All posts by ntbadmin

Platoon F:3

The SSMC Voyeur
(Platoon F #3)
by John P. Logsdon (2014)

A space probe that was sent out 500 years ago has returned…sort of. It’s actually a copy of the original model of The SSMC Voyeur, which begs the question: What happened to the original craft?

The crew of The SSMC Reluctant is dispatched to learn about the originating planet that sent this cloned vehicle.

This one works better as a satire on the techno-babble in popular science fiction. Nothing really makes sense, the science is just there to move the plot along.

 

Platoon F:2

Angry Robots
(Platoon F #2)
by John P. Logsdon (2014)

A group of antiquated robots have decided that they’ve had enough of being treated like second-class citizens. Working together, they take over the sewage plant on Segnal Prime and start a revolution.

The second is a bit more consistent in the writing. It’s starting to look like the author is not as good as Simon Haynes or David Blake. A bit less witty banter, but relying on the situations to deliver the comedy.

 

Mitsubishi SSS

2000 Mitsubishi SSS

(Sleek sliding doors)

This concept car was created by the company’s 26-year-old lead designer, John Hull.

Powered by Mitsubishi’s 3.5-liter SOHC V-6, mounted transversely, the SSS was built on a front-wheel-drive platform with 4-wheel independent suspension.

Functional touches of the SSS include parallelogram-hinged doors that minimized the space needed to open side doors, high intensity discharge (HID) front lighting, LED lighting system in the rear, and a dual front bumper system (one low and a second one higher) that decreased the possibility of nosedive under a larger SUV in a rear-end collision.

Platoon F:1

The SSMC Reluctant
(Platoon F #1)
by John P. Logsdon (2014)

Lieutenant Orion Murphy is scheduled for execution due to a clerical error. His only out is to undergo a complete physical makeover, get a rank and name change, and agree to take over a new platoon in the Segnal Space Marine Corps (SSMC).

Seeing that it’s a case of comply or die, he accepts the offer.


A new author to me in the comedic Sci-Fi genre. The first sets up the series (of 10). It’s got dumb military command, robots, silly situations and technology.

Things are starting well, the prose is simple, direct and contains some witty banter between characters. The comedy does fall off at the end to deliver the ‘action packed’ ending. The author has  written a lot of books, in multiple genres so plenty to try.

John P. Logsdon

 

Sicario

Sicario (Spanish for “Hitman”) is a 2015 American action thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Taylor Sheridan.
It stars Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, and Victor Garber.

The film follows a principled FBI agent who is enlisted by a government task force to bring down the leader of a powerful and brutal Mexican drug cartel.

Sicario received praise for its screenplay, direction, musical score, cinematography, and Blunt’s and del Toro’s performances. The film was nominated for Best Cinematography, Best Original Score, and Best Sound Editing at the 88th Academy Awards. It also earned BAFTA nominations for Best Supporting Actor, Best Cinematography, and Best Film Music. Its sequel, Sicario: Day of the Soldado, was released on June 29, 2018.

Just the sort of film critics love. It doesn’t follow the usual ‘man alone’ against the world Hollywood trope. Nobody is a ‘Hero’ and the genre is more ‘Political Realism’.  I don’t think any actor deserved an award nomination, but when you portray dark depressing characters, suddenly, somehow this is award nominating material.

Not recommended unless you want another lecture on how the world really works.

 

Candy

Candy
by Lawrence Block (1963)

Candy, the sexpot–Candy, the voluptuous–Candy, with a cashbox for a heart.

Despite the cover, this is an early Lawrence Block book.

Written in first person, this tells the story of the descent of a man who becomes enthralled in a young woman. The book shows it’s age as women are treated merely as sex objects for men. Not much for the Me Too Movement here.

But it is well written and despite the sometimes despicable behavior has a light tone. The plot keeps changing so you never know what will happen next.

 

 

 

Snowpiercer

Earth has fallen into an ice age following a bungled geo-engineering attempt to fix climate change.

Snowpiercer is a “Science Fiction” movie with a daft concept that involves a giant allegorical train that goes continually travels the Europe continent, for years. It contains the last remains of humanity, living from the poor in the rear to the rich in the front and ultimately the creator at the engine.

The director and co-writer is Bong Joon-ho, who also directed Okja (previously reviewed).

The cast includes Chris “Captain America” Evans (who I didn’t recognize) and Tilda Swinton in ridiculous ‘Evil Henchman’ mode. Also along for the ride are John Hurt and Jamie Bell. And at the end we get Ed Harris.

Among the unwashed proletariat revolution is being fermented by Curtis Everett (Evans) and his loyal sidekick Edgar (Bell).
Their immediate target is to get through the gates to the next set of carriages, which are protected by brutal, gun-wielding guards. A lot of this movie makes no sense. Rather it seems to be a series of violent battles with numerous thugs. And train varies in width, and from the CGI exterior shots is much, much larger on the inside.

The tone is dark and brooding, just an endless supply of blood and dirt. It’s as if Terry Gilliam had been hired to rewrite Samuel Beckett.

The way the allegory works out is not exactly subtle or unexpected, and at the end you get a lecture on man’s inhumanity to man. Not much of a treat.

Sun Corridor

Corridor of the Suns
by Edmond Hamilton (1958)

In this novella of 21.4K works, Hamilton constructs a future of space exploration, adventurers, a young maiden and alien species. Then throws in an evil raider of worlds and story of capture, escape and destruction. Now that’s how you do pulp fiction!

 

Good Place 49

While the Judge searches the Janets’ voids and marbleizes them in turn, a relaxed and confident Chidi tries to devise an alternative proposal for the afterlife that both Gen and Shawn will accept.

One of the best episodes after the Christmas break. Everything from the precious seasons is encompassed in this episode. The debate about good vs evil, crime and punishment.

And at the end it looks like everyone has come up with a plan to move forward and improve things.

All we know now is that somewhere, somehow, someone will screw things up.

And Shawn will get his revenge.

 

Covenant

Lord Foul’s Bane
(The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever #1)
by Stephen R. Donaldson (1977)

Originally purchased in the 1970’s, the paperback sat on my shelf for years, eventually being joined by…

The Illearth War (1978)
The Power that Preserves (1979)
The Wounded Land (1980)
The One Tree (1982)
White Gold Wielder (1983)

There was a final quartet:
The Runes of the Earth (2004)
Fatal Revenant (2007)
Against All Things Ending (2010)
The Last Dark (2013)

That were not purchased.

The books are about  Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever  in a strange alternate world. He was a leper, but in the new world he is  regarded as a reincarnation of a great hero.

Generally well-written and clear. However very slowly paced. I managed to get through about 40% of the first book.

Then there was a massive info-dump back story and it became clear that this author was not going to follow the axiom ‘show, don’t tell’.

After a massive groan I put the book down and have not returned.