Book review: “A Treachery of Spies” – Manda Scott

Over forty years many of the books I have enjoyed were ‘very good’, some ‘excellent’, and just one was ‘nearly perfect’ (Les Miserables by Victor Hugo – you might say that ‘he went on a bit’). Now I’m excited to share what I consider to be a PERFECT story – Manda Scott’s 2018 ‘A TreacheryContinue reading “Book review: “A Treachery of Spies” – Manda Scott”

‘Sinister yet pathetic’: how the UK was primed for nuclear war | Books | The Guardian

I’m very interested in how propaganda was (and still is) used to influence the general population to accept nuclear weapons, even though it quickly became clear that nuclear war was not survivable in the hydrogen-bomb era. Taras Young’s “Nuclear War in the UK” is on my reading list for 2021. In the meantime, this shortContinue reading “‘Sinister yet pathetic’: how the UK was primed for nuclear war | Books | The Guardian”

John le Carré (David Cornwell) died on 12th December 2020… the master of espionage thrillers was 89 years old.

Sad to hear that John le Carré (David Cornwell) died on 12th December 2020. His books were great fun to read and very inspiring. Was his greatest legacy Smiley or Leamas? I reviewed some of le Carré’s stories on my blog in 2018 – that article can be found here. A legend in his ownContinue reading “John le Carré (David Cornwell) died on 12th December 2020… the master of espionage thrillers was 89 years old.”

Book review: “The Truth Machine” – James L. Halperin

I found James L. Halperin’s 1996 novel “The Truth Machine” a curiously dull-yet-interesting read… an unusual combination. The cover looked exciting and the tagline of “In the Year 2004 The Truth Will Be Told” promised ‘excitement, adventure and really wild things’… to misquote Douglas Adams. Unfortunately Halperin chose to tell the story from the ratherContinue reading “Book review: “The Truth Machine” – James L. Halperin”

Nuclear weapons treaty: Campaigners hail new era for nuclear disarmament – BBC news report…

Honduras has just ratified the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, meaning that the minimum number required for it to come into force has been reached. There are currently 193 member states of the United Nations – 122 (63%) of them have approved the accord on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This a greatContinue reading “Nuclear weapons treaty: Campaigners hail new era for nuclear disarmament – BBC news report…”

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Seeks to Grab a Piece of Asteroid Bennu – Scientific American

NASA is hopefully going to grab up to 2kg of rick samples from asteroid Bennu and give us a fantastic insight into early planetesimal formation in the solar system… The spacecraft’s first attempt to gather material from the space rock’s surface could become the largest nonlunar sample return in history Source: NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Seeks toContinue reading “NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Seeks to Grab a Piece of Asteroid Bennu – Scientific American”

Reading through a backlist during the Covid-19 outbreak, I had mixed reactions to these three stories from 1978, 1989 and 1991…

First up was a re-read of “Sigmet Active” by Thomas Page (1978). I had read this around 1982 and it stayed lodged in my imagination ever since — but would it be as good now? The answer was “yes and no”. ‘Sigmet’ is a pilot’s notification of significant meteorological activity. Sigmet conditions make flying veryContinue reading “Reading through a backlist during the Covid-19 outbreak, I had mixed reactions to these three stories from 1978, 1989 and 1991…”

Hacking attempts continue on my old, mothballed website…

Before I finally close my old “russellweb” domain I thought I’d take a look at where the ongoing hacking attempts are coming from. Given that I don’t advertise this old domain (having moved here) and haven’t posted anything new there for months, activity comes from either bots/indexers or hackers… and hacking attempts are very obviousContinue reading “Hacking attempts continue on my old, mothballed website…”

I’m writing again after a nice long break…

I started writing sci-fi short stories around 2009, and by 2017 had self-published two novels and an anthology. That had been enjoyable but hadn’t sold very well, so by 2019 I had decided to switch to writing Thrillers. Having reached the mid-point of a first draft for book 2 in my new ‘Lissa Blackwood’ seriesContinue reading “I’m writing again after a nice long break…”