Saturday, 26 March 2016

Counterstrike by Joshua Dalzelle

Counterstrike (Black Fleet Trilogy, #3)Counterstrike by Joshua Dalzelle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the final novel of the Black Fleet trilogy the Earth is once again the focal point of the human race but the long ostracised humans are not overly friendly to their brothers and sisters returning home with their tails between their legs. However as the political battlefield continues to develop Captain Jackson Wolfe and his close allies have to deal with Earth and the remnants of the confederation both civilian and military and surprisingly the enigmatic Vruahn who have requested to speak to Jackson more or less in person. The Phage it seems have never spoken to any individual directly, this is a mystery and maybe the first real weakest that can be exploited but even as the massed fleets of humanity look to strike back Wolfe sees that the final battle may lie down a totally different path. Decisions have to be made and Wolfe has never doubted that his gut and pure luck has gotten him this far but with the very survival of humanity at stake can he afford to gamble...
Counterstrike was a very good way to wrap up this trilogy, no question it's more of the same but that isn't that unexpected, both the characterisation and action within the story was satisfying with a few unexpected twists and turns to add a little spice.

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Black Fire by Sonni Cooper

Black FireBlack Fire by Sonni Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The novel opens up pretty spectacularly, a terrorist attack on the Enterprise leaves the ship seriously damaged with crew deaths. Investigating the explosion indicates a huge conspiracy yet the powers that be seem indifferent forcing Spock to take independent action, not for the first time it has to be said. The alien species introduced in the book was interesting but I don't think they or the situation made a lot of sense but some of the Spock dynamic was to coin a phrase fascinating.
Black Fire was an enjoyable read and that got the extra star but for the Star Trek purist it's probably going to mildly annoy if only because one of the main plot elements would never have come to pass within the tv canon. That said I loved the idea of Spock becoming known throughout Federation space for his exploits and poetry being written about him, McCoy was having the time of his life:)

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Thursday, 24 March 2016

The Wrath Of Khan by Vonda N. McIntyre

Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan (Star Trek TOS: Movie Novelizations, #2)Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan by Vonda N. McIntyre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can you say, a novelisation of the greatest Star Trek movie ever to grace the silver screen can not go wrong and it didn't. In fact you can easily argue the book is better than the movie thanks to the extra depth and characterization given to elements that where not seen, were truncated or never even existed in the script. The look at the science team developing Genesis adding so much more to their deaths than we got out of the movie and an interesting take on Joachim and a little extra for Savvik and Peter as well. Lets me honest a novel has the opportunity to expand a story in areas a movie with a severely restricted run time has to ignore and as readers we get the benefit.
I don't think I need to go into the plot of the book, doubtful anyone would be reading that hadn't seen the movie so lets just say it was well worth the time even for a die hard fan of the movie.

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Monday, 21 March 2016

The Abode of Life by Lee Correy

The Abode of LifeThe Abode of Life by Lee Correy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Enterprise is charting gravitational anomalies on the outer edge of the Orion arm of the galaxy when they run smack bang into one, the ship is flung into the void and is badly damaged. Limping towards home the detect a rogue star with a habitable world which shows intense levels of energy usage as if transporter systems were running continuously. A landing party beam down and discover a world of high technology but operating a society based upon the code duello and the three main political/social elements now exposed to the reality of "alien life" could see their society fracture as some embrace the new reality while others attempt to suppress and deny it.
The Abode Of Life was a mighty fine read, I enjoyed the concept of a rogue world thrust from the populated areas of the milky way whose people had woven into their society the elements of what once was. The social structure was interesting and functional, too many times in scifi the "bad" guys tend to be a little over the top but here we see reason and facts win out albeit with some false starts. Not quite sure I'm ready to see the Enterprise crew walking around with old timey pistols but it does create a picture:)

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Tuesday, 15 March 2016

The Covenant of the Crown by Howard Weinstein

The Covenant of the Crown (Star Trek #4)The Covenant of the Crown by Howard Weinstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The planet of Shad is the key to the stability of the quadrant and the Klingon Empire are arming a dissident faction and the civil war is slowly but surely crumbling the long established monarchy. Shad also supplies raw material for energy generation to many nearby worlds and if she falls to the Klingons many other worlds will follow. James Kirk served on Shad as adviser to the King and led him into exile, 18 years later the loyalist forces have turned the tide and have started bickering amongst themselves. Only the return of the king who represents both the lineage of rulers but also a living conduit to the gods of Shad can stabalise and bring true peace to this world.
The Covenant of the Crown is a story which feels a lot bigger than it is, the narrative is complex and diverse allowing you to really sink your teeth into the character and situations. Klingons are Klingons and their MO syncs with the tv series although like one or two of the tv episodes how the Federation deals with non-member worlds and pre-warp at that isn't entirely clear. If you can accept that then this is a great Star Trek story, lots of action and suspense with the characters written very well and always nice to have McCoy front and center:)

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Sunday, 13 March 2016

The Klingon Gambit by Robert E. Vardeman

The Klingon GambitThe Klingon Gambit by Robert E. Vardeman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The catastrophic loss of telemetry from a Vulcan ship supporting an archaeological dig has the Enterprise warping into the Alnath system to confront a Klingon dreadnought suspected of involvement. Upon arrival the Vulcan ship is found adrift, its crew all dead but with no direct evidence of foul play, further investigation is required amongst the Andorian led scientists and the Klingon warship. Evidence of a very advanced civilization has been found on Alnath but as the mystery deepens the crew of the Enterprise starts to behave in a very peculiar manner.
The Klingon Gambit was a good and traditional Star Trek story, a mystery with a long gone alien race whose technology continues to impact on the races that follow combined with ongoing fall out from the Organian accords. The story also explores character traits many of which have been seen in smaller doses in the tv series and new crew members were added to enhance this effect. Overall a good original series story in character with the television show.

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The Entropy Effect by Vonda N. McIntyre

The Entropy Effect: Star TrekThe Entropy Effect: Star Trek by Vonda N. McIntyre
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The mysterious appearance of a singularity has the Enterprise and more importantly Spock committed to an extensive study, six weeks into the mission the ship receives an "ultimate" distress signal, it can not be ignored. Upon arrival at Aleph there seems little to justify the emergency but with the ship and crew in need of a moment of rest and rejuvenation perhaps a milk run taking a prisoner to a nearby rehab facility is just what's needed. Tragedy then strikes, an attack on board with proscribed weaponry leaves two dead and one seriously injured and as the paranoia runs rampant the secrets Spock and McCoy are keeping makes them look ever more guilty of conspiracy and murder.
The Entropy Effect is a solid piece of Star Trek story telling, nothing really new here after all the ship often gets diverted for no real reason but the criminal activity and mystery adds a very welcome layer to an established trope. The novel was a lot better than I remembered and I really enjoyed some of the new characters introduced in the book a few of which turn up in Trek novels from other authors.

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Star Trek The Motion Picture

Star Trek I: The Motion Picture (Star Trek TOS: Movie Novelizations, #1)Star Trek I: The Motion Picture by Gene Roddenberry
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A solid novelisation of the first Star Trek feature film which allowed the author to expand on some scenes and relationships with great effect and not get mired in the minutia of the environment. Yes we all know the motion picture went a little overboard with the visual effects sequences at least in terms of length so it was appreciated that this novel provided the visual impact to the crew without boring the reader.

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Monday, 7 March 2016

Call to Arms by Joshua Dalzelle

Call to ArmsCall to Arms by Joshua Dalzelle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Captain Jackson Wolfe the most experienced combat captain in the fleet now has command of the Starwolf class "Ares" the most powerful and advanced warship ever built by humanity but the threat of invasion has diminished. After the massacre on colony worlds it was expected the mysterious alien species/entity would rampage towards the core worlds but little has been heard and public opinion and the support from politicians that goes hand in hand begins to wane. Wolfe realises the veneer of cooperation and mutual respect that has been the bedrock of humanity for the last few centuries has been a bit of shame as the factions maneuver amongst themselves seemingly indifferent to the threat. Wolfe takes his ship to hunt down the aliens and try to reveal why they seem to be intent to hold the now dead world of Xi'an and makes some startling discoveries but Centcom and the confederacy are fracturing leaving Wolfe to hold the line with too few ships and souls.
Call To Arms is an excellent second book in the Black Fleet Trilogy building on the characters and events from the first book but adding far more depth and plot elements which opens up the story and poses some interesting questions as we are carried along with Wolfe and the Ares. The final novel "Counterstrike" has a lot to live up to but I don't think I will be disappointed.

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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

My New PC

The sad fact is that you kinda know when it's time to do some major work to your personal computer at least when it's running windows. Years of updates and installing/uninstalling programs take it's toll so using the time off work to build myself a new PC.
I could take pictures of the internal workings and truth be told the aesthetics of motherboards and other hardware seem to take into account a windowed case but lighting condition are not great so they wouldn't look their best anyway so I didn't bother:)


  • Asus Z170 Deluxe
  • Core i7-6700K 4.00GHz
  • 16GB DDR 4
  • 480GB HyperX Predator PCIe SSD
  • Be Quiet! Silent Base 800 & 750 Watt PSU
I've used my existing Nvidia 9600 GT graphics card and while it is probably in need of an upgrade I have yet to play a game it couldn't cope with but I'm not that demanding when it comes to cutting edge graphically demanding gaming.