Movie / Book thoughts for the 5th week of June

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All with **SPOILERS** The Book of Eli I like ruins, so was a sucker for this movie. I loved the Postman and Waterworld too, which often get panned. The religious back-story to his search made me think of  Jon Shannow, the Jerusalem man, one of David Gemmell`s best characters. Both believe they are on a mission from God, gunslinging their way round a post-apocalypse world. One scene in particular echoes Shannow strongly- where Denzel kills a bad guy by sinking his machete into the man`s femoral artery, the one in the groin. Shannow does the same thing to a boy …

Star Trek: The Next Generation #6 Power Hungry

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It turns out they knew about Global Warming back in 1989. They knew about the problems of pollution, the reliance of any one country on any one fuel source, and to boot they knew about religious terrorism. Howard Weinstein wrote ‘Power Hungry‘ with an eye on all of this, these problems that we seem to think of as new to our times. Obviously they are not, and were very much on people’s minds 20 years ago too. The Enterprise turns up at Thiopia, a mismanaged world reeling from decades of exploitative strip-mining by foreign powers. Riker beams down to discuss …

Haikyo Deflation Spiral

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If you`re into haikyo, you`ll probably already know about Haikyo Deflation Spiral. If you don`t, let me introduce you. It`s one of the top sites on the web for Japanese ruins. Compared to all the other Japan ruins sites (twodogs, ruins-site, etc..) it`s very easy to navigate, with very simple posts for each location visited. The site runner is Hiroyuki Tsuzuki , he`s a visual arts designer around the same age as me- 30. I don`t think he has a book out, but since he`s stopped updating his website I guess he`s working on material for one. He also has …

Star Trek: The Next Generation #5 Strike Zone

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And so we come to the first of the Peter David books. Peter David is something of a legend in Trek fandom; for his prolific output and incredibly entertaining render of the Trek universe and crews. His book `Imzadi` about the origins of the Riker-Troi love connections crossed over into the mainstream with enormous success, reachng the top of the New York Times bestseller lists. His other works messed with time, space and story structure in mind-boggling ways. On top of all that, he started off his own ship and crew in the Trekverse- New Frontiers, with Captain Calhoun aboard …

Star Trek: The Next Generation #4 Survivors

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Survivors by Jean Lorran really took me by surprise. It’s a great book, a refreshing new take on both Data and Tasha Yar. Did anybody else know Data had ‘flirtation routines’ that made him more popular with the ladies than even Riker? Not me. The story is about a lot of things; Tasha’s early life, Tasha’s death at the hands of Armus, ethical dilemmas, and Data’s gradual emotional awakening, all sewn gracefully through a narrative that sets Tasha and Data off on a mission together, to look into the cries for help coming from a fringe non-Federation planet.

Star Trek: The Next Generation #3 The Children of Hamlin

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With The Children of Hamlin by Carmen Carter it feels like we’re settling into a rhythm. The first book strained the characters in ways that didn’t feel realistic. Picard was a grumpy old git, Troi was flimsy, Riker was racked with self-doubt. By #3 though that stuff is ironed out, and the characters are basically acting as they should. The story is about the Children of Hamlin, who were abducted from their settlement by the Choraii, a bunch of crazy musical aliens. Of course it riffs off the story of the Pied Piper, but that never jars. In fact it’s …

Calloway Blood

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My buddy Mike Lynch has been writing fiction for as long as me, with both of us completing a novel while we were in University. Both of us went down the dystopic city route, though in very different ways. My novel, Jethro`s Fall, was about a guy in a post-apocalypse walled city, who follows all the corporate rules for success but is still miserable and seeking a way out. Mike`s is more of a trip back to a 1984-esque failed state, with a family struggling to survive under the dictator`s brutal regime. About 10 years have passed since we finished …

Star Trek: The Next Generation #2 The Peacekeepers

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The Peacekeepers is the second Next Generation book, written by Gene DeWeese, and feels much more like  a run-of-the-mill episode than the previous one Ghost Ship. We occasionally dip in and out of characters heads, but never for extended periods. Instead we are faced with a simple conundrum that must be unraveled- a high-tech but derelict space pod grabs Geordi and Data and teleports them out of sensor range, bringing them into contact with a man who reveres them as ‘The Builders’ and wants nothing more than their approval for his use of their ‘gifts’.

Star Trek: The Next Generation #1 Ghost Ship

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They started releasing Star Trek Next Generation books almost simultaneously with the series on TV. The first book was a novelization of the pilot- `Encounter at Farpoint`. The second, listed as #1 on a roster that has now grown to over 70 books, was Ghost Ship by Diane Carey. I read several of them when I was a kid and heavily into TNG. In the last few years I rewatched the whole of the TNG series run, and enjoyed it immensely. Now it`s time to read through the books, all of them, starting at #1. Most of these books are …

Orson Scott Card’s ‘Ender in Exile’ – book review

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Orson Scott Card is one of the most hit-or-miss authors I know of. When he`s good, in books like Ender`s Game, Ender`s Shadow, the early Alvin Maker books, he`s truly awesome, a storyteller to be reckoned with who has great insight into what makes people tick. When he`s bad, he`s awful, with pages of banter and pages of introspection populated with passive aggressive characters who are manipulating each other to the nth degree. Ugh. So it was with great trepidation that I picked up his latest Ender book, Ender in Exile, supposed to be filling in the time right after …