Thursday, 24 April 2014

Dragon Age: Inquisition out in October

Good news! Dragon Age: Inquisition will be released in October. Huzzah!

That's the 7th for Americans and the 10th for the UK (it's common, though still annoying, for games to be released on that sort of basis).

This is more or less when we were expecting. Once Amazon get their arse in gear and put it up on the UK site I'll pre-order.

Pre-ordering will get you some DLC weapons (NB no DLC companions this time). The Deluxe edition (a GAME exclusive in the UK, which, to be honest, I've decided I'm not remotely tempted by) will get you some unique mounts, more gear, the soundtrack [the most tempting bonus] and some other stuff yet to be announced.

Just before the release date was announced we got the cover reveal. It looks quite nice, and if you look at the gap in the demonic horde you can see a dragon's head. If you make the image negative (I can't take credit for this, some chap on Twitter did it first but I forget who) it's much more apparent, as are the dragon's wings.

Not sure this has been officially confirmed, but it seems that Gwendoline Christie, (who plays Brienne of Tarth in Game of Thrones), will be voicing a character. I don't know who, but that's good news.

Last but not least, along with the cover and release date we got a new trailer, which looks rather good:

So, once Amazon finally puts it up I'll pre-order for the PS3 (there will be graphical differences from that generation to the next, but no gameplay differences). Rather looking forward to it.


Sunday, 13 April 2014

Announcement: Malevolence – Tales From Beyond The Veil

Exciting news, readers. My first traditionally published story will be released as part of the forthcoming ghost story anthology Malevolence – Tales from Beyond the Veil, which includes 23 phantastic tales.

Amongst the other authors are Toby Frost (whose books I've reviewed on this blog, as well as doing a couple of interviews), Ian Whates and Stephen Palmer, as well as the very talented Jo Zebedee, J Scott Marryat and fellow F1 enthusiast Ken O'Brien.

The book will be released in late May. The pre-order price (print) is £7.99, compared to the post-release price of £9.49, so do pre-order directly from the publisher, Tickety Boo Press.

You can also save money if you buy a bundle of 3, buying Malevolence together with After Midnight by Joseph Rubas and Goblin Moon (Mask and Dagger 1) by Teresa Edgerton (all 3 cost £21 if pre-ordered compared to the normal combined price of £28.47).

Saxon & Khan is the title of my own small piece of Malevolence, and is both the first ghost story and the first tale set in the real world I've written. I'm also reasonably confident it's the only ghost story to have a budgerigar called Gandhi in it.


Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Review: Seven Elements That Have Changed The World, by John Browne

It's slightly unusual for me to read a science book, but this seemed fairly interesting. It looks at, unsurprisingly, seven elements (iron, carbon, gold, silver, uranium, titanium and silicon) and their impact on the world. The author, John Browne, was a bigwig with BP.

Each element gets its own chapter, which progresses more or less in chronological order of use (both within chapters and between them, so silicon, being the most 'modern' element is naturally last). There's an interesting mix of history, economics and chemistry.

I particularly found the gold and silver chapters interesting (especially the negative spiral of Bunker Hunt's enormous hoard of silver), but carbon dragged a little.

As someone born in the first generation to really have computer games, mobile phones and the internet it was also interesting to read about the hopes for uranium, with nuclear-powered cars and trains anticipated but never achieved.

I do feel certain bits were missed that could have been included. For example, Henry Ford gets a mention (fair enough), but Benz and Daimler do not. There was an interesting piece about glass-making in Venice and telescopes, but glass and its magnifying powers also had a huge impact on chemistry and biology. The ability to zoom in allowed for clearer images of very small things, and glass being chemically neutral enabled scientists to use it to experiment on other things, but neither of these aspects was referred to.

The author makes use of his own personal experience of and interest in various related matters. This is a double-edged sword. The Venice glass-making piece was worth reading, but a little more science and a little less personal interest would have made the book better.

I was also mildly amused to read in the conclusion the author criticise those who pollute [counting carbon dioxide as pollution], given he was a bigwig with BP. I'm not a green but that's a bit rich. On a similar note, too many of the photos were the author with a politician/businessman/scientist instead of relevant to the subject.

There was a lot of genuinely interesting stuff in the book, and I did enjoy reading it. More focus on the subject matter and less on the author would have improved it.