Spartacus : Gods of the arena

First things first, this is an awesome show. Awesome! Anyone who says different is just plain wrong!

When I first started watching Spartacus : Blood and Sand I have to say that I wasn’t overly impressed. Obviously influenced by the style and look of 300 it seemed to be a show that existed only to show glossy violence and sex. And boy did it ever show that. But after the first few episodes it developed into a very enjoyable, almost addictive, show. But then its star was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and so film making was delayed as he underwent treatment. And so instead of a second season we got a prequel. Spartacus : gods of the arena. Don’t be fooled by that name in the title, this has no Spartacus as all, instead it tells the story of how John Hannah’s Lentulus Batiatus comes to run the family ludus, and how Crixus becomes a gladiator.

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Shadow of Kilimanjaro

Baraba is sent to accompany a German family of missionaries to Africa. He poses as their student, but in reality he has been sent by Lady Ada Lovelace in order to investigate the possibility of the dis-souled near the famed mountain of Kilimanjaro. Accompanying Mr and Mrs Rebmann, and their cousin Clare, he is there when a strange Englishman shows up, in his range rover. Bernard Bourne has been living in Africa for some time, and so can provide them with some much needed supplies. He brings Clare to his home in order to pick up some of these supplies, along with the servant Baraba. But Bourne is not as altruistic as he may seem.

The Fighter

IMDb ; Metacritic
Micky Ward is the youngest of a large family. All his life he has looked up to his older brother, Dicky, who once knocked down Sugar Ray Leonard in a fight. But Dicky is no longer the “pride of Lowell”, he is now a drug addict who is supposed to be training Micky in his boxing career. He does, however, have the habit of not showing up when he should, and hanging out in crack houses when he should be elsewhere. And now Micky has a chance to make it in the big time, will his family continue to stand in his way?

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Black Dogs

ISBNs: 9781936689026 & 9781936689033
Book One: The House of Diamond – Book Two: The Mountain of Iron

The world was green and grey, balanced on a serrated knife of pine and madrone, stretching as far as the eye could see.

Lyra is fleeing for her life. She has just seen her family massacred by her half-brother and his men. She escaped, more through luck than skill, and is now injured and in alone in the world. But luck is on her side, for a dog-soldier, Sadrao has found her. Loyal and protective, as dog soldiers were designed and created to be, he takes her under his care and brings her on his journey. A journey involving elves, half-elf possible murderers, sorcerers, and a whole heap more of adventure.

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Mad Bad Richard Dadd

Mad Bad Richard Dadd has been commissioned by Sir Thomas to paint a record of their journey through Europe. But travelling from Greece he is visited one night by a strange figure calling himself Osiris. But that is just a name this figure has taken, he is insistent that he is no supernatural character.

Dadd is a real-life character, a famous Victorian painter, and infamously a murderer. This is a possible telling of how he became this murderer.

Tongues of Serpents

ISBN: 9780007256778
book 6 in the Temeraire series

There were few streets in the main port of Sydney which deserved the name, besides the one main thoroughfare, and even that bare packed dirt, lined only with a handful of small and wretched buildings that formed all the permanence of the colony.

Okay, so because it follows on from plot points in the other books I can’t really tell you exactly why William Laurence and Temeraire are off to Australia, you’ll just have to read and find out. But in Australia they are. And one event leads to another and soon they find themselves in the outback, encountering bunyips and god knows what. The problem is that there is no central plot to hang their adventure on. It is just a journey across the outback, with a couple of dragons thrown in. And, well, it is a tad boring in places. Which is a huge disapointment as I’ve really enjoyed all the other books in this series. Okay, so the first more than any of the others, but they were all good fun.

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Brutal women

Author Kameron Hurley has been getting a bit of coverage in the sff-world lately on account of her debut novel God’s War and to tie in with this publicity a collection of her short stories has been released. Many of these have been previously published before, but some have never been seen before. I haven’t read God’s War but it sounds vaguely interesting, I mean, it has been described as bug-punk, that’s got to pique your interest, right? So when I saw this I figured that it’d be nice to get a sampler of her work before lining up another book on Mount TBR. The stories in this collection are:
The short stuff
The Women of Our Occupation
If Women Do Fall they Lie
Holding Onto Ghosts
Wonder Maul Doll
Genderbending at the Madhattered
My Oracles at the End of the World
Once, There Were Wolves
Canticle of the Flesh
In Freedom, Dying
Women and Ladies, Blood and Sand
and a lot are available to read on her site

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Tor’s Best SFF novels of the decade

And how scary is it to hear that we’re a decade into the 2000s? Scary Scary, that’s how Scary Old Man’s War by John Scalzi[1] – 295 votes American Gods by Neil Gaiman – 270 votes The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss – 231 votes Blindsight by Peter Watts – 221 votes Kushiel’s […]

Delusions of gender

How our minds, society, and neurosexism create differences
ISBN: 0393068382 ; Quotes I liked

Suppose a researcher were to tap you on the shoulder and ask you to write down what, according to cultural lore, males and females are like.

Before starting to review this book I have to admit that I am biased in its favour. I hate and despise those “Men are from Mars”-esque books. I’ve never actually read one, but flicking through them as they get catalogued is almost enough to make me puke they are so despicable. So I guess that a debunking of them is bound to appeal to me because it agrees with me. And we all know how happy that makes me :)

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