The Secret Sharer
by Robert Silverberg (1987)

It’s the starship captain’s first voyage. He didn’t need this kind of trouble. Hugo and Nebula Award Nominee; Locus Poll Winner.

At first it seems a bit esoteric, but the story slowly draws you in to the relationship between a Captain and a consciousnesses on his star-ship.


King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a 2017 British/Australian/American fantasy epic film directed by Guy Ritchie and written by Ritchie, Joby Harold and Lionel Wigram. Loosely based on Arthurian legends, the film stars Charlie Hunnam as the title character, with Àstrid Bergès-Frisbey, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, Jude Law and Eric Bana in supporting roles.

First, Jude Law is mis-cast in this movie. It’s not that he is a bad actor, he just doesn’t fit the role.

Second, it’s all flash, bang, effects, style over substance and has a very modern tone.

Third, It’s dark. Not in content, but colour. Everything is dialed down to a uniform greyness.

Forth, It lacks any emotional involvement. None of the characters are

Fifth, “who is that’. It has actors I had seen, but couldn’t place.
Djimon Hounsou was in Guardians of the Galaxy. Aidan Gillen is from Game of Thrones. And the one I did recognize, Neil Maskell who was in the TV SciFi series Humans.


Alien Pain

Alien: River of Pain
(Canonical Alien Trilogy #3)
by Christopher Golden (2013)


This book takes place in the timeline of the Aliens film. It starts with the birth of Newt and ends when she meets Ripley.

It’s set mainly on LV426 (Hadleys Hope) but at the beginning and end describes events involving Ripley in the film.

It takes half the book until the Aliens turn up, then it’s a military action story right to the end when the only person alive is Newt.

The book inherently has problems; We know what the end will be but nothing really surprising takes place. And there are just too many characters. Because of this, it’s the least successful of the Alien trilogy


For years, Vanya and his niece Sonya have laboured on their family’s country estate in relative harmony. But when Sonya’s father returns from the big city with a glamorous new bride, unfulfilled desires and fierce family loyalties collide to destroy the status quo.

This bittersweet exploration of love, hope and longing is heart-breakingly human, achingly poignant and laced with irony.

Annie Baker’s revitalization of this theatrical classic brings the play into the 21st century while retaining the timelessness of Chekhov’s wit, insight and emotional depth.

Usually the Court Theatre will copy reviews onto it’s web page. This show didn’t have any and the one I found at was only luke warm. I hadn’t heard of this Chekhov play, and it’s not surprising. It was originally set in Russia around 1889 (pre-revolution) but the new production uses music from the 1970’s. So it’s confusing are to when it’s supposed to occur. The story is rather inconsequential and like a soap opera. Family members meet, fallout, resolve and leave.

The most notable thing was some of the actors.  Esther Stephens was in ‘That Bloody Woman’ and plays Ngaire Monroe on Westside.  Sophie Hambleton (who I thought looked familiar) plays Carol O’Driscol on Westside. This TV3 production has a third season and will broadcast sometime this year, so something positive was learned from the night.

BSG 3.15 A Day

Battlestar Galactica 3.15 A Day in the Life (2007-02-18)

Cally and Tyrol are trapped in an area with a dangerous hull breach; Adama struggles with troubling memories of his wife on their anniversary.

Now they are dredging up the past to provide filler episodes. It just doesn’t add anything. And the peril of Cally could easily be fixed with a robotic repair craft.

Alien Sorrows

Alien: Sea of Sorrows
(Canonical Alien Trilogy #2)
by James A. Moore (2014)

As a deputy commissioner for the ICC, Alan Decker’s job is to make sure the settlements on LV178 follow all the rules, keeping the colonists safe. But the planet known as New Galveston holds secrets, lurking deep beneath the toxic sands dubbed the Sea of Sorrows.

The Weyland-Yutani Corporation has secrets of its own, as Decker discovers when he is forced to join a team of mercenaries sent to investigate an ancient excavation. Somewhere in that long-forgotten dig lies the thing the company wants most in the universe—a living Xenomorph.

This is a re-telling of the Aliens film. Instead of Ripley, we have Decker a distant relative. He is taken by mercenary soldiers to LV176 (location for  the first book).

The Weyland-Yutani Corporation is trying to acquire ‘alien samples’ along with a group of miners intent on fortune. While very familiar, the novel delivers on action and suspense. The main problem I had was how Decker always managed to be in the right place, with the right people to survive. He must have been carrying plotonium !

Another good read.. on to the third (and final) in the series.


BSG 3.14 Ms King

Battlestar Galactica 3.14 The Woman King

Helo investigates a doctor tending to civilian refugees that may be harming Sagittaron patients.

OK, everyone stop the main storyline for an episode about medical ethics. The fact that the doctor is new and becomes in dispute with Helo means he is a disposable character. Guess he is guilty and can leave at the end of the episode.



Alien Shadows

Alien: Out of the Shadows
(Canonical Alien Trilogy #1)
by Tim Lebbon (2014)

As a child, Chris Hooper dreamed of monsters. But in deep space, he found only darkness and isolation. Then on planet LV178, he and his fellow miners discovered a storm-scoured, sand-blasted hell – and trimonite, the hardest material known to man.

When a shuttle crashed into the mining ship Marion, the miners learn that there was more than trimonite deep in the caverns. There was evil, hibernating – and waiting for suitable prey.

Hoop and his associates uncover a nest of Xenomorphs, and hell takes on new meaning. Quickly they discover that their only hope lies with the unlikeliest of saviors…

This novel takes place between the films Alien (1979) and Aliens (1986). Ripley leaves the Nostromo aboard a shuttle and is picked up 57 years later. Here Ripley is wakened after about 30 years for a visit to LV178. Having Ripley in the story means that we know that she (and her cat) will get back in the shuttle and continue on her journey.

So the fun is working out how she will survive in increasingly difficult situations. There are plenty of characters to dispose of in the usual Aliens franchise manner, and while there are elements of horror through the book it’s more of an action adventure tale.

Well written and a great read for a fan of the Aliens films.

Alien Covenant

Alien: Covenant is a 2017 American science-fiction horror film, directed by Ridley Scott and written by John Logan and Dante Harper, with a story by Michael Green and Jack Paglen. A sequel to the 2012 film Prometheus, the film is the second installment in the Alien prequel series and the sixth installment overall in the Alien film series, as well as the third directed by Scott. The film stars Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride and Demián Bichir, and follows the crew of a ship that lands on an uncharted planet before making a terrifying discovery.

I could tell right from the start which female character would survive right to the end. Parts were filmed in Milford Sound, in the rain. This movie is very wet, and dark. Not horror dark, just coloured darkly.

The premise is that of a colony ship that diverts to an unknown planet (bad idea) where (OH NO) a certain alien life-form got there first. The movie looks great and is suitably scary and intense. Of all the Alien movies this is probably the third best.


Man Hell

The Man From Hell
by John Russell Fearn (1939)

This story really shows it’s age. It’ the old ‘nuclear energy transforms man’ meme. From Godzilla to Spiderman, it’s been done so many times. If you can ignore the hand-waving stab at physics and the rather silly world politic view, it’s a fast and fun read.