Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas Readers, Writers and geeks

Hi guys

Just a quick post to wish any followers I have left a Merry Christmas and anyone else interested.

Well tomorrow is the (anti) climax of all the rushing around, stressing, getting skint and merry.  A time when ol big red will have been and emptied his sacks and kids everywhere big and small will be opening their presents.

Then later in the day everyone over indulges in food and snacks and the adults drink too much.  Yep you've got to love Xmas.  The kids love it.  It just goes too fast.

Hopefully you will all be receiving what you asked for from books, kindles, sci-fi movies and boxsets.
The writers out there will hopefully be writing whilst everyone else has fallen asleep after dinner then looking forward to the most important part of Xmas day - Doctor Who!

Tomorrow will be one day closer to the end of 2016 which has been a jinx year for celebrities and a lot of others too.
It is also the year that gave us Brexit - so next year we are in unknown territory for the UK.
It also brought us Trump winning the presidential election in America so there might not be a 2017.

Anyway hope you all have a fun and probably drunken Xmas day.

I was going to share a Christmas story but only came to me two days ago so will hopefully share next year.

Merry Xmas


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Star Wars - Rogue One - Film Review

When Star Wars - A New Hope first hit cinemas in 1977 the film started very oddly for a film as it was already in the middle of a story.
Darth Vader had just captured the Rebels led by Princess Leia to get back the stolen plans for the Death Star.
This film is the story of how the Rebels got those plans.


It is also the story of Jyn (Felicity Jones) who years after being separated from her father Galen (Mads Mikklesen) goes to find him as he is the main engineer and architect of the Death Star.  But is he to be trusted? Has he helped the Rebels by putting a weak spot in the design?

Jyn is quickly accompanied by a rag tag group including Rebel Captain Andor  (Diego Luna), blind Force sensitive monk Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and Android K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk).

The action is excellent although it starts of slowly but with some stand out pieces including Darth Vader in rage mode and the inclusion of Grand Moff Tarkin who was played by the late Peter Cushing and digitally brought back to live with the help of body double and voice over.  It is weird seeing his image on screen again but you realise how we miss a great actor.  It is cleverly done and they do the same with Princess Leia at the end with digital effect of a young Carrie Fisher.

The film also acts to connect the Prequels to the Original films as Vader is based on Mustafa where he got his limbs chopped off and burnt.
It also includes Bail Organa  (Jimmy Smits) who at the end of the Prequels was charged with bringing up Princess Leia.

It also has cameos from everyone's favourite droids but because of this it could be a plot hole as R2-D2 and C-3PO watch the Rebels fly out at the end yet at beginning of a New Hope they are on board Princess Leia's ship!  Maybe they set off later and catch up to the Rebels?

The action and tone is grittier and darker than most Star Wars films and the new droid K-S2O is very funny.

Overall  -  A welcome addition to the Star Wars Canon and one of the better films.  Especially better than the Prequels and this should have been the film the Prequels ought to have been.  With some great visuals and set pieces including the final battle it is oneasy of my favourite.  It also gives A New Hope more depth.

Score  -  10/10

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Book Review - The Infinity Trap by Ian C Douglas

Like JK Rowlings Harry Potter novels,  The Infinity Trap by Ian C Douglas is a book for all ages.  Aimed at teens it is also a book adults can enjoy.  It takes you on an exciting adventure on Mars and is a roller coaster of a ride.

The story of Zeke Hailey starts as he arrives to go to Mars to join a school for psychics although he is there in dubious circumstances as he cheated his exam to get there.
Zeke needs to go to find out what happened to his dad, who joined years before and became a Mariner.  Then his Dad was sent to outer space with most of the other mariner's.

Once on Mars at the school called the Chasm there is more going on that just bullying and psychic lessons!

With a great supporting cast including rich friend Scuff and Pin-mei,  it also offers good antagonists to hate.

The book is well paced and action packed with great set-pieces.  Also the dialogue sparkles and rings true.  It also throws in a few curve balls.  Some characters aren't what they seem.

It also features some fun future technology plus aliens and an alien language.
The world building of the future is spot on which I knew it would be as Ian has given two great world building workshops over the last two years at Cleckheaton library.

Plus the book finishes with more questions to ponder including:
Why don't the mariner's come back?
What is the creature in the abandoned observation post?
Plus many more.

Overall -  A fun sci-fi adventure for children of all ages blending Harry Potter, Doctor Who and more.  Well written and fast paced with well timed cliffhangers that have you wanting more.  Only complaint is it's too short.

Score  -   10/10

Author Ian C Douglas signing at previous years Cleckheaton Literature Festivals

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Book Review - Doctor Who The Deviant Strain by Justin Richards

A few years ago, around 2010 to 2012 I bought from The Book People who visited work two Doctor Who book box sets.  Each box containing ten Doctor Who books.
Having read the first two in the first box set (although I never reviewed them on here as it may have been before my blog). I decided to read another one even though they are aimed at the YA market but I have still got them and they are easy reads between the bigger epics I normally take on.

Justin Richards The Deviant Strain takes Christopher Eccelston's ninth Doctor along with Billie Pipers Rose and John Barrowmans Captain Jack to the Novrosk Peninsula in Russia.
It is an almost deserted submarine graveyard with only a few villagers living nearby and a Soviet naval Base.  Nearby are some mysterious Stones which drain the life force out of anybody that touches them.

With life-force draining blue blobs, zombie scientists and a crashed spaceship there is more than enough action and peril for the Doctor, his companions and secondary characters.
With some fun action scenes, end of chapter cliffhangers and intrigue the book rattles on at a fast pace and at only 251 pages does seem a bit short.

The characterisation of the Doctor and Rose are spot on and made me wish Christopher Eccelston had stopped on as the Doctor at least one more series. Jack is handled well but there isn't enough of him here.

The book shows how much Doctor Who has changed since his relaunch in 2005!
Well I still 17 of them to read plus over 100 of my bigger books ha!

Overall -  Justin Richards captures the spirit of the series in a fast paced adventure that harkens back to 1950s B Movies.  Some of it can be a little cliché and not enough of Jack.

Score  -   7/10
See below for Doctor Who book box sets