by Emma Newman (2015)
From the award-nominated author Emma Newman, comes a novel of how one secret withheld to protect humanity’s future might be its undoing…
This was read as part of the Sword and Laser Podcast June picks. It is also written by the host of the Tea and Jeopardy podcast.
Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi’s vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.
More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony’s 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.
The book starts well, an interesting premise and well written. It soon becomes apparent that the main device of the story is that the narrator has held back vital information. This will be revealed and its impact on the colony. The problem is that at the halfway mark, little has been revealed and the main character has some problems. And the plot slows to much to sustain interest. I gave up.
Photograph of Lake Victoria, North Hagley Park, Christchurch
17 April 2005
Lexx 3.13 – “Heaven and Hell” April 30, 2000
Xev retrieves Kai, who then dives to the center of planet Fire to rescue Stan. He has a little chat with Prince, who shows him Stanley in the red vortex evil soul repository, where they patiently await rotational incarnate torture with Prince for the rest of eternity. Xev liberates Kai by destroying Fire, then spiritual-Prince gains control of Lexx to destroy Water. The area is filled with good and evil souls, who fly off to Earth on the other side of the sun. Stan’s frozen body revives, and he remembers nothing about his judgement.
A better episode due to the requirement to wrap up all the plot threads and bring the third series to a close. (4/5)
Lexx 4.01 “Little Blue Planet” July 13, 2001
Begins with Marconi in Newfoundland 1901 and his trans-Atlantic communication attempt. This strong radio emission attracts the attention of another alien ship way outside the Milky Way. Arriving at Earth, Stanley H. Tweedle starts negotiating with the president, who is using cue cards to cope with alien first contact. They are not adequate to cope with Stan’s idiotic presumptions and sexual desires. Isambard Prince, head of the ATF, initiates a plan to attack the Lexx using Russian psycho killers aboard a space shuttle. Prince’s old crony from planet Fire, Priest, is elected president, and Lexx eats a large chunk of the Amazon Rainforest.
There is no explanation of how the Lexx and Prince arrived at earth.
It’s an interesting episode due to the contemporary setup and use of space shuttle video. (4/5)
Lexx 3.11 Girltown 16/4/2000
Stan and Kai search for Xev in Girltown. Stan’s nubile non-dead body attracts the attention of the “head” Queen (reincarnated Giggerota), who has no body and kind of wants some body. She is interrupted by the all-female committee proceedings of Girltown, who discuss non-she and non-boy sexist agendas, in endless movements and motions. Meanwhile, Kai liberates the drag queen slaves making balloons, who are nice people, and have no idea why they have been sent to this hell. (Guest star Jimmy Somerville cameos.) In the escape, all the gay balloonists are eaten by Lexx. Stan and Kai fall to the planet Water, Kai sinks like a stone.
It’s not clear if this was supposed to be funny, satirical or just silly. Any way you looked at, it just doesn’t work. Zev just wanders around. Kai rescues people and they all reach the Queen in time to rescue Stanley. (2/5)
Lexx 3.12 The Beach 23/4/2000
Stan drowns, and washes up upon a metaphysical Beach. He is met by Prince, who explains that it’s his judgement time. When asked if he’s done anything bad in his life, Stanley really can’t remember anything. He’s not judged for causing the death of 94 worlds in the light zone. Instead, Prince focuses on his general cowardice and his attempt to destroy planet Water because he lusted for May meanwhile, Xev hasfound Stan’s body and popped it in the freezer while she searches for Kai. Kai observes many souls en-route to the center of Water, and finally slips through a light-hole, that lands him on another Gametown. Stan goes to hell.
Kai drowns, then re-appears. Zev searches, and Stan gets judged. More of an excuse to re-use old footage. Nothing in the plot moves forward. (2/5)
by Julie Hyzy
It’s not often Alex St. James has a story like this fall into her lap, only to have it snatched away again. As news researcher at Midwest Focus Television in Chicago, she’d been set to interview a young Polish immigrant woman, pregnant by a Catholic priest. When the woman is found murdered, and Alex tries to investigate, her boss abruptly reassigns her to a fluff piece, so he can give the hot murder story to the station owner’s nephew. But anyone who knows Alex also knows that like Fate, she’ll find a way. Acting without authority and without assistance, she continues to investigate, making some very powerful people in the Chicago Archdiocese uneasy. Suddenly Alex finds herself in the middle of a plot so sinister and far reaching that the very next thing she might hear are her own Last Rites. Award-winning mystery author Julie Hyzy has also written several award-winning science-fiction short stories. She lives in the suburbs of Chicago.
It’s not that there is anything badly done, it’s just that
… The pacing is too slow
… I can deal with a first-person female protagonist, but all that happens is centered around hairdressers !
… for a crime novel there isn’t much crime or action and after a quarter of the book has gone it’s looking like there won’t be much coming up.
So once again I’m ending a book because of slow pacing and lack of a plot.
The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1)
N. K. Jemisin
Read as part of the Sword and Laser March pick.
Three terrible things happen in a single day. Essun, a woman living an ordinary life in a small town, comes home to find that her husband has brutally murdered their son and kidnapped their daughter. Meanwhile, mighty Sanze — the world-spanning empire whose innovations have been civilization’s bedrock for a thousand years — collapses as most of its citizens are murdered to serve a madman’s vengeance. And worst of all, across the heart of the vast continent known as the Stillness, a great red rift has been torn into the heart of the earth, spewing ash enough to darken the sky for years. Or centuries.
This book opens with a huge info-dump of a prelude. Then it starts as the main viewpoint character in present tense, second person style. Not normally a prose style I like, but the skills of the author pull it off. Soon, however this would get annoying and pull me out of the story each time it was used.
This is grim-dark fantasy and very grim. It starts with the murder of a child and doesn’t look up. The story is very slow to get started and soon becomes apparent that everything will be stretched out to make this a long fantasy book. One of the main problems I had was that the ‘magic’ employed by the characters was just out of proportion to actual human abilities, apparently people can cause earthquakes !
The lack of any wit in the characters, the slow pacing and weird magic just got boring and I gave up after getting about 25% through.
The original idea for using the name ‘Textyoureyes’ came around 2003 with a design for a CD (shown here). The name became the url for my first web page (2005) and persists in the title banner on this new web site.
SM6 Sonic Architecture
CD Cover, back and inside.
Created from a photograph of the
Commerce Building, University Canterbury
circa April 2005
Haley & Crystal
American Idol has finished on Season 15.
Unfortunately the best singer, La’Porsha Renae lost to Trent Harmon.
So I have gone back over my favorite singers and found the albums they released. Which is the best singer and the best album ?
The contestants are:
Caleb Johnson – Testify (2014)
Candice Glover – Music Speaks (2014)
Farmer’s Daughter (2010)
All that for This (2013)
Listen up (2012)
Better (April 29, 2016)
Analog Heart (2006)
David Cook (2008)
This Loud Morning (2011)
Digital Vein (2015)
Old Cape Cod (2013)
My Best Days (2010)
Hope in Front of Me (2014)
Christmas is Here (2015)
Jordin Sparks (2007)
Right Here, Right Now (2015)
Melinda Doolittle – Coming Back yo You (2009)
Unfortunately some of the powerful voices (Melinda Doolittle, Candice Glover) have been served with albums aimed more at the teen market and poorly produced albums. My favorite singers are Haley Reinhart. and Crystal Bowersox. Haley released a very pop-oriented first album but has gotten better, especially when singing with Jazz bands. She has a new album ‘Better’ coming out in a few weeks. The single sounds like a promising start to the album.
Crystal Bowersox has two albums that are consistently good. So at the moment it’s a tie between Haley Reinhart and Crystal Bowersox.
CD6 – At the Edge of the Universe
Artwork for CD & HTML Interface
Created in photoshop by combining spaceship elements with starfield background.