Stargate Archives

Sunday, 22 May 2022

Mort by Terry Pratchett

 

Mort (Discworld, #4)Mort by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mortimer (Mort) is one of those enthusiastic youngsters who while always curious, adventurous and active never seem to achieve much which is a problem for his father. However help is at hand in the form of an apprenticeship with the boys new master being responsible for him, now this makes Mort's family seem "bad" but it is really for the best. They travel to a hiring fare where alas as the hours go by Mort is the only boy not be taken into a new and exciting trade which is why at the stroke of midnight a black robed individual riding a large white horse offering to take Mort under his wing is most welcome even if undertaking was not the job Mort's father thought would be for him (Often the case when encountering Death a human's perception is changed to allow them to function).
So Mort is taken to the House of Death which offers it's own surprises and in the spirit of wax on wax off Mort is let into the secrets of the job of reaping souls and dealing with the seemingly unfair and unjust consequences of belief and what comes after death plus the need to muck out the stables of a well fed and cared for horse named Binky.
Mort is a fun read, the expansion of the Death character who really becomes a force to be reckoned with in the Discworld novels begins here, we've seen him toy with those he reaps and in many cases (Rincewind for example) interact indirectly but here he is a real "flesh and blood" being so to speak who realises that there is more to "life" than the job until Mort alters reality in a spectacular way and well the duty is the duty. Mort would be a good introduction to the Discworld series, it balances humour with a little drama and includes many well written characters most of which are unique to this novel but Death continues and that's the greatest thing to come from the novel.


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Sunday, 8 May 2022

Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett

 

Equal Rites (Discworld, #3)Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Granny Weatherwax, what more needs to be said for one of the cornerstones of the Discworld who makes her first appearance in Equal Rites. Granted she's not quite the Granny (or Mistress if you will) that we come to know but all the elements are there. The story begins with the death of a Wizard who bequeaths his Staff and power to the eighth child of an eighth son which should have been a male child but wasn't and this causes some complications further down the line. Young Eskarina Smith is taken under the wing of Granny to be taught Witchcraft but the girls innate gifts and the Staffs "help" means it will never be enough. So the decision is made to take Esk to Unseen University (Granny claims to know it's location but she wouldn't be where she was if she ever admitted ignorance of anything). Naturally the two of them have a few obstacles to overcome and it's no surprise when Esk and Granny are separated only to eventually meet again in Ankh-Morpork. Esk learns a painful lesson in how the Discworld works and more specifically the world of the wizards but Granny long ago learnt how to get what she wanted and this serves Esk well as she interacts with the domestic staff of the University as well as the latest initiate "Simon" who is a bit of a prodigy but alas has drawn the attention of the denizens of the Dungeon Dimensions...
Equal Rites is the first of the novels to really reflect how Terry writes in the years to come, there is still a long way to go but it's impossible not to rate the novel highly and is a very entertaining and easy read.

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Sunday, 1 May 2022

The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett

 

The Light Fantastic (Discworld, #2; Rincewind #2)The Light Fantastic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Light Fantastic is the second novel in the Discworld series and is a straight sequel to The Colour Of Magic so there is more Rincewind and Twoflower with a healthy does of Cohen The Barbarian with the recently "not" rescued Bethan a young woman who never considered liniment as being in her near future. As the Disc drifts into chaos thanks to the ever growing star in the sky even the Unseen University is not immune, the search for Rincewind and the missing Spell is an opportunity for a Wizard with ambitions and the nerve to act so Trymon tempts fate to control the Octavo and claim the eighth spell. Naturally we get adventures and near death experiences thanks to Rincewind and Twoflower but in this novel there is more rigidity as the main plot drives them forward towards the revelation about the mysterious star and why the Octavo was "left" behind in the first place.
The novel took me a little longer to read than I expected, it's not long but I didn't immediately pick up the kindle when I had a few minutes. It maybe I had reached the end of the Rincewind/Twoflower show or as mentioned before I rate the latter novels so highly the earlier ones suffer in comparison. Over all though the story holds up and Cohen was a delight and if you have not seen "Troll Bridge" by Snowgum Films (it's on youtube) then I highly recommend that addition to the lore.


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Saturday, 9 April 2022

The Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett

 

The Colour of MagicThe Colour of Magic by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've been a long time fan of Discworld and Terry Pratchett and my journey began with Guards! Guards! many many years ago so while I have read the entire series more than once my reading has been biased towards the later novels. That said after listening to the podcast "The Compleat Discography" I've developed a hankering to read all the novels once more.
So here we are with The Colour Magic in which we are invited to take a journey with the "failed" wizard Rincewind and the discs first tourist "Twoflower" as they flee Ankh-Morpork (soon after the first fire insurance policy is sold) and become the unwitting pawns of Fate and The Lady. Naturally numerous close calls with Death occur (much to his annoyance) and they meet many an interesting individual (a few of which do not want to kill them) as well as learning much about Dragons and what number should not be said when standing in a certain temple. Ultimately being fished out at the discs edge by the water troll Tethis and learning about the Circumfence is not the boon they thought it might and once again the two adventures boldly go....
The Colour of Magic was a fun read but pales when compared to what Terry delivered in the years after thanks to his growth as a writer and as no doubt a human, elements that are feel dated or out of place to the modern reader have to be accepted as well that was then but again we know every aspect improves. Rincewind and Twoflower are great characters who work well together and of course lets not forget the Luggage whose loyalty will cause chaos where ever it goes.
Roll on The Light Fantastic.

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Empire Reborn by Jay Allan

 

Empire Reborn (Blood on the Stars Book 18)Empire Reborn by Jay Allan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An endless battle for survival has almost brought the Confederation to it's knees, joined by former enemies the Alliance technology has leapt forwards but never decisively, the battle remains focused within the hearts of the men and women who refuse to give up in defence of the people and worlds who cherish freedom. There comes to a time though when the fleets have been battered and options removed, this is that time as the powerful Highborn armada readies to meet the remnants of the Alliance but even with little or no hope the Battleships, Fighters, Cruisers of the Alliance and all the souls aboard face down the invaders.
Well it's been a long road as they say with the 18th and final novel released and now read, I can't say the series didn't need wrapping up but Jay managed to pull a rabbit out the hat so to speak, in hindsight it makes perfect sense with a little perspective massaging but the conclusion to this series was mostly satisfying. There really is little point in recommending this novel in a standalone context but if you are looking for a long running series in the military scifi genre then here you go, a completed narrative with spin offs that is both entertaining and creative in showing us a humanity living far in the future but one we can still recognise and relate too.


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Sunday, 27 February 2022

Starship Invasion by Darcy Troy Paulin

 

Starship Invasion (Lost Colony Uprising Book 2)Starship Invasion by Darcy Troy Paulin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Long lost answers to questions that have plagued the humans of Grailliyn begin to be answered but the price is high as an alien intelligence strikes quickly and ruthlessly. The Great Evil (GE) has found a people that have ignored the warning in the message the propagates the Darkwave and dared to us the FTL capabilities it allows, well by ignored we mean pressed buttons they were not sure did what. Regardless the people of Grailliyn and the inhabitants of the generation ship will have to work together to fight the genocidal invasion and buy time to find someplace safe for what could be the only humans left in the galaxy.
The second novel in the Lost Colony Uprising series introduced a how new group of central characters and the youngsters fight for survival is inspiring amongst the carnage of the invasion. Snow and Max continue their exploration and have their own almost insurmountable tasks to achieve and the two main areas of interest (Grailliyn and Mega) weave around eachother in a well paced and entertaining way. Roll on the third novel "Starship Overlords".

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Sunday, 20 February 2022

Starship Relic by Darcy Troy Paulin

 

Starship Relic (Lost Colony Uprising Book 1)Starship Relic by Darcy Troy Paulin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The planet Grailliyn is the home of a human society who know they did not evolve there but have no real answers to where they come from or how they came to be on this demanding world. They do have all manner of media which tells of Earth and movies that survived whatever happened are still very popular even if the experiences on film have no direct relation to the people that live on Graillyn. A tradition arose where young people as their last act before adulthood take a survey, this was intended to be a journey to seek out answers from across the globe to who and how the people came to be, this however is often not now the case, a few weeks on a warm beach qualifies.
However a young man named Max has travelled to the Far North and trained his own "crab" sled and ventures into wilderness armed with his long lost (assumed dead) patents journals and a clue that they found something wonderous. It's safe to say that what Max found changed the path of his life forever and set in motion a domino effect which will change how everyone looks at themselves, this world and their future.
Starship Relic was a fun and entertaining read, I like the scifi elements which merged into a well designed world which housed this portion of humanity and I've gone straight into reading the second novel, says it all really.



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Saturday, 22 January 2022

For Death or Freedom by Daniel Arenson

 

For Death or Freedom (Starship Freedom Book 4)For Death or Freedom by Daniel Arenson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Here we are with the fourth book in the series as we follow the continuing adventures of the Starship Freedom and her crew in the wake of humanities first contact with an alien race. The Rah invasion fleet had been chased from the solar system leaving incredible devastation in its wake. However the aliens continue to raid the planets, moon, settlements and ships thanks to the ability to use the "portals" their method of FTL propulsion. Thankfully reverse engineering Rah ships has allowed humanity to partially emulate the portal technology in a very crude fashion and with hints that there is a race out there who defeated the Rah's the Starship Freedom along with a few support vessels jumps a thousand light years to the Aeolia system in search of help but find that the Rah's have been busy and all the skill and luck will be required if any of them are to return home.
For Death of Freedom once again delivered some good quality space opera, new ships/crews were most welcome and the expansion of the "theatre" to include new star systems opens up the story to an almost limitless extent. Looking forward to the fifth book.

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Sunday, 9 January 2022

Fallout by Craig Alanson

 

Fallout (Expeditionary Force #13)Fallout by Craig Alanson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Always a delight to get a new novel in the Expeditionary Force series, there is no such thing as too much Joe and Skippy although times have changed and as the narrative has grown and become more complex the "fun" of the earlier novels has been tempered with consequences and issues for the characters. That is not to say I didn't totally enjoy this addition to the series as the Earth and the Merry Band of Pirates realise far too late that the Senior Species have thousands of years of experience in manipulating "lesser" races and a deal that even allows humanity to survive may simply not be on the table. Things get even more complex for Joe and Skippy when pressure from all sides has resulted in counting the costs of what at the time seemed sensible risks to take but when faced with a force that seems to be wiping out Maxohlx and Rindhalu fleets all bets are off and no risk is too great not only to save humanity but perhaps the entire galactic population.
As always love Craig's take on AI weaponry and the Jeraptha are an inspired race so looking forward to the next novel in the series due later in the year.

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Friday, 31 December 2021

Return of the Colossus by Nicole Grotepas

 

Return of the Colossus: A Steampunk Space Fantasy Adventure (Holly Drake Jobs Book 8)Return of the Colossus: A Steampunk Space Fantasy Adventure by Nicole Grotepas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The eighth novel in this series continues the story of Holly Drake and her partners in crime as they live day to day in society which is obviously far more complex and mysterious and maybe even dangerous than any of them believed. As forces from outside the solar system cast shadows Holly continues to understand her fathers place in the scheming and organised crime which is an undercurrent of the 6 moon system. The core narrative of this book is the influence one Ume Kauss has over Holly and her friends, blackmail and extortion are often used to get what you want and this time Holly is having to keep her calm and play nice, naturally this doesn't last too long but there is far more going on than she suspects.
This eighth novel allowed for growth in some characters as well as inching the overall plot forward but this is a series so it's expected every novel isn't going to provide a leap forward in every aspect. Curious to see how Holly handles her "personal" relationships and keeping everyone happy as well as the demands of being a bigger player in this game.

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Christmas Movies 2021 (Part 5)

Christmas Movies 2021 
(Part 5)


It's a Wonderful Life

One of the all time classics which surprisingly didn't perform initially well at the US box office but found its way into the hearts and souls of the people through television. James Stewart is perfection in the movie and Lionel Barrymore was spectacular as the two actors played opposing forces in this small American town.


Donovan's Reef

A John Wayne christmas movie you say, yes indeed this comedy is set in December and the story is told through to christmas day. A romcom with a surprising cast and some dated (but not terribly so) ideas about class and status and the complexities of romance. 



It's 2022 tomorrow so this is the end of the christmas period and while I've certainly watched a lot more festive movies that I've listed here the bulk have been made for tv fare which only delivers a standout once and a while. Some movies becomes must watch and/or traditions and these I've mentioned over the last few weeks are mine.


Friday, 24 December 2021

Borg Cube Advent Calendar Week 4

Borg Cube Advent Calendar 
Week 4


Day 21.
Not a full sized mug (which would have impressed me regardless of the artwork) but an espresso cup which is a thing I guess.


Day 22.
A pencil sharpener, words fail me....



Day 23.
After some recent items I'm pleased to see a pin,


Day 24.
A Borg Shadow Caster and you know this may be the best item in the calendar.





Sunday, 19 December 2021

Standing Alone by Christopher G. Nuttall

 

Standing Alone (Cast Adrift Book 2)Standing Alone by Christopher G. Nuttall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Standing Alone is the second novel in the Cast Adrift series by Christopher G. Nuttall and I have to say it really hit the mark. We return to the Earth which was given its independence from the Alphan Empire five years ago and having already fought one war from an aggressive neighbour is rapidly gearing up for major conflict with the Pashtali who are a Galactic level civilisation. If Earth can not control and regulate the regions of space they have possession of then by Galactic Law the Pashtali are free to invade and well do anything they want. Alas Earth despite a rapid building programme lack certain technologies to create ships to rival the Galactics and have had not enough time to create at least a modern space navy. The star systems they are charged with controlling are in chaos (helped by outside forces) and with no help from their former overlords or nearby alien civilisations Earth is on its own.
Standing Alone really delivered on the promise of the first novel extending plot lines along a natural path and building upon races and galactic politics only hinted at. As was expected Christopher also delivered some outstanding space battles with a nod towards ground troops as well. The technology used by both sides made a lot of sense and the cast of characters worked very well in the circumstances they were thrust into and ultimately gave this reader a few hours of great storytelling and enjoyment, looking forward to book three.

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The Vacuum of Space by Julia Huni

 

The Vacuum of Space (Space Janitor #1)The Vacuum of Space by Julia Huni
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I heard an interview with Julia Huni on a podcast I listen too and the discussion about her novels was interesting enough to have me pay Amazon a visit and buy the first novel in the Space Janitor series. The novel is centered on a lowly "bot" technician (Triana Moore) on a far flung space station (Kelly Kornienko) whose "Bots" discover a dead body, her troubles have only just begun as she is visited by station security and then by a Special Agent for the Board named Tiberius O'Neill y Mendoza bin Tariq e Reynolds and finds herself mixed a series of murders, political fall out and all the other things when dealing with the privileged upper crust of any society.
The Vacuum of Space was entertaining and I easily got caught up with the day to day life of Triana which slowly became more chaotic and dangerous as the days past. I've bought the second novel in the series which says more about my opinion than any number of words here.



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Friday, 17 December 2021

Christmas Movies 2021 (Part 4)

Christmas Movies 2021 

(Part 4)

The Christmas Lodge

One of my regular seasonal movies starring Michael Shanks and Erin Karpluk with additional faces from the BC acting pool as seen on Stargate. It has some religious leanings but brief enough not to be considered one of the "propaganda" movies you see these days. All in all a warm movie with some good characters and a happy ending.


Klaus

A delight when it premiered on Netflix a few years ago and the more traditional animation still holds up backed with some good voice acting riding on the back of a very beautiful story.


Serendipity

A favoured romcom watched mainly during christmas as I tend to think of it as fitting for this time of year. John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale are perfectly cast and the movie has great supporting actors.



Borg Cube Advent Calendar Week 3

Borg Cube Advent Calendar 
Week 3


Day 15.
Stickers which are always useful and already applied.


Day 16.
A very significant piece of metal described as a paperweight in a classic design.


Day 17.
Early Ben Sisko pin, you know when he had hair because he would have been too intimidating otherwise.


Day 18.
The artwork of Juan Ortiz is pretty spectacular, I already have The City on the Edge of Forever framed on the wall and these postcards are just as nice.



Day 19.
If you can't tell this is a metal bookmark, would not have guessed that without the hint from the included card.



Day 20.
A folding plastic "case" for a travel card or similar. Gotta say it's hard to drum the enthusiasm for some of these items.


Day 21.
An espresso mug, my thought whenever I see such a mug is WTF humanity so no real joy here.



Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Christmas Movies 2021 (Part 3)

Christmas Movies 2021

Part 3


The Santa Clause

This movie probably shouldn't work as there are certainly some dark elements lurking below the narrative but Tim Allen excels as the reluctant Santa Clause who has to deal with life and work problems.



The Santa Clause 2

Tim Allen returns as Santa in a much lighter and funnier story as he is tasked to find a Mrs Clause who turns out to be played by Elizabeth Mitchell.



The Christmas Chronicles

Kurt Russell plays Santa in this Netflix movie and does it with style. An entertaining family movie which has become a classic.



The Lemon Drop Kid

Bob Hope plays the Lemon Drop Kid a small time hustler who gets into debt to a mob boss, he has less than a month to pay back $10000 or he won't see Christmas Day. Cue little old ladies, charity Santa's and a love interest. A fun movie from the old days.



Die Hard

You can't really go wrong with this high action, suspenseful movie set in a LA tower block on Christmas Eve. A lone New York cop is pitted against a dozen well armed bad guys and Bruce Willis delivered perhaps one of his best theatrical performances of his career. Oh, Alan Rickman comes pretty darn close to stealing the show.



While You Were Sleeping

Sandra Bullock and Bill Pullman deliver a wonderful feel good movie in this comedic seasonal movie as a mixup in an ICU ward has Sandra (Lucy) believed to be the fiance of a man in coma. Embraced by his family she experiences all that was missing in her life including romance.



Saturday, 11 December 2021

Christmas Movies 2021 (Part 2)

Christmas Movies 2021
Part 2

Trapped In Paradise

A comedy crime caper sent in the small town of Paradise which is visited by three brothers
who plan to rob the local bank. Afterwards failing to flee the town the brothers experience the kindness and hospitality of the townsfolk while being chased by the FBI. 



The Muppet Christmas Carol

Henson Productions at their best as they take the classic tale and merge live action/muppets in a musical drama/comedy interpretation. Michael Caine is magnificent.



The Bishop's Wife

Cary Grant, David Niven and Loretta Young bring to life the story of an Angel sent to
provide guidance to a Bishop whose family is suffering as he struggles to fund the building of a cathedral. Sounds a little dull but the acting is spectacular and the movie full of warmth and humour.



ELF

A modern classic as we follow Buddy the ELF (who is actually human) from the North Pole to New York as he looks for his father. Hilarity ensues with a little romance and feel good elements thrown in. Zooey Deschanel exceels and has a great voice.



Borg Cube Advent Calendar Week 2

Borg Cube Advent Calendar 


Week 2

Day 8.

I don't think I would have thought of this but something certainly different.



Day 9.

A Fridge Magnet, feels solid as you would expect and I like the design.



Day 10.

I think I approve of all thing metallic, feels worthy and of course looks great.


Day 11.
Another Pin, great for the collector.


Day 12.

A Tea Towel, I like the artwork.


Day 13.

A drawstring bag intended for spectacles ala Kirk in ST:II but emblazoned with Disco.


Day 14.

A metal IDIC key ring, looks good and always useful.





Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Christmas Movies 2021

 Christmas Movies 2021


And so it begins, the festive period where I don't have to go to work and can indulge in christmas movies and catch up on some tv series I simply didn't have time for earlier in the year.

We begin with a couple from Hallmark who turn out a lot of movies but every now and again one of them just comes out very very good and these are two good well made and entertaining stories.

The Christmas Train

An eclectic group of people travel together on a 3000 miles journey
across the USA on the run up to Christmas Day.
The movie has a great cast and at heart is a romance with a twist or two.


Every Christmas Has a Story

A huge fan of Colin Ferguson who never fails to deliver great performances and as the put upon producer and former boyfriend of Lori Loughlin's character (Kate) leads to some good chemistry and drama plus lots of comedy.