Sunday, 29 July 2018

Cylon Raider

Cylon Raider


Recently released by Eaglemoss is the model of the Cylon Raider from the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. A very well put together piece but you know I still think I prefer the Raider from the original series.






Orbs by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

Orbs (Orbs #1)Orbs by Nicholas Sansbury Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Orbs was a novel or more accurately part of a series that was recommended to me in the usual Amazon fashion and the price was good and the blurb was interesting so why not. Four books later I was totally satisfied with the story that Nicholas had penned about an alien invasion of the Earth and the subsequent events which for humanity and the world were not good, not good at all.
In this first novel we get much of the backstory of the Earth set in the near future which carries throughout the series, the environment is damaged and political and economic issues have led to a corporate power being the defacto world leader to the point that China as a "power" were removed from the equation at the hands of the New Tech Corporation. Complications arise after a solar event slashes the Earth with destructive radiation and stella material leaving millions dead and cities gone or uninhabitable. The eyes of the corporation look towards Mars and a biosphere project is undertaken to prove the concept under the eyes of a highly advanced AI and selected specialists led by Dr Sophie Winston. Soon after the project is sealed under Cheyenne Mountain all contact is lost with the outside and the animals violently destroy themselves. The last time anything like this occurred was when the Earth was bathed in the radiation storms and while the team can last for months in this self sustaining complex the team need to know what has happened to the billions who lacked this protection...
I'm not going to go into too specific details of the events the followed leaving the Cheyenne complex but I will admit I was hooked, it's not easy making an alien invasion story work given all the questions that are often asked when the goal seems to be resource lead but this was by far more interesting than anything Hollywood has done recently. We were presented with a good mix of characters and good dynamic between them, personalities clashed and the AI was a good addition offering a look at events offset from the emotions of the team members.
I pretty much read all four novels over the course of a week, one of the benefits of being late to the party is that there is no waiting for the next installment and while this novel only got a four star rating the series as a whole will get five, it was that good.

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The Sidekicks Initiative by Barry J. Hutchison

The Sidekicks Initiative: A Comedy Superhero AdventureThe Sidekicks Initiative: A Comedy Superhero Adventure by Barry J. Hutchison
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The world and the grand Cityopolis were protected by superheroes until they weren't. The government machine attempts to hide the fact that it's an open range for super villains and they look to the horizon in trepidation because who or what killed the Justice Platoon are still out there. Sam Summers a mild mannered divorced father of a young son has issues with his life, his work and well everything else but when his son is threatened at gunpoint his troubled past reawakens and maybe just maybe Cityopolis and the world have hope.
The Sidekicks Initiative is a new venture for the author Barry J. Hutchison who has penned the very good series of novels under the Space Team banner and associated spin offs. I've enjoyed those novels immensely and was more than willing to start a new adventure with Barry's latest novel and I was not disappointed. The Superhero genre is very buoyant at the moment and originality is a gift few can achieve so more often that not the key is to create a piece of work that exists within the genre and its well trodden tropes yet retains the spark of creativity. Barry has achieved this with his world building, interesting and well constructed characters and situations and in this case nailing the comedic aspects to a tee. I also have to say that a couple of more heartfelt and emotionally deep elements came across very well, sometimes you need to feel for the "bad" guy and allow for redemption and shades of grey in the hero bizz.
Highly recommended if you have never read Barry's other work and if you have you will certainly not feel let down and I hope this is a start of a new avenue for his creativity.

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Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Pew! Pew! - A Fist Full of Pews!

Pew! Pew! - A Fist Full of Pews! (Pew! Pew!, #5)Pew! Pew! - A Fist Full of Pews! by M.D. Cooper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The latest anthology in the Pew! Pew! series arrives with another eight broadly humorous tales of science fiction spread across all subgenres with submissions from authors who are returning to the series and a few new to the anthologies. I enjoyed all eight of the stories, they all had fun moments and were far from simplistic in their narrative or structure, these are all well written scifi with the humour when required as the bonus element or icing if you will.

Cryonite Caper by Felix R. Savage
Mike Starrunner small time freighter captain finds his weapons officer frozen in a block of cryonite, some shady business going on but what exactly and who with has yet to be determined. In a society where there are humans who can shape shift and of course aliens a plenty it's going to be tricky for him to find out the truth and to be alive after he does.

The Chadd by Richard Parry
Chad Forradel is assigned to track down a newly emerged human empath which leads him to the terraforming world of New Haven, there is no one left alive. The ongoing war with the insect like Ezeroc is raging, empaths are the key to victory but the Ezeroc can infest a host empath and use their abilities against the human empire so the pressure is mounting on Chadd to finish his mission but then the space pirates turn up guns ablazing and they have the empath.

My Andersonia by James S. Aaron
Ngoba Starl was eager to get his embedded link, an offer of a job from a friend to infiltrate an offworld society and liberate a sentient AI will get him what he wants. Now if only he didn't have to pretend to be the fiancee of a young woman he quite likes or that their guide has the serious hots for him and it's Mardi Gras time and well anything goes...

Rogue Planets and a Bored Kitty by M. D. Cooper
The Delta Team return and well their gifts from their recent visit to Disknee World has kinda changed the dynamic of the ship and crew but a job is a job and so what if the team consists of Cinderella, Catwoman a Vampire and a few other critical changes in circumstance? The job requires them to retrieve an energy device stolen from the world of Crossbar by someone from Allaran two worlds deep in the void in a starless system both dependent upon these devices to provide energy, oh and Crossbar is populated by vampires so no worries.

Space Girl and the Sensual Spy by Andrew Dobell
Space Girl Seren Zenith second to none in her chosen profession of intelligence operative is assigned a critical mission to rescue a deep cover agent, turn the tables on a alien state and collect valuable intelligence. However while her robot McTechbot is always useful (sarcastic to the extreme but useful) she is also lumbered with a Fleet officer, granted she would ride him all night long (well sex is one of her favourite pastimes in any way you care to imagine) but this isn't how she works but as in her private or not so private life a willing partner can always be made to hit the right spot.

Making Trouble by Amy DuBoff
Jack Tressler has had an interesting time since meeting the crew of the Little Princess II and they all agree life is more fun with a little adventure and danger so why not use some of the cabins for high paying covert transport, not trafficking per se but getting people to where they want to go no questions asked. Of course they soon find themselves transporting a group of men and women to a mysterious destination so they decide to liberate the people by stealing back the ID tags from the organised crime gang they mistakenly contracted themselves too. Fun and games galore.

Valentine's Day 1979: An Intergalactic Adventure by Andrew Gates
Wrong place and wrong time sees Ryan Gifford taken onboard an alien starship and learning that the Earth is part of a huge galactic power and as such an Earthman has been chosen as husband in a political marriage to head off a interstellar war. Why an Earth man, well no one else really wants to marry such a hideous creature but hey it's Valentine's Day and as usual Ryan is alone so why the hell not!

The Unbelievers by Bill Patterson
Something is different about the graduating class of 2360 as strange events and deaths occur around them after being assigned to the fleet in the war with the Poon. Extracted from the fleet they are examined and backgrounds checked until yes a common denominator is found and then the fun begins, if they are such a threat to their own fleet how dangerous could they be to the Poon fleet?





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STARGATE ATLANTIS: Pride of the Genii by Melissa Scott

STARGATE ATLANTIS: Pride of the GeniiSTARGATE ATLANTIS: Pride of the Genii by Melissa Scott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pride of the Genii written by Melissa Scott is the latest Stargate Atlantis novel released through Fandemonium aka Stargate Novels and is part of the Legacy series. If you are unaware of this series of novels then they begin where the TV series left off and followed Atlantis back to the Pegasus galaxy and into the chaos that was the Wraith and the Genii as well as many other factions who rode out the turbulent times after the city returned to the Milky Way.
This latest novel from Melissa focuses on the Genii and the recovered Ancient warship they brought to the final battle with Queen Death. Now fully repaired (or at least the best it can be without an Ancient shipyard) the Pride of the Genii with her crew many with ATA gene therapy derived from Wraith tech the Genii venture forth on a "goodwill" tour of allied worlds. This mission is the jewel in the still young leadership of Ladon Radim and nothing can go wrong but with the military coup an accepted way to gain power any weakness or misfortune could spell the end of his rule and his life.
Pride of the Genii is a great addition to the Legacy series of Stargate Atlantis novels as it builds strongly on the core of the series in growing societies and factions that were side stepped on the tv show or simply had so much more to offer. The Wraith have benefited greatly from the world building over the course of Legacy and now it's time for the Genii and for a society that played a part as an antagonist on the tv show there is so much more we need to know about them as a people and the individuals. Melissa delivers in full by not only cementing Ladon as a central character (who still has shades of light and dark) but bringing forth the social order he oversees. A military culture was firmly crafted for the show but we see a bit more of the push and pull within the military and how the science division and even civilian elements operate. As for the Atlantis and her people not a lot was added that we did not already know, this novel really wasn't about their development although John still dealing with the demands of leadership had its moments. I did mention in my first review of a Legacy novel how I really enjoyed the description of the symbiotic relationship between pilot and Ancient ship (Atlantis in that case) but here again we get a wonderful description of the bonding and emotional element between certain Genii and the ship and later with John. The hint of maybe sentience and certainly trauma was captivating, the idea the ship itself recalled its previous close call with death and the loss of her crew and her "screams" as the atmosphere burnt her skin in an uncontrolled reentry were totally immersive. The fact the Genii commander also felt the closeness with the ship says a lot for that officer and the type of man he is, another who would be open for honest and fair dealing with Atlantis.
Overall Pride of the Genii was an excellent read, a very entertaining story with great development of a culture that was never really my favourite but I am ready for the Genii to take more of a center stage in any future Legacy novels. The Genii after all may be right, the Wraith could renege on their deal, maybe not now but in a century who knows and woe anyone that isn't prepared....

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