Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Memory Prime by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens

Memory PrimeMemory Prime by Judith Reeves-Stevens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Memory Prime is a novel that draws upon the events from the original series episode "The Lights of Zetar" where Lieutenant Mira Romaine is taken over by an alien life form after Memory Alpha is wiped clean and it's personnel killed. The budding romance between her and Scotty is also built upon in the novel and these elements are the cornerstones of Memory Prime.
In this novel the Federation has created a number of "memory planets" which provide redundancy while also specialising in certain areas but the entire network is still dependent upon a central nexus which is Memory Prime which is also the home for sentient AI's who have legal status in the Federation. As the Enterprise ferries nominees and attendees of the Nobel and Z-Magnees prize ceremonies to Memory Prime a threat is uncovered and while the details are vague the very existence and viability of the Federation is at stake. Sabotage aboard the Enterprise throws suspicion on Spock and Starfleet puts more military personnel into positions of power curtailing the normal operations of Memory Prime. The state of affairs become more confusing when subspace jamming prevents communication between the starbase and the Starfleet command and Kirk and his crew equally suspect after certain events occur are forced to solve the mystery themselves despite it putting them all on the wrong side of regulations...
Memory Prime is a very entertaining novel full of interesting characters and events for them to handle, the introduction of the sentient AI's was excellent, I really liked the idea that over the course of the Federation (and even before) a few computer systems had become self aware and eventually were recognised as sentient beings in their own right. The "people" who then became part of the interface team also added an interesting aspect to the story and by extension the conflict inherent when groups and individuals make decisions based on what's good for them rather than the whole. Memory Prime is an excellent story set within the original series environment but adds a level of complexity and depth the tv show could not often provide and I can recommend to any fan of Kirk and crew.

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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

STARGATE SG-1: Hall of the Two Truths by Susannah Parker Sinard

STARGATE SG-1: Hall of the Two Truths (SG1-29)STARGATE SG-1: Hall of the Two Truths by Susannah Parker Sinard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm a fan of the Stargate tv franchise but only dipped into the novels recently, I've read more of Atlantis than SG1 so it was time I jumped into the significant library of titles released since the shows went of the air.
In this case I picked up Hall Of The Two Truths by first time Stargate author Susannah Parker Sinard and with the usual trepidation always present when reading another's viewpoint of favoured characters shared the journey of SG1 as described in the novel. The story is set during the fifth season of SG1 so the Goa'uld are still in a free for all after the demise of Apophis and the team are still in turmoil over "their" failure to save the inhabitants of K'tau (Red Sky). This allows the author to mix things up a little and read more into the chemistry of the team than was always the case on the television show. So let's dip into the story a little but without any significant spoilers, after being approached by the Tok'ra the team are investigating ruins on a previously unknown world. Jack thinks it's all a waste of time but allows Daniel and Sam to keep investigating and they do indeed find some alien technology which seems to only activate when Jack touches is (yes the reader is well ahead of the team at this point). Soon after their location is attacked and the team plus the Tok'ra representative are captured and soon after they awake in a sealed cavern only accessible by rings. They are then joined by two women named NebtHet a'Eshe and Aset a'Teneb who welcome them to "Duat" and after describing personal details of each member of SG1 proceed to zat them twice and so far away from home SG1 die.
Ok there you go, go buy the novel and get reading because this is just the beginning of an adventure that's pretty much not like any other as the mythology of the ancient Egyptians gods and walking through the underworld facing tasks and obstacles for the soul to overcome before being judged are revealed to us through the eyes of our favoured explorers.
Hall Of The Two Truths was an enjoyable read, the concept was very interesting and the story complex enough to really hold my attention with the characters (regular and recurring from the show) all written well and believable in context. I quite liked the scenes with General Hammond dealing with the Tok'ra especially Anise but it was the exploration of the psyche and character of SG1 where the novel really hits its mark.





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Saturday, 20 August 2016

Spock's World by Diane Duane

Spock's WorldSpock's World by Diane Duane
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Spock's World is easily one of my top five Star Trek novels, I own a rather battered hardback copy of the novel and read it more than I probably should. In this novel we get the main storyline which deals with the Vulcan population considering pulling out of the Federation, a global debate is imminent and people from all walks are invited to debate the proposition in front of the Vulcan people. As you would expect all our favourite characters get their time under the spotlight and we get many secondary characters playing major roles as the story unfolds. In addition to this main story we get a number of secondary elements dealing with aspects of Vulcan from the birth of their star system, their evolution into sentience, Surak, Sarek and many other aspects which add so much more to the Vulcan that we knew so little about from the tv series.
Personally I simply love reading about the birth of the first Vulcan language and the experience of wonder as the world is opened to a single vulcan who looks beyond what he can see and is determined to face the unknown. The "Forge" a huge desert where life is forever lived on the edge provides the backdrop to a chilling story of passion and anger and underlines how known Vulcan physical traits played their part in the history of it's people. The story of the political/economic and eugenic aspects of the vulcan society seen through the interaction of two of the main "houses" on the verge of a major space exploitation project is beautiful and sorrowful to read but reveals so much of what Vulcan was before Surak. As for Surak his story is wondrous and inspiring and his revelation after seeing an antimatter weapon used on Vulcan's sister planet shows how near the edge these people were before Surak brought sanity to his people. Finally Sarek a master of computer tech posted to the Vulcan embassy on Earth and his rise as an attache finally as ambassador and his meeting to one Amanda Grayson. There is a lot more in the novel, some of which has been expanded upon in other works by Diane but overall the structure of this book is perfection giving you a great core story with to coin a phrase "fascinating" looks into Vulcan society. Spock's World is a must read for any original series Star Trek fan.

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Scott and Ramona

I picked up a couple of pop vinyls, well they were pre-ordered a while back and arrived this week. I'm always amazed how Funko can take some basic elements and create figures which capture the core look/feel of characters from television and the movies.

Scott Pilgrim & Ramona Flowers


Three Minute Universe by Barbara Paul

Three Minute UniverseThree Minute Universe by Barbara Paul
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A threat to the entire universe reveals itself and the Enterprise is sent to investigate, they determine a huge energy source is expanding into our reality and already the Zirgosian system has been wiped out but perhaps for once they are hoping it was engineered because it was then there may be a way to stop it. Enterprise visits the only colony world of the Zirgosian people and finds a strange and powerful starship in orbit, could these be the people responsible for the energy wave or are they too victims...
The Three Minute Universe offers up a pretty epic concept, the death of our universe as it's suborned by another but the introduction of the "Sacker" species and everything they bring to life in the Milky Way is the high point of the novel. The interaction between them and select crew of Enterprise also adds a lot to the overall positive feel of the novel and certainly fits into the ethos of what Star Trek was always meant to be about. That said I don't think the main plot really served to underpin the character based elements that were spun off but I did like the references to non-canon characters from other novels so worth a read if you get the chance.

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Saturday, 13 August 2016

Star Trek Music

A few goodies arrived from Amazon in the form of the soundtrack to Star Trek Beyond and a tin box of Trek albums.




Time for Yesterday by A.C. Crispin

Time for Yesterday (Star Trek: The Yesterday Saga, #2)Time for Yesterday by A.C. Crispin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this book, easily a five star novel and improves on every aspect of Ann's first tale about Zar.
Throughout the galaxy stars are dying long before their time, the cause is traced back to Gateway the world where the Guardian of Forever exists. Thanks to their success with dealing with this time portal the crew of the Enterprise are sent to find out why time waves emanating from this world are tearing the fabric of space apart. On the long dead world they discover the portal is unresponsive but telepathic contact is made and basic operating functions are restored which allows Kirk, Spock and McCoy to venture back into Sarpeidon's past and to find Spock's son Zar who they believe will have the mental shielding and power to contact the guardian safely having done so previously.
Time For Yesterday is the direct sequel to Yesterday's Son and we get a far more complex and entertaining story with Zar no longer the unsure young man but a leader of his people. We get the best of original series character interaction combined within a medieval background scenario in terms of technology, politics and combat. The description of Sarpeidon 5000 years ago is painstakingly beautiful, it was so very easy to picture the city state of New Araen and all the associated elements of the period thanks to it mirroring our own. We also get some wonderful dialogue between the classic trifecta but also between Spock and Zar who are no longer estranged and there is also a wide and encompassing support group of characters. Ann provides some great action, humour and drama which makes the most of the possibility of time travel to allow some out of the box plot points to work and are both satisfying and entertaining.
I can not recommend this novel highly enough.

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Timetrap by David Dvorkin

TimetrapTimetrap by David Dvorkin
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A distress call from the vicinity of Tholian space has the Enterprise warping to the rescue, they find a Klingon cruiser caught in a spatial storm which is ripping the ship apart and they refuse the offer of assistance from the Starfleet vessel. Kirk and a security party beam over equipped with some state of the art transponders but once on the bridge of the Klingon warship the storm intensifies and when Kirk awakes his is in the future in a galaxy where the Federation and Klingon Empire are at peace...
Timetrap is certainly an interesting read and well a century or so after TOS and the Organian prophecy as we've seen in TNG the two galactic powers are indeed co-operating on many fronts so is Kirk experiencing the future or is there more going on than meets the eye? I really enjoyed Spock more than anyone else in this novel, the pressure on his mental well being caused by the decision to abandon Kirk and the need to argue his decisions with Starfleet as well as the negative view of the crew for his choice to leave the area all come together to give us a view of Spock we rarely see. McCoy is written well as you would expect as so often being critical to how we view Spock, strangely enough Kirk as a character is less interesting despite his adventures away from his command.

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Sunday, 7 August 2016

The IDIC Epidemic by Jean Lorrah

The IDIC EpidemicThe IDIC Epidemic by Jean Lorrah
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Nisus is a science colony grown well beyond its academic roots being a home to a viable multi species community from within the Federation sphere and some from beyond. The most notable is the Klingon scientist Korsal who is the former husband of a Starfleet officer who together had two sons. However a disease breaks out and mutates striking species from across the range of blood types, few seem to be immune and exposure to one strain is no guarantee of immunity to a previous one. However Korsal and his sons do not contract the disease which gives the medical staff of Nisus and the Enterprise something to work from but even more surprises are in store for the world's population as the disease continues to spread and gets aboard the starship while an Orion seeks to sell the virus as a bio-weapon.
The IDIC Epidemic is a direct sequel to The Vulcan Academy Murders so we once again get to enjoy the characters that Jean introduced in the first novel but with the addition of a new people via Nisus the community she created for this novel. There was some nice scenes in this story and I liked all the characters but the novel is a little light weight, you don't really get a sense of dread and perhaps the story needed to be written a lot more ominous and darker to really make the most of the plot. That said T'Pina and Beau were a great double act and overall I really do like the way Jean writes Vulcans and if you want some pleasant Trek with a little bite then this is ideal.


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