‘Ahead Of Its Time’

Score: 4/5

This book - written in the 90s - was well ahead of its time in many ways. It describes a technology we don’t have yet - ‘uploads’, or uploading personas so your thinking runs on a computer instead of a brain - but so many of the incidental bits are nearly spot on. Mobile phones, the web, virtual reality... All technologies in their infancy when the book was written but they appear fully-realised here, and not far away from what has actually happened.

It’s certainly not as easy to read as the Frontline series I’ve been rapidly going through, but I enjoyed it and the change of pace it brought to my reading.

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‘That’s More Like It’

Score: 4/5

There’s more action in this book - I thought the previous book dull in comparison. And it’s better action too, driving the overall story arc further along.

Sometimes some of the elite crew really do seem dumb though. No spoilers though, even though I’d really like to rant about it.

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‘Not Much Happens Here’

Score: 3/5

I’m still enjoying these books but... well, there’s not a lot going on in this one. In the others there are big battles, crescendos, and steps towards resolving a bigger goal. This has less of that.

It was still fun, just a bit of a placeholder.

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‘More Alien Infantry Battles’

Score: 4/5

More infantry battles. More aliens. If you liked the previous books you’ll like this. If you didn’t like the previous books you won’t like this.

I am liking this series, even if I do keep quibbling about the plausibility of bits of it all.

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‘Reacher Gets To England’

Score: 3/5

Yeah, another Reacher novel. They’re still fun - fast-paced, easy to read, not too deep for my tiny mind.

This one is... not the best Reacher novel. At least part of that is the alien feeling of reading Reacher’s take on things that are common in England but weird, rare or unknown to US folk like Reacher. Is this capturing the alien feeling the author felt when he first arrived in England and saw his first roundabout?

And a niggle: the books make a point of noting how light Reacher travels. He has no clothes other than what he wears (and he bins them rather than launder them), and he even keeps his toothbrush in his pocket so he doesn’t have to go back to his room if he decides to leave town. Sometimes you even get a full inventory of everything he carries in his pockets.

So where was his passport all this time? He’ll have needed the passport to fly internationally (the book is set in 2005). I don’t remember it being mentioned before this book. (Then again, I haven’t read them all.)

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‘A Good, Solid Introduction’

Score: 4/5

This was nice. Learning another language is always time-consuming, and the best you can hope for sometimes is a book that tells you how to do things and anticipates your questions. This book did well with anticipating my questions - I’d read the explanation, read the code, then think ‘Why did they...?’ only to find they tackle that very question a paragraph or two later.

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‘More Futuristic Infantry Action’

Score: 4/5

I am quite enjoying this series of books. They’re very easy to read, and not too taxing on my brain.

No, I still don’t think future infantry will work like that, but so what?

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‘Optimism In A Book’

Score: 5/5

Hans Rosling’s TED Talk was the first TED Talk I ever saw, and was (I think) one of the first they ever released. I’ve watched other talks by him (TED and non-TED) and he always brought insight and warmth to what could easily have been dry statistics.

This book collects some of those insights, with some great anecdotes. There are some hard stories in there too, but overall it’s a description of the world as it is today plus a positive outlook for the future.

Well worth reading to understand the world as it is, not how we think it is or want it to be.

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‘Series Keeps Getting Better’

Score: 4/5

Another very enjoyable book in this series.

And yes, I still have questions over some of the physics, and a bunch of ‘Why don’t they...?’, but it was still fun.

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‘Series Back On Track’

Score: 4/5

I didn’t much enjoy this series’ foray into different characters in a different country, so I enjoyed this move back to the known characters and settings.

But it’s better than that. I wasn’t overly fond of the H2G2 references popping up everywhere (and I say that as a big H2G2 fan), but the plot and pace felt much more compelling than previous novels in the series.

Hope it keeps up!

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