. "Avengers Assemble", with Downey's third outing as Iron Man, represented perhaps the very best a super hero film could offer. The "Iron Man" brand was so well established that I simply knew that a third film, "Iron Man 3" (Iron Man's fourth outing), had to be good because no one on Earth could possibly screw it up ... enter Shane Black!

Passengers (2016) With stunning graphics and a stellar cast "Passengers" (2016) is a film that should have blown us away but instead it received heavy criticism but was that criticism as deserved as some would have us believe? I received a copy on Blu-ray for my birthday so I set about finding out if I agreed with the film's critics. Everyone knows it's rare for Hollywood to get it right in terms of the science and this film is no exception but, since just about every other film is the same, I feel it's unfair to unduly criticise it for it. And besides, "Passengers" is not really a science fiction film any more than "Titanic" is a film about a ship hitting an iceberg, it's a romance.

Chris Prat, Jennifer Lawrence, Laurence Fishburne and, my favourite, Martin Sheen deliver excellent performances and the film certainly doesn't lack for action. The music was good throughout and only spoiled when it accompanied the closing credits, a jarring track I assume was intended to boost the film through the music charts.

In the end, I felt most of the criticisms levelled at the film were explained within it and despite all the criticisms I could level at the film's science, I still enjoyed it perhaps because of the chemistry between the actors.

Rick Mofina's 'Blood Of Others'A book with moments of extreme violence, but not pointless, violence and one that I think is very much worth a read. It opens with a brutal murder, the victim gruesomely, yet artistically, displayed which leads both the lead detective and a reporter to the conclusion that the murder was likely to be one of a series, the murderer a serial killer. In writing this book, the author has woven a story around complex characters with believable personal motivations using good dialogue as well as nail biting, harrowing and gripping scenes. Definitely a book worth a read.

Douglas E. Richard's 'Split Second'The second Douglas E. Richard book I have read, "Split Second" is a techno-thriller, an innovative twist of the science fiction staple of time travel. The book is well-written, engaging and has a fair degree of suspense... for those with strong feelings on such things, it is also fairly violent and contains quite a lot of swearing. I found the book hard to put down and my regular reading time was something I looked forward to. I have no hesitation at all in recommending the book to anyone who is a fan of either thrillers or Sci-Fi.

Chris Lavers' 'Why Elephants Have Big Ears'A brilliantly written popular science book that explains how evolution can create the staggering variety it has, whether dinosaurs were warm or cold blooded, why cinematic monsters such as King Kong and Godzilla are laughably impossible, why the marsupials kept control of Australia, why insects are so small. Finally, he explains why, despite our apparent superiority, we really don't own the world at all, that there is no such thing as a superior or dominant lifeform on the planet. He also explains why, of course, elephants do have big ears.

Richard Dawkins' 'River Out Of Eden'In 'River Out Of Eden', Dawkins writes of a universe with no apparent design or purpose and explains more of our evolutionary past. With thorough knowledge and captivating style, Dawkins illuminates how life has achieved what to the uneducated or bigoted appear to be miracles. Science journal 'Nature' says, "It abounds with metaphors that make things brilliantly clear, an excellent introduction to many important evolutionary ideas".

rev ht balance01A brilliant idea that ultimately fails in execution. It has been said of Turtledove that he is the master of the alternate history series, on the basis of the first seven books of this series I have little choice but to disagree.

rev hh greatfeudsscienceThe scientific endeavour assumed an "unending march of science" by many but, in truth, no one claimed it as such. But why? Why does science, a purely human endeavour, give us real answers whilst religion only pretends to? In discussing some of the most famous feuds in science the author throws light on the true motivations and petty jealousies of scientists throughout history. In cleverly revealing the kind of sarcasm and abuse competing scientists would often throw at each other he puts to rest the idea that science is infallible whilst reflecting on today's media battles between evolutionists and fundamentalists.

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