Posted in books

The Long Earth

Being a big Terry Pratchett fan, I would like to read The Long Earth, which is a collaborative science fiction work by internationally renowned award winning  authors Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, who have both made their names in different fields of literature. Baxter has written in fields of ‘hard science’, evolutionary speculation and alternative history, and Pratchett  is primarily known for his fantasy series of Discworld novels.

The ‘Long Earth features  a possibly infinite  series of parallel worlds, similar to Earth. The “close” worlds are almost identical to ‘our’ Earth, others differ in progressively greater details, but all share one similarity: none have ever been inhabited by humans. The books explore the theme of how humanity might develop when freed from resource constraints: one example Pratchett has cited is that wars result from lack of land – what would happen if no shortage of land (or gold or oil or food) existed?

The book also  deals  with the journeys of Joshua, a natural ‘Stepper who is able to get between worlds’, Lobsang, and  a Cop named Monica Jansson who  finds  a curious gadget containing some wiring, a three-way switch and a…potato  , whilst she is exploring the burned-out home of a reclusive and possibly mad scientist named Willis Linsay ,  little realising that  It is the prototype of an invention that could change the way Mankind views his world for ever.

The travellers chart a course to learn as much as possible about the parallel worlds, travelling deep into the “high meggers” as the more distant Earths are named They encounter evidence of peaceful apelike ‘Trolls’ able to step at will; of human settlers who learned their gifts early and of aggressive ‘elves’. They also encounter warning signs of a great danger deep within the meggers which could cause catastrophe.

The Long Earth was released in the United States on June 19th, 2012 and Two further books in the series are planned.

Posted in books, films & DVD

Total Recall (2012)

Adapted from the story, “We can Remember it for You Wholesale” by Phillip K Dick,and Directed by Len Wiseman I would like to see The remake of the film Total Recall, which is Out 22 August 2012 and stars Colin Farrell, Jessica Biel and Kate Beckinsale. I thought the 1990 version was great fun, even if it did deviate from the original story somewhat and I have reservations about how good this one is going to be but I would like to see before I make my mind up.

Colin Farrell stars as Douglas Quaid, a blue-collar factory worker of the future and self-described “nobody”, who one day pays to have false memories implanted into his brain in order to relieve the drabness of his life, unfortunately as a result of this procedure he soon finds himself involved in sinister government plots, gunfights, kidnapping, turncoat girlfriends, flying-car chases, electro-lassos, and the viewer is not sure whether the events are actually happening or rather the trippy result of false-memory insertion.

Kate Beckinsale, wife of director Wiseman, takes on the baddie-wife role originally played by Sharon Stone. Jessica Biel, Bill Nighy and Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston pop up in support. With ex-governor Schwarzenegger reportedly planning a return to acting, we wouldn’t bet against some sort of cameo here either.

Stirring the original concept with elements of Minority Report and Memento, Recall redux could well be the summer’s dark-horse hit.(or possibly dark horse**** if some of Farrell’s other films are anything to go by 🙂  If you prefer, you can also watch a digitally restored copy of the original 1990 version of TOTAL RECALL, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger Rachael Ticotin and Sharon Stone which was released on 16 July 2012.

Phillip K.Dick wrote A few classic Sci-Fi novels including “Minority Report” which was a sort of sequel to “We can Remember it for You Wholesale” as well as “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” which was successfully adapted as the absolutely brilliant “Blade Runner” so  I would also like to read all of his books as well as watch the movies.

I have a horrible feeling that the remake will fail like the John Carter movie did,( I still can’t understand why that  did so badly, I thought that the original Edgar Rice Burroughs novels were all great fun and I am still mystified why the movie wasn’t more successful.) Still If they approach it like a downbeat dystopian nightmare future world it should become a cult classic

Posted in Events, locomotives

Rally-in-the-Valley cancelled – New date scheduled for August

This years annual Steam Roller, Traction Engine and Vintage Machinery event “The Rally in the Valley” was due to take place on Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd July 2012 at Severn Park in Bridgnorth, however it was cancelled at the last moment by the local council due to fears over Health and Safety . However the organisers of the event have been offered a new location for the Rally In The Valley, which is less than a 2 minutes drive from Severn Park and is located along the River Severn near Fort Pendlestone and  The event has now been rescheduled for Friday 10th, Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th August 2012. The new location is bigger than Severn Park and has the added advantage that there will also be no parking fee’s for anyone attending the event 🙂

The Rally in the Valley began in 2008 as the public launch of the Trevithick Replica Engine CATCH ME WHO CAN, which was being built in Bridgnorth by the Trevithick 200 Charity to celebrate the bi-centenary of the original engine being built at Hazledines Foundry, Bridgnorth in 1808. Since then The engine has been to many events and I’ve also seen it  in steam down at the Severn Valley Railway, where the replica was built.

Since then the Rally-In-The-Valley has grown and I am hoping that this years rally will again feature an array of exhibits such as Traction Engines, Steam Rollers, Tractors, Commercial vehicles, Stationary engines, Threshing Machines, Fairground Organs, Showman’s Engines, barrel organ, Sentinel steam wagons plus miniature traction engines and steam rollers, I am also hoping that the replica of Catch-Me-Who-Can, will also be on display. Last time I went there was also be an impressive display of vintage farm machinery such as Stationary Engines, threshing machines & vintage Tractors courtesy of the Bridgnorth Vitage Machinery Association., Kinver Model Society were also demonstrating their miniature steam engines such as Catch-Me-Who-Can & LMS 5960 Leander and there was also a heavy horse ploughing demonstration taking place in the main arena, as well as a cavalcade of Traction Engines & Steam Rollers and other Exhibitor Parades and many other displays  will also be taking place  in the main arena throughout the weekend , including a cavalcade of exhibitors, Traction Engines, Steam Rollers and Showman Engines – The Highlight for me was when the Owners all blew the whistles simultaneously .

The last time I went there was also  a large and impressive display of military vehicles, such as Scammell Tank Transprters, amphibious DUKW, many different examples of World War II Tanks, jeeps, Half-tracks, military Ambulances, military trucks and staff Cars  a mouth-watering array of vintage and classic cars and bikes, Commercial Vehicles, vintage Motorcycles and Stationary Engines.

There were also many Awning Displays from Artisans from Blists Hill Museum in Ironbridge who were demonstrating various crafts such as Pottery, Coracle Making, blacksmithing, painting, Dress-making, Corn Milling, basket weaving Longbow Archery & Pipe Making. There will also be a variety of other market stalls, selling traditional arts and crafts, fresh produce, such as Jams, Pickles, Honey, Home made cakes, Wine & Beer.

Entertainment this year, was due to be provided The Bridgnorth Ukelele Band and local band Thomson Oldeman who were due to be perfrming Saturday lunchtime, and the amazing Victorian music hall style pianist Dr Busker and the Wild Rovers, was due to be performing live music on Saturday Night in the beer tent. Members of Elcock Reisen Band were also due to be perfrming as was singer Joanna Rose. I am hoping that Food and drink will be provided by on-site Caterers offering food such as Burgers, Hot dogs, doughnuts, Ice Creams & Candy Floss. For those like me who don’t drive I am hoping that Real Ale & Cider will still be available in the beer tent and I am looking forward to sampling the beer that the bar supplier “Hop and Stagger”  brewed specially  for the event at their micro brewery in Bridgnorth.