Empire (Chess Team Adventure #8)
by Jeremy Robinson & Sean Ellis (2016)

In 1959, nine hikers of the Dyatlov expedition perish while crossing a remote mountain range in the Soviet Union. More than sixty-five years later, the circumstances surrounding their deaths remains a mystery. In 1995, Julie Sigler is killed in an Air Force training exercise crash, but the circumstances of her death are never called into question…until she appears on TV, twenty years later, standing beside the current President of the United States.

More than any other Sigler book, this is like a spy thriller in the Le Carre style. Multiple plot threads involving different team members and involving Jack’s sister, mother and father. Everything eventually escalates into a suitably action filled climax. The only disappointment is that this appears to be the end of the series. There is the continuum series, but they happen in the past. Hopefully the author will  come back and continue the story.


BSG 1.01 33

Battlestar Galactica  1.01 33 (2004-10-18)

Following the exodus of humans from the Colonies, the fleet is attacked by the Cylons every 33 minutes as the survivors cope with their losses, compounded by their lack of sleep.

So we have human piloted spacecraft, similar in size to the Star Trek fighters and they go up against machine controlled craft. This should end very quickly and in favour of the machines due to the comparative reaction times and g-forces a human can withstand. The Cylon tech must be based on a 1984 Commodore 64 !

The better combat solution would be to use weaponised and armoured drones, with pilots in the mother ship issuing high-level commands and the drones using multiple maneuvering thrusters to evade. The fighters appear to have dual forward facing guns. Better to have a forward and rear mounted guns so perusing cylon ships can be destroyed.


Otehi is a strange mix of stoner/space rock from Rome, Italy.

The band is
Domenico Canino – Guitar,Vocals & Effects
Maciej Wild Mikolajczyk – Bass & Vocals
Corrado Battistoni – Drums

and have released four albums. The live ‘Unplugged’ is less successful. But the three studio albums have a nice laid-back groove style. The vocals are not english, but don’t get in the way. It has a 1970’s feel, almost like Canterbury Progressive Rock.


Cannibal (Chess Team Adventure #7)
by Jeremy Robinson & Sean Ellis (2015)

Jack Sigler, callsign: King, leads the Chess Team—a crew of former Delta operators—back into action. But what should be a routine snatch-and-grab to capture a drug cartel leader, escalates out of control, throwing the team into a challenge unlike anything they’ve ever faced. An enemy from their past, who is close to unmasking their identities, joins forces with the psychotic cartel kingpin, setting a trap that will shake the team to its foundations.

This is one of the best Jeremy Robinson books I have read. It combines all the elements he is know for – action, core, science fiction with military precision.  Written in 2015, he just seems to be getting better. Highly Recommend, but read the previous 16 books first !




by Frederik Pohl (1977)

This is the opening novel in the Heechee saga; several sequels followed. Gateway won the 1978 Hugo Award for Best Novel, the 1978 Locus Award for Best Novel, the 1977 Nebula Award for Best Novel, and the 1978 John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. The novel was adapted into a computer game in 1992.

How it got these awards, why ? I don’t know.

It’s not a good novel. Half of the story is of the main protagonist whining to a robot psychiatrist , which isn’t interesting. The other half is of his journey to Gateway. It didn’t get far as I stopped after a quarter of the way through. It became boring, endless conversations and comments. The premise was interesting, but nothing happens to draw the reader along in the story. Another example of ‘award’ winning novels lacking a decent plot.

This was read as part of the Sword and Laser book of the month read.


Battlestar Galactica


Originally a series in 1978, I didn’t see it then.
The re-imagined series started in 2004 and I caught maybe a few minutes near the end of the last series. I purchased the DVD several years ago, so here it is – the BSG first-watch. The series appears to have been written with minimal scientific knowledge. So my comments will be about the plot holes and science black holes and technobabble.

The Mini Series

Recently sworn in as the new Colonial President, Laura Roslin manages to gather up all surviving elements of humanity into a “rag-tag fugitive fleet” and seeks the protection of the Galactica. Faced with the reality of being hopelessly outgunned and outnumbered, Adama decides to escape with the civilian craft and seek out a new home for humanity — a mythical planet of fellow humans somewhere in the galaxy known only as “Earth.”

It’s a good start. The most annoying thing is the ‘shaky-cam’ style on filming that is just annoying. Fortunately this decreased around the third to forth episode. The other noticeable difference between BSG and other SciFi shows is the music style during the space fights. It’s very minimal and almost drum and bass. Disconcerting at first, but I’m getting used to it.


Savage (Chess Team Adventure #6)
by Jeremy Robinson (Goodreads Author), Sean Ellis (2014)

For more than a hundred million years, the Dark Continent has kept a savage secret.

While on the trail of a stolen tactical nuclear weapon, Jack Sigler, callsign: King, and his black ops Chess Team, answer a cry for help. The Democratic Republic of the Congo is on the verge of exploding into another bloody civil war that will engulf all of Africa and put millions at risk, a crisis too politically volatile for any outside nation to touch. As the team, unfettered by political constraints, deploys across the globe, the threats spin out of control.


Another great rollicking adventure with improbable action, baddies and impossible beasts. The only downside is that I didn’t find the political plot thread very interesting. This may be the first Jack Sigler novel set mainly in Africa.

Human Experience

The Human Experience

The Human Experience is David Block’s principal project as a live
electronic composer, multi-instrumentalist and producer.

David has shared the stage with artists such as, Thievery Corporation, Bonobo, Tipper, Random Rab, Emancipator, Bluetech, and many more.

The seventeen albums released so far range from simple songs to folk, tribal and various electronic genres. Usually very laid-back with collaborations from lots of other artists doing similar work.