Sunday, 13 August 2017

Dial D for Deadman by Barry J. Hutchison

Dial D for Deadman: A Space Team Universe Novel (Dan Deadman Space Detective Book 1)Dial D for Deadman: A Space Team Universe Novel by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dan Deadman makes his move from a supporting character in the Space Team series with this fully fledged adventure "Dial D for Deadman".
Dan is a detective, well sort of as he is not known for his hardcore analytical investigative skills but he knows the streets and the people of Down Here and oh by the way he is dead hence his name and the rather abrupt reactions of everyone he meets, even with a galaxy full of aliens Dan is a rather startling individual to come across especially down a dark alley.
A routine (for Dan) prevention of a mad serial killer opening a portal into the malwhere (demonish dimensions) leaves him with a dame tagging along who has some very unusual skills, she remembers her name (Oledol) but lacks a translation ship and has no memory of where she is or even more basic things such as using the bathroom, lots of comedic opportunities revolve around Oledol and how Dan deals with them. Dan begins an investigation into a missing child case and unable to shake Oledol finds himself with a partner who to say complicates his life would be an understatement, it doesn't help that his arm got ripped off earlier and was replaced by a womans arm complete with painted nails so Dan is not in a great mood. The investigation takes them all over Down Here and we meet many interesting characters, suspects, passers-by and there is no question that the setting and character interactions are very entertaining, the mystery in itself works well but it's the main and ancillary characters that won't allow you to put this book down.
The novel certainly pays homage to film noir and the classic private dick and dame with an agenda narrative but set within the Space Team universe the humour just keeps on coming. Dan is returning in "Dead Men Don't Get Paid" and for me a certain purchase.

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Miracle Workers - S.C.E.

Miracle Workers (Starfleet Corps of Engineers Omnibus, #2)Miracle Workers by Keith R.A. DeCandido
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The second book in the Starfleet Corps of Engineers series presents three stories under the title "Miracle Workers". The first story is a direct continuation from the first novel as the Da Vinci deals with the USS Defiant and the Tholians in Interphase Book Two. Events are spiraling out of the control as the Tholians look to bury a dark secret and the Federation diplomatic corps seem more willing to sacrifice Starfleet personnel than stand up to this alien power.
The second story is Cold Fusion and this where Deep Space Nine makes its presence felt post the Dominion War as the Da Vinci is tasked with meeting with Lt. Nog to salvage the fusion core from the Cardassian station Empok Nor for use on DS9. Complications arise when they find that they are not alone.
The final story "Invincible" concentrates on Commander Sonya Gomez who has been on detached duty from the Da Vinci and working on the planet Sarindar on a project which has been suffering many issues. The Nalori in a reversal of nearly two centuries of mild xenophobia invited Starfleet into their space to help fix the problems and in return will open up their space to Starfleet long range exploration ships. Gomez (formerly of the Enterprise) has immediate success until a number of the workers are slaughtered by something thought to be legend and no help is forthcoming.
Miracle Workers maintains the strong character driven elements of the SCE series, the second part of Interphase demonstrates the publishers/editors will embrace longer stories when required and this mix seems to be a winner.

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Have Tech Will Travel: Star Trek S.C.E.

Have Tech Will Travel: Star Trek S.c.e.Have Tech Will Travel: Star Trek S.c.e. by Keith R.A. DeCandido
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The series of stories/novels under the Starfleet Corps of Engineers banner is focused on a rarely used aspect of the Star Trek universe (at least on tv and the movies). This branch of Starfleet are the futuristic equivalent of the Army Corp of Engineers and like their illustrious predecessors are often tasked with both military and civilian missions all of which continue to have a strong construction/development/maintenance aspect while still retaining the ability to act as a fully fledged arm of Starfleet when required. The books are primarily focused on the USS Da Vinci and her crew under the command of Captain David Gold and while they contain many stand alone stories there are many multi-part and a continuing/developing narrative throughout. Diversity is also a big factor in the series as a wide range of authors and styles come together to keep things fresh while remaining true to the original concept/characters.
Have Tech Will Travel consists of four stories, the first is The Belly of the Beast in which the Enterprise disables a huge unknown alien starship and leaves the Da Vinci to do a full investigation of the technology and determine who built the ship. The second story is Fatal Error which deals with a malfunctioning AI which has been responsible for generations for guiding/controlling the economy/infrastructure and society of the non-federation world of Eerlikka. The third is Hard Crash which deals with a mysterious alien vessel which slams into a city on the world of Intar and the revelations as the Da Vinci delve into the remains found on board. The final story is called Interphase Book One and is tied to the original series episode The Tholian Web, the SCE are invited into Tholian space to retrieve the Defiant which has reappeared in the spatial rift, there are time constraints but what they find onboard could spark renewed hostilities with the Tholians.
I've planned to read this series for a while now but was put off due to the shear amount of content but gotta start somewhere and now I am glad I didn't put them off any longer.

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Saturday, 5 August 2017

Battlestar Galactica Model

Well after I finished my Space 1999 Eagle model I was looking around for something else to do and of course I recalled like the Eagle I had a model of the classic Battlestar Galactica as a kid which went the way of the dodo many years ago. So a quick internet search later I found Moebius Models who had a classic Galactica kit along with many other wonderful models. I sourced the kit from a UK dealer and then got to work, I didn't have any intention of lighting the model just wanted something that looked nice on the shelf and while the decals were a pain (the ship ends up being the Pacifica) it did eventual turn out well enough to have been worth the time and money.

Overall build quality of the parts was high although some issues with putting all the major components together, I had to fill a few gaps in but fortunately the base paint allowed me to cover them after the fact so that don't stand out too harshly. The decals as I said were not great although I may not have that gentle touch required :)

Stunning Cosplay

Alicia Marie

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Space Team: Return of the Dead Guy by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: Return of the Dead GuySpace Team: Return of the Dead Guy by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

An unlikely, improbable but not impossible distress signal originating from Earth is received by Space Team. Cal knows that level of technology should not exist but never the less they warp towards this dead world, as they approach the location is refined and Cal decides to go alone to investigate. Not long after he is facing a multi-verse of issues, a creature from the beginning of time which is intent on eating the Universe and any others it can gets its teeth into and well there is only one Cal to solve the problem and save life as we know it...
Return of the Dead Guy is for me a return to form for the series, a total mind fonk of wild ideas and situations yet retaining every nuance from each member of Space Team and adding more layers of character and chemistry as the story unfolds. Barry continues to surprise and entertain and the threat to Cal and Space Team and pretty much everyone they've ever known or will know sets the scene for their greatest adventure and achievement.
It's been an absolute delight reading the Space Team novels over the last month and while Barry is writing other novels at this time I patiently await any further adventures of the most inept yet successful team in space.

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Sunday, 23 July 2017

Scifi Art

I am a firm believer that some content benefits from a more restrained presentation, perfect examples are these two posters for Star Trek Discovery and Stargate Origins.

Space Team: The Guns of Nana Joan by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: The Guns of Nana JoanSpace Team: The Guns of Nana Joan by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The galactic war between Zertex and Symmorium continues, the team rescue the survivors of Commander Junta's warship but later they learn of a tragedy with the slaughter of thousands of Symmorium civilians at the hands of Loren's Zertex brother. He is now due to be executed for war crimes and the Space team are split over their course of action which ends up with most of them stranded on a world that demands full employment and well what are the Space team really equipped to do in the day to day job market, you may not be surprised.
There was a lot about this novel I liked, the ongoing humour always hit the mark but the overall narrative didn't quite grab me as much as the other novels but it's difficult not to enjoy the antics of Cal as he tries to put together a new space team and adjust to his new duties working for Nana Joan.
Ah Nana Joan, an interesting addition to the narrative and the expansion of this "world" with new characters and of course Kevin who is just pure comedic gold so lots to enjoy. The President continues to be a total megalomaniac and obsessed with Cal which could be his major weakness but if Space team can get their shizz together they may be able to stop a full scale galactic war.

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Space Team: Song of the Space Siren by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: Song of the Space SirenSpace Team: Song of the Space Siren by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Space Team are back together although the loss of the Shatner was a blow but they do have a new ship and maybe a new member of the crew, that still has to be decided but so far he seems to be fitting in. The team take on a new job, it's small and maybe beneath them but an hour or so later they are surrounded by dead bodies, blood and gore and one young child who had been kidnapped but on the plus side there is a reward for returning her to her people. Of course with a million credit reward and the whole galaxy aware of Space team and their current cargo there will be some interest from space pirates and the original kidnappers associates. After some as I said interesting interactions the young child is returned and well things were not exactly as they seemed and the Space Team well Cal more than any of them can not just fly away no matter how much cash they have.
Song of the Space Siren is a story where you knew the Space team would end up in the shizz and no surprise they would have totally the wrong end of the stick but no surprise either that Cal has to get involved. Of course that means attempting to rip down a world's religious beliefs which normally goes well (at least on tv) but in this case not so much. An entertaining adventure for Space team and good times with Kevin the latest member of this dysfunctional family.

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Space Team: The Search for Splurt by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: The Search for SplurtSpace Team: The Search for Splurt by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well you can't blame any author especially in the scifi realm from offering a nod to the third movie in the Trek series and while Splurt isn't dead he could very well end up that way after sacrificing himself to save the rest of Space Team. Cal of course is hell bent on rescuing his best space buddy and devises a crazy plan to kidnap the President of Zertex Corp and torture him for the information and regardless of the consequences go wherever the path takes him.
The Search for Splurt was another great read, the characters are now established and the interactions not surprising yet still delivered with a subtle and when required an outlandish style. The story is full of the humour we have come to expect and I quite enjoyed the inclusion of one or two new characters especially Narp's mum who also has her own short story "Nun Shall Pass" in The Expanding Universe Anthology Book 2.
The wild crazy adventures of Space Team continue and so onto book 4 :)

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Space 1999 Eagle Transporter

I've kinda gotten into building models something I used to do a lot as a kid (never very good to be honest) but the extra time I have on my hands seems to suit putting together a model from a science fiction show which has limited options for buying a ready made example. So I probably will never build an Enterprise but I did build a Klingon D7 and a X-Wing and just finished the MPC for the Space 1999 Eagle Transporter. Now the colour scheme is different but that's just my own esthetic sensibilities coming into play.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Space Team: The Wrath of Vajazzle by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: The Wrath of VajazzleSpace Team: The Wrath of Vajazzle by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

You really can't trust some people especially those that greet with you with a big smile and shower you with opportunity. Cal and the crew of the Shatner learn this the hardway when things go a little helter skelter after undertaking a mission for the President (no not that one). Cal takes a breather and visits Earth and it's not what he remembers, more dead bodies and infected souls for a start and then the Zertex appear at Disneyworld no less. As luck would have it Mizette's finance turns up and returning to her homeworld and parents is just better than being captured and taken back for probable execution, just. As you would expect President Sinclair is not a happy bunny, space bunny even and brings in the dreaded Vajazzle a bounty hunter of extreme competence and ruthlessness. It certainly beginning to look like Cal is not on the President's christmas list if christmas existed in space.
The Wrath of Vajazzle continues the slap stick and yes subtle humour surrounding the space adventures of one of the last humans in the galaxy, at least the only one not on Earth. Cal and his crew continue to live on the edge in terms of a galaxy full of dangers and certainly a spaceship full of eachother. The added depth provided to Mizette with her backstory is most welcome, it may indicate that we are going to learn far more about all the characters as the novels continue and that is never a bad thing. Cal and his relationship with Splurt is fast becoming my favourite part of the story but truth be told there really isn't anything I am not enjoying in this book and the series thus far.

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Space Team by Barry J. Hutchison

Space TeamSpace Team by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Cal Carver a relatively harmless conman/grifter is due to spend the next couple of years at a low security prison but ends up at a state facility and is unable to charm the warden, infact quite the opposite. Cal won't be transferred until he has spent a night sharing a cell with a convicted murdered and cannibal and that actually turns out not to be the worst thing to happen to him over the next few days. So the prison is attacked by a well armed and professional group that night, yes most of humanity never see another day and Cal is dumped pretty much head first into a situation that actually favours his skills and allows him to survive and then the real adventure begins.
I came across Space Team as a recommendation after reading Pew! Pew! - Sex, Guns, Spaceships... Oh My! and knowing nothing about Space Team than the blurb opened it up (well on my kindle) and pretty much decided I would be purchasing the whole series after just the first chapter. Yes this novel is that funny and while humour is certainly subjective the cast of characters, their interactions and the ridiculous situations they get themselves into (and out of) are just too entertaining to describe. I can not recommend this novel too highly if you are looking for some hilarious and even silly at times well structured and written space humour yet retaining a solid scifi foundation which keeps the novel from crossing into the spoof category.
I have indeed purchased the five other novels in the series and have no doubt that I will enjoy them immensely.

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Monday, 10 July 2017

Vinyl Idolz - Batman

Picked up a mega bundle of newly released Classic 1966 Batman Vinyl figures. The price was very good when compared to purchasing individually and I have to say the figures are rather nice.

Echoes of Glory by Jay Allan

Echoes of Glory (Blood on the Stars, #4)Echoes of Glory by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fourth novel in the Blood on the Stars series by Jay Allan brings the Alliance back into the main arc after their spectacular appearance in the first novel. The Union and its covert services continue to influence members of the Alliance who consider it was a mistake not to engage fully against the Confederation. The aim is to stage a coup replacing the more moderate Alliance leader with one who sees nothing but the power and glory of an immediate war regardless of the dwindling benefits of a society facing opponents far stronger than they are. Of course the Union just wants the Alliance to bleed the Confederation and as the Confederation are drawn into a second front the battleship Dauntless under the command of Captain Tyler Barron brings all its experience back to the rim to do whatever is required to save the Confederation.
This latest novel provides much more detail to the inner workings of the Alliance and shows that there are elements within who believe in the tenants that lead to their freedom and growth over the last six decades or so but also acknowledge their society has to change. This is the underlying theme which allows the plot of this novel to progress and stay within bounds of the narrative as created over the previous three novels. There is the usual space based combat between rival battle ships and fleets as well as some rather tense engagements between the Union and Confederation and the Dauntless on her journey to the Rim to face the Alliance. Another strong addition to the series and having caught up with the novels released so far I now have to wait for the fifth novel in the series due a little later in the year. I guess a little patience is required but I really do want to know how this is all going to pan out, pretty good recommendation I suppose:)

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Friday, 7 July 2017

Ruins of Empire by Jay Allan

Ruins of Empire (Blood on the Stars, #3)Ruins of Empire by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ruins of Empire is the third novel in the Blood on the Stars series by Jay Allan and in this novel the war between the Confederation and the Union has reached an impasse as both sides consolidate however the Confederation has far greater manufacturing capacity and new battleships will soon be leaving the yards in ever increasing numbers.
The Badlands are huge tracts of the galaxy which contain the worlds of the human empire which feel during the cataclysm, sacrosanct by treaty does not prevent scavengers and other maybe more ethical ships running deep into the badlands to search out technology and much of it ends up on the black market. However world is out of a huge find, one that could tip the balance of power for generations to come to whichever government recovers it. The Dauntless is sent into the Badlands as news comes through that the Union may have secured an intact starship generations ahead of any ship currently serving either state.
The increase in detail of the "universe" these novels inhabit was most welcome, we still know little about the empire but certainly the technology in this ship kinda indicates they were truly a force that could reshape a galaxy and explains why so little is found centuries later be it technology or population remnants. As always the series relies on the reader being invested in the main characters and if you are upto the third novel that like me you must be enjoying the adventures of Captain Barron and his crew. The addition of the Pegasus livened things up and we'll see where that leads the narrative but never fear there are lots of battles both major fleet engagements and more personal fighter clashes as well as marine combat. This novel is perhaps my favourite of the series so far but not quite the fifth star but never the less a highly entertaining story.

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Call to Arms by Jay Allan

Call to Arms (Blood on the Stars, #2)Call to Arms by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The long expected invasion of the Confederation worlds by Union forces is upon them, a vicious and seemingly unstoppable surge by Union forces leaves the once powerful Confed fleet in retreat. Meanwhile Captain Tyler Barron and his battleship the Dauntless are rushed to the front before fully completing repairs, they arrive to find only the remnants of a major battle. As the Union punch ever deeper into Confederation space their support/supply system remains impressively strong but Dauntless is now well behind enemy lines and with unexpected support may strike at the heart of the invasion and turn the tide of the war.
Call To Arms once again provides a well paced and exciting glimpse into the clash between mighty battleships and fighters as the two opposing forces meet. The insights into the preparation the Union laid down prior to the invasion is impressive but their major strength ultimately is their greatest weakness and Jay makes sure once you invest in the characters the pay off is very satisfying.

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Monday, 3 July 2017

Duel in the Dark by Jay Allan

Duel in the Dark (Blood on the Stars, #1)Duel in the Dark by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A human empire which spanned the galaxy fell, worlds and systems were left orphaned, blasted to their bedrock or wiped from memory but far on the rim a few worlds retained some of their technology and new societies began to form.
A few centuries after the cataclysm powers vie for dominance on the rim of the galaxy, the democratic Confederation and the totalitarian Union have fought three wars already each won by the confederation but the union is once again ready for another assault but first they offer an open hand to the Alliance the young upstart militaristic society. The Alliance send one battleship into Confederation space to secure a major resource, if they succeed a full assault could be on the cards to secure a large portion of the rim before the Union can achieve their aims but first the unexpected appearance of a lone Confederate battleship has to be dealt with.
Duel in the Dark is a good opening to the Blood on the Stars series, it sets up the "world" this story is going to inhabit without getting bogged down with thousands of years of history pre cataclysm. The psychological and military aspects of the conflicts between the two battleships and captains works very well, echoes of any number of classic WW2 movies and for the scifi fan trek episode Balance of Terror is of the same theme.
An enjoyable and well paced novel which delivered the characterisation and action as well the complexity in the narrative to ensure I purchased the second book in the series.

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Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Judge Anderson: Year One by Alec Worley

Judge Anderson: Year OneJudge Anderson: Year One by Alec Worley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read Judge Anderson in my youth but that really was a long time ago yet I felt drawn to this novel by Alec Worley. The novel is actually three novels packaged into a very appealing product and I bought it for my kindle on the day of release. The three stories take place in Cassandra Anderson's first year as a judge, the pressures of being in the Psi Division and simply being a judge combined with being perhaps the most powerful of her kind all colour her work on the streets.
The first story deals with a number of supposedly random psychotic breaks by individuals in and around the Meet Market which is a secure area of the city which allows for all many of dating escapades to take part. Anderson and her partner investigate a violent murder but she discovers that the crimes are certainly not what they appear to be. As pressure mounts the potential for carnage during the upcoming Valentines Day parade looms large and Anderson is dealing with not only the perp but her own people as well.
The Abyss
Moriah Blake the self styled leader of a radical and violent group known as Bedlam who are attempting to create chaos and bring down the established order as represented by the Judges is securely incarcerated at Psych Block Six (Sponsored by Pharmville). Anderson with Judge Zeinner are sent to interrogate her and after some probing of a very controlled mind Anderson is convinced that there is a bomb in play but before they two judges can act Bedlam strikes.
A Dream of the Nevertime
Judge Anderson is having dreams, regs demand that she gives a full rundown of all her dreams to the Psi-Division but this seems to be different. During a riot she incapacitates a mob but is then put into custody by the Division when they detect some sort of psychic virus in play which may exist in another realm altogether. Anderson convinces the higher ups she can track down the source of the psychic presence hinted at in her dreams and together with a robot named Marion she drives into the cursed Earth to find answers to questions she has not even begun to imagine.

I really enjoyed the novel, like I said it's been a while since I read any Judge Anderson and comics are different from novels but these were entertaining and descriptive adventures with a strong central character and some wonderful world building.

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Sunday, 25 June 2017



Season 1 Rewatch

JAG had an interesting history with it's change of network and change of lead female stars but it certainly suited the era it was born from. A flag waving military and law show which pimped the US armed forces and at least tried to bring forward the importance of women in the military (with mixed results). One of the highlights of the show was it's shameless looting of theatrical sources for scenes which would be well beyond their budget to film, Top Gun featured heavily as did Clear and Present Danger, The Hunt for Red October and Flight of The Intruder. 
This first season premiere introduces David James Elliott as JAG officer and former Naval Aviator Harmon Rabb, Jr. along with Andrea Parker as Lt. Caitlin Pike. Andrea is replaced in the first season proper with Tracey Needham (Lt. Meg Austin) who is then replaced in the second season by Catherine Bell (Major Sarah MacKenzie) who becomes the series regular for the rest of its run (10 seasons in total).


Favourite Episodes...
  • A New Life
  • Pilot Error
  • Skeleton Crew

Friday, 23 June 2017

Ultra-Actors: William Shatner by Bunny Ultramod

Ultra-Actors: William ShatnerUltra-Actors: William Shatner by Bunny Ultramod
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ultra-Actors: William Shatner is a look at some of the theatrical work from William Shatner during his long and varied career. The movies in question range from the bizarre to the more mainstream but reflect the eclectic choices made by the actor and the book delves into the reasoning and the results of a career which had many highs and lows.
The book is not that extensive but does cover 21 movies many of which I have heard of it and watched but few that I have yet to be delighted by, say what you will about Shatner but always offers memorable performances as underlined and examined by the author.

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The Order of the Air Omnibus - Books 1-3 by Melissa Scott & Jo Graham

The Order of the Air Omnibus - Books 1-3The Order of the Air Omnibus - Books 1-3 by Melissa Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I bought a copy of The Order of the Air Omnibus based on the authors other work notably the licensed Stargate novels and the blurb seemed appealing and I got a good deal on this 3 novel offering. The omnibus consists of the first three novels in the series, Lost Things, Steel Blues and Silver Bullet.

Lost Things
The draining of Lake Nemi in Italy disturbs a centuries long bounding of a malevolent entity, it escapes and attempts to seek out a powerful host in which to cause chaos and corruption while satisfying it's own bloodlust and desire for power.
Steel Blues
As the great depression bites hard Gilchrist Aviation enter a grand air race across the United States whose rewards could see them through to when the country rebuilds. Things get more complicated after the theft of a cursed necklace, serial killings in New Orleans, a mysterious professional thief and a scandal hungry press.
Silver Bullet
A number of aircraft are downed in a very specific area of mountains and Dr. Jerry Ballard who is in the city practicing his one true love becomes embroiled in the mystery and the legendary Tesla may be involved. The added puzzle of a bronze tablet adds a level of complexity to Jerry's life but also the promise of his greatest achievement.

I really didn't know what to expect from this collection but I did enjoy the era the stories reside in, the limitations of technology and society make many of the plot elements and characters far richer than they could be if an attempt was made to transpose them to modern times. The characters backstories circling around the first world war was also excellent world building and the use of "magic" or spirituality again just added another layer to the stories. I was often surprised by what I read and I admit a few raised eyebrows as we learnt about Alma, Mitchell, Jerry and Lewis and some of it may not sit well with a few readers but every lifestyle choice, character trait and flaw works wonderfully.
Lost Things is an excellent opener as we see the team come together to truly exploit their talents and the ramifications of bringing Lewis into the group. The Roman mythology angle was most satisfying and again the pacing thanks to the timeframe required for travelling around the states and globally worked to the plots advantage.
Steel Blues built upon the foundation of the first novel and really underlines the firm ground Alma and Lewis are building their relationship on and helped by being surrounded by a supporting Jerry and Mitchell. It's not a perfect "family" of course and the adventures of the coast to coast race allows for a lot of humour especially from a press that delight in scandal and Alma with a "male harem" in attendance sells newspapers. The introduction of Stasi is also delightful, wonderfully written and well within trope and she glues the mysterious theft of the cursed iron necklace and serial killings to perfection.
Silver Bullet takes a step back from the pressures the aviation company were under at the height of the depression, they have a new employee and a new plane. Lewis is gaining in power and Mitchell has a decision to make but Jerry is happy and earning a living pricing a collection when he discovers something that could change his life if not the history of the world as we know it. The group once again are faced with challenges both physical and mystical and there is little need to lay much groundwork, the story jumps from the page and never lets up and mixes the elements of the novel in an entertaining and very pleasing way.
I have to say the three novels in the omnibus rewarded me with far more than I expected, loved the choice of era the stories are set in and the aviation aspect along with the very strong female lead and very able supporting characters. It didn't take much effort to be fully engrossed in the lives of the main characters, well written and threaded through interesting situations and I have no worries about purchasing the fourth novel in the series.
Highly recommended.

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Saturday, 17 June 2017

Stargate Archives - Children Of The Gods

Stargate Archives 

Children Of The Gods 

Mike and Brad discuss the 2009 re-release of the Stargate SG1 "Final Cut" premiere episode for the first episode of the new podcast Stargate Archives.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Pew! Pew!: Sex, Guns, Spaceships... Oh My!

Pew! Pew!: Sex, Guns, Spaceships... Oh My!Pew! Pew!: Sex, Guns, Spaceships... Oh My! by M.D. Cooper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's rare for an anthology to get five stars given that no matter the genre there are going to be one or two stories that don't quite hit the mark but this was an exception.
Pew! Pew!: Sex, Guns, Spaceships... Oh My! offered up nine stories most with a strong humorous themes or at least a style that offered up humour be in a dark fashion of by the natural reactions of the characters within. A few are simply out and out comedic scifi and every single one had me wanting more which is kinda the point of this style of book. I really can't recommend this collection highly enough, I was said when each story finished and soon delighted with the next one up, there are certainly authors here whose other works needs exploring.

Delta-Team - by M. D. Cooper
An homage to the classic 80's tv show The A-Team with a few changes.

The Methane Lake of Excruciating Tedium - by Felix R. Savage
A year on Titan doing research but when everyone stationed at this small scientific facility annoys you...

The Last Bounty - by Barry J. Hutchison
A man's past comes back with a vengeance when his stepdaughter is space kidnapped.

Spaceberg - by M. Pax
When a spaceberg threatens the solar system and the family of Nikili Echols (Orbital Rescue Squad) is in peril she flies to the rescue. Very much a nod to the melodramatic disaster movies of today.

The Long Dark Pew - by Chris J. Pike
Space Bees threaten the planet and the perennial late to the party space tug Barnburner and its motley crew are all that stands between Earth and globs of sticky weaponised honey.

Brewing Trouble - by Amy Duboff
A daring heist to steal a new energy technology, the goal to brew the best cup of coffee in the galaxy if they can dodge corporations, uber weaponed starships and security systems.

Dodging Fate - by Zen DiPietro
The Red Shirt gene is a nasty thing to be born with and when Charlie Kenny decides to spend the rest of his life on a well padded retirement planet what could go wrong, just one more space flight to get there on the safest commercial carrier in existence.

Gli+ch - by Drew Avera
Ben is captivated by the advert for a new life on Europa, soon after he is blasting off from Earth on the adventure of a lifetime with only his sex bot as company.

Bat Johnson, the Mad Mortician of Mars - by Rachel Aukes
Bat Johnson wasn't expecting much when he took the job on Mars as undertaker but with three deaths in the first week and all of them a lot more suspect than the doctor and base commander are willing to admit Bat can't help but investigate.

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Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Starship Blackbeard: The Complete Series by Michael Wallace

Starship Blackbeard: The Complete SeriesStarship Blackbeard: The Complete Series by Michael Wallace
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Captain James Drake a hero of the recent war with the Hroom is in disgrace after being court martialed for events surrounding the loss of a marine detachment. Two years punishment he can take and he's confident he can then reclaim his name and find those responsible for the unjust accusations, manipulation of records and planting of condemning evidence. Unfortunately (or not) loyal members of the crew of HMS Ajax have other plans and the path towards a honourable officer turning space pirate begins.
Starship Blackbeard (all four novels in the series) are a fun read, there is no effort made to really explain the political system of this society or how/why Albion and the other worlds exist in terms of Earth. The technology again is just there, a lot of it seems to be questionable but like Star Wars the mechanics of FTL and shielding etc are not explained they are just there, this is no Star Trek where technology becomes part of the narrative. There are many readers who will be put off by this, many like their scifi with some technological and sociological background to the main narrative but if consider this a space opera where the story and characters are the be all and end all you'll probably enjoy the series. The story certainly does evolve nicely throughout the four novels and the writing also improves and gets more complex but the basic single man and crew against a corrupt force never fails to entertain and the action is fun and fast paced.
I bought the collection off the back of a recommendation and pleased to have done so, already bought the second series of novels which, well no spoilers :)
Fun and frolics as the pirate ship Blackbeard challenges the might of the royal navy, Hroom starships, traders, smugglers and fellow pirates for booty and justice.

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Saturday, 3 June 2017

At the Helm Volume 2

At the Helm Volume 2At the Helm Volume 2 by Rhett C. Bruno
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At The Helm Volume 2 is a very solid collection of science fiction stories covering a number of sub-genres and styles. There are nineteen stories in the anthology and the strength of the book comes from its eclectic mix of stories, out and out space based scifi with others focusing more on individuals living in worlds beyond our current one. A few even step beyond into more dramatic narratives and one which I particularly liked was certainly more mystical.
For the price of the ebook you can't go wrong, pretty much guarantee you'll find stories you like which leds you to the various author's other works, that's the great thing about these anthologies, you never really know what you'll get.

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Sunday, 28 May 2017

Revolution by Joshua Dalzelle

Revolution (Omega Force, #9)Revolution by Joshua Dalzelle
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The galaxy has been a peace (in relative terms) thanks to the presence of the ConFed and her pillar worlds who exert their military, economic and political pressure where ever it is needed. However much of the galaxy is still wild and along the fringes there is lawlessness and criminal activities frowned upon within the core worlds. Rumours reach Jason Burke and Omega Force than a non-military threat could be rising to destabilize the ConFed which could benefit one or two of the pillar worlds or the bigger non-aligned powers in the galaxy. Khepri the location of the ConFed banking/economic AI and the birth world of Lucky the battlesynth of Omega Force seems to be a center of what could be a galaxy wide conspiracy especially when they learn hundreds of his fellow battlesynths are being recalled to the place of their birth, learning why this is happening and why Lucky is not being recalled could reveal who is lurking in the shadows.
Revolution is the ninth novel in the Omega Force series and continues to be an entertaining science fiction adventure series with characters that are both a little over the top but written to be anchored in the reality of the world they occupy. Lucky who becomes a central part of this novel is case in point, a sentient machine built for combat who has chosen to align himself with a group of individuals who were certainly never the demographic the battlesynths were intended to serve alongside. His back story is filled out in spectacular fashion in this story while maintaining a solid narrative spanning the whole of the ConFed and the growing presence of Earth ships thanks to Jason and his well meaning exploits in the last novel. A worth addition to the Omega Force series of novels and more to come.

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Explorations: First Contact

Explorations: First ContactExplorations: First Contact by Isaac Hooke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Explorations: First Contact is a shared universe anthology centered around the human race and their first contact with alien life and associated wonders within the universe. The first story in the anthology is called Prologue written by Stephen Moss and provides the core element the other stories are built around. Sometime in the near future the spacecraft Abeona orbits the moon and approaches an alien sphere shaped artefact recently discovered on the dark side. As they near the sphere mission commander Susan Skarsgaard finds herself floating in space with no sign of her ship or crew and then an assault of images and information floods her mind including one very clear and ominous warning.

Well there we go, the sphere and its effect on humanity and their expansion into space provides a very well thought out structure for authors to build first contact stories around them. You'll find a wide range of styles and approaches to the concept and not all of them go well for humanity and of course the warning is always casting a long shadow as we spread out into the galaxy.
I do enjoy reading these anthologies, they tend to be cheap as they are very much promotional tools for the authors involved and I have certainly followed an author after first reading their work in this type of publication. A recommended read for any science fiction fan.

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Sunday, 21 May 2017

House Rewatch

House Season 2

The second season of House continues to grow in strength, the chemistry between the cast which was excellent right out of the gate is more refined and allows for a more turbulent and at times vicious amount of interaction. The major change in this season is the recurring character of Stacy Warner who after her husband is diagnosed by House takes a full time job in the legal department. There is no question that between Stacy and House there remains passion and never one to miss an opportunity House twists the knife on her husband. Sela Ward as Stacy and Currie Graham as Mark Warner both do an excellent job.

Favourite Episodes:

  • Autopsy
  • House Vs. God
  • No Reason

Gryphon Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido

Gryphon Precinct (Dragon Precinct)Gryphon Precinct by Keith R.A. DeCandido
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gryphon represents the Castle and heart of Cliff's End and this latest novel we look into the death of Lord Albin himself. To complicate matters the funeral of the Lord is attended by King Marcus and Queen Marta and there is an assassination attempt against them. A suspicious or cynical person may consider a connection between these events and indeed the detectives are ready to jump into the fray but Blayk the new Lord is making many changes in the structure and personnel of the Guard which hampers the investigation but Lord Albin's wife Lady Meerka puts her faith in Lt. Tresyllione to continue to dig into the circumstances that surrounds her husbands death.
Gryphon Precinct is very much the novel where politics becomes a central aspect of the story, this is not unusual for a crime procedural where the investigators are maneuvered with threats, bribes and "for the good of everyone" not to dig to deeply into events. Of course we'll always have the one officer or in this case detective who places the truth above all and in this case that is Danthres even when the city seems to be preparing for war and her superiors are putting more and more pressure on her to abandon her efforts.
In many ways this novel brings a fundamental change to the series as characters come and go, only time will tell if the changes will continue the tradition of the crime procedural in that the story is more important than the players.

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