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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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Judge Anderson: Year One by Alec Worley

Judge Anderson: Year OneJudge Anderson: Year One by Alec Worley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read Judge Anderson in my youth but that really was a long time ago yet I felt drawn to this novel by Alec Worley. The novel is actually three novels packaged into a very appealing product and I bought it for my kindle on the day of release. The three stories take place in Cassandra Anderson's first year as a judge, the pressures of being in the Psi Division and simply being a judge combined with being perhaps the most powerful of her kind all colour her work on the streets.
The first story deals with a number of supposedly random psychotic breaks by individuals in and around the Meet Market which is a secure area of the city which allows for all many of dating escapades to take part. Anderson and her partner investigate a violent murder but she discovers that the crimes are certainly not what they appear to be. As pressure mounts the potential for carnage during the upcoming Valentines Day parade looms large and Anderson is dealing with not only the perp but her own people as well.
The Abyss
Moriah Blake the self styled leader of a radical and violent group known as Bedlam who are attempting to create chaos and bring down the established order as represented by the Judges is securely incarcerated at Psych Block Six (Sponsored by Pharmville). Anderson with Judge Zeinner are sent to interrogate her and after some probing of a very controlled mind Anderson is convinced that there is a bomb in play but before they two judges can act Bedlam strikes.
A Dream of the Nevertime
Judge Anderson is having dreams, regs demand that she gives a full rundown of all her dreams to the Psi-Division but this seems to be different. During a riot she incapacitates a mob but is then put into custody by the Division when they detect some sort of psychic virus in play which may exist in another realm altogether. Anderson convinces the higher ups she can track down the source of the psychic presence hinted at in her dreams and together with a robot named Marion she drives into the cursed Earth to find answers to questions she has not even begun to imagine.

I really enjoyed the novel, like I said it's been a while since I read any Judge Anderson and comics are different from novels but these were entertaining and descriptive adventures with a strong central character and some wonderful world building.

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Sunday, 25 June 2017



Season 1 Rewatch

JAG had an interesting history with it's change of network and change of lead female stars but it certainly suited the era it was born from. A flag waving military and law show which pimped the US armed forces and at least tried to bring forward the importance of women in the military (with mixed results). One of the highlights of the show was it's shameless looting of theatrical sources for scenes which would be well beyond their budget to film, Top Gun featured heavily as did Clear and Present Danger, The Hunt for Red October and Flight of The Intruder. 
This first season premiere introduces David James Elliott as JAG officer and former Naval Aviator Harmon Rabb, Jr. along with Andrea Parker as Lt. Caitlin Pike. Andrea is replaced in the first season proper with Tracey Needham (Lt. Meg Austin) who is then replaced in the second season by Catherine Bell (Major Sarah MacKenzie) who becomes the series regular for the rest of its run (10 seasons in total).


Favourite Episodes...
  • A New Life
  • Pilot Error
  • Skeleton Crew

Friday, 23 June 2017

Ultra-Actors: William Shatner by Bunny Ultramod

Ultra-Actors: William ShatnerUltra-Actors: William Shatner by Bunny Ultramod
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ultra-Actors: William Shatner is a look at some of the theatrical work from William Shatner during his long and varied career. The movies in question range from the bizarre to the more mainstream but reflect the eclectic choices made by the actor and the book delves into the reasoning and the results of a career which had many highs and lows.
The book is not that extensive but does cover 21 movies many of which I have heard of it and watched but few that I have yet to be delighted by, say what you will about Shatner but always offers memorable performances as underlined and examined by the author.

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