Arr! Do You Speak Pirate?
James C. Rocks [2019-10-31]

 Arr! Do You Speak Pirate?
Do you really love film? Do you love to listen to music? Do you love eBooks, eComics or, for lack of a better word, eArt? Or are you a pirate? Generally speaking, I do love such things though I'm not much of a comic or art buff but I don't pirate it. I haven't always taken that point of view; when I was much younger, I would visit the library, borrow a vinyl LP, record it on tape and then listen to it. I would lend those tapes to others, why not? But public awareness campaigns, technological improvements and other factors have changed my view.

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On Sprinting
James C. Rocks [2019-08-13]

 On Sprinting
As a budding writer I would spend many hours sitting at my computer writing things that might be considered irrelevant to my core goal of actually writing a novel. I end up distracted, not only by other things I could do instead of write (emails, Facebook, the internet in general) but often by relatively unimportant tasks that can still be classed as writing. Until I took an interest in "sprinting" it seemed to me that I was simply be wearing myself out for no particular gain.

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Book Review: "Red Sparrow" by Jason Matthews (2013)
James C. Rocks [2019-07-24]

 Book Review:

"Red Sparrow", the debut novel by ex-CIA operative Jason Matthews (I'm told his wife is also ex-CIA) is the first of a trilogy featuring the beautiful Russian spy, Dominika Egorov, and American CIA operative, Nathaniel "Nate" Nash. The book was made into a film of the same name in 2018, starring Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton. This review concerns the book.

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Giving Something A Fair Review (2019)
James C. Rocks [2019-07-21]

 Giving Something A Fair Review (2019)
I've seen enough reviews in my lifetime to realise that reviewers are often heavily swayed by their emotions and, whilst there will always be an aspect of personal preference, I felt some sort of objective method of comparison was necessary. This article outlines the self-developed method I now use and the categories I use to do them and all of the reviews on this site follow this method. I gave this idea some thought and my intent to create a consistent approach to reviews that is entertaining yet that little bit more objective.

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Brexit: A Letter To My MP
James C. Rocks [2018-11-12]

 Brexit: A Letter To My MP
I was one of the 48% of those who voted to Remain and, though I sometimes have despaired of some of the things said by those in my camp, I am still a Remainer. A relative "know nothing" beforehand, far more interested in science than politics, the 2016 referendum changed everything especially since it has become increasingly clear that I know a lot more than most. On that day, that one fateful day, I was asked to become a politician, a diplomat and an economic specialist for one day. Of course, I couldn't become that but I did do some research and, very briefly, voted remain for philosophical, economic, immigration reasons but mostly because there hasn't been a single war in the Eurozone since the end of WW2.

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'Game Changer' by Douglas E. Richards, A Very Personal Review
James C. Rocks [2018-10-20]

 'Game Changer' by Douglas E. Richards, A Very Personal Review

"Game Changer" is a book written by Douglas E. Richards, someone I would normally have considered extremely tech savvy and, until reading this book, one of my very favourite authors. I do not lie when I say literally devoured every book of his I could get my hands on; superb writing, good grammar and an incisive ability to create suspenseful situations. And then, completely out of the blue, it wasn't. I detested this book so much so that I doubt I could ever read one of Richards' books again.

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Science In Science Fiction
James C. Rocks [2018-10-20]

 Science In Science Fiction
Science fiction is easy enough to write but not necessarily well and old bookshops (and now, I suppose, the equivalent virtual stores) are full of often exciting but essentially daft space literature. Whilst some liberties can, arguably must, be taken, having chosen to write science fiction the author needs to reign in his or her excesses and confine their tale to something more believable. I would argue a science fiction writer has to have a good grasp of what is or is not possible, not necessarily now but in the future and, more than that, it has to be reasonable. Hollywood space films have conditioned us to expect scenes of rolling asteroids, fighters swooping in and out of danger, manoeuvring around each other in aerial style dogfights, missiles streaking after ships in long curving paths and, of course, the classic sounds of laser and explosions. None of these can really happen in space and a science fiction author should consider such things carefully before using such tropes.

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First 'Iron Man 3' Now 'Predator' ... Somebody Stop Him!
James C. Rocks [2017-12-15]

 First 'Iron Man 3' Now 'Predator' ... Somebody Stop Him!

I am a huge fan of Marvel's "Iron Man" film featuring Robert Downey Jnr as Tony Stark/Iron Man and, though it was not as good, 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!

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Paul Rocks, 10 Years Later
James C. Rocks [2017-10-30]

 Paul Rocks, 10 Years Later

Ten years ago, Tuesday 30th October 2007, my oldest brother Paul was interred after taking GHB a well-known recreational and date rape drug. Unfortunately, he had also been drinking heavily and once he took the drug I guess his body just stopped.

The funeral was humanist and was extremely well handled by the celebrant, showing respect to those of faiths other than my own (which happens to be none) and I was one of those who spoke.

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Recent Trends in Sci-Fi Books
James C. Rocks [2017-08-19]

 Recent Trends in Sci-Fi Books
It seems to me that the science fiction bookverse (for lack of a better term) is awash with books that seem to tell the same basic story, that Earth is under attack (again) and that evil dastardly aliens are afoot. Whilst I understand that an author wants their readers to care about their characters and their story (if only to make them buy the sequels) I find this kind of scenario unadventurous and frustrating. I've read a lot of science fiction in my time and it is possible to get your readers to care even if the Earth is not in immediate danger of destruction.

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An Unpopular Review (L Ron Hubbard's "Battlefield Earth")
James C. Rocks [2017-06-08]

 An Unpopular Review (L Ron Hubbard's It is said that opinions are like ****holes, we all have one but nothing about possessing ones means you're right, not unless you can justify it. With that in mind I am reviewing a book I happen to like by an author I happen to revile, especially the misbegotten abortion he spawned. I'm not saying it's a good book, just that I like it for various reasons.

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The Passion of The Christ
James C. Rocks [2016-09-01]

 The Passion of The Christ

I genuinely had no intention of going to see Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ". Several people had opined on how bad (gory, violent, bloody) the film was and I did not want to contribute to the coffers of Mr Gibson whose then behaviour I had been viewing with some alarm. The offer of free tickets by some local churches apparently aware and happy that many of those applying for them were atheist or agnostic changed that and both I and a friend set off to see it.

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Learning To Write, Part 2
James C. Rocks [2016-03-31]

 Learning To Write, Part 2
In the last article, I dealt with mastery of your chosen language. This article discusses the basic inspiration which we gain from a variety of sources such as events, people, books, movies, television. My own arose from book series, several well-written and one not so much and from that, I could imagine better and whilst I may never fulfil that dream it gave me something to aim for. The next requirement is dealt with, in the following article.

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Learning To Write, Part 1
James C. Rocks [2016-03-30]

 Learning To Write, Part 1
Writing may not be as easy as it appears at first glance. This article, the first of three, starts the discussion of what I think are those essential skills, the first of which is a good understanding of the language in which you choose to write. It then goes on to discuss ways in which you can improve your language skills. The next requirement is dealt with, in the following article.

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The Continuing Journey Of A New Author, An Introduction
James C. Rocks [2016-03-01]

 The Continuing Journey Of A New Author, An Introduction
This article briefly introduces me, my work, my background and my website. It outlines (at time of writing) my progress towards the publishing of my first and second novels in "The Abyssal Void War" series and briefly mentions other things to be found here including reviews and opinion pieces.

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"The Jesus Mysteries", Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy
James C. Rocks [2016-02-01]

 Despite being an atheist, I had always accepted the existence of a man called Jesus Christ as actual but Freke and Gandy's "Jesus Mysteries" forced me to re-evaluate my view. Although I did not believe Jesus was the son of any god, I had envisaged him a s real, perhaps a Jewish leader, perhaps a "freedom-fighter", perhaps wise, perhaps soft-spoken and the kind of man around which legends are built ... a kind of early-day Robin Hood if you like. In their book, the authors reveal the mystery religions, whose various dying & resurrecting godmen they refer to as "Osiris-Dionysus", as showing a great degree of similarity in their multi-level teachings that were interpreted more literally by the uninitiated and allegorically by the initiated.

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Battlestar Galactica, Fourth & Final Series Finale
James C. Rocks [2010-01-01]

 Battlestar Galactica, Fourth & Final Series Finale

An absolutely appalling ending to a series that had once held so much promise, as it came back to bite us in the "ass" in the worst possible way. There are a lot of people out there who still like BSG and despite its brilliant start, I'm not one of them. I kid you not, if you love good TV, good storytelling, the way I do the ending of this series will make you spit, swear, stomp and generally want to smash things.

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In Appreciation of E E 'Doc' Smith
James C. Rocks [2010-01-01]

 In Appreciation of E E 'Doc' Smith
From the "Lensman" series, through "Skylark" and, a rarity these days, even some of his standalone novels, I have read a lot of Edward Elmer Smith's (better known to his fans as "Doc") material. Yes, he had his flaws, most notably his politics (though they were probably a feature of the times as much as anything else), but he had his strengths too. E. E. "Doc" Smith was a brilliant writer, not so much in a literary sense, but one capable of writing science fiction that spanned solar systems, galaxies and universes. Though his philosophies represented a bygone age, his technology was imaginative and carried me, as a young boy, into realms I had never before visited. There have, undoubtedly, been writers of his calibre (and far better) since but I am not sure anyone ever had as much scope in their stories.

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Giving Something A Fair Review
James C. Rocks [2009-01-01]

 Giving Something A Fair Review
I've seen enough reviews in my lifetime to realise that reviewers are often heavily swayed by their emotions and, whilst there will always be an aspect of personal preference, I felt some sort of objective method of comparison was necessary. This article outlines the self-developed method I now use and the categories I use to do them and all of the reviews on this site follow this method. I gave this idea some thought and my intent to create a consistent approach to reviews that is entertaining yet that little bit more objective.

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Quotes

I'm sorry, Dave. I'm afraid I can't do that.

HAL (2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968)

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