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review 2019-05-13 11:17
mixed bag
Further Encounters of Sherlock Holmes - George Mann,Philip Purser-Hallard,Andrew Lane,Mark A. Latham,Nick Campbell,James Goss,William Patrick Maynard,Alexandra Martukovich,Roy Gill,Scott Handcock,Guy Adams,Lou Anders,Justin Richards,Philip Marsh

It's like any short story collection, a mixed bag of good and meh.  There are a lot of slightly different takes (an interesting mash of Edgar Rice Burroughs and Conan Doyle in The Snowthorn Terror).


For me none of the stories really stood out exceptionally as very good but neither did they stand out as exceptionally bad (except perhaps "An adventure in three courses", which wasn't as much bad as fairly out of what I would see as Holmesian character).  Several have supernatural or SF elements and I found it an entertaining read.

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review 2018-09-11 10:15
Encounters of Sherlock Holmes - George Mann,Mark Hodder,Paul Magrs,James Lovegrove,Eric Brown,Richard Dinnick,David Barnett,Cavan Scott,Mark Wright,Stuart Douglas,Kelly Hale,Mags L. Halliday,Nick Kyme,Steve Lockley

As always with a set of stories this is a mixed bag, but there's a love of the stories of Sherlock Holmes that comes across from all of the stories.  Little details like the Persian Slipper become stories.  There's mashups from other stories (H G Wells War of the Worlds for example) and they often take an interesting twist.


None of the stories are terribly memorable or made me want to hunt up more by the authors but none were terrible and would suggest to me to avoid those authors.

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review 2018-03-28 22:17
A pedestrian pastiche of a steampunk mystery
Affinity Bridge - George Mann

Fog-enshrouded Victorian London is hardly a safe city in this steampunk thriller.  A “revenant plague” runs rampant through the East End, turning the infected into decaying cannibals.  A mysterious glowing policeman is strangling people to death.  And an airship carrying fifty passengers crashes, yet the clockwork automaton piloting it has vanished without a trace.  To solve these crimes Scotland Yard turns to Sir Maurice Newberry, anthropologist turned Crown investigator.  With the aid of his assistant Veronica Hobbes he apples his intellect (and the occasional fist) towards untangling these mysteries and defeating the Empire’s enemies.


George Mann’s novel is a mystery that evokes the atmospherics of a familiar setting refreshed by its steampunk elements.  Yet the book is hampered by pedestrian writing that turns it into little more than a pastiche of familiar elements.  The plot itself is primarily a rush of events, with character development implied rather than undertaken.  The main protagonist comes across as a pale imitation of Sherlock Homes (must every Victorian detective be an opium addict?), while his relationship with his assistant seems to be little more than a Victorian derivative of the Mulder-Scully dynamic.  It all makes for a book that, while an entertaining read, is not one that has much to distinguish it beyond the many other works in the field.

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review 2016-06-05 00:56
900 Years of Solid Tedium
DOCTOR WHO: TALES OF TRENZALORE: The Eleventh Doctor's Last Stand - Justin Richards,Mark Morris,George Mann,Paul Finch

A collection of short stories about the Doctor's time on the planet Trenzalore. Trenzalore was one of the more audacious conceits of the modern Doctor Who series. Featured in only one episode, The Time of the Doctor, it is implied that the Doctor spent 900 years defending the planet while waiting for his final death, having run out of regenerations. One consequence of this idea is that the Doctor spent about the same amount of time defending Trenzalore as he did Earth. The Doctor was supposedly about 1200 years old at the start of the episode, and he was 236 when he left Gallifrey, that means slightly less than 1000 years defending Earth. It also means that the entire body of Doctor Who adventures: TV, audios, novels, and comic books combined are roughly equal to the length of time he spent on Trenzalore.


Mountains of material could be written about the Doctor's time on Trenzalore, but if these stories are anything to go by it is probably not worth the effort. The stories are not bad, but given the constraints of the short format, the fact that we already know the start and the finish of the Doctor's time on Trenzalore, and the rather dull nature of Trenzalore itself, there is not a whole lot that the stories can accomplish. The stories feature four old enemies of the Doctor taken from the classic days of the series; the Ice Warriors from the 2nd Doctor's time, the Krynoid from the 4th Doctor, the Autons from the 3rd Doctor and subsequent appearances, and finally the Mara from the 5th Doctor. This is not a spoiler as all four are pictured on the book cover.


There are a lot of plot points from the episode that could have been expanded on or explained in this book but were not. Nothing about how the Silence changed from being invaders of Earth to being a religious order. Nothing about the crack in the universe that allowed Clara to contact the Time Lords, only a reference to Handles the Doctor's pet Cyberman head, not even a mention of Tasha Lem and her relationship with the Doctor. The whole thing feels kind of rushed, like they wanted to get something published before Trenzalore was forgotten. I hope in the future we will get more War Doctor material and not more Trenzalore.

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review 2015-02-10 08:53
Doctor Who: Engines of War
Doctor Who: Engines of War - George Mann

Though he only got one long episode and a guest spot in a regular one, the War Doctor seems to have captivated every one. So when I saw this in my library's catalog, I checked it out immediately.


On the planet of Moldox, Cinder and Finch, two of the few humans left not killed or captured by the Daleks, are on patrol trying to destroy as many of the invaders they can. However, a new abomination with a strange weapon fires and Cinder is caught. How stupid she was to attack them on her own! (Finch is forgotten as if he never existed.) Fortunately for her, a blue box hurtles out of the sky and drops a man into her life.

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