Review: The Martian

The Martian
The Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The measure of a good book is how much you want to read it (or in this case listen to the book – my copy came from Audible). I looked forward to the next installment to find out how our astronaut (Mark Watney) would survive being abandoned on Mars.

The book is quite technical and there is a lot of science in there. Most of it seems plausible and you should perhaps be more concerned about the number of times luck is on the side of Mark Watney than the accuracy of the science. The book does a fairly good job of exploring how it would feel to be left behind and to be the only living organism on the entire planet. There is plenty of Martian geography in the story and even reference to old Mars rovers that are not longer in use.

I would like to know what happens after the story – there were a number of plot lines that I felt would lead somewhere only to be abandoned at the end. The audio book is extremely well read and around 11 hours in length making it a good buy. I would recommend this book without hesitation.

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Update – my daily speed tests @virginmedia

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I posted a short while ago because I had been experiencing poor speeds with Virginmedia on my 50Mb connection.

Over the course of this week I realised I couldn’t remote into my home connection and realised I had been given a new IP address.  As this rarely happens I wondered if this had fixed my poor speeds.

It’s early days yet and whilst not perfect it’s great to have a useable connection back in the evenings.  You can see from my speed test results above that there is a noticeable difference in the connection speeds at peak times.

The utilisation fault referred to in my last post wasn’t due to be fixed until November so I’m not sure what has changed,  hence the uncertainty over my recently improved speeds.  My ego would like to think that my efforts on social media made a difference but it was probably just a scheduled upgrade.

I won’t be posting any more daily speed tests unless there is a deterioration in my download speeds again.

Of course this doesn’t excuse the act of over-selling capacity in my area, or the fact that so many people all over the country aren’t getting their promised connection speeds with Virgin.   Competition is the best motivator for companies to improve and people experiencing poor speeds need to be vocal about them if anything is to be done.

Review: Blake’s 7: Lucifer

Blake's 7: Lucifer
Blake’s 7: Lucifer by Paul Darrow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is really mostly for us ageing Blake’s 7 fans. The book starts with the story of Avon and his current location. Throughout the novel (which is about the right length and easy to read) the story explains a little about the Quartet which rules after the fall of Servelan and the federation. We find out how Avon escaped death (I’ve waited 30 years to know how this happened!) and what he is up to now. The character of Kerr Avon is in keeping with the tv series and the writing (which is surprisingly good for Paul Darrow) is also in keeping with the series.

Perhaps only for hardcore fans of the TV series but a good complement for my growing collection of audioplays etc from Big Finish.

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