Collapsing Empire

The Collapsing Empire
(The Interdependency #1)
by John Scalzi (2017)

Humanity flows away from Earth, into space, and in time forgets earth and creates a new empire. The Inter-dependencies between worlds is joined by The Flow, a mechanism for faster than light travel. Something could go wrong…

Scalzi is best know for his military science fiction series  ‘Old Man’s War’.  This is not that, it’s ‘Space Opera’. The story of changes to humanity over a large area of space and time.

Thee are some annoying aspects to the story. First, spaceships have song titles for names, like Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby and ‘No, Sir, I Don’t Mean Maybe’. Just weird.

Second the character names are sometimes long and it’s not clear how they should be pronounced.

And third, there is a lot of swearing. So much that it undermines the characters and became annoying.

There are no battles or major conflicts. Everything is very political and underhand. Scalzi does a good job of building the world, although sometimes it is not clear where we are when scenes change.

So not what I was expecting, a bit slower than his previous works and as it if the first of a series, incomplete. So just average.


Demon Apostle

The Demon Apostle
(The DemonWars Saga #3)
by R.A. Salvatore
With the demon dactyl and its foul minions defeated, the war-weary citizens of the kingdom of Honce-the-Bear wish only to bury their dead and begin rebuilding their broken lives. Yet the fragile balance between church and state lies shattered.

The specter of civil war haunts the ravaged land–and a specter more fearsome still. For the demon, though defeated, was not destroyed. And now its vengeful spirit has found an unholy sanctuary at the very heart of the Abellican Church.

With the third book, the story focuses on the Church and it’s battle to gain dominance over the monarchy. This makes the story more political, with allegiances changing. It does resolve to a satisfying resolution in the end.

I did find that listening made the story darker and more intense that a reading would. While there are four more books to go, I’m taking a break to catch up on some old Bugle episodes.


Jet #1

(Jet #1)

by Russell Blake (2012)

Twenty-eight-year-old Jet was once the Mossad’s most lethal operative before faking her own death and burying that identity forever.

But the past doesn’t give up on its secrets easily.

It’s a mix of Jason Bourne, James Bond and previous reads:
Zoe Sharp’s Charlie Fox
K. W. Jeter’s Kim Oh

It’s sexy ex-military kick-ass girl takes on all the baddies of the world. Very similar to Charlie Fox in style, pacing and themes.

Russell Blake is a great writer, the action scenes are clear and exciting. The story is fast moving and keeping the reader guessing. Will be reading them all !!

There are currently 13 books in the series.





Break Bad S1

The first season of the American television drama series Breaking Bad premiered on January 20, 2008 and concluded on March 9, 2008. Season one was to consist of nine episodes, but was reduced to seven by the writer’s strike.


Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher, learns he has terminal lung cancer. Desperate to secure the financial future of his family (his wife Skyler is pregnant, his son Walter Jr. has cerebral palsy) the 50-year-old leaves his second job at the car wash and teams up with a former student named Jesse to make and sell meth.

“You know the business. I know the chemistry,” he tells his new partner, who declares Walt “a damn artist” after sampling the first batch cooked in their Winnebago/mobile-drug-lab.

The first season begins the downfall of Walter White. The drama doesn’t have the pacing of a crime series, it’s slower, like an evolving drama. But by the end we can see the tracks laid down for what must conclude with the death of Walter. We just don’t know when (and by what means).

Small Star

Little Star – Celestine

According to her description:

Creatress ~ Starseed ~ Conduit

and ‘Alchemist of consciousness, Anchoring Truth, Transmuting Spirit to sound’ this could be some new-age mumbo jumbo.It’s actually very effective sparse female vocals with minimal instrumentation. Influence must have been Miranda Sex Garden and Jan Garbarek’s Officium.

While the original album is very sedate, the three remix albums are more interesting as they have more instrumentation and a denser mix. Some I recognize (Erothyme & Subaqueous) but most unknown.



Supervillainous!: Confessions of a Costumed Evil-doer
by Mike Leon (2011)

Super-villain. The very word immediately conjures up images of cackling madmen waving death rays as they rant and rave about their maniacal plot for world domination.

But there is more to professional evil – so many questions left unanswered by movies and comic books.
What kind of salary do henchmen get?
Where do all these super gadgets come from?
How come good guys never use the door?

One man has the answers.

Mike Leon puts himself as a journalist in his own story. The journalist seeks to interview villains in a super-hero world. They give interviews, explain their past and participate in random acts of violence.

At first it is very episodic and no with plot to follow. This is rectified in the second half where a big fight emerges between the ‘evil’ and ‘good’ superheroes. Not really funny, more witty and satirical. A short but entertaining read.


Earth Moving

The Day The Earth Moved A Bit
(Space Police #6)
by David Blake (2018)

A massive planet-sized blob reaches Earth’s outer atmosphere and demands to speak to a dolphin, threatening to end life as we know it if it can’t. But there’s only one left in the whole of the universe, and it’s not on Earth where it’s supposed to be.

The final in the series (so far) is a mixture of ‘The Blob‘ and Star Trek ‘The Voyage Home’.

There may be an animal that can save earth from extinction. But it’s Capstan & Dewbush that have the sole responsibility of saving earth. Can they do it ?

Cocaine Claire

The Herbaceous Affair of Cocaine Claire
(Inspector Capstan #4)
by David Blake (2016)
The fourth case for Inspector Capstan where he comes up against the former Chief Inspector of the Solent Police, Morose, who’s just started a forty-two year back-to-back life sentence for multiple murder. Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the Brexit Referendum, the British Prime Minister’s looking for ways to increase his ever-declining popularity and turns to his niece, Claire Bridlestock, for help.

The final case breaks the mold of the first three stories. This time the young lady is smarter and has power, being associated with the Prime Minister.  More funny stuff.


Genocide Jill

The Thrills & Spills of Genocide Jill
(Capstan’s Case Files #3)
By David Blake

The third case for Inspector Capstan in which he meets graduate Miss Jill Meadowbank, who seems to have a natural aptitude for both business and murder, and having discovered that the two complement each other remarkably well, sets her sights on European monopolization of the industrial marketplace with the aid of a World War Two Lancaster bomber and a couple of Spitfires.

More of the same formula. This time it’s an aeronautical theme, with the British invading Germany. More funny and ridiculous stuff as   the detectives bumble their way through another investigation.



Cosmos #13

The episode begins by noting how the destruction of the Library of Alexandria lost much of humanity’s knowledge.


Tyson then proceeds to describe the discovery of cosmic rays by Victor Hess through high-altitude balloon trips, where radiation increased the farther one was from the surface.

Victor Hess


Swiss Astronomer Fritz Zwicky, in studying supernovae, postulated that these cosmic rays originated from these events instead of electromagnetic radiation.

Fritz Zwicky


Zwicky’s theory was confirmed by the work of Vera Rubin, who observed that the rotation of stars at the edges of observable galaxies did not follow expected rotational behavior without considering dark matter.

Vera Rubin with John Glenn


Tyson describes Carl Sagan’s role in the Voyager program, including creating the Voyager Golden Record to encapsulate humanity and Earth’s position in the universe.


Voyager I looked back to take a picture of Earth from beyond the orbit of Neptune, creating the image of the Pale Blue Dot.


The series concludes with the empty-seated Ship of the Imagination leaving Earth and traveling through space as Tyson looks on from planet Earth.