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.
Heartbreaker
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

JAG

JAG


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).




video

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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