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Old 6th May 2015, 05:09 AM   #121
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I picked up a compendium of Paul McAuley's Confluence at the world con in London last autumn.

It was originally published as a trilogy in the 90s, with beautiful covers by Jim Burns. I read the first book, really enjoyed its very far future setting and scenarios, but due to circumstances I didn't get the next two volumes, and I've always wanted to get hold of the ones with the Burns covers… but never managed that, and because I wanted to finish reading the story, I got this copy cheap at the con, so now I'm reading it, and it's been fun. Just getting to the final mystery revelation climax.

One of my favourite sf authors. Reliably sound.
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Old 17th May 2015, 05:24 AM   #122
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1864 by buk-sweinty, I'm a member of the continental wars society(we study European wars between 1815 and 1914)so any new books in English on these wars are welcomed.
I'm also reading "a box of sand" the first modern English language book on the italo-ottoman war of 1911. And a osprey book-early agean armies 5000bce to 1450bce.
I'm also re-reading a few David gemmel fantasy novels,been reading and re-reading them for years,never get bored.
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Old 17th May 2015, 07:30 AM   #123
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I'm writing and article on Percy Fawcett so I've been doing some research:
David Grann's The Lost City of Z, about the 'lost city' Fawcett sought; George Dyot's Man Hunting in the Jungle about his farcical attempt to find Fawcett; Brazilian Adventure by Peter Fleming (brother of Ian) about the even more poorly organised expedition he was on (the expedition split into rival groups and raced each other home) and Robert Churchward's aptly named Wilderness of Fools.
The main reference is Lost Trails, Lost Cities the collection of Fawcett's papers edited by his surviving son Brian.
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Last edited by catsmate; 17th May 2015 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 17th May 2015, 02:40 PM   #124
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The Borgias and their enemies - Christopher Hibbert
The Last Battle - Cornelius Ryan
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Old 17th May 2015, 03:42 PM   #125
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David Grann's The Lost City of Z:

I read it several years ago. Had not heard of Fawcett prior to that. What's your take on him?
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Old 17th May 2015, 06:30 PM   #126
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I finally got around to reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight - Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. It's the first of the Dragonlance series. It's way cheesy, and full of outdated D&D cliches, but it's fun, in a thumb-in-bum-mind-in-neutral kind of way.

Some people read Mills & Boon to relax, I read D&D tie-ins.
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Old 18th May 2015, 12:52 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
David Grann's The Lost City of Z:

I read it several years ago. Had not heard of Fawcett prior to that. What's your take on him?
Tricky. He was very much a man of his time. Certainly Fawcett had mystical leanings, believed in Atlantis, psychics and other nonsense but he was also a useful explorer.
I suspect he died with the others pretty soon after the last message.
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Old 18th May 2015, 01:03 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
David Grann's The Lost City of Z:

I read it several years ago. Had not heard of Fawcett prior to that. What's your take on him?
Yes, it was an interesting book - I got it out of the library several years ago.

Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Tricky. He was very much a man of his time. Certainly Fawcett had mystical leanings, believed in Atlantis, psychics and other nonsense but he was also a useful explorer.
I suspect he died with the others pretty soon after the last message.
What I remember of the book is that the highlighted part is very true...
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Old 19th May 2015, 05:10 AM   #129
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Yes, it was an interesting book - I got it out of the library several years ago.



What I remember of the book is that the highlighted part is very true...
How as I have an actual keyboard rather than a phone I'll expand.
Percy Fawcett bought into several of the then common beliefs; the reality of Atlantis, the existence of psychic phenomena and ghosts and was a follower of Helena Blavatsky's Theosophical movement.
Fawcett wrote (in his book Lost Trails, Lost Cities) that "the connection of Atlantis with parts of what is now Brazil is not to be dismissed contemptuously, and belief in it -- with or without scientific corroboration -- affords explanations for many problems which otherwise are unsolved mysteries."

He was also convinced his eldest son Jack was a reincarnated spirit destined to become some kind of messiah, an event predicted by Buddhist mystics. Fawcett wrote in Occult Review:
Quote:
"One morning at breakfast on the verandah a deputation of soothsayers and Buddhists asked for an audience… I was told I was about to become the father of a son whose appearance was minutely described, the reincarnation of an advanced spirit, and my wife and I had been especially selected…..the child would have a mole on the instep of the right foot, and his toes in place of a sliding scale in size would run in pairs. He would be born on Buddha's anniversary, 19th May. This date was a month beyond the time anticipated. A remarkable feature about the boy, not shared by his brother or sister, is a slight obliquity of his eyes."
He'd been given by the writer (and follow occult enthusiast) Sir Henry Rider Haggard a 22cm black basalt idol which he (Haggard) had supposedly acquired in Brazil. This was a factor in Fawcett's seventh and eighth expeditions. Fawcett wrote of it;
Quote:
"I could think of only one way of learning the secret of the stone image, and that was by means of psychometry -- a method that may evoke scorn by many people but is widely accepted by others who have managed to keep their minds free from prejudice."
The psychic supposedly told Fawcett of "a large irregularly shaped continent stretching from the north coast of Africa across to South America... Then I see volcanoes in violent eruptions, flaming lava pouring down their sides, and the whole land shakes with a mighty rumbling sound... The voice says: 'The judgment of Atlanta will be the fate of all who presume to deific power!' I can get no definite date of the catastrophe, but it was long prior to the rise of Egypt, and has been forgotten -- except, perhaps, in myth."

However Fawcett was also a very capable explorer, his work on the Bolivia/Peru/Brazil border issue in 1906-8 was well done and significantly relieved international tensions there. And that's despite the unpopularity of the RGS in Brazil.

Some of Fawcett's claims, the giant snake and the canine/feline creature he allegedly saw were considered dubious. But an anaconda of that size isn't impossible, there is fossil evidence of such, and the creature he saw could have been the elusive short-eared Zorro.

Certainly he was refreshingly free of the attitudes of many European explorers and got on well with, and was respected by, the indigenous peoples.
Fawcett’s achievements tend to be overshadowed by the story of his disappearance but he was recognised for his work, published in the RGS’s Geographical Journal and in 1916 he received the RGS Founders Gold Medal for his work in mapping South America.
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Old 19th May 2015, 01:05 PM   #130
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Thanks Catsmate
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Old 2nd June 2015, 10:19 AM   #131
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Scott Newhall's The Eppleton Hall: Being a True and Faithful Narrative of the Remarkable Voyage of the Last Tyne River Steam Sidewheel Paddle Tug Afloat — Newcastle-upon-Tyne to San Francisco, 1969–1970.
It's about a group of people taking the aforementioned steam tug (built in 1914) across the Atlantic, down through the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal and along a stretch of the Pacific coast of North America.
18,000km in a side-wheel paddle-steamer that was designed for purely coastal work...
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Old 2nd June 2015, 11:22 AM   #132
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Is this a case of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread water?
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Old 2nd June 2015, 11:25 AM   #133
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Originally Posted by xterra View Post
Is this a case of fools rushing in where angels fear to tread water?
Mostly amateurs, with a couple of rather elderly steam engineers, a one-legged captain and a newspaper owner.
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Old 4th June 2015, 01:10 PM   #134
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Mark Stone's rather good "Doctor How" series. Linkhttp://doctorhow.tv/
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Old 7th June 2015, 09:14 AM   #135
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just finished reading Mark Twains, Tom Sawyer. I have seen several movies versions, but never read the book. The same goes for Huck Finn which I plan on reading next.
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Old 8th June 2015, 09:43 AM   #136
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I'm reading"messenger of death,captain Nolan and the charge of the light brigade" Nolan was the man who carried the fate full message from raglan to Lucan,he also waved towards the wrong guns.
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Old 9th June 2015, 06:00 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by skeptichaggis View Post
I'm reading"messenger of death,captain Nolan and the charge of the light brigade" Nolan was the man who carried the fate full message from raglan to Lucan,he also waved towards the wrong guns.
I remember him from Flashman and the Great Game.
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Old 9th June 2015, 06:10 PM   #138
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
I remember him from Flashman and the Great Game.
Flashman is awesome. Like,just awesome. I've got all the books. Have you read the one gmf wrote a few years before he died. Flashman on the march set in abysinnia in 1865,its pretty good.
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Old 10th June 2015, 05:31 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by skeptichaggis View Post
Flashman is awesome. Like,just awesome. I've got all the books. Have you read the one gmf wrote a few years before he died. Flashman on the march set in abysinnia in 1865,its pretty good.
They're all worth reading, filled with historical detail but also damn fine books.


I've just started Kerry Greenwood’s Tamam Shud: The Somerton Man Mystery, her account of the mysterious corpse discovered on a beach near Adelaide in December of 1948. The man's identity, his reason for being in Australia and the manner of his death have never been identified despite decades of investigation and speculation.

I'm also attempting to find some decent material about Julie D'Aubigny/La Maupin, the hard drinking, gambling, bisexual duellist and opera singer of late seventeenth century France, for an article I'm composing.
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Old 11th June 2015, 12:34 PM   #140
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Just started "Days of Rage" by Bryan Burrough,about the "Revolutionary Armies"(The Weather Underground,the SLA, etc) that tried to start a guerilla war in the US in the 1970's...and failed miserably. A strong reminder that political ideology is just as dangerous in leading people to insane acts of violence as religious ideology.
Burrough admits a reason he wrote the book was that he feels there is a tendacy to glamourize and romaticise these groups,and wants to remind people in the end they accomplished nothing but killing a lot of people, most of them innocent. And the the leaders of these groups were pretty much just plain crazy.
All in all, a worthy sucessor to his "Public Enemies" the best book about the 1930's Dillenger era outlaws.
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Old 17th June 2015, 03:11 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
I finally got around to reading Dragons of Autumn Twilight - Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis. It's the first of the Dragonlance series. It's way cheesy, and full of outdated D&D cliches, but it's fun, in a thumb-in-bum-mind-in-neutral kind of way.

Some people read Mills & Boon to relax, I read D&D tie-ins.
Yeah, I liked the original trilogy, must give a reread some time.

Currently on the Grapes of Wrath, again. The tale of the Joad family fleeing the events of the Dust Bowl in the 30s seems just as relevant today with the tide of refugees and migrants fleeing from war, disaster and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia.
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Old 17th June 2015, 06:49 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
They're all worth reading, filled with historical detail but also damn fine books.


I've just started Kerry Greenwood’s Tamam Shud: The Somerton Man Mystery, her account of the mysterious corpse discovered on a beach near Adelaide in December of 1948. The man's identity, his reason for being in Australia and the manner of his death have never been identified despite decades of investigation and speculation.

I'm also attempting to find some decent material about Julie D'Aubigny/La Maupin, the hard drinking, gambling, bisexual duellist and opera singer of late seventeenth century France, for an article I'm composing.
Currently Goddess by Kelly Gardiner about the aforementioned bisexual opera star and duellist.
Lots of gaps in her life, just begging to appear in our ongoing Doctor Who RPG campaign.
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Old 17th June 2015, 10:39 AM   #143
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I have been listening to a great reading from Librivox.org of Erskine Childer's Riddle of the Sands.

i read the paper book some time ago, and enjoyed it immensely. I am finding that this recording is as good as the book, or maybe even a bit better in places. The reader is superb.
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Old 18th June 2015, 06:44 PM   #144
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Originally Posted by commandlinegamer View Post
Yeah, I liked the original trilogy, must give a reread some time.
How old were you when you first read it? It might not stand up to your recollection.
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Old 18th June 2015, 11:13 PM   #145
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The Golden Years of Science Fiction: The Sixth Series ed. by Asimov and Greenberg (stories from 1949/50).........
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Old 20th June 2015, 03:15 AM   #146
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Just One Damned Thing After Another by Jodi Taylor, the first book in the Chronicles of St Mary's.

Like Doctor How this was a gift and has far exceeded by expectations. An excellent novel (and what looks like a great series) about a bunch of near future academic historians who can engage in real field research via time travel (yes there's a theme in my reading).
While it may seem similar to the Oxford Series by Connie Willis, Taylor's writing is lighter and more amusing, though she's still capable of surprising twists. And her first person protagonist, Dr. Madeleine Maxwell, is an excellent and well drawn character somewhat reminiscent of Benny Summerfield.

Quote:
A story of history, time travel, love, friendship and tea.
Meet the disaster-magnets at the St Mary's Institute of Historical Research as they ricochet around history, observing, documenting, drinking tea and, if possible, not dying.
Follow the catastrophe-curve from eleventh-century London to World War I, and from the Cretaceous Period to the destruction of the Great Library at Alexandria.
Discover History – The New Sex!
Highly recommended.
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As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces to the right which men give, "concede," to each other. If the right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to themselves.
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Old 20th June 2015, 03:51 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
How old were you when you first read it? It might not stand up to your recollection.
c. 20.
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Old 20th June 2015, 12:11 PM   #148
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Just got from amazon "the Crimean war at sea" and a book about south Africa in ww1 "the horns of the beast" also I just got the DVD of the Danish war series "1864"
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Old 22nd June 2015, 05:42 PM   #149
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Just started Dear America: Letters Home from Vietnam

by Bernard Edelman
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Old 23rd June 2015, 04:21 AM   #150
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A mixed bag.
Still reading Jodi Taylor's excellent Chronicles of St. Mary's series.
Tom Franklin's Hell at the Breech a fascinating story of guerrilla warfare in rural 1890's Alabama.
British Fascist Antisemitism and Jewish Responses, 1932-40 by Daniel Tilles
The Liberation of the Camps - The End of the Holocaust and Its Aftermath by Dan Stone
London's Leonardo: The Life and Work of Robert Hooke by Jim Bennett and Michael Cooper
Failure Of German Logistics During The German Ardennes Offensive Of 1944 by Major James Kennedy
Hirohito's War: The Pacific War, 1941-1945 by Francis Pike
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Old 23rd June 2015, 12:34 PM   #151
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
A mixed bag.
<snip>
[i]Failure Of German Logistics During The German Ardennes Offensive Of 1944[/
Were they still using horses then? Or was it just allied air superiority, an aversion to standardization, and little materiel to use in the first place?
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link is 2015 data (2013 Data below):
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Old 24th June 2015, 03:36 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Were they still using horses then? Or was it just allied air superiority, an aversion to standardization, and little materiel to use in the first place?
All of the above. No standardisation, especially of trucks, hurt them with the need to maintain so many disparate vehicles (many pretty poor quality to begin with).
The shortages, especially of fuel hampered things greatly; as did the Allied efforts to deny them use of supply dumps in the areas overrun. Plus poor German intelligence meant they missed a couple of dumps they could have used.
The decision to move maintenance depots back to Germany proper (in '43 and '44) caused a gap in the provision of services as the depots were reestablished. This meant that many units in the Ardennes Offensive would be without sufficient motor vehicles for the attack, forcing them to use horses and wagons or use bicycles for mobility. In fact in the build-up for the offensive, the Oberkommando Wehrmacht restructured units from motorised to horse-drawn or bicycle or leg infantry due to lack of fuel and usable vehicles.

Based on various sources Kennedy asserts (and I'd accept this) that overall, whil Germany reached the highest levels in war production by the summer of 1944, these were negated by the Allied landings in Normandy, which allowed Allied air forces to position themselves closer to German industrial sites.
The Allies then increased their strategic bombing, which caused German production to decline for the rest of the year. In addition, the loss of access to key raw materials was starting to degrade certain areas of war production. Thus Germany started consuming large amounts of it's stockpile of strategic raw material reserves. On 3 September 1944, Production Minister Albert Speer estimated that the remaining reserves would last through the end of 1945.
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As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces to the right which men give, "concede," to each other. If the right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to themselves.
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Old 25th June 2015, 02:27 AM   #153
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After finishing the Dragonlance series, I've gone back to the Forgotten Realms to read Elminster. The first book is interesting - though it does have one almost-rape scene that made me raise an eyebrow. I liked it enough to buy the second one.
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Old 25th June 2015, 01:41 PM   #154
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OK I've finished the Chronicles of St. Mary's series, five novels and three additional short stories, and they're excellent. A good mix of dark humour, historical detail and decent plotting. With lots of tea...
Thoroughly recommended.
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As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces to the right which men give, "concede," to each other. If the right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to themselves.
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Old 10th July 2015, 05:10 AM   #155
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Just starting Stross's latest Laundry novel; The Annihilation Score. This one is from Mo's perspective.
Quote:
Dr. Mo O'Brien is an intelligence agent at the top secret government agency known as 'the Laundry'. When occult powers threaten the realm, they'll be there to clean up the mess - and deal with the witnesses.

But the Laundry is recovering from a devastating attack and when average citizens all over the country start to develop supernatural powers, the police are called in to help. Mo is appointed as official police liaison, but in between dealing with police bureaucracy, superpowered members of the public and disgruntled politicians, Mo discovers to her horror that she can no longer rely on her marriage, nor on the weapon that has been at her side for eight years of undercover work, the possessed violin known as 'Lecter'.

Also, a mysterious figure known as Dr Freudstein has started sending threatening messages to the police, but who is he and what is he planning?
Excerpt.
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As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces to the right which men give, "concede," to each other. If the right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to themselves.
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Old 10th July 2015, 08:15 AM   #156
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I'm reading ospreys books on Garibaldi and the mongol invasions of japan. I'm also reading "give them a Holly the charge"about the battle of inker man
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Old 10th July 2015, 11:40 AM   #157
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I'm now reading Black Jack Justice: Dead Men Run, the second Black Jack Justice novel.

A great pastiche of the hard-boiled detective genre, with a duo of detectives; Jack Justice and Trixie Dixon, girl detective.

I love the banter.
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Old 10th July 2015, 12:00 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Just starting Stross's latest Laundry novel; The Annihilation Score. This one is from Mo's perspective.

Excerpt.
Ah, thanks for the heads up, I hadn't spotted when it was out. I have read all the other ones, but am still not sure what to make of the series and whether it is still played for laughs.

I'm just reading the latest Neal Asher Polity book (Dark Intelligence) good brainless fun in the style of his other Polity books.

I always imagine him as a Tebbit Tory, though and in some books that is noticeable. Luckily it isn't too strong in the Polity series.
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http://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/health-data.htm
link is 2015 data (2013 Data below):
UK 8.5% of GDP of which 83.3% is public expenditure - 7.1% of GDP is public spending
US 16.4% of GDP of which 48.2% is public expenditure - 7.9% of GDP is public spending
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Old 10th July 2015, 01:37 PM   #159
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Originally Posted by jimbob View Post
Ah, thanks for the heads up, I hadn't spotted when it was out. I have read all the other ones, but am still not sure what to make of the series and whether it is still played for laughs.
Rather dark humour. The start of the book coincides with the last one but from Mo's perspective. Then things get odd as CNG continues to progress.
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As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces to the right which men give, "concede," to each other. If the right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to themselves.
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Old 11th July 2015, 07:10 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by catsmate View Post
Just starting Stross's latest Laundry novel; The Annihilation Score. This one is from Mo's perspective.

Excerpt.
Thanks to spending rather more time in an airport that I really wished, I've finished it. Excellent as usual. A good mix of characters, interesting change of viewpoint (not much Bob), reasonable plotline, lots of opportunities for paranoia and an excellent narrative on how people react to the beginning of the stars becoming right and magic returning to the masses.
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As human right is always something given, it always in reality reduces to the right which men give, "concede," to each other. If the right to existence is conceded to new-born children, then they have the right; if it is not conceded to them, as was the case among the Spartans and ancient Romans, then they do not have it. For only society can give or concede it to them; they themselves cannot take it, or give it to themselves.
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