There is Another Sky (2010-02-26)
There is another sky by Emily Dickinson
There is another sky,
Ever serene and fair,
And there is another sunshine,
Though it be darkness there;
Never mind faded forests, Austin,
Never mind silent fields –
Here is a little forest,
Whose leaf is ever green;
Here is a brighter garden,
Where not a frost has been;
In its unfading flowers
I hear the bright bee hum:
Prithee, my brother,
Into my garden come!
Joseph is having ongoing troubles with Willie, who continues to be absent from school, and is angry to find him working at the Tauron club with Sam. Tamara now wanders around the V-world nightclub and discovers, after being shot by Vesta, that she cannot be killed.
This feels like a filler episode. Graystone moves another small step towards his Cylons. Adama moves forward then promptly backwards when he finds that his daughter is still in virtual space.
As public outrage keeps mounting, Daniel is finally persuaded to appear on the late-night television show Backtalk with Baxter Sarno and tell his side of the story. Daniel then promises his company will not profit from the lucrative but much maligned Holoband licensing anymore, and that they will also set up a charitable fund.
Now Mr Graystone does something stupid. In admitting he made an avatar of his daughter, he opens the gates to everyone wanting one.
And for a rich woman, Mrs Graystone is not that good at security practices, getting in a car with an unknown man.
Reins of a Waterfall (2010-02-05)
After Amanda’s revelation, the Graystones face the wrath of angered Capricans, culminating in Amanda’s resignation from the hospital, and a violent altercation between Daniel and Samuel. Lacy begins to be pressured by other students at school re. STO, and the Academy director, Clarice Willow, tries to learn more of the virtual Zoe as well.
Now things are getting intriguing. The Adama brothers are beginning to look like cheap hoods from a 1950’s noir film. And it looks like the cops are just as corrupt. The story ups the stakes for Graystone, and he may have to get inventive to give Adama what he wants.
Swordsmistress of Chaos
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.
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 🙁
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 !!
It is now one month since the bombing, and Zoe is having problems distinguishing her real self from her virtual self. Lacy is approached by Sister Clarice Willow, the head of Zoe and Lacy’s school, the Athena Academy, and also a member of the STO cult, who takes a special interest in her. Joseph struggles to connect to his son William, who begins spending time more with his uncle Samuel.
The first problem here is the the decision to cut between depictions of the robot as mechanical and human (using the actor). One switch is all it needs to remind the audience that the robot contains the virtual girl, then the rest can be done with the mechanical prop. But they repeatedly cut between the two. It becomes annoying and at times creepy, especially as the robot is over 2m tall, where the girl is probably 1.6-1.7m.
The second issue is the actions of the mother at the end . This makes no sense (unless she has a death wish). She is portrayed as reserved and introverted, then at the end behaves completely the opposite way.
Caprica is an American science fiction television series. It is a prequel spin-off to the Syfy channel’s series Battlestar Galactica which ran from 2003 to 2009. Set 58 years before the events seen in Battlestar Galactica, Caprica depicts life in Colonial society and shows how humanity first created the robotic Cylons who would later plot to destroy the human race.
It starts with a common trope, the scientist who looses a loved one and will do anything to replace her. Half way into this 2 hour start things were looking like a re-telling of the Frankenstein story.
However the different ending, where the daughter is “reborn’ in a military robot gave it a new twist and hopefully prospects for an engaging story to come.
The other thing that made no sense, They have a house robot that moved, interprets speech and interacts with people. It can carry out commands, so what if the IQ that drives this device not good enough for the military application the scientist is working on ?
Spy is a 2015 American action comedy spy film written and directed by Paul Feig. Starring Melissa McCarthy, Jason Statham, Rose Byrne, Miranda Hart, Bobby Cannavale, Allison Janney, and Jude Law, the film follows the transformation of desk-bound CIA analyst Susan Cooper (McCarthy) into a field agent who attempts to foil the black market sale of a suitcase nuke.
Produced by Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, Feig and Jessie Henderson, the film was theatrically released on June 5, 2015. It received praise from critics and was a box office success. It was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards: Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy for McCarthy.
This is a comedy movie that doesn’t resort to toilet humour for laughs. It’s got a good script and action pieces, including a few surprisingly good fights featuring McCarthy. Miranda Hart is good, playing herself (as seen on her TV series). Allison Janney also does a great job in a more dramatic role (I have only seen her on the comedy Mom). Jude Law is suitably smarmy as the top CIA agent. But it’s Jason Statham that almost steals the show with his foul-mouth, hard as nuts agent. He really knows how comedy works.
So overall a rare thing… a good comedy.
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.