Sunday, 27 September 2015

Batmobile

So as you may know I've been buying a lot of little items to fill some shelf space, once the books are positioned there are a few inches that are just crying out to be filled by pretty little things. It's mostly been Pop Vinyl figures but this model of the classic '66 Batmobile just cried out to be sitting on the shelf and so it was:)


The Prisoner of Eldaron: Crimson Worlds Successors II

The Prisoner of Eldaron: Crimson Worlds Successors IIThe Prisoner of Eldaron: Crimson Worlds Successors II by Jay Allan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Triumvirate advance their plans to take control of the human sphere of influence by a number of incredibly complex operations across many worlds but first Darius Cain and his Black Eagles the single foremost military force has to be eliminated and the trap has been set on the planet of Eldaron ruled by "The Tyrant". Darius knows it's a trap given the unexpected rise of forces equal to his own but with the lure of his father still being alive seventeen years after his ship was destroyed nothing is going to stop him and the men and women under his command never hesitate in offering him their support. Elias Cain is also beginning to realise the threat posed not only to his own world but the whole human race as he investigates very well organised and equipped pirate activity indicating support from his own government and by extension an unknown third party and separately the forces who have fought for freedom and survival mobilise to counter the threat as yet unspecified.
This is the second novel in the series and is everything a fan of Jay's writing would expect, hard fought and well written military scifi, a healthy dose of political intrigue and characters that on the surface could be very shallow but all fleshed out to give the reader the ability to truly react to the failures and success within the story as it unfolds.
The Prisoner of Eldaron was a pleasure to read and I await the third book.

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Sunday, 20 September 2015

Bandai Star Wars 1/72 X- Wing Starfighter

I've been looking for a decent X-Wing model to go alongside some of my other scifi themed shelf taking up space decorative items and nothing seemed to be just right. I did see this Bandai self assembly snap fit model on Amazon (sourced from Japan) and the price was reasonable and it got some good reviews for quality and ease of assembly so I took a chance and I think it came out rather well. I would say however you need a much more patient and gentle touch when it comes to applying the various decals, after a few basic additions to the model I just gave up and called it a day.



Sunday, 13 September 2015

My Random Journey Through Trek #51

Doctor Bashir, I Presume?
Deep Space Nine

Doctor Lewis Zimmerman arrives on DS9 with the intent to use Julian Bashir as a template for a new long term holographic doctor (LMH) to replace the current EMH which as we know is modelled upon Zimmerman himself. Bashir seems a little uncomfortable but his friends are delighted for him so he goes with Zimmerman who tells him he'll need lots of background information from friends, family and colleagues as well as psych profiles to build the holograms AI. Julian asks him not to contact his parents who he claims he is estranged from and Zimmerman understands but immediately makes a note to contact them. Julian is then quite surprised when his parents turn up on the station, in fact they get delivered to Sisko's office during a meeting so there is nowhere to run for the good Doctor and we see that while his parents seem open and friendly their son is very uncomfortable.
Zimmerman continues to work on the LMH while being smitten the Dabo girl Leeta who he gets to interview since she is a former "friend" of Julian and it may not be totally professional but he asks her out during the interview and she says yes. Rom who has designs on Leeta is shocked but still unable to truly express his desires for her and so the "b" plot of the story continues.
The truth behind the estrangement of the Bashir's is revealed when we learn that as a boy Julian was having issues in terms of mental and physical development, his parents took him to Adigeon Prime where genetic manipulation was performed resulting in a highly advanced human which is illegal since the times of the Eugenics wars.

The proverbial hits the fan when his parents confront Julian but it turns out they are talking to the hologram and being overheard by Miles and Zimmerman, Miles and Julian have a frank chat and Julian is convinced his time in Starfleet is over. Meanwhile Zimmerman is continuing his pursuit of Leeta by offering her the position of running the cafe on Jupiter Station while she is fresh out of the shower, flowers were involved which could not have been cheap so credit where it's due.
Julian goes to see Sisko with the intent to resign his commission only to find that his parents are already there along with Admiral Bennett (JAG) via hologram and it's revealed that Julian's father has confessed to his crime and accepted the consequences on the condition that Julian retains his commission. Rom finally speaks his heart as Leeta is getting ready to leave the station on the arm of Zimmerman and she agrees to stay so he has to find a new plaything and a new template for his LMH. The episode wraps with another heart to heart between Miles and Julian and the realisation that Miles shouldn't really be winning any physical event between the two even if it's darts:)
The life of an actor...
Doctor Bashir, I Presume? is a great little episode, not a lot is going on to be honest but we get the beginning of the unexpected romance between Rom and Leeta and the background to Julian along with some good character building between him and Miles. It is a very low key episode with focus on some of the secondary characters which is one aspect where DS9 really stomps all over the other Trek franchises.
The episode opened up with a longish shot of Leeta and her spectacular costuming which emphasises her cleavage, being a Dabo girl distracting and enticing players is part of her job but Leeta is a very open spirit and she never comes across as being exploited or too easily manipulated. I have to admit I was impressed how Chase Masterson with some simple body flexing and expression made it clear how "welcoming" should would have been to anything positive Rom had to say but he blew it. Quark was wicked in his comments on his brother and Leeta but that's Quark for ya. We also learned later how Rom has taken a five year marriage contract, got his son out of the deal and then failed to read the contract extension and lost all his money so perhaps his reticence can be excused.
It was great to see Robert Picardo on DS9 playing Dr Zimmerman I can understand why he used himself as the template for the first generation EMH but what I never quite grasped was why a human template was being used in preference to any other species. Yes for television the bulk of onscreen characters are going to be human or at least humanoid but I don't believe Starfleet as a whole is predominantly human. It would make more sense to have a base medical template that could be built upon for species specific traits thus tailoring a LMH to ships/stations where a human may not be the optimal Doctor. I liked Sisko pointing out that DS9 wasn't equipped to handle an EMH but hey they retrofitted a lab for the use of LMH so that little hurdle was overcome pretty smoothly and talking of smooth Zimmerman was laying it on thick to woe Leeta and credit he didn't fall to pieces when she appeared naked before him:)
I did have issues with how easy Julian's parents got access to what should have been a restricted lab, the secret had to be revealed somehow so we can let that go I guess and in return we got the excellent chat between Miles and Julian, bros for life. Ultimately this episode is about taking control of your own life, Julian wants to resign before his future is taken out of his hands but is beaten to the punch by his father finally taking responsibility for his own actions. Rom finally gets a backbone at the last second before Leeta leaves DS9 and takes control over his immediate future and while you can say Leeta and maybe Zimmerman were allowing others to set their course they both had made decisions, maybe not great ones as it turned out but they had been made.

This is one of my favourite episodes, some great acting from everyone involved especially the guest stars and a good mix of drama and humour. My only real issue is that for the crime committed two years in a penal colony was a little on the light side but I wonder if it was all being hushed up, the Federation wouldn't want anyone to know genetic engineering had achieved a very positive result.
Rating 9



Saturday, 12 September 2015

Lost Tribes of the Dire Planet by Joel Jenkins

Lost Tribes of the Dire PlanetLost Tribes of the Dire Planet by Joel Jenkins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the final novel of the Dire Planet series the story picks up from the end of Strange Gods with Mellifis having to deal with the events in Orastus and bring the trade caravan back to Ledgrim. As the city continues to recover from the last battle with the exiles the powers within and without continue to attempt to usurp the Dire clan who through Garvey have huge amounts of influence on the council. At this point we learn much more about the very secretive Technopriests and the lost tribes who have been rallied by forces unknown for the objective of destroying Ledgrim. Lost Tribes was an easier read than the previous book even though there is a lot of information being put into the narrative at such a late stage but it works very well. The threat to Ledgrim and of course Garvey the "hero" of the tale escalates yet is kept in check by some well written set pieces and characters and at the end you will come away very satisfied.

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Sunday, 6 September 2015

Strange Gods of the Dire Planet

Strange Gods of the Dire PlanetStrange Gods of the Dire Planet by Joel Jenkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the aftermath of the assault against Ledgrim and the tragic losses incurred Lana Dire is accused of murdering Selah Shaw who refused to accept the warning Lana brought to the outer guard posts. Garvey now the chief of the council of elders offers restitution in line with the traditions of the tribe but this accusation is not about justice, there are elements at work who want to bring down the Dire clan and the trial and execution of Lana would be a good start.
This sets the tone of this fourth novel in the series, politics, greed and ambition are all in play amongst the various tribes of Mars and Garvey is finally getting a full taste of his adopted world. The narrative itself splits into a number of plot lines featuring the various characters both in present day and events in the past. It did get a little confusing if I am honest but all the events covered merge into the whole quite well yet leave a number of avenues open for the next book in the series. If nothing else Strange Gods really opens up the Mars that Garvey is living in both the world itself and the tribes and individuals. Traditions and religions all clash and well the blood certainly flows freely, life can be cheap on this world.
A good addition to the Dire Planet series but a tad confusing on first and second read and definitely not a good place to start if you're new to Garvey's adventures on the red planet.

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