Category Archives: Books

Nana Joan’s Gun

Space Team: The Guns of Nana Joan
(Space Team #5)
by Barry J. Hutchison (2017)

The galaxy is at war, and Space Team just can’t seem to stay out of trouble.

Following one close-call too many, the team hides out on a tiny backwater moon, hoping the hostilities between Zertex and the Symmorium will all just blow over.


Barry Hutchinson keeps getting better. There are fun twists and turns in the story, the characters are well-developed and interesting and things just zip along in a fun way. I can imaging this being a TV series or movie. Maybe Seth McFarlane has ripped this off for his upcoming TV series The Orville.

 

Raven #1

Swordsmistress of Chaos
(Raven #1)
by Richard Kirk (1987)

She escaped the slavepens of Lyland–a beautiful girl with hair the color of summer sun, eyes as blue as the heavens, and a body that invited love.

Rescued by sorcerer priests, she was schooled in every art of weaponry and combat. Her sword stained by the blood of legions, no man could defeat her.


I purchased this in paperback form years ago. No doubt I was wondering what book with a Chris Achilleos cover would be like.

The fact that this was written in 1978 and not reprinted since should have been a clue. So it’s not that it’s bad, just very simple. A slave girl is rescued, trained and seeks revenge on her tormentors. Not much in the way of intrigue, mystery or  interesting characters.

Just OK

 


 

 

 

 

 

Earth Invaders

Invaders from Earth
by Robert Silverberg (1958)

 

Kennedy had a job to do. It was as simple as that. He was paid to do a job, and he did it.

His job was to convince the Earth’s population that a hapless race of sapient creatures living peacefully on a distant planet must be destroyed as a menace to the Earth.


An interesting tale from early Silverberg. His protagonist is Ted Kennedy, and it’s not clear if this is a reference to the American Lawyer and Politician.  Kennedy is a PR man and with his company comes up with a way for a mining company to  remove the inhabitants of Ganymede. Initially Kennedy is a cynical, amoral company man, but gets morality half-way through his assignment.

Silverberg takes a few interesting twists and turns to turn him into the ‘hero’ of the story. I would have preferred that Kennedy remain the PR man and carried out his plan as intended. This would have given the story a bit more of a satirical edge, rather than the straight forward Sci-Fi adventure.

But you can’t have everything 🙁

BSG Science

The Science of Battlestar Galactica
by Patrick Di Justo (2010)

 

The official guide to the science behind the Battlestar Galactica universe.

This book postulates three laws of ‘The Science of Battlestar Galactica”…
First Law – It’s just a show, relax
Second Law – Space is mostly empty. That’s why it’s called space
Third Law – All this has happened before and it will happen again.

The first should really be ‘Oops, we forgot about that science/engineering/logic when we wrote this’.
The second was stolen from Carl Sagan. And the third is not science but a narrative comment, only making sense within the BSG world and when you have finished the series.

So at the start, this feels like a justification for the science (or lack thereof) used in BSG. The biggest problem I had with the show was why can’t you distinguish between Humans and Cylons.
This is explained by postulating that they used fibre optics and silicon based systems. It’s a bit weak as you still need electronics for signal processing and transmission. I didn’t buy it !

When the book advances to Physics and Cosmology, the authors really shows their expertise. A lot of it I knew, but there was plenty of interesting stuff to read about. The best bits were the comparisons between the BSG military equipment and that used currently by the USA forces.

So Say We All !!

Dark Lord’s Empire

Empire (The Dark Lord’s Handbook #3)
by Paul Dale (2017)

Conquer the world—check. Assume the title Dark Lord Emperor—check. Job done. Or not so done. Morden Deathwing thought he could kick back and enjoy holding sway over the world but no. There just wasn’t pleasing some people. Something was going to have to be done. Something drastic.

The Dark Lord’s Handbook: Empire is the concluding chapter of The Dark Lord’s Handbook trilogy.


The final book is the series has the tone of an epic fantasy novel, instead of the more satirical first two. There is still the commentary chapters that are amusing, but it’s the characters that provide the humour. His ex-wife Griselda is a lot of fun, orcs and elves behave as expected. If you have read the first two, you will need to complete the trilogy.

 

Project Legion

Project Legion (Nemesis Saga #5)
by Jeremy Robinson (2016)

With Project Legion, Jeremy Robinson brings together characters and plot elements from more than a dozen different novels and series. The result is a crossover novel, ten years in the making. Project Legion is an apocalyptic end to the first story arc of the bestselling Kaiju Thriller series: The Nemesis Saga.

Novels whose characters or plot elements are featured in Project Legion include: The Nemesis Saga, Island 731, The Didymus Contingency, Raising the Past, Nazi Hunter: Atlantis, The Last Hunter (The Antarktos Saga), Xom-B (aka: Uprising), the Jack Sigler Thrillers and MirrorWorld. Also mentioned are elements from the following novels: Refuge, Kronos and Beneath.


Bringing together all the plot-lines and characters from previous series seems like a good idea. The problem is that it just overwhelms the story with too many plots and characters. It became difficult to remember many of the people (it was 18 months since I read the last Kaiju novel). The story is filled with action, but little adventure and the usual arc of introduction and setup that would normally be expected.

You should read all the previous novels mentioned  above before starting this novel.

Last Valkyrie

The Last Valkyrie
by Jeremy Robinson & Tori Paquette (2017)

What used to be Antarctica is no more. Shifted to the equator, the continent, now known as Antarktos, has thawed and bloomed. Endless ice has given way to lush tropical jungles, and all the people now living here are protected and led by Solomon Ull Vincent, the Last Hunter and King of Antarktos. My father.


From what I can find, this was written by Tori with help from Jeremy. At a novella length (just under 50,000 words) it is similar to the Jack Sigler stories. It’s a straight forward adventure story; save the sister, destroy the bad guy and return. This gives it the feel of an olf fashioned pulp era novel, not a bad thing. Characters develop as they move through the plot and the story has sufficient unexpected turns to keep it interesting. A good addition to the Antarktos series.

Hum & Shiver

The Hum and the Shiver
by Alex Bledsoe (2011)

The Sword & Laser June 2017 Pick.

Private Bronwyn Hyatt returns from Iraq wounded in body and in spirit, only to face the very things that drove her away in the first place: her family, her obligations to the Tufa, and her dangerous ex-boyfriend. But more trouble lurks in the mountains and hollows of her childhood home. Cryptic omens warn of impending tragedy, and a restless “haint” lurks nearby, waiting to reveal Bronwyn’s darkest secrets. Worst of all, Bronwyn has lost touch with the music that was once a vital part of her identity.


There is no doubt that Alex Bledsoe can write, the prose flows with and understated style. Characters are realistic, although flawed. No Mary Sue’s here.

It starts OK, Hyatt returns to her home and integrates back into her family. Nothing much happens. Then around 30% through, romance elements enter the story. This was supposed to be a fantasy, but without any fantastical element, interest fades and soon I lost interest.

 

Onslaught

Onslaught
(Antarktos Saga #5)
Jeremy Robinson (2012)

The past few years have been a mixture of torture, painful growth and sometimes, pushing its way through all the darkness—joy. I have made friends and allies, brothers and sisters, mentors and…Kainda, who is something else entirely. But someone is missing, someone whose memory saved me from despair—Mirabelle Whitney, my hope.


The final in the five book series. I finished this when Jeremy Robinson announced that he is finished with series novels. This book illustrates why. Frankly, it’s a bit of a slog to get through. Everything accumulates to a big war at the end, and it’s not what he is best at. There are just too many characters to remember.

There are two additional novels in this universe, but these appear to be stand alone novels and should be better.

 

 

Lament

The Last Hunter: Lament (Antarktos Saga #4)
by Jeremy Robinson (2013)

In all the days since my kidnapping, breaking and transformation into a hunter at the hands of the half-human, half-demon Nephilim, my life has been a mass of chaotic actions and reactions to the horrors of the Antarctic underworld. I have battled unnatural monsters, fled for my life, and sacrificed everything — or thought I had, when I stepped through the gates of Tartarus. Every choice I have made was in response to forces beyond my control, lacking any kind of direction.

But now, reunited with my friends, Kainda and Em, and in the company of new friends, Wright and Kat, I am taking control of the chaos and choosing my own direction — down. Deeper than the realm of Hades, the most feared of the Nephilim, deeper than the gates of Tartarus and deeper than any human being has ventured since the beginnings of the human race.


I enjoyed this less than the previous books. It suffers from a lack of clear objectives for the characters. It feels like a series of battles with no real objectives. Hopefully this will be all focused on the next (and final) in the main series.