Magic - 2011 (Taschen Tear-off Calendars)

5.0 out of 5 stars In some ways, better than the $200 book!, March 14, 2011
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When I ordered this calender, I did not realize that it was a daily. I expected 12 months and 12 pictures. I was delighted to see more than 300 pictures included!

I already own the great big Taschen book that these pictures are taken from. Magic 1400s-1950s
That is an amazing book, but so huge! Well, the size is part of what's great about it, of course, but it is also an obstacle to being able to casually flip through it and spend some time with the art.

This calendar is the solution. We have reprinted here maybe 300 gorgeous pictures in a useful size. Who cares that its a calendar? This is just beautiful artwork.

Anyone who owns the larger book needs this calendar.
Anyone thinking about buying that book, or wishing they could afford it needs this book.
Anyone who wants a dark inspiration in their life should consider expediting the shipping!


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful story, with an agenda., January 28, 2011
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This review is from: Eden (Kindle Edition)
If you discovered an extinct tree growing underneath a glacier in Siberia, would you assume that you had found Eden? Would that be the only theory you seriously entertained?

Ok, even if YOU would, would you believe that an unbiased American scientific research team would have the same reaction?

Of the number of Christians in the U.S., it is a select group who take the Bible as literal truth as opposed to metaphorical. Most who do believe do not believe that there was a literal garden and an Ark etc. I find it stretched credibility past the breaking point to have a group of scientists leap to the conclusion that the author wanted the way that they did.

Readers should be warned that this book has a bias. I don't mind that personally, but many do and would probably appreciate a fair warning.

All of that said, I think the author has an immense talent. The opening pages and final 15% of the book were very very strong. The concepts are wonderful. I do think this story would make a really great movie. The middle 50% of so did, honestly, drag a little bit for me. The scenes back in the States simply did not find a way to be as interesting as those in Siberia.

I look forward to seeing Mr. Merritt grow as an artist, but I worry that he will find an obstacle in his way until he is able to comfortably put himself in the shoes of people who do not believe what he does. It's fine to write a story about Eden itself really existing, but to have everyone blithely leaping to that conclusion upon the flimsiest of evidence suggests that he may be spending too much time in the company of people who believe the same things that he does. Until he can comfortably write about intelligent characters with other viewpoints, he will have limited cross-over appeal with those who do not believe the Bible to be literally true.

Warts and all, I WOULD recommend this book, but caution readers to be ready with a much larger than usual supply of suspension of disbelief. Personally, I think the concept was really cool!

The Frozen Sky

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite short, but magnificent!, January 24, 2011
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This review is from: The Frozen Sky (Kindle Edition)
At 651 locations in length, I hesitate to use the word "novella" to describe The Frozen Sky. "Short story" would be more accurate. I did read it in a single sitting. I would like to see this story continued. As strong as it is in its current form, this only whets your appetite.

I think one of the great effects of the direct-publishing revolution is that it allows for the resuscitation of the novella as a viable art-form.... but this is, as I say, very short.

That said, I really enjoyed it. The imagination on display really impressed me. He created a well thought out and believable world with new ideas and drew me in completely.

I often get really frustrated with science fiction because it tends to simply repeats the same ideas over and over again instead of doing anything that's actually new. That's not the case here. He drew a vivid picture of a place I've never visited before. His style was clean and the tale was well-paced. He knows how to tell a story.

I will be checking out his other work.fantasy

Die Already

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars Stop teasing us, Kipp! :), November 26, 2010
This review is from: Die Already (Kindle Edition)
The atmosphere is so rich in this short story. The author understands horror. He understands pacing. He's strong with detail. It's great to see the author developing so strongly from work to work.

My complaint is that this felt like the beginning of a story that I would really want to read - and then it was over!

Enough short stories. Stop teasing us, and give us a full-length work! ;)

But for those who enjoy atmosphere and darkness - give this one a shot. You won't be disappointed.

The Baron In The Trees

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars One brilliant idea. Is that enough?, October 9, 2010
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This review is from: The Baron In The Trees (Paperback)
The concept behind The Baron in the Trees is brilliant. I'm not so sure that the story itself is.
Readers will find the idea haunts them and follows them around. Could a man really spend his whole life living in the branches of the trees? And what does that mean? Is it a metaphor for a life of intellectualism? Does it mean he died on the day he left the Earth? Is it a rejection of Earthly and mortal matters for the spiritual?

This is left open, and I expect that I will spend years turning the story over in my head and again and again changing my mind about which suits my tastes best.

But I think that the book does have a major flaw. Throughout it's 217 pages we follow the life of the Baron with the eyes of his brother. Most of the events are not exciting, not really. They are not memorable. I won't turn them over in my head. I don't even expect to remember them in a year, with the possible exception of the Baron's final poetic death scene.

The story could have been 20 pages. And I'm sorry to say that, but we have an example here of an author having one brilliant, transcendently brilliant idea, but sadly only the one. I felt that I was meant to spend the rest of the book basking in that idea, and I suppose I did... But any story told in 217 pages which would be no weaker if told in 20 is flawed.

Again, I expect to remember the beginning and the end of this story many years from now, but the middle is fading even now....Wait! Wait!.... and I'm afraid it's gone......

Forbidden The Stars

23 of 31 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are capable of enjoying Sci-Fi, you will love this book!, September 26, 2010
This review is from: Forbidden The Stars (Paperback)
It took a rare level of writing ability to author this book. It's about 100 pages in that it becomes clear who the protagonist is. In any other book, this would be a weakness because we would feel like we were drifting and unable to find a character to grab a hold of. It isn't the case in Forbidden The Stars.

The first hundred or so pages are so full of gigantic revelations that it allows Mr. Daniels to use a story-telling style reminiscent of the 1970 and early 1980 blockbusters; like Close Encounters of the Third Kind, or 2001: A Space Odyssey. It's becoming more and more unusual for a story to take the liberty of having a real first act. More and more we are moving in the direction of beginning the story at the turning point - essentially the start of the second act. There are lots of cheats that authors use to get around the ever-increasingly short attention spans of our audiences. Sometimes we get around to telling the first act later, in flash-backs. However, Valmore Daniels manages to do it the old-fashioned way - and in his hands it works!

In fact, there's something wonderfully old-fashioned about the whole science fiction tale. Alez Manez feels like a character straight out of Gene Roddenberry's original Star Trek. I could imagine Captain Kirk butting heads with him. In a different era, William Gaines would have called on Mr. Daniels to contribute regularly to Weird Science!

The amount of research that obviously went into this is also worth mentioning. The writer demonstrates a top-notch understanding of the science behind what he's talking about, and yet at the same time has obviously read and understood the Popul Vuh.

I really enjoyed this story. I read it in paperback, and as I was finishing, I went and ordered the paperback version of Daniels' Old Fashioned Folk Tale. I only hope it's anywhere near as much fun as this one was.

If I had to point out room for growth, I would say that Alex's character could have used a bit more depth. The story moved along at such a quick pace that his internal changes happened a little too quickly and cleanly. We never really felt grief for his loss. If our Valmore can manage to add that more emotional component to his next work, then we'll really have something that everyone will have to sit up and take notice of!

In the meantime, if you're capable of enjoying Sc-Fi at all, you'll love Forbidden The Stars! fantasy

Thanatos Rising: The Memoirs of Harry Chesterton: Part I

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars "God is considered, by some, to be a verb.", August 24, 2010
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What bothered me most about the protagonist was how little he valued the gift of immortality that was offered to him. Yes, if you want to live forever, you will have to slowly drain other living beings of their energy! How did he think it would work? But imagine what could be accomplished by an immortal? The lack of vision on the part of our Nick was disappointing to say the least. I can only hope that Dr. Blightly will in future show the boy how foolish his instincts have been.... ;)

D.P. uses a wonderfully lush and hypnotic voice to tell this story. It is a pleasure to spend time with. Reminiscent of Peter Ackroyd's fiction First Light, I really enjoy reading his prose. I hope that he stays with this style in his future work. If he does, I will continue to read his books for many years to come!

If I do have serious criticism its that I don't think the plot carried its weight standing next to the atmosphere. It had a difficult job to do, to break through all of that lusciousness, but I think that that needed to be the goal.

I eagerly await the sequel.

Atlantis and the Kingdom of the Neanderthals: 100,000 Years of Lost History

Atlantis and the Kingdom of the Neanderthals: 100,000 Years of Lost History

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful:
4.0 out of 5 stars I was hoping for more about Neanderthals, July 29, 2006

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I loved the book, finished it in a day and a half. I think his basic theory about neanderthals having been the source of much of the knowledge of ancient civilization has a lot of merit.

HOWEVER, so much of the book seems to have little or nothing to do with any of this. He goes on for a long time about Christianity and the Merovingians and I can't tell you what any of that has to do with Neanderthals or Atlantis. It seemed, at times, more like a collection of recent writings than a concerted work.

He spent a lot of time summarizing other books (Which I have already read and are not all of relevance to the point) and not enough giving us anything new.

If he couldn't come up with anything more to say that was new. I would have at least enjoyed it if he had spent some time giving us more, even basic, information on Neanderthals; where they have been found, theories on why they died out (Did they die out?), maybe spend some time comparing and contrasting them physically with humans, discussing how we are related to them and what we may know about when we split off. Perhaps hints in mythology that back up his thesis? The section actually on them (While extraordinarily interesting) was almost unforgivably brief compared to the length of the whole work.

I wanted more neanderthals!!!

Beyond that, he spoke a lot about intuitive knowledge and I thought that this was all very interesting, but had to wonder if it worked against his main thesis. That is to say, he provided us with another explanation for the source of ancient knowledge that didn't require resorting to neanderthals.

I am, however, giving the book 4 stars. The thesis is extremely interresting and revolutionary. It is an enjoyable read. I just wish...well...I would have liked him to talk more about neanderthals and less about Christ and other topics that didn't belong organically in this book.