Good Girl 1

Good Girls is an American crime comedy-drama television series created by Jenna Bans that premiered on NBC on February 26, 2018.

The series follows three suburban Detroit mothers, two of whom are sisters, who are having a hard time trying to make ends meet. They are tired of having everything taken away from them so they decide to rob a supermarket, only to discover that they’re in for more than they bargained.


The only actor I know of was Christina Hendricks who was on Man Men and voted sexiest woman in the world in 2010 by Esquire magazine.

The show was recommended by the Radio NZ film reviewer, so I gave it a go. This probably would not have been made if not for Breaking Bad. It’s similar in that characters are on the wrong side of the law, and some change sides. Also, there are no real “evil” characters to act as plot devices and set the plot.

The best thing about the show is it’s pacing and plot turns. Almost every episode ends with a mini cliff-hanger and anticipation for more.

Everyone is  is good, although at times the secondary characters outshone the leads. Then just when I had completed the 10 episode series it was announced that series two would broadcast in a months time.

 

 

IO Last

In the near future, human activity has turned the atmosphere toxic, killing all animal life and a majority of humans. The remaining population now resides in a makeshift colony aboard a space station orbiting Jupiter’s moon, Io.


A woman wanders around a desolate landscape, retreats to her mountaintop home and tends her garden, bees and corresponds with a friend on Io. Nothing much happens.

Then a man turns up, he has apparently been sent to pick her up for the last flight to Io. Nothing much happens, then the film ends.

It looks like the story has potential to go somewhere, be unexpected or reveal some unknown truth. But no, it’s just a film-maker trying to be ‘arty’ and make some unknown message to other arty film types.

Tiber

Encounter with Tiber
by Buzz Aldrin & John Barnes (1997)

This book chronicles the story of an astronaut who discovers evidence of an extinct race of aliens that left traces of their civilization on the moon.

At 237K this is a long book, in print form it comes to just over 1,000 pages.

The first part of the story is interesting as it postulates an alternative history of space flight by NASA from the shuttle flights to the discovery of an alien signal coming from Alpha Centauri. An alien artifact is discovered on the moon and astronauts attempt to recover it. The story is technical, with diagrams and goes to great lengths to explain engineering and physics. I found this interesting although some of the flash-backs could be confusing.

Then in the second part the narrative abruptly changes to the planet of Tiber where the aliens live. The text immediately throws lots of made-up names and places at the reader. This makes it difficult to understand and follow. Reading became a chore and sucked all the interest from the story. Gave up at 32%.

 

 

Trek Cloak

Cloak
(Star Trek: Section 31 #1)
by S.D. Perry (2001)

 

Captain James T. Kirk carried out a dangerous mission to capture a cloaking device from the Romulan Star Empire. Months later, while investigating a mysterious disaster aboard a Federation starship, Kirk discovers that the same technology he obtained for the sake of peace is being put to sinister purposes.


The first of the Section 31 novels was read as the organisation was mentioned in the TV show Star Trek: Discovery (ep 2.03).

The plot doesn’t really involve section 31. rather it is about Kirk chasing after scientists researching a new material, believed to be a new energy source.

There are a number of scientific problems with the story. First, why attempt some new technology when the matter/ant-matter reaction exists. Surely the most efficient method of producing energy.

Second, the story starts with the Enterprise catching and pulling another Star-ship out of  an accelerating warp speed. The author doesn’t appear to have basic knowledge of warp technology, and seems to think it is like a train (or an object at sub-light-speed accelerating). It is mentioned that they should match speed, which is impossible as both vessels are “accelerating”. Anyway, warp  drives operate by manipulating the space-time around a vessel. How another object, let alone a Space-ship could enter this zone is not established science in the Star Trek universe.

And finally, the scientists that undertake the highly dangerous experiment at the end are not that scientific. Firstly, they clearly are not doing the experiment at a small scale to determine if the physics is real.

An secondly, the notion that they could be reasoned with by another scientist is dismissed. This the the whole plot of a ‘Travelers’ episode. In the episode, a scientist is brought back from the future to explain to a scientist that their theory for a new energy source is flawed and will create a devastating explosion. After taking the scientist through the mathematics and showing the problems, the project is abandoned.

Another example of not very good science in science fiction.

 

Brother Cadaver

The Case of The Clerical Cadaver
(The Chronicles of Brother Hermitage #7)
by Howard of Warwick (2016)

A hidden monastery in the depths of England’s depths?
A secret that could rock the church to its core?
A trail of clues that can only be interpreted by an expert?
This all sounds rather familiar….


This novel isn’t as successful as previous ones. The story is very simple. Hints to the murder open up as the gang explore. More stupid monks help with the comedy and there isn’t much of an ending. Still, it has the wit and charm of previous novels, so will still continue to the next.

Dragon Training #3

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

An animated film loosely based on the book series of the same name by Cressida Cowell, produced by DreamWorks Animation and distributed by Universal Pictures.

A sequel to 2010’s How to Train Your Dragon and 2014’s How to Train Your Dragon 2, it is the third and final installment in the How to Train Your Dragon film trilogy.


Despite the technical brilliance in sound and animation (sometimes the score really stood out as brilliant orchestral writing, distracting from the action). I didn’t really get and emotional involvement from the story. It was all very well done, and wraps up the trilogy nicely. But not in an outstanding way.

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