Sunday, 13 August 2017

Dial D for Deadman by Barry J. Hutchison

Dial D for Deadman: A Space Team Universe Novel (Dan Deadman Space Detective Book 1)Dial D for Deadman: A Space Team Universe Novel by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dan Deadman makes his move from a supporting character in the Space Team series with this fully fledged adventure "Dial D for Deadman".
Dan is a detective, well sort of as he is not known for his hardcore analytical investigative skills but he knows the streets and the people of Down Here and oh by the way he is dead hence his name and the rather abrupt reactions of everyone he meets, even with a galaxy full of aliens Dan is a rather startling individual to come across especially down a dark alley.
A routine (for Dan) prevention of a mad serial killer opening a portal into the malwhere (demonish dimensions) leaves him with a dame tagging along who has some very unusual skills, she remembers her name (Oledol) but lacks a translation ship and has no memory of where she is or even more basic things such as using the bathroom, lots of comedic opportunities revolve around Oledol and how Dan deals with them. Dan begins an investigation into a missing child case and unable to shake Oledol finds himself with a partner who to say complicates his life would be an understatement, it doesn't help that his arm got ripped off earlier and was replaced by a womans arm complete with painted nails so Dan is not in a great mood. The investigation takes them all over Down Here and we meet many interesting characters, suspects, passers-by and there is no question that the setting and character interactions are very entertaining, the mystery in itself works well but it's the main and ancillary characters that won't allow you to put this book down.
The novel certainly pays homage to film noir and the classic private dick and dame with an agenda narrative but set within the Space Team universe the humour just keeps on coming. Dan is returning in "Dead Men Don't Get Paid" and for me a certain purchase.

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Miracle Workers - S.C.E.

Miracle Workers (Starfleet Corps of Engineers Omnibus, #2)Miracle Workers by Keith R.A. DeCandido
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second book in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series presents three stories under the title "Miracle Workers". The first story is a direct continuation from the first novel as the Da Vinci deals with the USS Defiant and the Tholians in Interphase Book Two. Events are spiraling out of the control as the Tholians look to bury a dark secret and the Federation diplomatic corps seem more willing to sacrifice Starfleet personnel than stand up to this alien power.
The second story is Cold Fusion and this where Deep Space Nine makes its presence felt post the Dominion War as the Da Vinci is tasked with meeting with Lt. Nog to salvage the fusion core from the Cardassian station Empok Nor for use on DS9. Complications arise when they find that they are not alone.
The final story "Invincible" concentrates on Commander Sonya Gomez who has been on detached duty from the Da Vinci and working on the planet Sarindar on a project which has been suffering many issues. The Nalori in a reversal of nearly two centuries of mild xenophobia invited Starfleet into their space to help fix the problems and in return will open up their space to Starfleet long range exploration ships. Gomez (formerly of the Enterprise) has immediate success until a number of the workers are slaughtered by something thought to be legend and no help is forthcoming.
Miracle Workers maintains the strong character driven elements of the SCE series, the second part of Interphase demonstrates the publishers/editors will embrace longer stories when required and this mix seems to be a winner.


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Have Tech Will Travel: Star Trek S.C.E.

Have Tech Will Travel: Star Trek S.c.e.Have Tech Will Travel: Star Trek S.c.e. by Keith R.A. DeCandido
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The series of stories/novels under the Starfleet Corps of Engineers banner is focused on a rarely used aspect of the Star Trek universe (at least on tv and the movies). This branch of Starfleet are the futuristic equivalent of the Army Corp of Engineers and like their illustrious predecessors are often tasked with both military and civilian missions all of which continue to have a strong construction/development/maintenance aspect while still retaining the ability to act as a fully fledged arm of Starfleet when required. The books are primarily focused on the USS Da Vinci and her crew under the command of Captain David Gold and while they contain many stand alone stories there are many multi-part and a continuing/developing narrative throughout. Diversity is also a big factor in the series as a wide range of authors and styles come together to keep things fresh while remaining true to the original concept/characters.
Have Tech Will Travel consists of four stories, the first is The Belly of the Beast in which the Enterprise disables a huge unknown alien starship and leaves the Da Vinci to do a full investigation of the technology and determine who built the ship. The second story is Fatal Error which deals with a malfunctioning AI which has been responsible for generations for guiding/controlling the economy/infrastructure and society of the non-federation world of Eerlikka. The third is Hard Crash which deals with a mysterious alien vessel which slams into a city on the world of Intar and the revelations as the Da Vinci delve into the remains found on board. The final story is called Interphase Book One and is tied to the original series episode The Tholian Web, the SCE are invited into Tholian space to retrieve the Defiant which has reappeared in the spatial rift, there are time constraints but what they find onboard could spark renewed hostilities with the Tholians.
I've planned to read this series for a while now but was put off due to the shear amount of content but gotta start somewhere and now I am glad I didn't put them off any longer.

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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Battlestar Galactica Model

Well after I finished my Space 1999 Eagle model I was looking around for something else to do and of course I recalled like the Eagle I had a model of the classic Battlestar Galactica as a kid which went the way of the dodo many years ago. So a quick internet search later I found Moebius Models who had a classic Galactica kit along with many other wonderful models. I sourced the kit from a UK dealer and then got to work, I didn't have any intention of lighting the model just wanted something that looked nice on the shelf and while the decals were a pain (the ship ends up being the Pacifica) it did eventual turn out well enough to have been worth the time and money.


Overall build quality of the parts was high although some issues with putting all the major components together, I had to fill a few gaps in but fortunately the base paint allowed me to cover them after the fact so that don't stand out too harshly. The decals as I said were not great although I may not have that gentle touch required :)













Stunning Cosplay

Alicia Marie

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Space Team: Return of the Dead Guy by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: Return of the Dead GuySpace Team: Return of the Dead Guy by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An unlikely, improbable but not impossible distress signal originating from Earth is received by Space Team. Cal knows that level of technology should not exist but never the less they warp towards this dead world, as they approach the location is refined and Cal decides to go alone to investigate. Not long after he is facing a multi-verse of issues, a creature from the beginning of time which is intent on eating the Universe and any others it can gets its teeth into and well there is only one Cal to solve the problem and save life as we know it...
Return of the Dead Guy is for me a return to form for the series, a total mind fonk of wild ideas and situations yet retaining every nuance from each member of Space Team and adding more layers of character and chemistry as the story unfolds. Barry continues to surprise and entertain and the threat to Cal and Space Team and pretty much everyone they've ever known or will know sets the scene for their greatest adventure and achievement.
It's been an absolute delight reading the Space Team novels over the last month and while Barry is writing other novels at this time I patiently await any further adventures of the most inept yet successful team in space.

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Sunday, 23 July 2017

Scifi Art

I am a firm believer that some content benefits from a more restrained presentation, perfect examples are these two posters for Star Trek Discovery and Stargate Origins.



Space Team: The Guns of Nana Joan by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: The Guns of Nana JoanSpace Team: The Guns of Nana Joan by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The galactic war between Zertex and Symmorium continues, the team rescue the survivors of Commander Junta's warship but later they learn of a tragedy with the slaughter of thousands of Symmorium civilians at the hands of Loren's Zertex brother. He is now due to be executed for war crimes and the Space team are split over their course of action which ends up with most of them stranded on a world that demands full employment and well what are the Space team really equipped to do in the day to day job market, you may not be surprised.
There was a lot about this novel I liked, the ongoing humour always hit the mark but the overall narrative didn't quite grab me as much as the other novels but it's difficult not to enjoy the antics of Cal as he tries to put together a new space team and adjust to his new duties working for Nana Joan.
Ah Nana Joan, an interesting addition to the narrative and the expansion of this "world" with new characters and of course Kevin who is just pure comedic gold so lots to enjoy. The President continues to be a total megalomaniac and obsessed with Cal which could be his major weakness but if Space team can get their shizz together they may be able to stop a full scale galactic war.

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Space Team: Song of the Space Siren by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: Song of the Space SirenSpace Team: Song of the Space Siren by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Space Team are back together although the loss of the Shatner was a blow but they do have a new ship and maybe a new member of the crew, that still has to be decided but so far he seems to be fitting in. The team take on a new job, it's small and maybe beneath them but an hour or so later they are surrounded by dead bodies, blood and gore and one young child who had been kidnapped but on the plus side there is a reward for returning her to her people. Of course with a million credit reward and the whole galaxy aware of Space team and their current cargo there will be some interest from space pirates and the original kidnappers associates. After some as I said interesting interactions the young child is returned and well things were not exactly as they seemed and the Space Team well Cal more than any of them can not just fly away no matter how much cash they have.
Song of the Space Siren is a story where you knew the Space team would end up in the shizz and no surprise they would have totally the wrong end of the stick but no surprise either that Cal has to get involved. Of course that means attempting to rip down a world's religious beliefs which normally goes well (at least on tv) but in this case not so much. An entertaining adventure for Space team and good times with Kevin the latest member of this dysfunctional family.

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Space Team: The Search for Splurt by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: The Search for SplurtSpace Team: The Search for Splurt by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well you can't blame any author especially in the scifi realm from offering a nod to the third movie in the Trek series and while Splurt isn't dead he could very well end up that way after sacrificing himself to save the rest of Space Team. Cal of course is hell bent on rescuing his best space buddy and devises a crazy plan to kidnap the President of Zertex Corp and torture him for the information and regardless of the consequences go wherever the path takes him.
The Search for Splurt was another great read, the characters are now established and the interactions not surprising yet still delivered with a subtle and when required an outlandish style. The story is full of the humour we have come to expect and I quite enjoyed the inclusion of one or two new characters especially Narp's mum who also has her own short story "Nun Shall Pass" in The Expanding Universe Anthology Book 2.
The wild crazy adventures of Space Team continue and so onto book 4 :)

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Space 1999 Eagle Transporter

I've kinda gotten into building models something I used to do a lot as a kid (never very good to be honest) but the extra time I have on my hands seems to suit putting together a model from a science fiction show which has limited options for buying a ready made example. So I probably will never build an Enterprise but I did build a Klingon D7 and a X-Wing and just finished the MPC for the Space 1999 Eagle Transporter. Now the colour scheme is different but that's just my own esthetic sensibilities coming into play.






Monday, 17 July 2017

Space Team: The Wrath of Vajazzle by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: The Wrath of VajazzleSpace Team: The Wrath of Vajazzle by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You really can't trust some people especially those that greet with you with a big smile and shower you with opportunity. Cal and the crew of the Shatner learn this the hardway when things go a little helter skelter after undertaking a mission for the President (no not that one). Cal takes a breather and visits Earth and it's not what he remembers, more dead bodies and infected souls for a start and then the Zertex appear at Disneyworld no less. As luck would have it Mizette's finance turns up and returning to her homeworld and parents is just better than being captured and taken back for probable execution, just. As you would expect President Sinclair is not a happy bunny, space bunny even and brings in the dreaded Vajazzle a bounty hunter of extreme competence and ruthlessness. It certainly beginning to look like Cal is not on the President's christmas list if christmas existed in space.
The Wrath of Vajazzle continues the slap stick and yes subtle humour surrounding the space adventures of one of the last humans in the galaxy, at least the only one not on Earth. Cal and his crew continue to live on the edge in terms of a galaxy full of dangers and certainly a spaceship full of eachother. The added depth provided to Mizette with her backstory is most welcome, it may indicate that we are going to learn far more about all the characters as the novels continue and that is never a bad thing. Cal and his relationship with Splurt is fast becoming my favourite part of the story but truth be told there really isn't anything I am not enjoying in this book and the series thus far.

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Space Team by Barry J. Hutchison

Space TeamSpace Team by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cal Carver a relatively harmless conman/grifter is due to spend the next couple of years at a low security prison but ends up at a state facility and is unable to charm the warden, infact quite the opposite. Cal won't be transferred until he has spent a night sharing a cell with a convicted murdered and cannibal and that actually turns out not to be the worst thing to happen to him over the next few days. So the prison is attacked by a well armed and professional group that night, yes most of humanity never see another day and Cal is dumped pretty much head first into a situation that actually favours his skills and allows him to survive and then the real adventure begins.
I came across Space Team as a recommendation after reading Pew! Pew! - Sex, Guns, Spaceships... Oh My! and knowing nothing about Space Team than the blurb opened it up (well on my kindle) and pretty much decided I would be purchasing the whole series after just the first chapter. Yes this novel is that funny and while humour is certainly subjective the cast of characters, their interactions and the ridiculous situations they get themselves into (and out of) are just too entertaining to describe. I can not recommend this novel too highly if you are looking for some hilarious and even silly at times well structured and written space humour yet retaining a solid scifi foundation which keeps the novel from crossing into the spoof category.
I have indeed purchased the five other novels in the series and have no doubt that I will enjoy them immensely.

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Monday, 10 July 2017

Vinyl Idolz - Batman

Picked up a mega bundle of newly released Classic 1966 Batman Vinyl figures. The price was very good when compared to purchasing individually and I have to say the figures are rather nice.






Echoes of Glory by Jay Allan

Echoes of Glory (Blood on the Stars, #4)Echoes of Glory by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fourth novel in the Blood on the Stars series by Jay Allan brings the Alliance back into the main arc after their spectacular appearance in the first novel. The Union and its covert services continue to influence members of the Alliance who consider it was a mistake not to engage fully against the Confederation. The aim is to stage a coup replacing the more moderate Alliance leader with one who sees nothing but the power and glory of an immediate war regardless of the dwindling benefits of a society facing opponents far stronger than they are. Of course the Union just wants the Alliance to bleed the Confederation and as the Confederation are drawn into a second front the battleship Dauntless under the command of Captain Tyler Barron brings all its experience back to the rim to do whatever is required to save the Confederation.
This latest novel provides much more detail to the inner workings of the Alliance and shows that there are elements within who believe in the tenants that lead to their freedom and growth over the last six decades or so but also acknowledge their society has to change. This is the underlying theme which allows the plot of this novel to progress and stay within bounds of the narrative as created over the previous three novels. There is the usual space based combat between rival battle ships and fleets as well as some rather tense engagements between the Union and Confederation and the Dauntless on her journey to the Rim to face the Alliance. Another strong addition to the series and having caught up with the novels released so far I now have to wait for the fifth novel in the series due a little later in the year. I guess a little patience is required but I really do want to know how this is all going to pan out, pretty good recommendation I suppose:)

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Friday, 7 July 2017

Ruins of Empire by Jay Allan

Ruins of Empire (Blood on the Stars, #3)Ruins of Empire by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ruins of Empire is the third novel in the Blood on the Stars series by Jay Allan and in this novel the war between the Confederation and the Union has reached an impasse as both sides consolidate however the Confederation has far greater manufacturing capacity and new battleships will soon be leaving the yards in ever increasing numbers.
The Badlands are huge tracts of the galaxy which contain the worlds of the human empire which feel during the cataclysm, sacrosanct by treaty does not prevent scavengers and other maybe more ethical ships running deep into the badlands to search out technology and much of it ends up on the black market. However world is out of a huge find, one that could tip the balance of power for generations to come to whichever government recovers it. The Dauntless is sent into the Badlands as news comes through that the Union may have secured an intact starship generations ahead of any ship currently serving either state.
The increase in detail of the "universe" these novels inhabit was most welcome, we still know little about the empire but certainly the technology in this ship kinda indicates they were truly a force that could reshape a galaxy and explains why so little is found centuries later be it technology or population remnants. As always the series relies on the reader being invested in the main characters and if you are upto the third novel that like me you must be enjoying the adventures of Captain Barron and his crew. The addition of the Pegasus livened things up and we'll see where that leads the narrative but never fear there are lots of battles both major fleet engagements and more personal fighter clashes as well as marine combat. This novel is perhaps my favourite of the series so far but not quite the fifth star but never the less a highly entertaining story.

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Call to Arms by Jay Allan

Call to Arms (Blood on the Stars, #2)Call to Arms by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The long expected invasion of the Confederation worlds by Union forces is upon them, a vicious and seemingly unstoppable surge by Union forces leaves the once powerful Confed fleet in retreat. Meanwhile Captain Tyler Barron and his battleship the Dauntless are rushed to the front before fully completing repairs, they arrive to find only the remnants of a major battle. As the Union punch ever deeper into Confederation space their support/supply system remains impressively strong but Dauntless is now well behind enemy lines and with unexpected support may strike at the heart of the invasion and turn the tide of the war.
Call To Arms once again provides a well paced and exciting glimpse into the clash between mighty battleships and fighters as the two opposing forces meet. The insights into the preparation the Union laid down prior to the invasion is impressive but their major strength ultimately is their greatest weakness and Jay makes sure once you invest in the characters the pay off is very satisfying.

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Monday, 3 July 2017

Duel in the Dark by Jay Allan

Duel in the Dark (Blood on the Stars, #1)Duel in the Dark by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A human empire which spanned the galaxy fell, worlds and systems were left orphaned, blasted to their bedrock or wiped from memory but far on the rim a few worlds retained some of their technology and new societies began to form.
A few centuries after the cataclysm powers vie for dominance on the rim of the galaxy, the democratic Confederation and the totalitarian Union have fought three wars already each won by the confederation but the union is once again ready for another assault but first they offer an open hand to the Alliance the young upstart militaristic society. The Alliance send one battleship into Confederation space to secure a major resource, if they succeed a full assault could be on the cards to secure a large portion of the rim before the Union can achieve their aims but first the unexpected appearance of a lone Confederate battleship has to be dealt with.
Duel in the Dark is a good opening to the Blood on the Stars series, it sets up the "world" this story is going to inhabit without getting bogged down with thousands of years of history pre cataclysm. The psychological and military aspects of the conflicts between the two battleships and captains works very well, echoes of any number of classic WW2 movies and for the scifi fan trek episode Balance of Terror is of the same theme.
An enjoyable and well paced novel which delivered the characterisation and action as well the complexity in the narrative to ensure I purchased the second book in the series.

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