Sunday, 29 October 2017

Cauldron of Fire by Jay Allan

Cauldron of Fire (Blood on the Stars #5)Cauldron of Fire by Jay Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cauldron of Fire is the fifth novel in the Blood on the Stars series and as you would expect continues the ongoing story of the conflict between the three main powers in this particular area of the galaxy. The Union and Confederation are pretty much stalemated at this point but the political establishment of the Confederation seeing growing discontent within the populace are looking to strike quick and hard to finish the Union once and for all. Of course the Admirals know that what minor positives will be brought forward by committing major assets are overshadowed by chances of a disaster which mounts as supply lines extend and they dive deeper into Union space. They also know that the Union are secretly backing the coup that has fractured the Alliance, if the Union secure control/influence of that huge military force then the Confederation will be destroyed between two fronts.
Commodore Barron and his highly respected Dauntless with other destroyer support are supporting the genuine government of the Alliance in this civil war but know that in time they will lose unless they do something rather unexpected.
Cauldron Of Fire continues the excellent military scifi storytelling we've come to expect from Jay Allan and builds upon characters we already know as well as introducing others to add more depth and flavour to the story. The combat both in space and on the ground is compelling and exciting and leaves us wanting more and combine that with the investment in the character then you are onto a winner. Fortunately the sixth novel in the series "Dauntless" is due early in the new year.

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Another Girl, Another Planet by Lou Antonelli

Another Girl, Another PlanetAnother Girl, Another Planet by Lou Antonelli
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Government agents are confronted with a mystery when three graves are found on Mars and on one grave marker a business card with a name and address on it. Dave Shuster the man identified through this information is confronted and he relates a story of another timeline/reality in which the cold war never developed and the US and Soviets joined forces to colonise space. Within decades humanity had a large functioning lunar colony and a young and vibrate facility on Mars. After a failed senate run this Dave Shuster takes a senior administration job on Mars in 1985 and finds himself embroiled in a long established plan to use the advanced robotics pioneered by Asimov and perfected by the powerful Tesla corporation to overthrow the established order. Here on Mars the future of the human race will be decided and a few good men, women and yes androids will swing the scales.
Another Girl, Another Planet was a kindle recommendation and I enjoyed reading the sample, I bought the novel right away and finished it that night, I really could not put it down. I enjoyed the look at an Earth that went down a different path after WWII and the use of real world characters in different professions and impacting in different areas was clever.
A highly recommend novel, something different yet very satisfying.

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Sunday, 15 October 2017

Pew! Pew! - The Quest for More Pew!

Pew! Pew! - The Quest for More Pew!Pew! Pew! - The Quest for More Pew! by M.D. Cooper
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well here we are with even more Pew! Pew! for your space cash and this anthology does not fail to deliver with nine varied scifi tales with a comedic slant, some out and out humorous others less so but all with the ability to make you smile. I was quite pleased that a number of the authors contributed stories to the anthology with characters from the first so we got the further space tourist adventures of Charles (the redshirt), Ben and his sexbot as the return to Earth from Europa and of course Delta Team who run foul of the magical kingdom/world of Disknee. Along with them are six other original stories and from all of them my favorite was Miss Planet Earth by S.E Anderson a tale of young woman crowned miss universe a month or so before first contact who is then cryofrozen for the intergalactic trip to well the real Miss Universe pageant, 13000 years later when she wakes up well things have changed :)
Overall an excellent follow up to the first Pew! Pew! anthology and a third collection Pew! Pew! - Bite My Shiny Metal Pew! is due to arrive this November.

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Space Team: Planet of the Japes by Barry J. Hutchison

Space Team: Planet of the JapesSpace Team: Planet of the Japes by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

So Space Team saved the Universe, well multiverse if we're being accurate and they had an awful lot of help if we are being totally honest but hey they are now awash with cash and are feeling pretty good about things. Of course that doesn't last long as their systems are hacked and the cash stolen yet a clue is left as a secret partition within the memory of Mech is revealed which contains a map to a mysterious location. In pursuit of their cash there is nothing Space Team will not do so Funworld here they come and yep you will not be surprised they find adventure and danger and maybe more than a few references to Scooby Doo as the theme park world does it's best to hide it's secrets and kill the visitors in many a varied way.
Planet of the Japes for me didn't quite hit the same high mark as previous novels in the series, it felt a little too limited and compressed in scope but Barry did say he wanted to write something a little more contained after the epic plot line of the previous novel. For fans of the series is still an enjoyable addition and opens up narrative avenues that will not doubt pay off as the series continues and I'll be waiting to read the further adventures of Space Team.

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