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  • By Laurence Kenney
    Apr 1, 2014
    This series of short stories, inspired by Manchester’s notoriously damp climate, follows the humorous escapades of the cloud machine teams operating out of the Wythenshawe weather centre. The stories are alive with detail, much of which relates to the navigational challenges of the flying cloud machines and the often rather watery consequences of their mistakes! Many of the stories ooze British pluckiness; abundant mugs of tea, a somewhat oversexed flight engineer called Puffy, and in one of the earlier stories, no less a figure than Her Majesty. If I have one criticism it is that the stories appear to differ in their target audience; some of the earlier tales are suitable for younger children, but this audience may find the later stories (e.g. A time to recoup) rather less engaging. That said, this is a fun collection that introduces the reader to colourful and engaging set of characters. Let’s have more!
  • By Helen Farrimond
    Mar 13, 2014
    Manchester is renowned for its weather, so what better place could there be for the manufacture of cloud machines which can make rain to order? This collection of amusing stories is suitable for readers of all ages. It has quirky but likeable characters, who have names appropriate for their occupation as cloud machine crews, my personal favourite being Eddie Stormbart, the logistics expert. The main protagonists are Captain Cirrus Cumulus and his sidekick, Puffy White. They undertake various weather-related tasks, sometimes with chaotic results: a great cloud parade for Her Majesty the Queen doesn't quite go according to plan; and refilling a lake emptied as part of a foreign aid mission has unforeseen consequences. I enjoyed the descriptive 'Aurora Cloudealis': man-made Northern Lights with musical accompaniment. The author's love of flying and brass band music and his considerable knowledge of the geography of the British Isles and beyond are evident in this enjoyable read full of... More > curious goings-on.< Less
  • By Alan Shaw
    Mar 7, 2014
    Wythenshawe Weather Centre, cloud making machines, eccentric characters, all part of this excellent book for all the family. The book is a series of short humorous stories mixed with deceit, deception and revenge. Each story follows the varying adventures of the cloud machine NIMBUS and its crew consisting of Captain Cirrus Cumulus and engineer Percival (Puffy) White. Other cloud making machines have skippers such as Snowy White, Windy Blower and Puffy’s favourite Abigail Windrush. The cloud machines take on various assignments throughout the British Isles, Europe and North Africa. Some are top secret whilst others are celebrations or simply fund raisers but they all have one thing in common; they are immensely funny. Each story is an adventure in its own right and together they make a thoroughly enjoyable read for all ages. 5/5 for imagination and originality.
  • By Anthony Logan Smith
    Feb 25, 2014
    Kirkus Indie wrote the following:- A pair of British Cloud Machine operators takes a variety of humorous weather-creating jobs in this picaresque debut story collection. The first tale introduces the concept of manufactured, made-to-order weather, provided by the Black, Black & Blackemore company near Manchester, England. Employees Captain Cumulus and his faithful engineer Puffy White of the Cloud Machine Nimbus prefer to take unusual assignments instead of run-of-the-mill weather operations.In some stories, the Cloud Machines are top-secret, but in others, the company advertises in local papers to raise funds (offering services such as revenge drenching's),and the overall conceit is delightful. The corps of Cloud Machine owners is full of wacky characters whose successes and spectacular failures are consistently entertaining. Several stories feature the Cloud Machines creating dramatic visual displays; for example, Smith describes in precise detail the rehearsal process for a... More > disastrous (and amusing) Cloud Parade for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. Cumulus also takes on a rescue operation for a fellow pilot, goes on an overseas foreign-aid endeavour, and helps investigate reports of a rogue Cloud Machine that's sabotaging cricket matches. There are both male and female captains, although women are in far shorter supply and are treated by their peers with occasional sexism ("Abigail was not only very attractive but also wore the tightest of trousers, which highlighted her shapely backside - a feature which had attracted his gaze on a number of occasions"). Although this aspect lends the tales an old-boys'-club feel, the stories are fun adventures overall, and each episode could almost stand on its own. A collection of lighthearted, chuckle-worthy tales with an inventive hook.< Less
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Product Details

First Edition
Lulu Publishing
September 25, 2013
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.83 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
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