Norsemen

Norsemen is a Norwegian comedy TV series about a group of Vikings living in the village of Norheim around the year 790. It originally premiered in Norway in October 2016.

The series is recorded in the village of Avaldsnes in Karmøy municipality, Rogaland, Norway, and it was recorded simultaneously in both Norwegian and English-language versions.


An interesting premise that looks ripe for comic relief. It’s very Monty Python in style and tone. The trouble is, Monty Python was 40+ years ago  so transplanting  to modern television could be a problem.

Initially there are some good comedic scenes, the one where  a servant talks an executioner out of removing his head is very reminiscent of the ‘Bring out your dead’ scene from Holy Grail.

Unfortunately they don’t keep up the pace, and by the end of the second episode it has the feeling of a second rate British comedy from the 1970s. I haven’t got any further.

 

Calc Stars

The Calculating Stars
(Lady Astronaut #1)
by Mary Robinette Kowal (2018)

Read for the Sword & Laser Podcast Feb 2019 selection.

Told in first person, this tells the story of Elma York. She was a WASP pilot during WW2 and mathematician who earns her a place in the International Aerospace Coalition’s attempts to put man on the moon.

Set in an alternative timeline from 1952-1959 with slightly alternative technology. Mostly it takes place before electronic calculators and computers are used. At 121K words it is long and would have benefited from a good edit to bring it to under 100K. Too much of the story is taken up with domestic and political issues rather than the story of space flight.

It looks like the novel is capitalizing on the success of the film “Hidden Figures” (especially in the cover design). But as Mary explains at the end, the book was written before the film.

It does cover similar grounds, woman competing against men and black women being under-appreciated, etc. In fact you would get more out of the 2 hour film than this book that took me over 7 hours to complete.

Moon+ Reader Stats:
Pages: 459
Words: 121,284 (264 words/page)
Reading Hrs 7.3
Reading Speed 279 words/minute

 

Jet-saken

Forsaken
(Jet #11)
by Russell Blake (2016)

After months on the run, JET settles down, only to be delivered an unthinkable ultimatum she can’t refuse: risk her life, or that of her family.


The unusual part of this story is that almost half is taken up with a journey leading the the main premise.. that Jet must return to her evil ways and undertake an assassination of a leader.

Of course things don’t go as planned and the story and intensity ramps up to a decent ending. Ending is a situation where Jet could be called on to undertake more jobs, in a very episodic nature and where the long plot threads come to an end.

Wat Nuns

Hermitage, Wat and Some Nuns
(The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage #6)
by Howard of Warwick (2016)

When Brother Hermitage arrives at Shrewsbury in the summer of 1068 something is up. Or rather down. Gilder, the great merchant is dead and Hermitage’s urge to investigate is overwhelming.

His companions, Cwen and Wat, think this is a very bad idea.


This is the first story where the investigation isn’t imposed on Hermitage. His sense of righteousness sends him on a path of discovery. Still, there is a lot of silly nonsense from the characters as things play out to a conclusion where the trio work out who the murderer is.

The best aspect is that the witty banter between the characters really works. It seems that Howard (of Warwick) is getting better at his narrations.

Travelers S3

The central story is the conflict with travelers who have formed the ‘Faction” and decided not to take orders from an AI.

Only 10 episodes long, there is a lot of plot, however in the end it doesn’t come down to much as at the very end, everything is ‘reset’.

At this time, no indication if there will be a season 4.

 

 

Good Place 3.13

The Good Place 3.13 Pandemonium

(End of Season 3)

Failing to rouse Michael, Eleanor poses as the Architect and welcomes John. But Tahani realizes John is a gossip columnist who tormented her.

The second new resident is Simone, Chidi’s ex Australian girlfriend.

Chidi believes he will be unable to avoid contaminating the experiment, and asks Michael to erase his memories of the same time period.

Rather sweet and touching episode as Chidi sacrifices his memories so the experiment will not fail.

Then Janet goes and ruins everything be revealing the meaning of ‘everything’ (not 42)

 

Travelers 2.09-12

The end of season 2 is about Traveler 001 Vincent Ingram and his strange success at undermining the FBI and the Traveler Team to bring every thing to a close. All this depends on a set of circumstances that at times defy belief.

So while it provides for compelling TV, lots just doesn’t stack up. And most of his agency depends on a large number of unthinking thugs willing to do his bidding.

Trek Fear

Fear Itself
(Star Trek: Discovery #3)
by James Swallow (2018)

Frof Star Trek: Discovery, this is a story about Lieutenant Saru a very tall Kelpien. His decision during an investigation leads to a crisis that he has to resolve.

James Swallow, who I have read and has written for Star Trek before is a good author for this story.  The plot moves at a good place and provides adventure, excitement and intrigue.  There isn’t much science fiction, it’s more in the military science fiction genre.

 

 

Sentienced to Death

Sentienced to Death
(Space Team #11)
by Barry J. Hutchison (2018)

Cal Carver and his crew find themselves in possession of the Symmorium Sentience, a once god-like entity now stripped of its power. The Sentience needs help to return home and restore the Symmorium species, which recently found itself the subject of an unfortunate genocide.


More mayhem from Cal & Co as they transverse the universe, destroying things and generally being a nuisance, all to good comedic effect.

Another entertaining story from the Space Team.

 

Queen BioPic

Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 biographical film about the British rock band Queen.

It follows singer Freddie Mercury’s life from his joining the band in 1970, to their Live Aid performance at Wembley Stadium in 1985.

Directed by Bryan Singer, it is written by Anthony McCarten, and produced by Graham King and former Queen manager Jim Beach. It stars Rami Malek as Mercury, with Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello, Aidan Gillen, Tom Hollander, and Mike Myers in supporting roles. Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor served as creative and musical consultants on the film.


Seems to be the popular film of the moment, winning Golden Globes and BAFTA awards.

While the depictions of May, Deacon & Taylor were great, I couldn’t get on with Rami Malek’s depiction of Freedy Mercury. It looked like he was always munching on his false teeth with a variable accent.

The story roughly tells the Queen story, with exceptions that have been well documented. It starts and ends with the Live-Aid Concert in 1985. The re-creating of the 20 minute set was great, but it took 2 hours to get to it.

The film is doing well, with a budget of $55, it has currently made almost $800 million.