Patriot (Jack Sigler: Continuum #2)
by Jeremy Robinson (2015)
The year is 1775, and the first rumblings of the American Revolution are only just being felt. But the War for Independence may be over before it even begins. When General George Washington learns of a daring expedition by British troops to discover a place of ultimate power—and the key to immortality itself—he knows that to salvage the war effort, his forces must get there first.
And to find the legend, Washington must employ a legend. Rumors of an ageless pirate who has haunted the high seas for more than a century abound. General Washington commissions an expedition to find and hire the immortal pirate, Lanme Wa—the Sea King—who has been stretched to the point of breaking, and who wants nothing more than to be left alone.
This is an unusual story as Jack Sigler does not make his shark infested entrance until the half way mark. Then it’s a fast chase to the end. Things aren’t wrapped up neatly like previous episodes, so maybe the next (and last) Sigler story will wrap up all the threads of this 24 book series.
Colonial Day (2005-01-10)
Tom Zarek seeks to become Vice President, but President Laura Roslin thwarts him by nominating the popular scientist Gaius Baltar, who ultimately wins. A possible presidential assassin is captured but cannot be linked to Zarek. On Caprica, Helo discovers that Caprica-Boomer is a Cylon.
A political very episode. Zarek shows characteristics of a populist politician like Trump. Despite the expected ending, this one works well.
The Automatic Detective
by A. Lee Martinez (2008)
Even in Empire City, a town where weird science is the hope for tomorrow, it’s hard for a robot to make his way. It’s even harder for a robot named Mack Megaton, a hulking machine designed to bring mankind to its knees. But Mack’s not interested in world domination. He’s just a bot trying to get by, trying to demonstrate that he isn’t just an automated smashing machine, and to earn his citizenship in the process. It should be as easy as crushing a tank for Mack, but some bots just can’t catch a break.
When Mack’s neighbors are kidnapped, Mack sets off on a journey through the dark alleys and gleaming skyscrapers of Empire City. Along the way, he runs afoul of a talking gorilla, a brainy dame, a mutant lowlife, a little green mob boss, and the secret conspiracy at the heart of Empire’s founders—not to mention more trouble than he bargained for. What started out as one missing family becomes a battle for the future of Empire and every citizen that calls her home.
This is more like it, Noir Science Fiction.
The author’s depiction of the future world is full of inventive devices and strange creatures. Told in first person, the robot protagonist is a mix of Noir Detective, Marvin the paranoid robot and Star Trek’s Data. It’s his narration that gives the story a fun tone and keeps things moving. It’s worth trying more books by this author.
The New Pornographers
I heard a song from this band’s new album on NPR’s ‘All Songs Considered’ and immediately thought of E.L.O. Surely Jeff Lynne had something to do with this band. But no, it’s all them, but they do acknowledge the influence of E.L.O.
High Ticket Attractions
La Femme D’Argent – EP (2016)
This band from Buenos Aires, Argentina has released, two EPs.
The band comprises:
Voces, teclados y sintetizadores: Agustina Vivo
Bajos y Guitarras: Pablo Gimenez
Percusión: Salvador Colombo
The music is somewhere between downtempo, pop and canterbury style progressive rock. The vocals are not english, but fit nicely with the music.
Pandora vs Spotify
After a year on Pandora I have tried Spotify.
Here are my comparisons:
- It’s cheaper – $55 USD per year vs Spotify $180.
- Better at random encounters with new artists. The way the playlist work you can’t play a full album, but similar songs are grouped in the same playlist.
- It’s the larger service, I have found more instances of links to Spotify than Pandora. There appear to be more artists.
- You can play a full album, and in track order.
- The application leaves screen artifacts when closed. A nuisance but easily fixed with F5.
Clatter, from Lone Elm Missouri would best be described as a funky progressive rock band.
Amy Humphrey – bass, vocals
Joe Hayes – drums, electronic percussion
The bass really drives the songs along in an off-kilter way. Very strong melodies and song-writing.
The Hand of God (2005-01-03)
In the episode, the humans capture a fuel-rich asteroid from the Cylons using a plan devised by Lieutenant Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. President Laura Roslin begins seeing visions, and Gaius Baltar comes to believe that his contribution to the raid on the asteroid was guided by God. On Caprica, Helo and Caprica-Boomer keep running from the Cylons.
At last we get back into space and have a few battles. Sending in fighters to destroy the Cylon base is just for effects, and some of them show their age. The better solution would be to emulate the beginning of Babylon 5. Just take a big rock bring it near the planet and let gravity take hold.
Refa had developed a plan that would avoid major Centauri casualties by not landing an invasion army on the Narn homeworld; instead, a Centauri fleet would bombard the planet’s surface with large meteors fired from mass drivers attached to Centauri warships. The meteors would simply “flatten” Narn cities and civilization, and the Centauri could then land and take over whatever ruins were left. Following Refa’s plan, the Centauri fleet began to bombard Narn from space using the mass drivers illegally fitted to their battleships (mass driver bombardment is considered the equivalent of using Weapons of Mass Destruction in the Babylon 5 universe, with every major race having treaties against it). The mass drivers rained huge meteors down onto the planet’s surface, reducing most of Narn’s cities to rubble, killing millions of Narn civilians, and effectively shattering the Narn’s infrastructure and defensive abilities.
Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down (2004-12-06)
Suspecting that Commander Adama may be a Cylon agent, President Roslin tells Dr. Baltar that Adama should be the first person to undergo the now-functioning “Cylon Detector” blood test, a process that takes eleven hours to complete.
A lone Cylon Raider appears when Adama is suspiciously off-ship. A combat air patrol disarms it, but Col. Tigh deploys a Raptor to gather data on the enemy. Shortly after, Adama appears with Tigh’s estranged wife, Ellen, who everyone thought had died in the initial Cylon attacks. Adama is suspicious of her sudden appearance and orders Dr. Baltar to put her blood test ahead of anyone else’s.
The plot on the Cylon Raider is superfluous as it just goes nowhere and the ship is destroyed. Tigh may be No 2 in command, but appears to lack discipline for the purpose of the story. His drunk wife just gets annoying. What they do with her in the future will be interesting as Tigh may resort to drinking again.
Who’s Afraid of Beowulf
by Tom Holt (1988)
Who’s Afraid of Beowulf? Well, not Hrolf Earthstar, for a start. The last Norse king of Caithness, Hrolf and his twelwe champions are woken from a centuries-long sleep when Hildy Fredriksenn, archaeologist of the fairer sex, finds their grave. Not only that, Hrolf decides to carry on his ancient war against the Sorcerer-King.
Now I’m finished with Tom Holt. Thought I remembered enjoying ‘Falling Sideways” in 2000 and “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Sausages” in 2011. But after two books of very mild humour and this one just getting boring, it just isn’t worth it.
I did enjoy his short stories and he is a good prose writer, so there is his fantasy work as K.J. Parker I might like.
But as for the ‘humour’, there are better funny authors out there.