"Dark Reflections: Spectres" is Black Dog's first Wraith book. It does a GREAT job describing the mentality and characteristics of Wraiths who have fallen into their shadow. Storytellers will see how to properly incorporate spectres into the game, and players will learn how to properly play them.
Get this discontinued tome while you still can!
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In a short book he covers not only his illness and experience in hospital, but also those aspects of his life which sustain him: the confused-but-determined support of his mother, the charming relationship with his hosptial-shy father (successful conversation topics include music, football and sensible footwear). There is also his relationship with his partner and bandmember - Tracey. Watt doesn't give her special treatment and doesn't presume to describe her experience. But his determinedly objective and unsentimental description of the events as they unfold gives you a very good idea of what she must be going through, and it makes for compelling reading.
I read the book in one sitting and stayed up till 4.30am on a work day to finish it, partly to find out what happened to ben, partly to get the next one of the many humourous event that occurred in the Intensive Care Unit, and partly to get another clue as to how Tracey was coping. I feel so throughly drawn into his life I want to know how he and his partner are going ten years after the events in the book.
The nearest book to this that I have read is Oliver Sack's "A Leg to Stand On". I can remember that book quite well, many years afterwards. I think this book is better, and I know I'll remember it for longer.
BTW, if you read the book and you like it, get the best of Everything But the Girl and listen to tracks 1, 2 and 7. They make a great postcript to the book.
The book is spare and uncomprimising in its look at sudden, life threatening illness. It details the two month hospital stay when Watt was reduced at times to skeletal remains and a hallucinatory state.I remember cringing my way through parts of it the first time I read it. On second review, I marvel at the lack of vanity of both Watt and Thorn as they dealt with the bodily breakdown caused by this illness. And we are talking serious bodily breakdown -- the Farrelly Brothers seem restrained by comparison!
Thorn comes across valiantly through the eyes of Watt, who seems smitten with her even after a then 10 year relationship. In spare and poetic vignettes, he flashes back on healthier times for them: meeting at Hull University in 1981, vacationing on Bird Island and in Scarborough, and a final, touching sketch of a trip to Cape Cod after Watt recovered from this episode. Their relationship is truly inspiring and life affirming, and will cause any fan to reconsider the lyrics of their subsequent love songs. (They are still together.)
Mainly though, the book unsparingly details the ravages of this disease, and the near miraculous recovery. I challenge anyone to read it and not be grateful for what they have. The fact that Watt does this without ever being sentimental or self-pitying is amazing. He seems like an amazing person. We would have lost a lot of great music if he had died in 1992, but more would have been lost if this book had never been written. It is a gift to those in recovery and grief.
Used price: $9.95
It does do a good job of giving a decent overview of things, and even ventures into SQL (which turns out to be very important in Cold Fusion). And, unlike a lot of books which include CDs, I can say that the software that came with it was worth it. This is especially true if you are the type who erases large zip files after you download and install software. If you are trying to use Cold Fusion with MS Front Page, you might find the two programs don't seem to like each other. Thus, it's good to have a fresh copy of CF available if you need it.
But, like many other "Thick Books", this one does suffer from a few problems:
Most references to CF statements only refer to definitions or sections in the book devoted to them. Not to each different use. This means that, for example, if you want to know about using a CFIF statment within a CFCOLUMN statement, you really gotta hunt.
PARTIALLY SUBSTANTIATED CLAIMS
The back cover of the book talks about how we can make shopping carts, online catalogs, conferencing systems, etc. Where are the examples? Maybe they're there. I couldn't find them
In any instruction book, most of the examples are going to be centered around basic tasks. How to do a query to a database. How to make a form. Blah, blah, blah. It's all good. But this book seems to ignore a lot of the richness of CFML. Not much talk about graphics at all. One has to hunt for information about using CFML with URLs. It's mostly basic, fairly uncreative applications. For the most part, that's appropriate. But not at this level.
NOT ENOUGH INFO ON CFML ECCENTRICITIES
Some of the tags seem to not work very well with each other. Others require different formatting of URLS. Without this information easily accessible, there is some trial and error that one shouldn't have to go through.
Overall, an excellent book. And, if you are considering Cold Fusion for your website, it's probably the only game out there. Just remember that you will probably need a second book on Cold Fusion once another comes out
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