Category Archives: Books

Time Titan

The Time Titan of Tomorrow
(Space Team #8)
by Barry J. Hutchison (2018)

He and his Space Team are broke. Forced to take low-paying gun-for-hire jobs just to keep the food replicator working, their prospects are not looking good.

When they pick up a distress signal from a luxury space cruiser, they think their luck might be about to change. And it does. Sadly, not in the way they’d hoped.

Another enjoyable outing from Cal & his gang. It’s never all that clear what his objective is, but it’s how he does it and bumbles through that is enjoyable and fun.

You will need to have read the previous books as a few characters from previous stories turn up at the end.


The Crescents (The Book of Deacon 5)
by Joseph Lallo (2017)

Generations of war have been put to rest. The D’Karon scourge has been wiped away. All that remains for Myranda, Deacon, and the other Chosen is the long, slow road to recovery for their weakened kingdom. It is no small task, as dark magic has taken a terrible toll on the land. Crops struggle to grow. The scars of war are slow to fade. But from across the sea comes hope.

This is the second book by this author that has disappointed  me. The Book of Deacon trilogy and Jade were excellent, Also the first Free-Wrench, but the third I didn’t finish. The problem is this the pacing is just too slow and nothing interesting happens for ages. So it’s goodbye Joe.



Space Clans

Space Police: Attack of the Mammary Clans
(Space Police #1)
by David Blake (2018)

Detective Inspector Capstan wakes up in the 25th century to find that he’s been in a state of suspended animation for over four hundred years.

As he’s forced to adjust to life he finds himself reinstated as a policeman, and together with the great great great great grandson of his former subordinate, Sergeant Dewbush, he’s put on the case of a missing cow.

Close to the works of Simon Haynes, it’s absurdist comedic science fiction. It’s a good combination of witty dialog, silly script and just enough science to make it into the genres.

A fun read, will probably read the three upcoming sequels and the previous four novels.


Dead Inside

Dead Inside
(Dan Deadman Space Detective #2)
by Barry J. Hutchison (2017)

Dan Deadman is having one of those days. After saving the grim and gritty alien city of Down Here from something big, mean and mind-bendingly horrible, Dan is looking forward to unwinding in the closest available bar. Annoyingly, the universe has other ideas.

Instead, Dan finds himself investigating a cheating husband, two horrible murders, and the potential enslavement of everyone in the galaxy. With his caseload stretching his woefully limited detective skills, his car in pieces, and the whole ‘being dead’ thing not doing him any favors, Dan has no choice but to ask his friends for help….

The second in the series seems to have lost some of the spark of the first. Where there was witty banter before, now it feels flat.

It’s not that it’s bad, just an average read.



(Cerberus Group #2)
by Jeremy Robinson & Sean Ellis (2017)


A deadly swarm of earthquakes shakes the planet. In the sky above, the sun appears to stand still. While the world reels from the vast destruction, George Pierce and the Cerberus Group, a team of scientific and historical experts, uncover an imminent threat straight out of history that must be stopped. But not everyone wants them to succeed.

A lesser successful novel, this is more like a history lesson. Just about everyone from the bible is included, with the Knights Templar and a vast history of the Christian Church. Feels like another notorious book that rewrites.

In fact, ‘The Da Vinci Code’ is mentioned by a character.

There are still great sections of action, but a lot of the book is slowed down by exposition and wandering around churches. The ending feels a bit rushed. More time spend editing would have created a better story.



An Unkindness of Ghosts
by Rivers Solomon (2017)

Read for the Sword and Laser March 2018 pick.

Aster lives in the low-deck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, the Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship’s leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster, who they consider to be less than human.

There are a number of reasons this does not work.

  1. The prose is stilted and ‘off’. It lacks the flow of an experienced author.
  2. It starts with a surgical procedure. I don’t read this genre.
  3. After 40 pages there is no plot I can identify.
  4. There are no interesting or engaging characters.

So it’s another miss for the S&L team 🙁


Dead Cert

Dead Cert
by Dick Francis (1962)

As jockey Alan York looked at the back of Bill Davidson astride the great horse Admiral, one thing was different. Before his rival reached the last hurdle, he was dead. Alan knew racing was dangerous; he also knew Bill’s death was no accident. It was the kind of knowledge that could get a man killed.

The first of his novels. Told in first person and efficient prose this style of thriller writing never goes out of style.

I would have first read this in the 1970’s and it remains an engaging read.


Dark Matter

Dark Matter
by Brett Adams (2012)

Rasputin “Monk” Lowdermilk wanted to end it all. But when he is run down by a car on the way to his suicide, he finds that life is just beginning.

As he recovers from Chrysler-induced head trauma, he begins to discover strange new abilities. He can draw portraits so precise they look like photographs. He can remember with flawless clarity everything he’s ever seen or heard, no matter how trivial. He can read strangers so well it verges on telepathy.

This was obtained in an ‘Immerse or Die’ bundle.

First, it is well written. The prose is engaging and keeps you reading. Then, about a third through an second unexplained plot starts. OK I can go along with the unexplained so far.

The trouble starts around the half way mark where I get the feeling that the author doesn’t know where the story is going. Then, picking up the story one day I had no idea where I was in the story. It was at this point that I gave up.


(Cerberus Group #1)
by Jeremy Robinson & Sean Ellis (2015)


For three thousand years, the Herculean Society has preserved the legacy of the ancient hero, Hercules, protecting history’s fragile relics from humanity, and humanity from the dangerous truths behind the legends. Now, the Society’s new leader, archaeologist George Pierce, faces his first test: the Cerberus Group. The shadowy organization has two goals: the collection and distribution of black market relics, tech and secrets, and the purge of those deemed unfit for survival.


This starts like an archaeological history lesson. Very Tomb Raider or Indiana Jones. Then after a few chapters, the Jeremy Robinson gene kicks in and it’s the usual  world touring action adventure genre fans will love.

There is less of the out-there science fiction and mythology in the Jack Sigler stories that this is closely related to.



I, Claudius (1934) is a novel by Robert Graves, written in the form of an autobiography of the Roman Emperor Claudius. It includes the history of the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and the Roman Empire, from Julius Caesar’s assassination in 44 BC to Caligula’s assassination in 41 AD.

It was followed by Claudius the God. The novels were popular when originally published, and gained literary recognition.

The two books were adapted for television in 1976 by Jack Pulman and it was a DVD of this I viewed.

There are notable actors playing parts:
Derek Jacobi – Claudius
George Baker – Tiberius
John Hurt – Caligula
Brian Blessed – Augustus
Patrick Stewart – Lucius Aelius Sejanus
Ian Ogilvy – Nero Claudius Drusus
John Rhys-Davies – Naevius Sutorius Macro
Stratford Johns – Gnaeus Calpurnius Piso
Peter Bowles – Caratacus
Bernard Hill – Gratus
Guy Siner – Palades

Unfortunately it’s all obviously done in the studio and has the feel of a play. The script and acting is rather stilted. In the end it comes off a a minor melodrama about a family, not the world influencing machinations of an empire in decline.

Adding to the problems  is someone’s decision to edit the entire series together as one 4 hour episode. Hence there is little variation in drama, and almost no action. In the end, rather boring.

Except for…..