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Monday, 27 April 2015

John Wyndham - The Midwich Cuckoos (SciFi at its best)


I enjoyed this novel so much and John Wyndham's gripping style of writing is at its best during this wonderful science fiction story. I could not put it down. I have enjoyed many of John Wyndham's fantastic science fiction stories - The Chrysalids, and The Day of the Triffids among others. All great, but this - The Midwich Cuckoos is the best of all, in my humble opinion. 

The feel of the story and its location show the reader how difficult the situation is for the villagers of Midwich. We also see how the outside world is nothing more than an impotent spectator as the unearthly phenomenon evolves and grows with terrifying credibility over the years. The actual writing style is superb and gripping from beginning to end. A smashing SciFi story with a 1950s/1960s Retro British feel. 

Everything about the uncanny tale allows the reader to feel so personally involved (as an impotent onlooker) and marvel at the ways of the villagers as the try to adapt to the sinister fate that has befallen them. One person, in particular, is the patient learner. He politely observes and works out a way around the complex and dreadful situation of the village of Midwich. What an absolute climax at the end. I love science fiction in all forms, but this is my absolute favourite SciFi story of all time.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Giving You George Orwell During the Spanish Civil War - Homage to Catalonia





George Orwell is an enigma to me - a very great one. I just get engrossed in anything he has written. He has the ability to be depressing, defeatist, morose - yet I can't put down anything he writes. I've never know anyone as compelling as this man was. This is another tale of his soul searching exploits during the Spanish Civil War. I think this is the pinnacle of his life time endeavour and real sacrifice for an alternative way of life via socialism. This is the journey, through his remarkable life, where I believe he realised equality can't work, especially trying to fight in the anarchist's brigade during this terrible civil war in Spain. After this came Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty Four. Orwell's works are a stage through the journey of his deep thinking life. Sometimes via essays, auto biographical or fiction. This man is truly brilliant and you can see the development of his thinking if you read his publications in order. Homage to Catalonia is a very important book - a very important book indeed



Edmund Cooper - ALL FOOL'S DAY



ALL FOOL'S DAY


This has to be my most favorite of Edmund Cooper novels and he has written a few good ones. We are once again in a post apocolyptic Britain. This is often Edmund Coopers type of brave new world. Each apocolypse is a different type of thing in most of his stories. Perhaps it was his desire to destroy the real world and invent many types of new one - hence his regular sci/fi formula of after the disaster. In this there are sun spots that cause mass suicide and only the more mentally unstable and unbalanced characters seem to have survived. They struggle to invent some semblance of new order. The stories are simplistic pulp science fiction, and this is one of Edmund Cooper's best in my view. I really enjoyed this story.


Friday, 24 April 2015

A Murderous Affair - Elizabethan Crime Story



A compelling period/crime/espionage story written first person singular. John Lovat is an illegitimate son of a titled man. His half-brother is legitimate and has all the trappings of inherited wealth including having his half-brother (john Lovat) at his beckon call. The illegitimate brother lives in a room upon old London Bridge with a panoramic view of the bustling river Thames and both banks of the teeming metropolis. It is the time of Queen Elizabeth I. The year is 1588 and the winter is coming. The Spanish Armada has been defeated and England is brimming with new found confidence.

One morning John Lovat reluctantly goes upon a quest for his half-brother and benefactor, to find the culprit of a murdered Portuguese man washed upon the mud banks near Deptford at a place called Cuckold’s Point. The story moves from one setting to another as John Lovat tries to get to the bottom of the complex mystery that starts to unfold. He finds himself working for two masters. His titled brother and England’s first great spy master; Lord Walsingham. There are a lot of historical events that get loosely tied in with this gripping story that makes it all the more enjoyable, including echoes from the Babington Plot and from the St Bartholomew massacre in France. We also get tastes of the great theatre too. All of this gives the reader a feel of Elizabethan England. A thoroughly enjoyable read. 


Sunday, 19 April 2015

World War II - German Tiger Tank

Today, my wife and I visited her brother's house. He had a fascinating collection of various World War II tanks from all the various allied armies. But most of all, his fixation was with the German Tiger tank in many different theatres of battle and the various upgrades and designs. These models were in cabinets and other display cases and were very well presented.

I was compelled and mesmerised by the detail of his tanks and some were on a large scale. These finished models must be worth a fortune, but also. I think they would make dynamic museum pieces at a modelling exhibition. I took pictures on my mobile phone of some of his tank constructions. I'm sure most would agree that a lot of time and great effort has been put into making these grand model tanks of various scales. The large Tiger tank (in first picture next to smaller scale Tiger tank) is made of plastic. 

However the pictures at the bottom are another larger scale Tiger tank made of metal. It took over 250 track links for one side. A total of over 400 track links for this beast of a model. It is all constructed of metal and it took nine months to complete. There is some momentous dedication there. It wieghs 14 pounds.

Ian's (brother-in-law) knowledge on the subject of Tiger Tanks is very extensive and he seems to know a great deal about the various commanders and individual soldiers that manned these moving iron fortresses. 






Another large scale tank made of plastic
The beast made from metal.




over 400 pins hold all of the tracks together

It took 9 months to build

with internal detail.



























Sunday, 12 April 2015

De-extinction of Mammoths Through DNA


The vast areas of Siberia could become home to herds of roaming mammoths again. There have been frozen corpses of such animals found in the icey tundras. Enough DNA has been extrated from the deceased mommoths to recreate the extinct animal. The growing foetas would need an artifical womb or a host carrier from a related species. An elephant may do. There are a few things to sort out concerning the incubation and the patching together of other scientific needs, but scientists remain adament that mamooths will be able to live upon the planet once again.

It would make a spectacular sight to see the great mamooth herds roaming the vast areas of the planet again. There are so many different species of extinct animal that science is on the brink of bringing back to life. It makes for mouth watering excitement as all of this, that was once within the realms of our imagination, is almost within the realms of reality. We are but a whisker of seeing some marvolous creatures resurected into the world again.

Such species include sabre toothed cats and giant eagles, even the Doe, doe bird. Also the huge terror birds that lived in the Americas thousands of years ago. Obviously such creatures would need to live in a guarded enviroment, especially mamooths that would require vast areas to roam in. Siberia could be of great use to such animals as it is one of the most sparcley populated areas of the world and with icey conditions that mamooths would prefere. Such an abode would make for a perfect sanctuary. 





Tuesday, 7 April 2015

The Exstinct Haast Eagle of New Zealand could be brought back.

The great Haast Eagle lived in New Zealand, but went extinct around 550 years ago. This giant bird of prey was the largest eagle known to have lived. It used to hunt another bird creature called the moa. The moa birds were hunted to extinction by humans and subsequently the great eagles perished because its primary food source had vanished.
The great bird's DNA is still obtainable and many scientists, ecologists and biologist desire to bring the giant Haast Eagle back via test tube incubation and growth. There would also have to be a second resurrection of the moa bird too, as the huge eagles relied on such prey for their food. Unless, of course, the Haast Eagle might be persuaded to eat something elseSuch a feat, if achieved would be glorious. 
There are all sorts of projects, that are set in theory, extinct animals of the planet. Especially the recently departed creatures like the Haast Eagle and the Moa birds. Along with giant Woolly Mammoths, these creatures may soon become a reality..