Sunday, 25 January 2015

The Missing

The Missing

by Una McCormack

Reviewed


The Missing is an entertaining Star Trek story set on the new Deep Space Nine space station as post war Romulan and Cardassian interests clash and Captain Ro Laren has to deal with all of this as well as a first contact situation which is being mirrored light years away between the research and exploration vessel Athene Donald and a mysterious highly advanced starship. The story weaves in Odo and Garak and plays the Bajorans in something of a middle ground with no love for either side but with fences to mend the opportunity for good will and diplomatic gold stars can not be ignored. Dr Pulaski pays DS9 a visit before leaving onboard the Athene Donald and with Dr Crusher as the CMO of the station sparks could fly and the story presents the viewpoints of these two characters in great detail and when it comes right down to it both these characters were portrayed in more positive light than in the tv show, at least that's what I took from it. One aspect of the story is it's place in the post television storylines, I'm not familiar with the specifics of events that are covered in the recent novels so I may not have got everything out of the story as I could, for example the two Tzenkethi characters and their cultures place in the new look Alpha Quadrant but thankfully I don't think that was essential.
The story itself takes place mainly in two locations, the first DS9 as first contact is made with the People Of The Open Sky and then soon after the Athene Donald comes face to face with the highly advanced "Chain" in their uber starship who seem to look down on the Federation vessel. As events begin to spiral out of control with break-ins, murder, suspicion and distrust between races and individuals it's up to everyone to pull together and look beyond their limited expectations and ingrained beliefs and embrace a future of new possibilities.
I really enjoyed how Pulaski was written and her interactions with Crusher in this story and I found myself smiling quite a lot, the mystery created by the first contact situations and the investigations while not overly complex kept me turning the page (so to speak) and while there were plot elements I hate with a passion in this case a certain technology that has been covered in the movies this novel for a fan of Trek and DS9 is well worth reading. Garak, Odo, Ro, Crusher and Pulaski were all written well and the new characters (at least to me) merged well within the established framework and I suspect we'll be reading a lot more about some of them and for that I am thankful, I believe there is a lot to be told in this new Federation of Planets and beyond.

I also should mention the personal logs that head up each chapter, they were very interesting and compelling offering insight into first contact and posing some very valid questions, they added immensely to my enjoyment of the main story.


Saturday, 24 January 2015

Elysia

I backed Elysia on Kickstarter and the rewards have been coming through, I got a pdf of volume 1 a while back and received the paperback, stickers, t-shirt etc yesterday.
Elysia




Saturday, 17 January 2015

My Random Journey Through Trek #23

Star Trek
S3 Spectre of the Gun

The Enterprise has orders to make contact with the inhabitants of the planet Theta Kiokis II, they are known as the Melkotians and it seems not a great deal is known about them. When they approach the system a buoy approaches and blocks the path of the ship and they are warned not to advance but Kirk ignores it and proceeds towards the planet. Kirk, Spock, Scotty, Chekov and McCoy beam down to the planet but their destination is unlike anything they expected and then a voice announces their punishment for trespassing on the world and as Kirk was their commander he will be the source of their doom. The next second the landing party find themselves in a wild west town and the role playing begins but with deadly consequences.

Spectre of the Gun for my money is a very good episode of the original Star Trek and for once really benefitted from having such a tight budget, they simply could not provide a fully featured sets for the Melkotian world nor the western town so we got a lot of fog and some simple set fronts for Tombstone with piecemeal additions. The whole look worked so well both as an alien viewpoint of a human centric location but created from the minds of alien creatures they did not fully understand.
The idea behind the episode worked as well, it was simple but effective. We get the Federation once again putting Starfleet into a position that goes beyond diplomacy and allowing the crew of the ship to suffer the consequences. The action of Chekov was a little silly even for the role the ensign was expected to play on the show but I suppose it was used to emphasise the deadly aspect of the predicament they were in. Spock being the only crewman able to 100% know they were really not in any serious danger was cool as was the mind meld being used to implant this certainty into the rest of them. Kirk refusing to kill the tools of the Melkotians opened the door to diplomatic contact but really the choice not to kill something that really didn't exist was not that impressive but hey happy ending and no one died, that's a result for all the red shirts on the ship:)


IMDB
Rating 8


Eureka Rewatch - Season 1

I picked up the German Blu-ray boxset of Eureka some time ago and well I never really found the time to sit down and begin a rewatch but over the recent holidays I watched the first season so here are a few thoughts.

The Eureka pilot is very good, it sets up the town and it's secrets effortlessly and a lot of that is simply down to some great characters and performances from the actors, we easily fall into cheering on Jack Carter as he is exposed to the strange events and methods of dealing with them from something simple like a stray dog through to exploding experiments, missing children and maybe the end of the world as he knows it. Yes Eureka comes with its own share of everyday problems and this is what gives us the fish out of water experience throughout it's entire run on television, Carter never quite feels at ease in the town no matter how involved he becomes.
Colin Ferguson plays Jack Carter and is ably supported by Salli Richardson-Whitfield (Allison Blake), Joe Morton (Henry Deacon), Jordan Hinson (Zoe Carter), Debrah Farentino (Beverly Barlowe) and Erica Cerra (Jo Lupo) with some very fun supporting characters but we do see some changes between the pilot and the series proper all of which worked out very well. As you would expect there are plenty of familiar faces if you are a regular viewer of Canadian produced US television as well as a healthy supply of actors based in the US, this mixture I suspect helped balance the budget as well as get the name recognition any show requires to maximise the US market which is critical even as the global market grows in importance.
Season 1 gives us a good mix of drama and humour, the chemistry between the characters is immediate (great casting no doubt) and to be honest it's one of the best first seasons of a genre show, even the weakest episodes have enough merit and entertainment value to make them worth watching although a 12 episode season helps out there.
Favourite S1 Episodes...
  • Before I Forget
  • Purple Haze
  • Once in a Lifetime
I haven't included the pilot in my favourite episodes even though it's a good one but it's a scene setter and with cast changes feels a little different but when viewed as a whole the first season has much darker overtones then the series overall. I've read that Eureka was intended to be a little darker and more gritty but evolved into a more lighter and comedic series and I think that was a good call by the producers to let that happen, the audience was there for family friendly scifi which Eureka delivers in spades.

Eureka Season 1 IMDB & Wiki