Thrawn Treason

Covid-19 Day 68

Thrawn: Treason
(Star Wars: Thrawn #3)
by Timothy Zahn (2019)

 

Thrawn’s pet project is halted because of a bet over pests chewing on ships and causing havoc.

An Zahn chews in this plot with a lot of weird names, political in fighting and not a lot more.

I barely made it through the last in the series, but this one sucks all the life of of any sense of scale or adventure in the Star Wars universe.

 

Danish Death

Covid-19 Day 67

Dying for Danish
(Lexy Baker #2)
by Leighann Dobbs (2012)

When Lexy Baker lands a high paying catering job that allows her to buy some much needed kitchen equipment, she’s excited that things are going so well … until she stumbles over the body of the bride-to-be.


Death goes quickly. The first in the series was read five years ago !
Again its a short (30K) Novella with an up-beat main character and a very safe plot (apart from the reading). Fun little ‘cozy’ mystery crime.

 

Solar Future

Covid-19 Day 66

The Solar Invasion
(Captain Future #20}
by Manly Wade Wellman (1946)

It comes from beyond the fifth dimension–an alien intelligence both invulnerable and totally evil. Its aim: bring the universe to its knees. Its primary objective: destroy the Solar System. As doomsday rushes ever closer, one lone man dares oppose the creature from beyond. Only he can save the universe from a brutal, blazing cataclysm.


Another author takes on Edmond Hamilton’s Hero. Just one story, and that’s a good thing. It has all the breathless excitement of the others, but just isn’t as good.

The moon is stolen. That’s right, just taken. Never mind the tides, it’s disappeared into dimension X. An that about sums up the amount of scientific thought that has gone into this story. There is a lot of science hand waving and avoidance. And at the end there is a big incomprehensible space battle. Fortunately it’s short at 40k words.

 

1L Bridge

Covid-19 Day 65

TV Series: One Lane Bridge

During a murder investigation at Queenstown’s infamous One Lane Bridge, ambitious young Maori Detective, Ariki Davis, inadvertently reawakens a spiritual gift that endangers the case, his career and his life.


It’s a Kiwi murder mystery set in one of New Zealand’s most scenic regions. Cue long shot of mountains, fast flowing rivers and men walking across the landscape with intent.

It starts OK,  dead, a body under bridge. Who, when and why. Only Police Officer Stephen Tremaine (Joel Tobeck) can figure this out. Then young Auckland detective, Ariki Davis (Ona-Ariki) turns up. And he seems to have some extra sensory skills. He keeps seeing things. Will this lead to the killer, will there be weird stuf giong down.

Sadly, no. It all ends with a hilltop confession by the killer. And in the end it all boils down to that old human vice: Sex.

Jared Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Peter McCauley, Sara Wiseman

Capt Underpants

Covid-19 Day 64

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is a 2017 American computer-animated superhero comedy film based on Dav Pilkey’s children’s novel series of the same name.

It was directed by David Soren from a screenplay by Nicholas Stoller, and stars the voices of Kevin Hart, Ed Helms, Thomas Middleditch and Nick Kroll.

The plot follows two imaginative elementary school pranksters named George Beard and Harold Hutchins who hypnotize their cold-hearted principal, Mr. Krupp, into thinking he is Captain Underpants, a superhero who fights crime while wearing only underwear and a cape, thinking he has superpowers.

Clearly aimed at kids with a frenetic onslaught of jokes, attitude and quick changes. But beneath all that there is a good story that hangs together and great voice work.

It’s smart, fun and full of laughts.

 

Soldier’s Reason

Covid-19 Day 63

A Soldier’s Duty
(Theirs Not to Reason Why #1)
by Jean Johnson (2001)

Ia is a precog, tormented by visions of the future where her home galaxy has been devastated. To prevent this vision from coming true, Ia enlists in the Terran United Planets military with a plan to become a soldier who will inspire generations for the next three hundred years-a soldier history will call Bloody Mary.

First up; Ia is just a bad character name. I know it’s a good idea to keep main characters names short. But this is ridiculous.

Second, it’s well written. The prose flows easily and serves the story well. For the first third of the book out come all the cliches of Military training. It’s not bad, just predictable.

Then come the problems. I thought that the stereotype drill Sargent bad-ass was absent as I know they cannot be effective. But he does something amazingly stupid at the end of training.

Then, for some inexplicable reason some sort of energy being was introduced. It was not clear why, made no sense and was confusing.

And at the end of training it became clear that Ia was to be an impossible to kill super soldier. Which becomes boring. So I stopped.

 

Wicked

Covid-19 Page 61

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West
(The Wicked Years #1)
by Gregory Maguire (2000)

When Dorothy triumphed over the Wicked Witch of the West in L. Frank Baum’s classic tale we heard only her side of the story. But what about her arch-nemesis, the mysterious Witch? Where did she come from? How did she become so wicked? And what is the true nature of evil?


This book had a premise that could be fun, irrelevant and satirical. But it’s quickly apparent that that the intent is a literary one.

The writing is very detailed. It’s like a movie in slow motion. Every action is analysed, detail abounds and a lot of though has been taken on expanding the Oz universe.

This works well in setting up the world. Unfortunately is soon becomes clear that the focus will be on quirky characters, not so much on plot.

Although the story revolves Elphaba (how do you pronounce that) it is told from the point of view of other characters.

After a while this just drags the story down to boredom. Gave up at 27%.

 

 

Riftwar 1

Covid-19 Day 60

Magician: Apprentice
(The Riftwar Saga #1)
by Raymond E. Feist (1994)

To the forest on the shore of the Kingdom of the Isles, the orphan Pug came to study with the master magician Kulgan. His courage won him a place at court and the heart of a lovely Princess, but he was ill at ease with normal wizardry. Yet his strange magic may save two worlds from dark beings who opened spacetime to renew the age-old battle between Order and Chaos.


Yes, it’s good vs evil in an epic fantasy landscape.
This book was read as the Sword and Laser pick of the month.

This starts off like Robin Hobbs Assassin’s Apprentice. A small boy grows up and learns his place in a medieval society. Then he becomes apprentice to a magician and the real story begins. The land is being invaded by aliens and war is coming.

I got through the first half (one full book) and on to the second. Then the author introduces more characters, more plot lines and things just start to become a slog to get through.

Not many authors can pull off the epic fantasy. Robin Hobb could (mostly) and George R. R. Martin (until he forgot the plot). So when it comes to emulating Tolkein, this failed to keep my interest.

After 172K of words I set the book down.

 

Solarpunk

Codid-19 Day 59

Solarpunk is a movement that encourages optimistic envisioning the future in light of present environmental concerns, such as climate change and pollution.

It encompasses a multitude of media such as literature, art, architecture, fashion, music, and games.

Solarpunk focuses on renewable energies, as well as technology as a whole, to envision a positive future for humanity. Although it also embraces less advanced ways to reduce carbon emissions, like gardening.


I came across the term on the podcast ‘Imaginary Worlds‘ from April 16, 2020. It features the author Sarena Ulibarri and the magazine Dreamforge.

So, I wondered, apart from the above writes this stuff ?
So I was surprised that the Wikipedia entry lists this guy:

Actually, the guy who plays him:

Robert Llewellyn