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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Sunday, 25 March 2018

Starfleet Corp of Engineers (Book 3)

Some Assembly Required: SCE Omnibus Book 3:Some Assembly Required: SCE Omnibus Book 3: by Various
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the third collection of Starfleet Corp of Engineers stories we have four more adventures of the USS da Vinci commanded by Captain David Gold with his erstwhile crew of trouble shooters.

The Riddled Post by Aaron Rosenberg
The da Vinci is tasked with investigating a mining/research outpost that has gone silent.

Here There Be Monsters by Keith R.A. DeCandido
In the aftermath of the Iconian Gateways (see Gateway series of novels) some strange creatures appear on a Tellarite colony of Marglin.

Ambush by Dave Galanter & Greg Brodeur
Delivering equipment to a mining asteroid producing elements required by the Horta to combat a plague the da Vinci is attacked by three starships.

Some Assembly Required by Scott Ciencin & Dan Jolley
A world of artists and dreamers are partitioning for Federation membership, geologic instabilities are threatening their world and in desperation they acquire the components to a planetary computer system which turns out to be not what they expected. The da Vinci sends some officers to provide assistance but they soon find themselves attempting to save a world.

As we've seen in the previous collections the stories rely on continuity in the characters and circumstances of the world the SCE operate in, this gives the reader a very far reaching opportunity to invest in these people. All four stories were entertaining and it would be hard to pick one that stood out which shows a good balance when creating this novel. I've already purchased the next two collected works so looking forward to spending more time with the da Vinci.

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Sunday, 18 March 2018

Star Brigade: Quartet by C.C. Ekeke

Star Brigade: Quartet (Star Brigade Books 1-4)Star Brigade: Quartet by C.C. Ekeke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read the first Star Brigade novel a few years ago and then a collection of the short stories and a few weeks back noticed the promotion for a four novel collection, it was pretty much a no brainer to purchase and delve once again into the world of Star Brigade.
The galaxy as it stands is controlled by various empires and humanity is a major player in the Union however Earth has long since gone having been accidentally wiped of life by the Korvenites who then had their homeworld taken from them in recompense. Unbeknown to most the Korvenite survivors are now treated as a slave labour force and their mental abilities controlled by suppressors and a freedom/terrorist faction rises amongst them and battles for the return of their homeworld. Star Brigade a force in decline finds itself in the center of the battle to save a world and bring justice to a race. That is the very basic story of the first two novels (Resurgent and Maelstrom) and the third and fourth (Supremacy and Ascendant) sees Star Brigade sent to handle a burgeoning civil war which could have galactic ramifications. The collection also features a number of short stories set in and around the novels which add even more value to what is a superb collection of science fiction. The characters created by Charles are strong and complex and still sufficiently larger than life to allow their feats using their "maxim" abilities to ring true without falling into the realm of fantasy. The Political framework of the stories adds a little more structure to hang the plot elements on and also allows the covert and intelligence complications to have free reign.
I've been delighted to get back into Star Brigade and annoyed I lost track of the novels for a while but looking forward to their further adventures which given the growth of the military force within the novels and the relationships of the characters creating a wonderfully entertaining world will hopefully not be too long .

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Sunday, 4 March 2018

Chronicle Worlds: B-Movie

Chronicle Worlds: B-Movie (Future Chronicles Book 16)Chronicle Worlds: B-Movie by Samuel Peralta
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My latest dip into the collection of anthologies under the Future Chronicles banner deals with the good old "B-Movie" genre and the authors who contributed work really let themselves have fun. This anthology contains nine stories with subjects covering the whole spectrum from Invading Aliens, Vengeful Spirits, Kungfu Mummies and of course Clowns. I enjoyed every single story and that has to be perhaps the best recommendation I can give, they were all different but entertaining and Samuel can be proud of putting together this anthology.

  • Plagued by Matthew Stott
  • Bubbles by Eamon Ambrose
  • Friendship is Forever by Jessica West
  • Gorillabot vs Mermaids from Neptune by Christopher J. Valin
  • Nightmare by Stefan Bolz
  • Attack of the Kung-Fu Mummies by Daniel Arthur Smith
  • The Legends of Boone Ridge by Artie Cabrera
  • Jeffboy at the Drive-In by Forbes West
  • Drop Bears by S. Elliot Brandis

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Sunday, 25 February 2018

Into the Void by Joshua A. Johnston

Into the Void (Chronicles of Sarco, #2)Into the Void by Joshua A. Johnston
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Into The Void is the second installment of the Chronicles of Sarco written by Joshua A. Johnston and takes up the story soon after the fall of the powerful entity known as Malum. The major and minor races of the Confederacy are still in turmoil, vast fleets of warships have been lost but crew casualties have been light due to the unusual nature of Malum. The political climate is volatile and as with the Invasion of 1124 many would want to consolidate and lick their wounds however Admiral Garvak sees no recourse but to venture beyond the void and gain intelligence on Malum and the beings that created it and sent it to destroy the worlds of the Confederacy. Commander Jared Carter is promoted and given command of the Hattan and secret orders to cross the void on a reconnaissance mission, what he finds pushes the ship and crew to their limits and could tip the balance of power both sides of the void.
Into The Void is a more action packed and fast paced novel and for me that resulted in a much more enjoyable read, the expansion of the universe with the revelations of what exists on the other side of the void added immensely to the excellent world created in the first novel. Existing characters have evolved and new characters added to the mix seamlessly and the "big bad" written with depth and continues the conflict between the physical and metaphysical both on the grand scale and the personal, I'm looking forward to the continuation of this story in a third novel.

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Sunday, 18 February 2018

The Time Titan of Tomorrow by Barry J. Hutchison

The Time Titan of Tomorrow (Space Team, #8)The Time Titan of Tomorrow by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Space Team return with a non-stop all action adventure dealing with time and space mainly it has to be said thanks to the lack of Mush (food replicator resource). As we know when Cal gets it in to his head to solve a problem anything can happen and after a mission to capture an evil fiend leaves them with a huge bill the lure of a rich folk filled space passenger liner in distress is too good to pass up. Of course things go poorly but never fear it gets worse and with the fate of freedom in the universe at peril and Space Team are the only ones on scene well we are all space mush!
Barry once again delivers a fast faced and fun filled comedic space adventure and I'll admit this novel delivered emotional high and lows and a couple of times I had to just put the book down and take a breath, unexpected emotional knife in the guts both in a good and bad way:)
For me this novel is back to form after the previous one didn't really hit the high bar set by the series and it sets up what I expect to be a tremendous next novel, no space pressure.

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Sunday, 11 February 2018



Last year Sideshow Collectibles the purveyor of all things beyond my price range announced a figure of Toothless the dragon as depicted on the two theatrical features based on How To Train Your Dragon. Now I love the first movie, the second not so much and the tv series I can just take or leave but this figure immediately demanded attention. I placed a deposit and even though a UK based supplier had offered them in the meantime I stayed with the US import which worked out ok, import duties were not so bad (DHL not the PO).

Saturday, 10 February 2018

From The Depths by Amy Griswold

STARGATE ATLANTIS: From the Depths (SGX-08)STARGATE ATLANTIS: From the Depths by Amy Griswold
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"From The Depths" by Amy Griswold is the latest novella from within the Stargate Franchise and focuses on Atlantis post television series and after the 8th novel in the Legacy series. While the continued growth of the Atlantis storyline is most welcome it is not critical to make this novella work although an alive and well Elizabeth Weir may give pause depending upon how much of the tv show you've seen:) As with most scifi in fact all narratives some things you may just need to accept to really enjoy the story but if you have kept pace with the books published by Stargate Novels/Fandemonium then you'll be right at home.
In this story Atlantis still exploring its new home investigates the behaviour of some large squid like creatures, their ability to alter their skin colours hints at communication and well the Ancients have done some weird stuff as they tried to make Pegasus as they seemed fit.
I'm not going to go into any more detail as the novella packs in a lot of story and while there may be nothing really new here the concept sits nicely into the world view of Pegasus and the Ancients any fan of the tv show would recognise. Elizabeth and John interacting was and remains entertaining and the ancillary characters worked well and who couldn't picture the expression on Jack as his fishing pole went bye bye, a good read for fans of the franchise and Atlantis in particular.

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Bridge Across the Stars: A Sci-Fi Bridge Original Anthology

Bridge Across the Stars: A Sci-Fi Bridge Original AnthologyBridge Across the Stars: A Sci-Fi Bridge Original Anthology by Rhett C. Bruno
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been very partial to scifi anthologies in recent years as a gateway to new authors or established authors teasing new or existing works. In this case Bridge Across the Stars: A Sci-Fi Bridge Original Anthology hits the mark perfectly offering up a bunch of new authors for me to sample at a minimal cost and a few recognisable names whose work I've read before.
In this novel there are seventeen stories covering much of what we consider to be science fiction and as you would expect not everyone hit the mark but each reader takes something different from each story which is where an eclectic mix of styles/stories pays off.
"As the Sparks Fly Upward" by David VanDyke is an excellent opening to the anthology with its mix of military scifi and a deeper look into humanity (in any form) while Guardians of Earth by Felix R. Savage was highly entertaining with the look at a purely fantastically future of mankind driven from Earth as our sun got eaten by "void dragons" and a young boys secret kept until a chain of unexpected events. The Trenches of Centauri Prime by Craig Martelle had me laughing as it tied together human history of war in a far flung setting but the attitudes of the footsoldier (any species) not having changed one iota. Further stories cover the birth of AI, Space Pirates, Humanities spread across the galaxy and the end of life on Earth.
Overall every story gave me some pleasure and selecting a few to mention seems unfair but that's the way it was meant to be, a great anthology and well worth picking up.

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Sunday, 4 February 2018

Slayers and Vampires

Slayers and Vampires: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized, Oral History of Buffy the Vampire Slayer & AngelSlayers and Vampires: The Complete Uncensored, Unauthorized, Oral History of Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel by Edward Gross
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I watched both Buffy and Angel when they were broadcast and own both series on DVD having watched them at least once more. I haven't really been then interested in the behind the scenes events both small and large which occured and led to what the audience got to watch on TV but this book just turned up at the right time when I was at a loose end reading wise.
The interviews were both current and taken from previous articles/interviews from the full range of cast and crew, Joss Whedon himself did not provide any new input so all his comments are as stated from earlier interviews. That said I learnt a lot about the highs and lows of bringing first Buffy and then Angel to the screen and it certainly ignited a desire to rewatch Buffy once again which I am doing and currently in the third season. The show was always excellent but armed with some of this information I am getting so much more from the viewing experience.

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Edge of Oblivion by Joshua A. Johnston

Edge of Oblivion (The Chronicles of Sarco, #1)Edge of Oblivion by Joshua A. Johnston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Confederacy consists of a number of advanced space faring races each bringing their own particular traits for the benefit of all but few would claim it is an easy alliance of worlds. The galaxy is shaken when a threat from beyond explored space "folds" into the Ritican frontier and close to a manned listening post, soon there is nothing left of the listening post and the entity/ship moves on slowly wiping out all things in its path. Combined fleets engage the invader but as desperation mounts a single ship is sent out to track down remnants of an old parchment with similarities to the invader. As technology and courage continue to fail the fate of the known galaxy could rely on myths and prophecy and a belief in what many would consider things long grown out of.
Edge of Oblivion written by Joshua A. Johnston was a recommendation and overall an easy read, I liked the juxtaposition of science and mythology as they vied to solve the problem of the invader and the complex world he wrote with the five main species and ancillary peoples worked very well. The sequel to the novel is out soon and I have preordered it for my kindle.

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Tuesday, 26 December 2017

Christmas Prezzies 2017

I must have been a good boy this year because in addition to the usual stocking fillers I also got a few nice surprises.

Sunday, 3 December 2017

New Frontiers by Joshua Dalzelle

New Frontiers (Expansion Wars Trilogy, #1)New Frontiers by Joshua Dalzelle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

New Frontiers is the first book of the Expansion Wars trilogy and takes place not long after the conclusion of the "phage" war as detailed in the Black Fleet trilogy of novels. Captain Wolfe the "hero" of the first series is moved into a more administrative position and Captain Celesta Wright takes her ship to the frontier where a mysterious signal is being received from, what they find provokes more questions than answers. Meanwhile the Confederacy already on shaky ground begins to fragment and proves to be a very bad time to encounter another alien species who on the surface seem to be amiable to diplomacy but there is more to them than meets the eye just as there is with humanity.
I've really enjoyed the Omega Force novels by Joshua and the Black Fleet was a different type of scifi story but still containing good characters and well written plot lines and action sequences. New Frontiers continues this theme and I'm more than ready to read the second and third novels in this series as once again a fragmented human race is faced with a threat that could end their existence.

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Shield of the Gods by Christopher L. Bennett

Department of Temporal Investigations: Shield of the Gods (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)Department of Temporal Investigations: Shield of the Gods by Christopher L. Bennett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm not a regular reader of current Star Trek related novels and certainly not those dealing with the Department of Temporal Investigations but I liked the blurb for this novel and thought I would give it a go. Overall I enjoyed the story, the plot elements that linked to original series and Gary Seven were satisfying and you can never really go wrong with time travel in scifi. That is perhaps why when they paid a big nod to a scene from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure I burst out laughing, I was in the canteen at work at the time so got a few "looks". The story itself deals with a theft of some highly advanced and classified time tech from the vaults of the DTI by an individual who may have come from the future, the agents investigate leading them across space and time to an event that change events on a galactic scale. The narrative embraces the more personal aspects of the characters giving a little more weight to the events and that I think that made a huge difference to my enjoyment of the novel. I would probably have got more out of it if I was familiar with this part of the Trek franchise but still a good story, well written and entertaining.

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Saturday, 25 November 2017

I, The Constable

I, The Constable (Star Trek Deep Space Nine)I, The Constable by Paula M. Block
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the death of a very successful member of Quark's family he is disturbed to find that the changing face of Ferenginar as guided by Rom and Leeta means Quark is not inline for a windfall. Not to be outdone he returns to his homeworld in the hopes of manipulating the beneficiaries of the will and generate some cash flow. When Quark goes missing Odo is asked to investigate and he once again dons the mantle of constable and equipped with a well read library of classic "noir" and pulp detective novels goes in search of one wayward ferengi.
I've got to admit that I really enjoyed Odo with a noir slant, he kinda fits into hard boiled detective mould and yes has his own issues with dames and flat foots as well as hysterical clients, that latter being Rom :)
A very enjoyable novella and an excellent read for a DS9 fan.

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Saturday, 11 November 2017

STARGATE SG-1: Behind Enemy Lines by Sally Malcolm

STARGATE SG-1: Behind Enemy Lines (SG1-31)STARGATE SG-1: Behind Enemy Lines by Sally Malcolm
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Once there was an Asgard named Loki who did unethical and illegal experiments on abducted humans from Earth in the hopes of finding a way to solve his people's inherent flaws in cloning technology. One result of this experimentation was a clone of Colonel Jack O'Neill (SG1 S7E3) whose development was arrested during the clones teenage phase, the young Jack complete with the life experiences and knowledge of older Jack was let loose upon the Earth to find his own path. However young Jack had the desire to make a difference so when nearly a decade later SG1 get themselves into a mess and the opportunity arrives to once again don the mantle of Stargate Command he steps through the gate (Off Balance novella).
Behind Enemy Lines is set not that long after the events depicted in Off Balance (the novella is included in the novel) and we find the not so young Jack has got himself captured by some very dangerous individuals in Syria. What makes it worse is that video footage has been released which also features the firing of a Zat (given to Jack by Teal'c). Sam and Daniel with SGC support raid the compound and rescue Jack and other hostages but the cat is out the bag and the IOA is demanding Jack be restrained and kept for study. However John Sheppard has been infected by an Ancient repository of knowledge and McKay and Co believe analysing a brain that has undergone the cleansing procedure will allow them to reverse the procedure. As General O'Neill is perhaps to valuable to risk the Jack clone at this point is expendable and so off to Pegasus he goes and his wildest adventure begins.
Behind Enemy Lines written by Sally Malcolm is a very fast paced novel, I was surprised I finished it so quickly but the narrative never lets up and you are thrown from major event to major event with very concise build up in between. There is no real surprise in the overall story but by focusing on events in and around the SGC and Atlantis/Pegasus it covers all the bases which adds flavour as we see most of these through the eyes of clone Jack. It's both gratifying and depressing to see the wonders of the universe offset by Jack learning of the deaths of friends and colleagues during his time out of the SGC sphere of influence. The addition of the Wraith dynamic worked well and to readers of The Legacy series a lot of this will be familiar, there has been some great work done on expanding Wraith culture in the novels after Atlantis finished it's run on television. The novel is a fun read, works well especially if you are familiar with the TV episode and novella (why wouldn't you be) and gives us a most satisfying conclusion.

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