Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Pew! Pew! - A Fist Full of Pews!

Pew! Pew! - A Fist Full of Pews! (Pew! Pew!, #5)Pew! Pew! - A Fist Full of Pews! by M.D. Cooper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The latest anthology in the Pew! Pew! series arrives with another eight broadly humorous tales of science fiction spread across all subgenres with submissions from authors who are returning to the series and a few new to the anthologies. I enjoyed all eight of the stories, they all had fun moments and were far from simplistic in their narrative or structure, these are all well written scifi with the humour when required as the bonus element or icing if you will.

Cryonite Caper by Felix R. Savage
Mike Starrunner small time freighter captain finds his weapons officer frozen in a block of cryonite, some shady business going on but what exactly and who with has yet to be determined. In a society where there are humans who can shape shift and of course aliens a plenty it's going to be tricky for him to find out the truth and to be alive after he does.

The Chadd by Richard Parry
Chad Forradel is assigned to track down a newly emerged human empath which leads him to the terraforming world of New Haven, there is no one left alive. The ongoing war with the insect like Ezeroc is raging, empaths are the key to victory but the Ezeroc can infest a host empath and use their abilities against the human empire so the pressure is mounting on Chadd to finish his mission but then the space pirates turn up guns ablazing and they have the empath.

My Andersonia by James S. Aaron
Ngoba Starl was eager to get his embedded link, an offer of a job from a friend to infiltrate an offworld society and liberate a sentient AI will get him what he wants. Now if only he didn't have to pretend to be the fiancee of a young woman he quite likes or that their guide has the serious hots for him and it's Mardi Gras time and well anything goes...

Rogue Planets and a Bored Kitty by M. D. Cooper
The Delta Team return and well their gifts from their recent visit to Disknee World has kinda changed the dynamic of the ship and crew but a job is a job and so what if the team consists of Cinderella, Catwoman a Vampire and a few other critical changes in circumstance? The job requires them to retrieve an energy device stolen from the world of Crossbar by someone from Allaran two worlds deep in the void in a starless system both dependent upon these devices to provide energy, oh and Crossbar is populated by vampires so no worries.

Space Girl and the Sensual Spy by Andrew Dobell
Space Girl Seren Zenith second to none in her chosen profession of intelligence operative is assigned a critical mission to rescue a deep cover agent, turn the tables on a alien state and collect valuable intelligence. However while her robot McTechbot is always useful (sarcastic to the extreme but useful) she is also lumbered with a Fleet officer, granted she would ride him all night long (well sex is one of her favourite pastimes in any way you care to imagine) but this isn't how she works but as in her private or not so private life a willing partner can always be made to hit the right spot.

Making Trouble by Amy DuBoff
Jack Tressler has had an interesting time since meeting the crew of the Little Princess II and they all agree life is more fun with a little adventure and danger so why not use some of the cabins for high paying covert transport, not trafficking per se but getting people to where they want to go no questions asked. Of course they soon find themselves transporting a group of men and women to a mysterious destination so they decide to liberate the people by stealing back the ID tags from the organised crime gang they mistakenly contracted themselves too. Fun and games galore.

Valentine's Day 1979: An Intergalactic Adventure by Andrew Gates
Wrong place and wrong time sees Ryan Gifford taken onboard an alien starship and learning that the Earth is part of a huge galactic power and as such an Earthman has been chosen as husband in a political marriage to head off a interstellar war. Why an Earth man, well no one else really wants to marry such a hideous creature but hey it's Valentine's Day and as usual Ryan is alone so why the hell not!

The Unbelievers by Bill Patterson
Something is different about the graduating class of 2360 as strange events and deaths occur around them after being assigned to the fleet in the war with the Poon. Extracted from the fleet they are examined and backgrounds checked until yes a common denominator is found and then the fun begins, if they are such a threat to their own fleet how dangerous could they be to the Poon fleet?





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STARGATE ATLANTIS: Pride of the Genii by Melissa Scott

STARGATE ATLANTIS: Pride of the GeniiSTARGATE ATLANTIS: Pride of the Genii by Melissa Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pride of the Genii written by Melissa Scott is the latest Stargate Atlantis novel released through Fandemonium aka Stargate Novels and is part of the Legacy series. If you are unaware of this series of novels then they begin where the TV series left off and followed Atlantis back to the Pegasus galaxy and into the chaos that was the Wraith and the Genii as well as many other factions who rode out the turbulent times after the city returned to the Milky Way.
This latest novel from Melissa focuses on the Genii and the recovered Ancient warship they brought to the final battle with Queen Death. Now fully repaired (or at least the best it can be without an Ancient shipyard) the Pride of the Genii with her crew many with ATA gene therapy derived from Wraith tech the Genii venture forth on a "goodwill" tour of allied worlds. This mission is the jewel in the still young leadership of Ladon Radim and nothing can go wrong but with the military coup an accepted way to gain power any weakness or misfortune could spell the end of his rule and his life.
Pride of the Genii is a great addition to the Legacy series of Stargate Atlantis novels as it builds strongly on the core of the series in growing societies and factions that were side stepped on the tv show or simply had so much more to offer. The Wraith have benefited greatly from the world building over the course of Legacy and now it's time for the Genii and for a society that played a part as an antagonist on the tv show there is so much more we need to know about them as a people and the individuals. Melissa delivers in full by not only cementing Ladon as a central character (who still has shades of light and dark) but bringing forth the social order he oversees. A military culture was firmly crafted for the show but we see a bit more of the push and pull within the military and how the science division and even civilian elements operate. As for the Atlantis and her people not a lot was added that we did not already know, this novel really wasn't about their development although John still dealing with the demands of leadership had its moments. I did mention in my first review of a Legacy novel how I really enjoyed the description of the symbiotic relationship between pilot and Ancient ship (Atlantis in that case) but here again we get a wonderful description of the bonding and emotional element between certain Genii and the ship and later with John. The hint of maybe sentience and certainly trauma was captivating, the idea the ship itself recalled its previous close call with death and the loss of her crew and her "screams" as the atmosphere burnt her skin in an uncontrolled reentry were totally immersive. The fact the Genii commander also felt the closeness with the ship says a lot for that officer and the type of man he is, another who would be open for honest and fair dealing with Atlantis.
Overall Pride of the Genii was an excellent read, a very entertaining story with great development of a culture that was never really my favourite but I am ready for the Genii to take more of a center stage in any future Legacy novels. The Genii after all may be right, the Wraith could renege on their deal, maybe not now but in a century who knows and woe anyone that isn't prepared....

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Sunday, 24 June 2018

Blueshift by Joshua Dalzelle

BlueshiftBlueshift by Joshua Dalzelle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Daedalus is on the return leg of its journey into the depths of space and a rendezvous with a planetary system which may support life. The mission was undertaken by a privately funded project helmed by a billionaire but as it returns to the Solar System around 800 years later the awakening crew find that things have changed significantly. There have been deaths on board the starship thanks to failures in the cryotechnology and general bad luck and wear and tear but the survivors now detect no signals from Earth, no movement in the asteroid belt but then contact is made but from Mars warning them to avoid Earth....
Blueshift is as Joshua states a very different style of story then his regular readers are familiar with and yeah that is certainly true. I didn't enjoy this novel or the characters in the same manner as from his Omega Force series but it was interesting concept which could have been spun out in many ways if that's what the author intended. The novel may indeed be a good choice for someone not familiar with the bulk of his published work but certainly don't avoid it if you think that if it's not Omega Force then you are not interested.

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Into the Breach

Into the Breach (Gateway to the Galaxy Book 1)Into the Breach by Jonathan Yanez
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Frank Wolffe a former Marine now working for Ballistics United Tactical and Tech Systems (B.U.T.T.S) is well not quite a salesman but certainly a middle man between the company and the clients. He is given a time sensitive account to fulfill with the US military and finds himself delivering high tech armour and weapons to a facility buried deep below the Hoover Dam. Here he finds that his boss has "volunteered" him to support an operation using the supplied inventory and the mission involves using an alien device to travel well somewhere in the universe!
I think that is all you need to know and if sounds a little familiar then the author makes no bones about the love for all things Stargate and Green Lantern and the two story themes work well with the military setting and a fish out of the water situation the Marines find themselves in when they travel via the alien device. The novel is fast paced and full of humour, good interaction between the characters both main and secondary and well it's fun without getting itself bogged down in technobabble to explain how any of the tech or other things work.

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Lucky Universe by Joshua James

Lucky Universe (Lucky's Marines, #1)Lucky Universe by Joshua James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Lance Corporal "Lucky" Lee Savage is a Frontier Marine one of a highly trained and equipped assets of the Empire. Between missions they are frozen to prolong their use but "Lucky" was the sole survivor of a disastrous mission and spent over half a century frozen and lost in between the stars. Together with his AI which is named Rocky a legend has grown, the ability to survive missions and come away unscatherd (even allowing for the nanotec in the suits) has made his name known across the military but with his memories lost thanks to long term cryostasis was it luck or something else at work?
Lucky Universe was an entertaining read, the technology was off the charts and the world created by Joshua sufficiently futuristic but still anchored in a military mindset. The humour worked and the mystery behind the nightmares and lost memories were intriguing and I'll probably pick up the second novel in the series just to confirm if I am committed to the full story which will span multiple novels.

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Tin Man — Stargate Archives

Tin Man — Stargate Archives


Ian joined me to discuss Stargate SG1 "Tin Man" on this new episode from the Stargate Archives.



 


 
 






Sunday, 27 May 2018

Storm of Vengeance by Jay Allan

Storm of Vengeance (Crimson Worlds Refugees Book 5)Storm of Vengeance by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fifth novel in the Crimson Worlds spin off series Refugees is Storm Of Vengeance and the narrative jumps forward a few years from the previous novel as Earth 2 on the technological front is still making leaps and bounds thanks to the "mules". In terms of their society things are not so smooth as Max Harmon for the good of the race has been acting as de facto dictator using his personal power and the fruits of his political links to maintain a peace between the factions. There are constant threats from elements of the natural born humans against the "tanks" (clones) and "mules" (hybrids) but the constant shadow of the Regent (Ancient Imperium AI) has kept a lid on this pressure cooker. Things are about to change however when a long range recon fleet engages an Imperium fleet in a system with a world believed to be the last antimatter generating resource of the Regent. The human fleet is sacrificed to get word back and the benefit in removing anti-matter from their enemies arsenal leads Earth 2 to launch a huge fleet on a potential suicide mission.
Storm of Vengeance continues the strong storytelling that Jay Allan is known for and extends on the existing characters we've come to know though the previous novels as well as world building with new characters and a growing chaotic threat to humanity in this part of the galaxy. Overall an enjoyable read that will satisfy any fan of the Crimson Worlds series of novels but obviously the pay off is being invested in the series as a whole rather than a standalone scifi tale.
Of course this reader got hooked when he read the first novel in the series and followed along with many thousands more as the series spun off in different directions, the commitment has been worth it.

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Sunday, 20 May 2018

The King of Space Must Die by Barry J. Hutchison

The King of Space Must Die (Space Team, #9)The King of Space Must Die by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Long ago there was a proposed initiative, a group of talented and extraordinary people who could defend a world from the unimaginable, this wasn't that one.
Space Team Assemble is perhaps how Cal Carver would explain the events as the crew of the Currently Untitled, Dan Deadman and associates, Nana Joan and Ronda (with assorted help) are brought together to save the galaxy if not the universe from Geronimus Krone quite simply the Most Dangerous Man in the said Universe. Yep this is the sort of space nonsense that happens when Cal unwittingly "helps" Krone to escape jail, time travel into the past and reshape events as he sees fit. Thanks to the authors choice of time travel shenanigans our Space Team retained knowledge of the previous timeline and use that to gather compatriots to join the fight and thus one group of merry men,women, cyborg (not robot) and well whatever intend to take on an evil all powerful genius who controls the galaxy and has a thousand thousand spaceships at his command, piece of cake.
What can I say, The King of Space Must Die is a very funny addition to already fun filled space adventure series, the bringing together of characters from various storylines gives the novel a more epic feel and gives the regular readers a big pay off, Marvel Studios do something similar:)
The subplot of our favourite deceased teen wolf girl was rewarding and tied in nicely and of course Splurt and Kevin as always excelled themselves in their own indomitable way. The time travel worked very well, the twists and surprises did their jobs to maintain the narrative in a believable way and yes it is important to create rules for the story and stick with them and if you don't then make it funny, it was.





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Sunday, 13 May 2018

Paradise by Craig Alanson

Paradise (Expeditionary Force, #3)Paradise by Craig Alanson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The third novel in the Expeditionary Force series by Craig Alanson is called "Paradise" and if you've read the series so far then you know that is the world the human military force assigned to the Kristang were deployed too. Cut off from the Earth, unarmed and now reliant on the goodwill of the Ruhar the men and women of Earth are having to learn how to farm and fend for themselves, it's not going well and it is going to get a lot worse.
Meanwhile in orbit around Earth the Flying Dutchman's merry band of pirates are being debriefed and despite saving the planet Joe Bishop is having a hard time, decisions and actions made are being questioned by people who were not out in the void or had the weight of the world and her people on their shoulders. Eventually a new mission is given the green light with some conditions and the Dutchman returns to a contested galaxy to gain intel on the threat to Earth and if possible the condition of the expeditionary force.
As you would expect fun and hijinks abound as Skippy the eons old Elder AI has new monkeys to play around with along with a few of the old crew who may or may not have made it on to his "list". The search continues for a com node for Skippy and an explanation of the events on the planet Newark but they also learn that the Ruhar are looking to trade Paradise for other territory and that would result in every human on the world being executed for treason by the Kristang for not fighting to the death. Joe and his crew have to devise a way to help his comrades without anyone anywhere knowing the Dutchman exists while tensions among the expeditionary force rise as food becomes scarce as Kristang raids on the planet target human settlements.
Skippy the magnificent and Joe "Barney" Bishop along with the merry band of pirates are the only hope thousands of courageous military personnel from nations of the Earth have, oh dear.
Paradise was a very entertaining addition to the series although it took me a little while to really enjoy the Paradise narrative. I'm now invested in both the Dutchman and Paradise which gives the series two fronts to play with, no doubt they will overlap again although it may be tricky to make that storyline work a second time. The upside is that for now Craig as a whole galaxy to play around with and some strings to pull to bring other/new storylines into prominence, it's only going to get better.

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Wildfire

Wildfire (Star Trek: SCE)Wildfire by David Mack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wildfire is the the sixth release from the Starfleet Corp of Engineers series which was initially novellas but has now been repackaged as a collection of stories in each anthology/omnibus. This novel contains three stories.



ENIGMA SHIP by J. Steven York & Christina F. York

The USS Lincoln while escorting two freighters mysteriously vanishes, scans indicate the presence of some sort of anomaly and the USS da Vinci is sent to investigate and relive the initial responder USS Chinook which has a more pressing engagement. Upon arrival they find that the chief engineer of one of the freighters and two personnel from the Chinook are also missing but the engineer somehow with limited equipment breached the anomaly. The da Vinci need to identify what the anomaly is, how to get inside and how if possible to rescue a starship and crew.
A high concept story which taxed the ingenuity of the SCE to their limits and made use of the common sense and experiences of the crew to bring about a resolution.

WAR STORIES by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Overseer Biron of the Androssi is still smarting over his "defeats" at the hands of the crew of the USS da Vinci, unbeknown to his sponsor he uses his commands resources to secure logs and other sensitive date from a spy to learn more about the crew of the SCE ship. A very interesting story which was dominated by flashbacks to give us more back story of the crew of the da Vinci.

WILDFIRE by David Mack

A distress call from the USS Orion which is testing the "wildfire" device deep in the atmosphere of a gas giant in an unclaimed system is received by Starfleet and time is of the essence not only to save the crew but secure the technology as it's finders keepers in neutral space. The da Vinci arrives on seen and enters the gas giant and slowly makes it way deeper into the heart of the turbulent gas giant in search of the Orion and the wildfire torpedo. Strained to the limit with life and death resting on a knife edge the da Vinci suffers a catastrophic event, the crew faced with limited resources and the wildfire device on a countdown to ignition make terrible decisions and sacrifices have to be made.
Wildfire is perhaps the one story I have been waiting for, I had the basic plot of this novel already in my mind thanks to a podcast interview many moons ago but even so this story stuck the knife in and twisted. A real pay off for readers who have followed the series from the beginning and written with pace and tension which serves the situation the ship and her crew find themselves in.
David Mack did a magnificent job.


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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

SpecOps by Craig Alanson

SpecOps (Expeditionary, #2)SpecOps by Craig Alanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

SpecOps is the second novel in the Expeditionary Force series which deals with the aftermath of an alien invasion of Earth and the consequences of some poor decision making by humanity although to be fair it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Of course as we know Joe Bishop now a Colonel and commanding a captured alien starship also thought attacking an alien patrol while driving a battered Barney emblazoned ice cream van was a good idea, it certainly shows that the results of such acts are often unexpected.
After Skippy the eons old AI of the long gone Elder race closes the wormhole which allowed easy access to Earth and after an eventful stay on Earth the intrepid band of space pirates once again set out on the Flying Dutchman to hold up their end of the bargain with the AI. Once Skippy gets himself a communications device the bargain will be complete but as the search fails to bare fruit more unorthodox ideas have to be considered, then things start to go seriously wrong even by as Skippy would say the standard monkey level of incompetence.
SpecOps is a very worthy successor to Columbus Day, the central character of Bishop continues to be a favoured focal point of the story and his interaction with Skippy and his shipmates both humorous and when required tense and suspenseful. The bigger galactic wide picture is being created at a steady pace, a mystery is revealed which I am sure will be expanded upon in later novels. I've no doubt I will be continuing the series on a regular basis, it's entertaining and well written with a good blend of action and character elements.


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Saturday, 5 May 2018

SCE Foundations

SCE Foundations: STAR TREK SCESCE Foundations: STAR TREK SCE by Dayton Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fifth collection of Starfleet Corp of Engineers stories is entitled "Foundations" written by Dayton Ward and Kevin Dilmore and is a little different to previous collections in that it primarily focuses on a single character (Montgomery Scott) and deals with his early interactions with the SCE before many decades later he eventually led this branch of Starfleet. While there are four distinct stories they combine to form a whole which expands on the Scotty we knew from the tv and movies as well as providing more depth and history to the SCE.
The novel begins in present time as the Da Vinci encounters an alien ship travelling at critically high warp for its level of technology, the ultimate solution to saving the ship and crew is from the past and this provides the framework for the flashback stories which comprise the novel.
We join Scotty soon after he gets his posting to the Enterprise but before he officially joins the crew he is put on loan to the SCE for a important mission on board a very rundown USS Lovell (the norm for the under equipped SCE at the time) however a ship full of engineers means it may not look good but under the hood it's a bit of a powerhouse. Their mission is to investigate damage and to an outpost on the Romulan neutral zone and to affect repairs, it does not go smoothly. Our next blast from past sees Scotty once again serving with the SCE on Beta III dealing with the aftermath of Landrau, again the full talents of the engineers and personnel with very different talents are needed as the centuries old computer/AI is resurrected. The third recollection from the past has Scotty once again serving with Commander Mahmud al-Khaled who is a constant element of these flashbacks as a new propulsion system designed by the Kelvans is being tested, it has a few bugs and the crew find themselves deep in unexplored space. Thanks to the talents of the engineers and one in particular the mission is resolved with benefits and the ship is returned to Federation space with the prospect of the warp scale having to be redone to accommodate the potential new speeds.

All three of these stories from Scotty's past underline the fact that the SCE needed to be more than simple starbase builders or repair crews. The addition of cultural, linguistic and diplomatically skilled crew will aid the SCE ships as they too face first contact and missions which require the skills often found only on Starships on discovery missions. The overall narrative encompases this philosophy and demonstrates the growth of the SCE over the years has produced a very flexible and talented resource for the Federation and Starfleet to call upon.



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Sunday, 29 April 2018

No Surrender - SCE #4

No Surrender (Star Trek: S.C.E., #4)No Surrender SCE #4
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fourth omnibus release from the Star Fleet Corp of Engineers series contains four stories continuing the timeline as set down in the original release of the individual tales.

The first story is "No Surrender" written by Jeff Mariotte in which the Da Vinci's Captain has a face from his past come back to haunt him as the Kursican Orbital Incarceration Platform suffers some damage and while not part of the Federation there are Federation citizens onboard and thus the SCE are tasked with securing the facility.
In Caveat Emptor written by Ian Edginton and Mike Collins a Ferengi trading vessel is abandoned by her Captain and when picked up by the Da Vinci they learn that a piece of technology from Beta III is involved. The Ferengi crew seem pleased to see these new arrivals but there is more going onboard as the landing party soon find out.
Past Life written by Robert Greenberger has a soon to be Federation member world request help after they discover a piece of technology which may have been buried on their world long before their race gained sentience. The concept of a third party guiding or intervening in the development of the Evoran people causes civil unrest and so the Da Vinci has to balance learning the purpose of this device and how to maintain relations between this worlds people and the plant with the Federation.
The final story is Oaths written by Glenn Hauman and deals with an serious outbreak on Sherman's Planet which has the potential to spread amongst the stars thanks to it's long incubation rate which allows the contagion to spread before symptoms can be identified. Dr. Elizabeth Lense has the whole world on her shoulders and we learn she had reasons for being assigned on to the Da Vinci and the story is equally balanced between the plot and a character piece.

Once again this omnibus offers a variety of Star Trek stories making use of the abilities the SCE bring to the franchise. My favourite story is probably Oaths as I had not realised Dr. Elizabeth Lense was the character first brought to screen in Deep Space Nine and how the revelations of Bashir would impact others within the service. Former Captains gone bad, Kirk's never look back philosophy and truth versus dogma all form the basis for some good Trek.

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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Superhuman by Evan Currie

SuperhumanSuperhuman by Evan Currie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Who would have thought living on a small ball of rock orbiting a rather average star near the end of one of the spiral arms of the Milky Way was a good thing. Well when an intelligence that sees the galaxy as its own domain and views organic life as an infestation and plague to be eradicated at all costs not being noticed is a rather good thing.
A probe detects an anomaly on a world near its designated target and sends word back, life is flourishing and is taking steps to populate it's solar system and then blossom out into the galaxy, this can not be allowed and long standing protocols are enacted. The probe enters orbit of Earth and selects subjects for its first experiments, it acts and then watches as the mutations created in the DNA of members of the dominant species begin their work. From the viewpoint of former Marine Captain Alexander Hale and his friends from various branches of the US military it's just the first evening of a reunion at a local camping/carnival ground. Things start to go wrong when find themselves in the middle of a biker war as two gangs fight for dominance and local and federal law enforcement are getting involved. As the firefight threatens to escalate the probe acts and a handful of the people awake with no injuries but others are ripped apart, body parts scattered throughout the area.
Unbeknown to the survivors of the event their world has changed forever and the choices they will make may determine if the human race can survive the manipulation by this cold and efficient alien intelligence.
Superhuman was a fantastic read, I picked it up and pretty much didn't put it down until I was done. The writing and story are fast paced yet the characters are well developed and fleshed out and you never feel cheated of back story or relevant plot detail. The action is well envisioned and as a fan of both tv and movie superhero media I was easily able to envision the conflict and actions of these enhanced beings and in Alex Hale we have a genuine "Captain America" type hero and with the appropriate "human" villain and uber nemesis.
A highly enjoyable and fun read and looking forward to the sequel and may pick up some of Evan's other work.

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Invincible by Christopher Nuttall

Invincible (Ark Royal Book 12)Invincible by Christopher Nuttall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Invincible is the twelfth novel in the Ark Royal series written by Christopher Nuttall and like recent additions takes place a few years after the proceeding novel and with predominantly new characters. While the overall "world" of the series remains intact this allows the author to expand the scope of the stories but retains the core political and technological structure.
In this novel the British like many of the major powers are having economic issues thanks to the hell for leather expansion and ship building after the two recent interstellar wars. A cold realisation is dawning that the Earth nations can not treat the galaxy as a playground and hope no other alien races are out there who could or will threaten mankind.
A research and monitoring station in orbit around the young British colony world of Wensleydale detects a fusion power spike at the edge of the solar system, scans indicate a sublight vessel probably a generation ship from the unexplored regions of space. HMS Invincible the latest addition to the Navy is sent to investigate along with limited support from other Powers, what will they find, a new enemy or a new friend...
Invincible sets up a new story arc within the Ark Royal series and while I will no doubt continue to read the series this latest incarnation lacked some of the drive and impetus of previous novels. I wasn't all that enamoured with some of the new characters and well let's be honest mankind is facing another interstellar war, this is getting a little repetitive :)

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Sunday, 15 April 2018

Dead in the Water by Barry J. Hutchison

Dead in the Water (Dan Deadman Space Detective, #3)Dead in the Water by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dead in the Water is the third standalone novel featuring the deceased private detective Dan Deadman who along with Oledol (rescued from the Malware) and Artur (bit of a mystery) solve crime in the Down Here. However much to Dan's own confusion he seems to be doing more to protect the poor and downtrodden in his city then taking well paying cases from scum bags. Take for example his current case, tracking down those responsible for the brutal deaths of 134 men, women and children (of all species) in a shopping mall. It's not paying the bills and during his investigation he also gets evicted and has to deal with arms dealers, the Tribunal, general bureaucracy and old myths told to children that have way too much of reality about them to make him comfortable. It's no life being dead but there are perks and Dan to his dismay has to much of the "hero" gene than he likes to admit.

This latest installment of the Space Team spin off series is easily the most complex and mature writing for the character, the story has weight but never forgets its roots in the comedic scifi genre. Oledol and Artur both get a lot more development thanks mainly to the introduction of characters they interact with although the giant furry penis (don't ask) may give me nightmares :)
The ending was unexpected but in hindsight totally fitting and opens the door to an exciting new adventure. Dead in the Water is an excellent addition to the Dan Deadman lineup and Space Team universe and while may not being the most "fun" story is perhaps the best so far.

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Saturday, 7 April 2018

Viper Mark II

Eaglemoss have released their first model from the new Battlestar Galactica range, the US get the option of a subscription (like the Trek ships) but here we have to buy as and when they are released. Now they are not cheap but I've got to admit they are excellent quality.











Battlestar Galactica Viper Mark II By Hero Collector

Digging Deep: An O.C.L.T. Novel by Aaron Rosenberg

Digging Deep: An O.C.L.T. NovelDigging Deep: An O.C.L.T. Novel by Aaron Rosenberg
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Far beneath the bustle of New York the darkness gives birth to an intruder, the first to encounter this invader are the denizens of the subway and sewer tunnels who are known as "mole people", the flee in terror bodies torn and bloodied and it follows...
Digging Deep is the latest novel which is part of the the greater "world" provided by the O.C.L.T. series of books which has been written by a number of authors and often share characters. I read the omnibus release of four novels a while back and enjoyed them immensely so was delighted to see a new book in this "world" written by Aaron Rosenberg an author I've read before. The narrative and plot elements aren't exactly new but as with all media the tropes are in themselves not a bad thing if presented well and Aaron gives us a very atmospheric novel mixing the main characters together and keeping everything moving at a fast pace. It adds a lot to the story that this isn't some sort of bug hunt on spaceship or abandoned base but rather a life and death adventure in and around a civilian filled major metropolis and the gruesome events are having to be played out in as much secrecy as can be achieved. It's also a bonus that besides from one character no one is really equipped for this sort of threat and to see them rise to the occasion and support each other is another factor which increased my enjoyment of the novel.
Hopefully this world that the various authors have created will be exploited further, I know I want to read more and the openness of O.C.L.T allows many types of story to be told.

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The White Fleet by Jay Allan

The White Fleet (Blood on the Stars #7)The White Fleet by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The war between the Union and the allied forces of the Confederation and Alliance is over. The Confederation Senate quick to appease the public and massaged by self interest sign peace accords which gut their military but leave a "weak" Union with no further recriminations. Elements of the Admiralty and Intelligence services knowing the mistakes that were made and continue to be made send the cream of the military led by the Dauntless with Admiral Barron deep into the badlands to seek out technology that could aid them in what will no doubt be a future conflict with the despotic Union. There are mysteries and wonders to be found in the remains of the former galaxy wide human civilisation that fell into chaos and destruction and as the White Fleet flies deeper into the heart of the galaxy they are noticed....
The White Fleet is the seventh novel in the series and as I often say if you have read the books so far that will certainly not be disappointed with this installment. Regular characters with circumstances obviously changing remain as strong as ever and new storylines open up as the military and political landscape changes. The novel doesn't quite hit 5 stars for me because I found the covert plot arc on the Confederation capital to be maybe too close to what is happening in the modern world to be entertaining but events in the badlands are certainly hitting the mark. A solid addition to the series and gotta say the book cover is beautiful :)

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Sunday, 1 April 2018

Columbus Day by Craig Alanson

Columbus Day (Expeditionary Force, #1)Columbus Day by Craig Alanson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Earth was alone until that day flashes in the sky herald the arrival of an alien species that we later learn were known as the Ruhar, they struck our industry and infrastructure but left the cities mostly intact and then their soldiers arrived. Jo Bishop (former US Army) was back home looking forward to celebrating Columbus Day but finds himself and a few friends engaging in a cat and mouse maneuver with the alien occupants of a damaged troop ship but when it looks like the end is nigh the sky erupts again as second alien fleet arrives and engages the first.
The Earth is saved and in gratitude the world governments commit ground forces to aid the second alien species (Kristang) in their ongoing galaxy wide conflict but the men and women who journey to the stars are in for a rude awakening, not everything is as advertised and the Earth and her people are little more than pawns in a greater game.
Columbus Day was a purchase based purely on reading the blurb when the Amazon algorithm decided I would like it and you know this time it got it right. The central character of Joe Bishop was written well and with enough flaws to make him the everyday former soldier drawn back into what he's really best at and to exercise his ethics in a theatre that has little time for compassion and justice. The novel takes its time to create the world the series is based in and of course that always pays off so when the scope of the narrative expands greatly it all fits together well and doesn't stretch the bounds of credibility. I'll certainly be reading the rest of the series but not right away, there is a lot on my to read list but when I'm ready they are on the kindle good to go.



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