Aug 172011

Veteran bookseller Scott McCaig, of Waterstone’s Edinburgh West End, discusses the appeal of Naomi Novik’s Temeraire.

Dragons have been associated with fantasy works for as long as the genre has been around, but none have been portrayed quite like Temeraire. Naomi Novik has created a world where dragons are part of the everyday life of the world. And how.

In her first novel, Temeraire, the reader is introduced to Captain William Lawrence of the Reliant. The novel follows his journey from discovering a dragon’s egg to the consequences it has on his life, and relationships with his family and friends.

The key relationship throughout is the growing friendship between Lawrence and the ‘fighting’ dragon Temeraire.

The world that Novik has created is appealing in its allure, due to the fact that it sets the story’s plot during the Napoleonic Wars. An intriguing scenario, that provides Novik with the opportunity to look at, not only naval warfare, but at how dragons could be used during such a time period. And the strength of such a setting allows Novik’s novel to be accessible not just to readers and fans of fantasy, but to all genres. When you pick up Temeraire it is unlikely you’ll want to put it down.

The most appealing part of this novel, I think, is Temeraire’s growth and development throughout. The dragon is such a key part to the story and thankfully, as a character, Temeraire is bewitching. This is mostly down to the interesting factor that the dragons in Novik’s world have the ability to speak. And Temeraire has a lot of interesting things to say…

One particular aspect of the novel that appealed to me is how Novik depicts the dragons’ place in the world. When Captain Lawerence becomes the rider of Temeraire, his social standing in the world falls dramatically. As the story progresses, it quickly becomes apparent that any association with dragons is considered to be only for outcasts, or for people with no social standing.

Even though the book is about dragons, Temeraire is highly enjoyable for fans of any genre. The appealing ‘what if’ idea of dragons being used in a historical war allows the reader’s imagination to run wild. If you are tired of the fantasy genre, or are looking for something a little different, perhaps Naomi Novik’s first novel of dragons in the Napoleonic Wars is for you.

Temeraire is out now, priced £7.99. It is the first in a series that currently numbers six titles.

 The latest, Tongues of Serpents, was released in paperback in June 2011, priced £7.99.

Aug 072011

The Daily Deal on Steam today is a 2d platformer called Capsized is 67% down from £5.99 to £1.99.

Your Spacecraft has crash landed on an alien planet and you’ve got to navigate your way through each level fighting a variety off monsters, save your crewmates and make your way off the planet to safety.

First Impressions:

Well I’ve only discovered this this afternoon so I’ve only played the first few level but so far it’s a smooth platformer controlled by mouse and keyboard. At first I found the default controls a little tricky but on the other hand I’m a bit old and slow by now, trust me you get used to it.

The Environment is gorgeous and filled with strange critters and lovely landscapes, and the weaponry so far has been quite cool. Guns and ammo aplenty and many weapons have an alternate fire, a gravity hook to pull around or throw loose objects etc and a jet pack!

There are also unlockable modes aswell: Local Deathmatch and Co-op, Survival Mode, Time Trials and Armless Fighting.

System Requirements ( according to steam ):

  • OS: XP/Vista/Windows 7
  • Processor: Dual-core processor (Intel Dual Core 2.0 GHz or AMD Athlon X2 5200+ 2.6 GHz)
  • Memory: 1.5 GB RAM
  • Hard Disk Space: 1.0 GB free space
  • Video Card: DirectX 9.0c compatible
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible sound cards



Platform action with puzzle solving and lots of shooting stuff. You can’t go wrong for £1.99 surely?

Aug 072011

Despite being a geek Warhammer is not actually something that I’m right into. Sure I’ve played Dawn of War on the PC – I’m a gamer after all but the lore and backstories and universe of Warhammer are still something of a mystery to me. This is something that is slowly changing though through the efforts of a friends of mine who has recently given me some Black Library books that I’ve been get into.

This week I downloaded a XBLA game called Warhammer 40K: Kill Team. Warhammer 40K is as it’s name suggests set in the year 40 000 AD and to probably unjustly simplify it, it is the “space” equivalent of  Humans v Orcs. In Kill Team you are on the side of the Empire ( Humans ) and the main plot involves fighting through sections of an ork ( yes it’s spelt with a ‘k’ in the future…) space kroozer ( it seems that there is no ‘c’ in 40 000 AD ) Gameplay is single or local co-op and you can choose from a variety of units to play each level with each on having it’s own unique style and power moves. The missions are fairly straight forward consisting of ‘get to here’ ‘disable that’ and ‘Kill that guy’ all the while killing a a horde of various enemies at the same time. Not the greatest plot of all time but there is plenty of action.

The Good:

This game is what they call a ‘twin stick’ system – where you move with the left stick and the right stick shoots in the direction you’re pushing it. Easy to control for the mass culling of Orks that you have to do.

Lots of exploding things. Bombs. rockets Barrels. Orks…

Replayable – playing the missions through as the different Space Marines so far has proved to be interesting.


The not so Good:

No xbox live co-op. that is a MASSIVE dissapointment.

you can’t skip through cut scenes. that makes it a bit annoying. although gives you a chance to pour more cola or grab a mouth full of crisps.


All things considered a enjoyable little title if you just like constant shooting mayhem. You don’t necessarily have to be into Warhammer to enjoy it. Available on Xbox or (yet to be released) PSN