Scorpio Transit

Transit to Scorpio
(Dray Prescot #1)
by Alan Burt Akers


Kenneth Bulmer is the pseudonym of Alan Burt Akers, and this is  book one of the 52 volume saga.

Dray Prescot is transported by magical elements to a fabulous world where people speak English. He embarks on adventures, well part ones as I never finished this book.

Written in the 1970’s the prose can get a bit purple. So while competently written, it fails to draw you in as a modern writer would.

But in the end it was the rather poor plot that finished my reading. It just feels like a string of episodes linked together for no apparent reason. Anyway, with 51 more in the series there are a lot more better books out there.



Good Place 46

The Good Place Episode 46 ‘Help Is Other People’

On the last day of the yearlong experiment, Simone deduces that the neighborhood is an experiment; she correctly identifies the four subjects, but also believes Tahani and “Jianyu” to be subjects.

Everyone reveals their secrets: John’s knowledge of Jason’s identity, Brent’s “Best Place” objective, and Chidi having been told Simone is his soulmate. Simone and Chidi discover the scoreboard identifying only them, Brent, and John.

In a last-ditch effort to earn points, Michael throws Brent into a sinkhole, hoping the other three will rescue him despite his flaws and summon a train.

So now we come to the end of the experiment. And it looks like they have lost. Here’s hoping that they will somehow turn things around.

Or maybe this whole good/bad thing is just the wrong way to think about the afterlife.


Victory Costs

The Cost of Victory
(Crimson Worlds #2)
by Jay Allan (2012)

The Third Frontier War is raging, and all across human-occupied space worlds are burning. Massive fleets struggle for dominance and kilometer-long war ships exchange thermonuclear barrages.

Battered in the early years of the war, the Western Alliance is resurgent. The brilliant Admiral Augustus Garret leads the Alliance fleet from victory to victory, taking the war to the very heart of the enemy empires. And on the ground, Colonel Erik Cain, hero of the Marine Corps, leads his crack troops again into combat, seeking the final battle.

In the second book, the narrative switches from first person to third person. Unfortunately this doesn’t help. Now there are multiple threads, and none explain the war.

This allow the author to introduce the ‘evil’ guys. And they are of the moustache twirling variety. Any shades of grey have gone, everyone is either good or bad.

Now the story becomes less interesting. Combined with the war stories that feel more like documentary reporting, I lost interest. Ended at 48%.


(Crimson Worlds #1)
by Jay Allan (2012)

Erik Cain joined the marines to get off death row. The deal was simple; enlist to fight in space and he would be pardoned for all his crimes.

In the 23rd Century, assault troops go to war wearing AI-assisted, nuclear-powered armor, but it is still men and blood that win battles. From one brutal campaign to the next, Erik and his comrades fight an increasingly desperate war over the resource rich colony worlds that have become vital to the economies of Earth’s exhausted and despotic Superpowers.

Fast paced and interesting Military Science Fiction. The first person narrative helps confine the story to single engagements and focus on the fighting and life of a soldier. It’s not until the later stages of the story the the overall picture of a splintered earth and multiple colonies on other worlds becomes apparent.

The appendices, while detailed help little in explaining the motivations of each group.

What’s lacking (and hopefully will be explained later) is why the human groups are at war.




Terminator: Dark Fate is directed by Tim Miller, with a screenplay from a story by James Cameron. It is the sixth installment in the Terminator franchise and the direct sequel to The Terminator (1984) and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991).

This is a retread of the second film. Again, a killer Terminator time travels back to kill and again another (this time partially human) is sent back to protect.

As a lot of reviewers have complained about, the story undermines everything achieved in the second film. John Connor is killed, and we are now in a new timeline. But it’s the old timeline as the Terminators are the same. Confused ?, probably. There isn’t much that make sense here. And when it comes to liquid Terminators, someone should try separating the liquid so that when it reforms, there is less mass to the Terminator.

Such complaints don’t really matter. As an action Sci-Fi movie it works. There are fights, car chases and the third act just goes on and on… when (and how) are they going to kill the thing !

Some people have very specific problems….

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy’s Folly
by Richard Rhodes (2011)


The story of how film star Hedy Lamarr and an avant-garde composer George Antheil invented spread-spectrum radio, the technology that made wireless phones, GPS systems, and many other devices possible.

You would think this was an interesting book. However it soon becomes apparent that Hedy and George are in well-off families with little to worry about. Antheil gets grants to peruse his musical creations.

After just too much time explaining Antheil’s social life it just becomes boring (not enough Hedy) and I gave up.



Good Place 45

The Good Place 45 “A Chip Driver Mystery”

Michael visits Bad Janet in Janet’s void at the ends of six months’ captivity and relates recent events.

The experiment shows promise when the humans enjoy a ski trip together, with Brent expressing greater tolerance. However, their relationships are thrown into turmoil after Brent writes an amateurish novel featuring insulting versions of Tahani and Chidi.

Michael counsels Brent that mistakes are opportunities for improvement, but Brent refuses to apologize and he and Chidi come to blows. Meanwhile, John discovers Jason’s identity and struggles to keep the secret.

This episode is unusual in that there is a framing narrative with Michael and bad Janet that seems unnecessary. And for the first time there is violence as Chidi hits Brent.

Brent’s book is suitably thick, however as he explains; his hero Chip Driver is really good as he solves the mystery by page 10. In the book, Tahani is ‘Scarlet Pakistan’.

Another good episode, but it’s only a few episodes to go until the end. What could possibly happen ??

The Post

The Post is a 2017 American historical political thriller film directed and produced by Steven Spielberg, and written by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer.

It stars Meryl Streep as Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee, the executive editor of The Washington Post, with Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, David Cross, Bruce Greenwood, Carrie Coon, Alison Brie, and Matthew Rhys in supporting roles.

Set in 1971, The Post depicts the true story of attempts by journalists at The Washington Post to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified documents regarding the 20 year involvement of the United States government in the Vietnam War.

Another ‘important’ film to remind Americans about their heritage and the importance of the separation between the Government and the Press.


Dark Hour

Darkest Hour is a 2017 war drama film directed by Joe Wright and written by Anthony McCarten.

Set in May 1940, it stars Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill and is an account of his early days as Prime Minister during World War II and the May 1940 War Cabinet Crisis, while Nazi Germany’s Wehrmacht swept across Western Europe and threatened to defeat the United Kingdom.

The German advance leads to friction at the highest levels of government between those who would make a peace treaty with Adolf Hitler, and Churchill, who refused. The film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Ben Mendelsohn, Stephen Dillane, and Ronald Pickup.

Watched this because of the Mark Kermode review…

and me wondering about the ‘Train Scene’. Yes, it is a bit on the nose and unnecessary. But Oldman does immerse himself in the role (and makeup) to deliver a convincing performance.


Call to Arms

Call to Arms
(Black Fleet Trilogy #2)
by Joshua Dalzelle (Goodreads Author)

Captain Jackson Wolfe survived the initial incursion of a vicious alien species into human space … barely.

He had assumed the juggernaut that had devastated three Terran systems was the herald for a full invasion, but for the last few years it has been eerily quiet along the Frontier.

This one starts OK, but soon the plot meanders into politics and just lost all momentum.

After 60% I gave up.