Stargate Archives

Thursday, 31 December 2020

Fractured Horizons by Anthony James


Fractured Horizons (Savage Stars Book 2)Fractured Horizons by Anthony James
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The conflict between the Human Planetary Alliance and the Daklan continues unabated with humanity slowly but surely losing ground. The potential treasure trove of technology captured by Captain Carl Recker and his crew remains in potential as Recker is given a new command and orders to seek out more of the mysterious alien technology. Once again he and his crew find themselves as underdogs in the race to discover the remnants of a third alien race and surprisingly evidence is revealed to account for a fourth. The sheer enormity of the technology being discovered makes the Daklan and Human war machines pale into insignificance and when such tech is deployed the two finally begin to talk.
Fractured Horizons was a more enjoyable read than the first more so because I was now familiar with the world and its technology as well as Anthony's writing style. The potential narrative of a third novel is compelling and I recently purchased it for reading in the new year.

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Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Ishmael by Barbara Hambly


Ishmael (Star Trek #23)Ishmael by Barbara Hambly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love this novel, I've read it over and over and my paperback is rather worse for wear:)
Ishmael is a fairly simply story at its core, a man out of place who finds a purpose, friends and family in a community so different to what he was raised to understand as normal. In terms of Star Trek it's a story of Spock who is captured on board a Klingon freighter which is showing some strange energy readings, it vanishes as Kirk and the Enterprise look on helpless to do anything. Spock awakes in a cot in a cabin in the Seattle woodlands being tended to by an Aaron Stemple. Spock has no memory of who and what he is but is accepted by Stemple and soon learns to integrate with the Seattle community albeit one four centuries prior to his birth.
The novel has a wide selection of new characters all of which are entertaining to read about, they merge well together and push the narrative forward and while it may be pushing the bounds to believe Spock would thrive in this environment his stumbles and victories are highly satisfying. If anything it's the more "Trek" aspect of the story that suffers, the investigation into the Klingon mission is quite shallow even though the Karsid element and the Drelb are very interesting additions. Ishmael is a very good read and very entertaining but maybe not for every Star Trek fan, for me it's one of my favourite go to novels when I want some Trek.

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The Illustrated Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett


The Illustrated Guards! Guards!The Illustrated Guards! Guards! by Terry Pratchett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the first novel from Terry Pratchett I ever read and this latest hardback release adds some beautiful artwork by Paul Kidby. The story takes place in Ankh-Morpork and has two major plots which eventually twine around each other with humour, satire and an all to real reflection of the real world and our society. The first story is all about Carrot who as a baby was the only survivor of a wagon party destroyed in the mountains, taken in by dwarfs he was raised but eventually his adopted parents had to reveal the truth and he was sent to the city to have a human made of him. As a volunteer for the City Watch he ends up being dumped into the Night Watch and well the rusty wheels finally begin to turn and the City will never be the same. The second story is the devious plan of an unknown individual influencing the members of a secret society to use magic to create a dragon and use it to punish those that believe to have done them wrong and eventually to set the scene for a "hero" to appear, banish the dragon, unseat the Patrician and install said devious dude in the position of power. Naturally a revitalised Night Watch and the Plot to destabilize the city clash and well by then you will be enamoured with the characters, writing and sheer style that was Terry Pratchett.

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Sunday, 2 August 2020

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

Peace Talks (The Dresden Files, #16)Peace Talks by Jim Butcher
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's been a while since I've read a new Dresden Files novels from Jim but I did just do the whole series via audio book in preparation for Peace Talks so I was more than prepared and expectations were high. The novel begins sometime after the events depicted in Skin Game as Harry continues to deal with his precarious position as the Winter Knight and Wizard of the White Council not to forget friend to the Carpenter family, father of Maggie and significant other to a seriously injured Karrin Murphy. The Fomor having ravaged the world since the fall of the Red Court but raise the hope for Peace and a major gathering is organised in Chicago under the Unseelie Accords but even then there are plans within plans and to complicate matters Thomas is under a potential death sentence after he transgressed the domain of the Svartalf and blood was spilt.
Ok that was a very non specific description but like me if you are a fan of Harry Dresden and his adventures you don't want spoilers even those on the official blurb so I jumped into Peace Talks head first and didn't come out again until it was done and naturally cursing Jim for leaving us hanging but the knowledge the next novel was due very soon was a relief. High adventure and complications abound for Harry in this novel, the ups and downs of his life continue to entertain along with his friends, allies and even enemies. Where the novel left off is terrifying but the world of magic and sorcery is so vast and proven itself to versatile we can expect great things to come.

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Sunday, 12 July 2020

Underdogs by Geonn Cannon

Underdogs (Underdogs, #1)Underdogs by Geonn Cannon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's not always easy making a living at least an ethical and legal one being a small time PI but Ariadne Willow has an edge and is making the most of it. She is what is known as a canidae which means she can when required turn into a Wolf but retain her intelligence, it comes in handy for surveillance work that's for sure. Hired by the immensely wealthy matriarch of an old money family to spy on the wayward daughter and confirm her recent visit to rehab has taken old is to coin a phrase a walk in the park but the motives behind the job and some very shady individuals orbiting the young woman do not bode well.
This is only the second novel from Geonn that I have read, the previous being an original licensed book based on the Stargate television series. Quite pleased I took a chance on one of his original works as the story and character of Ariadne was compelling more so with her close relationship with her friend and business partner Dale Frye. As you may expect being friends both personal and business with a woman who can turn into a wolf could prove tricky especially those late night calls to come pick them up in the middle of nowhere.
The characters were as indicated written well and the mystery/detective element kept me reading, the few twists in the narrative were well placed and unexpected both driving the plot and keeping the reader invested. I'm looking forward to continuing this series with "Beware of Wolf".

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Sunday, 7 June 2020

New Telly


So I bought myself a new tv after moving the plasma to the lounge (to aid in viewing angles and windows reflecting on the older LCD). I thus had permission to indulge myself and while I thought the 65" looked magnificent I couldn't really justify the cost so bought the 55" OLED instead along with a UHD Blu-ray player.

The TV has Freeview and Freesat (so finally getting to use the dish for the first time in years) but so far 99% of its use is for streaming content off the net or via the NAS or DVD/Blu-ray content. I do have to say that the TV is really making a huge difference in terms of picture quality on older content so much so I would if I would even bother double dipping some existing blu-rays for their UHD version. I also watched an episode of Legend ripped from my DVD copy and that also looked better than it ever had.

The interface on the telly is very nice although I don't like the cursor, much easier using the standard navigation keys but the streaming apps and media server are top notch, fast and responsive.

On a side not I had my first dud Blu-ray disc (may have been my first dud optical disc ever) with the newly purchased Spider-Man Home Coming, got a replacement and that's ok but bit of a let down at the time. Pacific Rim on UHD is freaking stunning and Once Upon A Time streaming in HD (not UHD) via Netflix really stands out.

Was it worth it, probably not since there are lots of 55" panels mainly QLED which have great reviews and are cheaper but can't argue with the quality as I watch the tv at home.

Shockwave by Lindsay Buroker

Shockwave (Star Kingdom #1)Shockwave by Lindsay Buroker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Casmir Dabrowski was a mild mannered scientist on the world of Odin part of the Kingdom which was one of twelve worlds seeded by a long lost Earth and then one day the world took notice. Soon he was being chased by almost indestructible robots, knights of the kingdom and general security forces system wide. His roommate Kim Sato gets dragged along with him as he flees Odin and merges paths with the Captain of the Stellar Dragon a small freightner which is involved in some bounty hunting and minor smuggling. To say his world has been turned upside down is an understatement but wait for it a merciless pirate and scourge of the twelve systems takes an interest in the Stellar Dragon and her passengers, could things get worse, yes they could....

Shockwave is the first novel I've read by Lindsay Buroker bought on the strength of the blurb and artwork vis the kindle store and I enjoyed every page. The characters are interesting and interactions between them fun and both add to their development and drive the plot forward which now finding out this is a long running series of novels I am truly appreciating.

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Hal Junior Omnibus One by Simon Haynes

Hal Junior Omnibus One (Hal Junior #1-3)Hal Junior Omnibus One by Simon Haynes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm a fan of the writings of Simon Haynes so even though this series of books are aimed a much younger reader I expected to be entertained and I was. The exploits of Hal Junior and his friends were at times juvenile (which many will appreciate) but the characters are strong and the stories made sense.

The Secret Signal
Hal and his school class are invited to tour a spaceship that has docked with the station, unbeknown to all this is a disguised pirate vessel intent on theft and kidnapping.
The Missing Case
A VIP visits the station to discuss funding for the research facilities and Hal is asked to entertain his kid. A brief tour of the station doesn't go as planned and together the youngsters battle recycling robots, self aware serving trolleys and adults.
The Gyris Mission
A school visit to the nearby world of Gyris for a camping trip is driving Hal to distraction with the excitement but alas when the shuttle develops engine problems and crashes Hal, Stinky and the Pilot have to deal with the real wilderness.

Three entertaining stories aimed at young readers but still a pleasant diversion for the older reader.

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Saturday, 9 May 2020

Mimic and the Space Engineer Boxed Set by James David Victor

Mimic and the Space Engineer Boxed Set (Space Shifter Chronicles Omnibus Book 1)Mimic and the Space Engineer Boxed Set by James David Victor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Space Shifter Chronicles (Omnibus 1) contains the first three novels in the series namely Mimic and the Space Engineer, Mimic and the Journey Home and Mimic and the Fight for Freedom written by James David Victor. As you might expect the collection is an excellent value for money way into the series of novels and ultimately I bought all three omnibus releases which cover the nine novels in the series. The basic premise centers around an everyday run of the mill maintenance/janitor named Higgens who is assigned to a deep space drilling/mining vessel who makes first contact with an alien life form. The life form in question survives the mining of its asteroid home but is stuck in the drilling mechanism onboard the ship, for his own reasons Higgens chooses to strip down the mechanism which frees the alien well the adventure begins. Higgens soon learns that this being is a shape shifter and while trying to continue as if nothing special has happened and stay below the radar of some of the crew he learns that this "mimc" consumes some pretty exotic materials.
The narrative for the first book focuses on Higgens and Mimic and brings in a number of secondary characters who become central as the story unfolds. The second novel revolves around the search for the homeworld of the race Mimic belongs too and the third the consequences of finding it and the fact that all is not well. All three novels are well written with good character interaction and pacing is crisp with both action, drama and humour equally represented. As I said I enjoyed the first three novels and no worries about buying the subsequent releases to discover the fate of Higgens, Mimic and their friends as they deal with Earth and other interested parties.

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First Of The First by Andrew Maclure

First Of The First (Unwilling From Earth Book 2)First Of The First by Andrew Maclure
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There are many reasons people (and by that I mean any sentient being) joins an army especially given the galaxy spanning political and social conditions, generally they have something to prove or accomplish or maybe a belief that even now those that look to oppress others have to be stood up to. In the case of Mike aka Hess An Sur, First Born of the First Family her primary goal is to stay well away from the demands of her birth right and being in an independent army surrounded by friends and colleagues is a good place to be. However when her father is nearing the end of his time as ruler of the Empire and the political situation is leading to the raise of a proactive opposition then the search and return of her to the homeworld becomes more intense.
Flanked by her friends and with the protection of Mark (friend of the people) Mike returns to her homeworld and well pretty much everything goes wrong, not only is the political situation unstable there is also external influences in play but to protect their friend Sally and her army well do pretty much anything within their power and this is considerable.
Andrew delivers a well written and thoroughly engrossing scifi story with enough humour to keep things "light" but maintains the threat imposed from elements within the narrative. I've only been reading Andrew's books for a short time but already I am convinced I will be reading his work for years to come, the characters and plots work well and keep you engrossed as everything plays out and often not as you would expect.

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Wyrd Sisters

Well I was having a clean out and came across this VHS boxset of the animated "Wyrd Sisters" one of the early tv adaptations of a Terry Pratchett Discworld novel. These days you can find it on youtube but I have to say even though don't remember buying it the packaging and presentation were excellent.

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Destruction by Raymond L. Weil

Destruction (Galactic Empire Wars, #1)Destruction by Raymond L. Weil
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The opening novel of a series has to set the scene and bring in the reader and "Destruction" certainly did that even if the huge ominous alien ship in orbit may lack some imagination, it is however a well respected trope for a reason. In this context of humanity established on the Moon and Vesta with a nod to Mars the threat posed by this ship worked well and the actions it takes moves away from what you might expect. The consequences and how humanity and the particular characters who are written front and centre are then the driving force of this first novel and I enjoyed both the situations as they impacted the Earth and the colonies as well as the far flung ramifications (more of that to come).
A good solid start to the Galactic Wars series and looking forward to reading the other five novels.

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Unwilling from Earth by Andrew Maclure

Unwilling from EarthUnwilling from Earth by Andrew Maclure
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's not that Mark was bored or unsatisfied with his job he was after all the project leader for the Digitisation of Legacy Documents within the International Finance Group but life was going nowhere which is why perhaps the couple of days each week Sally was assigned to help him was such a highlight. The fact that she was considered a bit of a liability in the work place was not a problem for Mark so when another person came into his little scan and file circle by the name of Alan the fact he was a little "off" wasn't a worry. Of course it turns out that Alan is not quite what he seems and before he knows it Mark is on a journey the likes of which no other human has experienced and finds himself fighting for his life against a megalomaniac intent on galactic domination.
Unwilling From Earth by Andrew Maclure got onto my reading list thanks to a sample for my kindle, I liked the blurb enough to give the novel a go and when I got to the end of the sample I just had to buy the novel and find out exactly what Mark was getting himself into. The story was fun and entertaining to read and the action and character interaction was strong enough to sustain quite a bit of humour. Overall I enjoyed reading the novel and signed up to the mailing list (which includes a short about Marks further adventures) and the sequel to this novel is due later this year.

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Stargate Trinkets

A few Stargate and Trek trinkets which I bought off of Etsy from a store called Emily's Death Ray.