The Star Wars universe is huge. No, really, it's colossal. Whilst for many, their knowledge of the Star Wars universe starts at A New Hope, and ends aThe Star Wars universe is huge. No, really, it's colossal. Whilst for many, their knowledge of the Star Wars universe starts at A New Hope, and ends at Return of the Sith, there is an entire universe of characters, locations, plots, and fantastical stories weaved into dozens of video games, hundreds of comics, several TV Shows, and at least 300 novels.
So, as large as it is, the Star Wars Expanded Universe has a lot of room to focus on other characters, and can include many, many genres other than just Sci-Fi. For example, the Coruscant Nights trilogy by Michael Reaves is pure noire, whilst the duology that I'm about to review is, of all things, a medical drama.
Set in the middle of the Clone Wars on the planet of Drongar, the book assembles a new cast of characters as they try to deal with the constant deluge of wounded and dying clone troopers that pass through the surgery, all the while trying to keep it together in the face of monumental human suffering.
Our main characters are surgeons Jos Vondar and Zan Yant, the sassy, kind-hearted Lorridian nurse Tolk le Trene, the slippery reporter Den Dhur, I-Five, one of the few droids in the Star Wars universe who are truly sentient, and Barriss Offee, Padawan to one of my favourite Jedi Masters, Luminara Unduli, and the only character from the movies to appear in the book.
Most of the characters are on Drongar to assist at the Rimsoo, which is a type of pop-up emergency medical complex, except for Barriss, whose mission from the Jedi Council is to track the growth of Bota, a valuable, highly adaptive plant that only grows on Drongar, and which both the Republic, and the Confederates want for their own ends.
But something foul is up on Drongar. From Filba, the Hutt quartermaster, to the monastic order helping with the patients, and even the Admiral in charge of the titular Medstar, corruption runs deep on Drongar.
Times are tense, and whilst our characters have to go about their day-to-day duties in the knowledge that at any moment, they could be obliterated, a spy is in their midst, watching and listening.
Despite the cover, which shows Barriss going Medieval on a battledroid with her lighstaber, there is very little action in the book. Ironic considering it's set in a war hospital.
No, most of the book is dedicated to scenes of surgery, intrigue, and quiet character moments as the cast reflect on their lot in life. There is even a couple of scenes where the gang play card games, which, it might interest you to know, didn't make me want to gauge my eyes out like the one in Dark Apprentice, so that's something.
The book was written by Michael Reaves with input from Steve Perry. I've never had the pleasure of reading any of his other works, but Reaves clearly has a flair for characters, and an excellent vocabulary, even if some of the medical terminology did make my head spin.
I'll be reviewing the second part of the duology, Jedi Healer (Star Wars: Clone Wars, #5) next before I go on to do the books I, Jedi and Revan. Then I'll try and start again with the Callista Ming Trilogy, which from my previous experience, was like trying to swim through honey. Until next time....more
The final entry in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Champions of the Force tries, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, to recreate the epic, over-the-top fThe final entry in the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Champions of the Force tries, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, to recreate the epic, over-the-top feeling of Return of the Jedi, with fire-fights, Force powers, and space battles. All culminating in the restoration of the Jedi Order.
After the ending of the last book, Dark Apprentice, Jedi Master Luke Skywalker is comatose after one of his young disciples, Kyp Durron, went rogue, and under the influence of the spirit of the ancient Sith, Exar Kun, used dark Force abilities against him.
Trapped between life and death, Luke Skywalker can only sit and watch as his apprentices try to hold it together in his absence, something they do remarkably well in spite of the fact that Kun is flinging some new hazard or danger at them every five minutes in an attempt to try and kill Luke's body in a bid to try and kill him off entirely.
Most of the apprentices, I keep using that word because this is pre-Phantom Menace, so the word Padawan to describe a young Jedi hasn't popped up yet, get there own little sections to shine, including Kirana Ti, who is essentially Xena Warrior Princess, Kam Solusar, a hulking redeemed Jedi, and Tionne, the silver-haired bard who in my mind is played by Marcia Cross, though the ones who really stand out in these sections are Cilghal, a Mon Calamari diplomat with healing hands who serves to keep the group together, and R2D2, whose loyalty to his master goes beyond anything we've ever seen before.
The wondertwins, Jacen and Jaina, make an appearance, including in one scene, where, and I kid you not, under the tutelage of his uncle's ghost, the three-year-old Jacen picks up a lightsaber and uses it to defend his uncle with the kind of skill that would make an Olympic fencer eat their heart out. Also, I know that parenting is kind of lax in the Star Wars universe and you were under severe amounts of stress at the time, but Han, Leia, perhaps its best if you don't leave your precious Jedi children at a dark temple built by an evil Sith, and where one student almost kills Luke under the influence of evil.
Meanwhile, in another part of the galaxy, Kyp Durron, the Jedi wunderkind turned crazed loon is in possession of the Sun Crusher, a weapon even more powerful than the Death Star, and is using it to wreak a personal vendetta against the remnants of the Empire, including one scene where he causes the sun around the Imperial planet of Carida to go nova, killing millions, possibly billions.
Kyp's family were political idealists who believed that if they worked through the proper channels, they would be able to get the Emperor to step down from office, they were eventually thrown into the mines of Kessel after making too much noise, whilst Kyp's brother Zeth was sent to be conscripted at the Imperial military academy... on Carida, the planet that Kyp just blew up.
His parents were eventually carted off, and presumed dead, leaving a young Kyp to work the mines alone until he was helped to escape by Han Solo, right before getting imprisoned again by Admiral Daala, who tortured him, and then planned on having him executed after he provided no information. So Kyp has a reason to loath the Empire, and he has the deadliest weapon in history at his fingertips.
Out in the middle of space, alone, barely alive, and defeated, Admiral Daala, the Kathryn Janeway of Star Wars, is trying to come down after yet another defeat. This makes four defeats in a row if you count losing one ship at the Maw Installation, losing the Sun Crush, losing another ship at Mon Calamari, and losing her second ship at the end of the previous novel.
But Daala is a survivor and it is a shame that so many defeats coming at such fast intervals with only a few minor victories in between makes a great character look incompetent. She isn't incompetent, she didn't become the only female admiral in the Empire through nepotism, she is simply defeated time and time again through a mixture of bad luck, and the fact that in one instance, she is going up against Ackbar, who knows every strategy that she knows, and who is truly her equal.
Daala decides to return to the Maw Installation, the think tank that she was assigned to guard for ten years, only to find a bunch of New Republic commandos, Wedge Antilles amongst them, snooping about the labs, and the prototype Death Star that she had overseen the construction of gone.
From there, the pace picks up, with every couple of pages switching back between half-a-dozen characters, and portrays two exciting, though slightly underwhelming space battles from multiple points of view, which is absolutely my favourite way to portray any kind of large event, as it tends to lend it a sense of epicness.
Once all is done, Luke Skywalker, no longer comatose, starts to lead the now growing Jedi Order into a new era, a redeemed Kyp Durron at his side, Wedge and Qwi begin there relationship anew after she finally comes to terms with her past, Lando and Mara start a business together mining glitterstim, Ackbar returns to his post as the top admiral for the New Republic, working closely with Winter Celchu, and Han and Leia embrace in the wind as the Cathedral of the Winds on Vortex, the one that was destroyed at the start of the previous novel through tampering and indoctrination is restored, once again playing the beautiful, unique songs of the wind.
But deep in space, once the dust has settled after the final battle, Dalaa is still lurking. Everyone thinks that she's dead, but she's still around, and as she departs to the Imperial-held worlds to rally the warring warlords under her banner, a vault of valuable, secret information on her computer, we are reminded that no matter how sweet today is, tomorrow could be very different.
Kevin J. Anderson would eventually go on to write the Young Jedi Knights series with his wife Rebecca Moesta, a series of fourteen young adult novels published between 1995 and 1998, yowza! He is an incredibly prolific author, and has dabbled in other sci-fi staples such as Star Trek, the X-Files, and Dune.
Despite some uneasiness at first, I'm glad that I've dipped my toe into the Star Wars EU. The thing that pushed me away for so long was the sheer scale of the behemoth, but now that I've started, I don't want to finish, and as I write this, glancing down at the copy Children of the Jedi that I just got today, I think I know where to go next....more
As I write this, I can actually hear Imperial March in my head.
The second instalment of the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Dark Apprentice starts a couple of mAs I write this, I can actually hear Imperial March in my head.
The second instalment of the Jedi Academy Trilogy, Dark Apprentice starts a couple of months after Jedi Search, and deals mainly with consequences of the last book.
The book starts with Leia Organa-Solo, and fan-favourite, Admiral Ackbar flying to the planet Vortex to attend a diplomatic function at a glass cathedral considered sacred to the citizens of Vortex.
But something goes awry, and the ship that they were travelling in crashes directly into the sacred cathedral, killing dozens. Both Leia and Ackbar survive, though with the latter it is left vague for a portion of the book if he did, but the damage is done, and a diplomatic incident is no doubt on the horizon.
Disgraced, Ackbar resigns as an Admiral, and goes into hiding on his homeworld, but not before having a secret meeting with Winter Celchu, and the baby that she is taking care of. By the way, does anyone else ship albino beauty and the giant fish-man? No? Just me?
Meanwhile, hiding out deep in space, Kathleen Turner herself, Admiral Daala, is still seething after the loss of a quarter of her fleet at the hands of Han Solo and Kyp Durron.
There are other Imperialists out there, but they are mostly power-hungry Generals fighting each other over the Remnants of the Empire. Even with one of her ships gone, Daala still has the power to destroy all the other Imperialists and put herself on the throne, but she doesn't want to rule, she simply wants to destroy something, so she goes hunting, and destroys a seemingly insignificant colony on Dantooine, and then sets her sights on the planet of Mon Cala, the Mon Calamari homeworld.
On the jungle moon of Yavin 4, Luke Skywalker has managed to recruit some new apprentices, including Mara Jade, who is totally Dana Delany, seriously. But even on the remote moon, something evil stirs.
One of Luke's apprentices, Kyp Durron, is becoming remote, and is starting to rebel against the Jedi ideals, believing the Jedi to be weak. This, coupled with strange dreams, and the mysterious death of a student has the young Jedi Master on edge.
Dark Apprentice is more of a talk-fest than Jedi Search, which is strange, as the middle instalments of a trilogies are usually very action-heavy, but the book is easy to get into, and what action we do see is pretty cool.
There are slow moments, such as the bloody game of Sabacc that Han and Lando play multiple times, though that could be because I find games of chance boring, and whilst I'm sure the scenes with Jacen and Jaina running through the holographic zoo before getting lost in the Coruscant underworld were meant to endear me to the saccharinely precocious twins, I found it boring, and it only served to remind me that I don't want children.
Being the middle book in a trilogy, Dark Apprentice takes the plot threads established at the end of Jedi Search and runs with it.
I can't wait to read Champions of the Force, and to see how this all ends. Though my only worry is what to read after that, the Star Wars Expanded Universe is a big place, any suggestions?...more
I was never really into Star Wars as a child. I remember hearing about the supposedly final movie coming out when I was noIN A GALAXY FAR, FAR AWAY...
I was never really into Star Wars as a child. I remember hearing about the supposedly final movie coming out when I was nothing more than a sprog, and it was only a couple of years ago that I saw both trilogies from start to finish.
Jedi Search is part of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, a massive collection of over 600 novels, dozens of video games, hundreds of comic books, a couple of TV shows, and much, much more, most of which has now been declared non-cannon by Disney now that they are making yet another Star Wars film. Thanks guys.
I had been meaning to dip my toe into the EU pool for years, but the thing is so large, and so glutted, with hundreds of novels taking place over a dozen time periods, and with thousands of characters that it just seemed impossible to realise where to start.
So I started here on a whim.
Taking off a couple of years after Return of the Jedi, Jedi Search focusses on Luke Skywalker's attempt to find new Jedi recruits, whilst other characters such as Han Solo, Leia, Lando, and Chewie each have their own segments where we get to see what they are up to.
Han Solo and Chewie are stuck on the potato-shaped planet of Kessel, Leia is busy trying to juggle both her duties as a politician in charge of trillions of lives and her duties as a mother, and Lando is off gallivanting across the galaxy after one of his investments goes bust. We even get to see fan favourites like Wedge Antilles, and Admiral Ackbar.
Each characters story fits in well with the next, and you find yourself wanting to find out what happens to them next.
The book is easy to get into, though I had to check Wookiepedia a couple of times just to figure out what certain species, or spaceship models looks like, and you will soon find yourself happily lost amongst the sea of stars.
The novel does feel slightly underwhelming at the end, but as the first part of a trilogy, I usually expect that.
The fates of certain characters are left unanswered, and you find yourself wanting to know what happened to them. We are even introduced to a new villain, Admiral Daala, who in my head is a middle-aged Kathleen Turner.
It feels almost like an easy read. Despite the characters being in danger several times, including once from a gigantic spider, you never really feel that they are in danger. They will always find a way out just in time, and will always escape just by an inch.
I think its a safe read. Something short and easy to get into whilst you figure out what to read books....more
When the internet film critic Lindsay Ellis, better known as Nostalgia Chick, was reviewing something, I forget what exactly, she referred to BeautifuWhen the internet film critic Lindsay Ellis, better known as Nostalgia Chick, was reviewing something, I forget what exactly, she referred to Beautiful Creatures simply as “Twilight with witches,” which both is, and isn't true.
Whilst it's true that you can most certainly can feel Twilight's slick, black influence in this book, it does differ.
Trends come in cycles, a couple of years ago, vampires were all the rage, with the aforementioned Twilight, shows like True Blood and The Vampire Diaries, and a million other copycats which each differentiate from the standard girl-meets-boy-who-is-something-other-than-human-lots-of-kissing-ensures story in their own way. Then zombies were the in thing, transforming The Walking Dead from a niche comic book, to a multi-million dollar franchise, complete with its own copycat, World War Z. Now it would seem that witches are the vogue, with shows like Lost Girl, Eastwick, Once Upon a Time, and even a possible Charmed reboot, and Beautiful Creatures tried to ride that gravy train with a movie adaptation that sadly only barely made back its budget, most likely killing any chance of a sequel.
Firstly, some back-story, the novel was written by both Kami Garcia, and Margaret Stohl, though exactly who had the most input is debatable. You know, people often believe that if you double the number of writers you double the creativity, which might be the case in Beautiful Creatures, which has a very rich mythology, but it also means that if you aren't totally synchronised with your writing partner, the work will suffer for it, and this book did.
And I'm saying this as somebody who likes this book.
Ethan Wate is a sixteen-year old boy living in the town of Gatlin, South Carolina, where everybody knows everybody, people revere the Confederate States like they were some sort of utopia, the town is run by a bunch of hen-pecked crones with loose lips, and the only high school is run by the typical cabal of pretty, popular cheerleaders and their jug-head, jock boyfriends that you saw all through out television in the 90's.
Ethan, who is incredibly well-read, lives with his shut-in father and his battleaxe of a house keeper, Amma, who I am pleased to say is not a magical Negro, the storytelling equivalent to a newscaster, spouting sagely advice, and he wants out of Gatlin as soon as possible, and I can't blame him.
I'd just like to say how refreshing it is to read a YA novel with a male protagonist, one who actually has a likeable personality nonetheless.
Then one day, Ethan meets Lena Duchannes, the niece of the town shut-in, Macon Ravenwood, and designated love interest. Right away, Ethan is captivated by Lena because she is different, and finds out much later in the novel that she is a Witch... I mean, a Caster.
The Casters, in my mind, at least, are a mixture between the Witches from American Horror Story: Coven, and the mutants from the X-men. Each have their own abilities, but can still perform spells and rituals, and Lena's power is that she's a “Natural”, and can control the weather.
As it turns out, Lena is not yet sixteen, but that day is quickly approaching, and both Ethan, and Lena, who I forgot to mention, can read each other's thoughts, should be worried because that is the day of her Claiming, the day that she will choose to be either Light or Dark, Good or Evil.
That is one of the things that I do not like about Beautiful Creatures, despite having a very rich history, and mythology, everything is cut between good and evil, where those on the Light side are goody-two-shoes, and those on the Dark side are completely amoral, and without feeling, because the plot says so. There is no minutia, no morally grey, at least not where I can see.
The plot rambles on, and we are introduced to a colourful cast of characters, all of whom I'd rather spend more time with than Lena, who is as interesting as wet cardboard. Characters like the dapper Macon Ravenwood, the slightly crazy, though that is understandable given her abilities, Aunt Del, Marian the librarian, and Genevive, the lovelorn ghost of a Confederate society girl, and a Caster herself.
As the days go on, and Lena's birthday approaches, Ethan decides to actually do something about his girlfriend's fate, whilst Lena, who is totally convinced that she is evil, sits, mopes, whines, and writes bad poetry. Our Heroine, ladies and gentlemen.
I can understand being so crippled with fear that you can't do anything, but Lena comes across as work-shy more than anything else.
Eventually, we found out that Lena doesn't just have to contend with her impending doom, and the cheerleader Mafia, but is trying to be killed by a powerful Caster called Sarafine, who is also her mother. DUN DUN DUN!
Sarafine, who despite being almost as over-powered as Jean Grey in her Dark Phoenix phase, is the most ineffective, and completely non-threatening villain I've seen in YA as of late. She appears literally within the last five chapters, stands around menacingly, and does one thing that can be considered threatening before running off into the night.
There are other villains too, including Ridley, the sexy, seductive temptress, Hunting, who is Macon's brother, and who appears on-screen for less time than Sarafine, and Larkin, who I kid you not, says that he is evil because hey, why not?! He is literally evil for the sake of it. Way to add some dimension to those villains, girls.
This is when the book officially jumps the shark for me. The plot goes through the roof, and the dialogue the villains spout becomes more humorous than threatening. For much of the book, I suspected that something was wrong with the writing, and this is when I realised that unlike most YA novels, where purple prose is the norm, Beautiful Creatures goes the other way with prose so beige that I wondered if I'd accidentally received the first draft. The plot is there, and you can read from start to finish without getting too confused, but it feels like half the words and paragraphs are missing.
Eventually, through the power of love, Lena and Ethan manage to banish the villains away, no doubt setting up the story arch for the next three books.
All in all, Beautiful Creatures is a bit of a mess, but one that I enjoyed for the most part. It has some wonderful characters, an interesting mythology, and paints a very realistic portrait of the South, and the insularity of small towns, but it also some shotty writing, completely non-threatening villains who are more caricatures than characters, and within the last twenty pages, it all just falls apart.
Beautiful Creatures isn't perfect, far from it, but if you enjoy an endearing protagonist, a rich, though slightly generic for the genre, mythology, and can stomach bad writing, and stale dialogue for lengthy periods of time, then this book might be for you.
As for me, I will try the next novels, but I think I'll need a stiff drink when I try again....more
A prequel to Bioware's beloved Mass Effect, Revelations came out about six months before the game did.
The books serves to fill in the reader about theA prequel to Bioware's beloved Mass Effect, Revelations came out about six months before the game did.
The books serves to fill in the reader about the various species, locations, people, and technologies in the Mass Effect universe, presumably before they bought the game and found out all that stuff anyway,
Take note that the book was released before the game, because several assets, characters, and even the look of an entire species change between novel and game, which breaks suspension of disbelief, and can leave some readers confused.
Games change things so that the console can run the disk better, and in that way, they have a harder time than books, where you and the writer are only limited by imagination.
I'll be covering the rest of the books, and then the comics in short order....more
Alright, before I get into things, I'd like to give you some backstory. I am the child of two feminists, yes, a man can*Slowly takes a calming breath*
Alright, before I get into things, I'd like to give you some backstory. I am the child of two feminists, yes, a man can be a feminist. I grew up being taught that women deserve the same rights, freedoms, and liberties as men, but also that equal rights means equal fights. My mother taught me that one.
I have a girlfriend who is a hardcore feminist herself, and who also likes to cosplay on the weekends at conventions. Look it up.
I have lived in a house where I was the only male amongst several females, and I found the experience fun, though having to share a single bathroom with four other people, all of whom also need the bathroom before work wasn't so fun.
All in all, I would consider myself a feminist. Yes, I hold open the door for women, but I also do it for men, the elderly, the disabled, pregnant people, etc.
I also play video games. Why the seemingly unrelated tangent? That's because Ms Lawrence bashes one of my favourite games, and the game that I consider to win the gauntlet in gender equality - Mass Effect.
Lawrence claims that the protagonist, Commander Shepard, who can be either male, or female, and whose appearance can be tweaked to the player's preference, but I'm going to be focussing on the female version, is a sexed up space diva, with a bulging rack, and who can go around raping people at random.
Clearly, I must be blind, because that isn't in the edition of Mass Effect that I played, or it's two sequels.
Whilst it is true that their are some elements of the series that I scoff at, such as Miranda's skin-tight catsuit, though at least Cerberus makes all of its staff, regardless of gender, wear the space-spandex, but all in all, Mass Effect is a game that tries to be fair, equal, and egalitarian.
FemShep, which is what players call the female Shepard, is an average woman with an average athletic figure well-suited for her life in the military, and who is usually covered head-to-toe in bulky armour.
The game is in the 2180's, a future where we have full gender equality, gay marriage, and where we don't look at people who have a different sexual orientation as deviants. With the exception of the gigantic, mind-controlling space robots that come and cull the galaxy of all sentient life every 50,000 years, I'd like to live in the Mass Effect future. Oops, I think I just spoilt the ending of the first game.
There is a character in the second game called Jack. She, not he, is a feared pirate, and criminal with the ability to control dark energy with her mind. So powerful was she that the government had to lock her up in cryostasis for fear that she would do harm.
Jack is scrawny, bald, wears what's left of her prison overalls, and is covered in scars and tattoos. The scars she got when she was a child, where she was bred in a laboratory, tortured and experimented on to see how powerful she could get, raped repeatedly, forced to kill the other children in the laboratory for sport, and who only managed to get out when she killed a guard at age nine during a mass riot. The tattoos are her way of recovering her body back after so long of it not belonging to her, of it being used as a tool against her, and any who she might care for.
A male Shepard can enter a relationship with her if the player chooses, and at the end of the game, Jack comes to him and admits her feelings. You would think that Shepard would then take a chance to consummate their relationship, right? Wrong.
Shepard and jack get on the bed and start kissing, little more. Because Shepard wasn't willing to go the whole mile until he knew that Jack was ready, and he was willing to wait until she was.
Does that sound like content in a game where you can allegedly rape anyone at will? It doesn't to me.
There is another character called Tali that Shepard can enter a relationship with if the player chooses, choice being the optimum word here.
Tali's species, the Quarians, have weak immune systems, and have to wear hazmat suits to interact with other people. In this instance, Tali states that she wants Shepard to be able to touch her skin, to see her face without a visor covering it, to kiss her. So Shepard seeks the help of a doctor, and states "Tali is important to me, I wouldn't be doing this if she didn't want it too."
Does that sound like a game where you can rape someone at will? I will post the video link where Shepard says it at the bottom.
A couple of months after Ms Lawrence went on TV to bash the game, she retracted her statements, claiming that she had never even played the game, that she "Misspoke".
Misspoke is a funny little word that can be used to essentially say, "Not my fault, honest!" A word that shifts blame on someone else.
If Ms Lawrence were half the writer she thinks she is, then she would have had the forethought to at least play the game that apparently contains graphic nudity, and the ability to rape everyone, and anyone, but she didn't, and instead shifted her blame onto somebody else.
Don't read this book, your time is more precious than that. Time that you could spend playing Mass Effect.
It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent aIt was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call, home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5.
The final entry in the Legion of Fire Trilogy, and pretty much the best of the bunch.
It clues in the events that happened after the final episode, and satisfactory resolves the issue of Vir becoming Emperor, a question that I had since the finale.
On a side-note, by god, I hate that cover. Not all of it, but the colours look muted, and dry, and Delenn, by god Delenn. I suppose that she's meant to be clinging to Sheridan in fear, but it looks like she's sneezing. The cover artist does know that she doesn't look like that, right? I should know, I have met Mira Furlan twice....more
It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent It was the dawn of the third age of mankind, ten years after the Earth/Minbari war. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call, home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5.
If you've read my review of the previous book in this series, you'll know that along with Mass Effect, Babylon 5 is what I would consider the apex of science fiction storytelling.
I love this wonderful, funny, well written show with all my heart, and am always willing to delve into its expanded universe. The expanded universe, by the way, is terribly small, and is composed of the two TV shows, a couple of TV movies, a dozen-or-so novels, an RPG, and a couple of comic books. Dreadfully small compared to the expanded universes of Star Wars, Star Trek, and Doctor who.
Whereas the previous novel focusses on loveable bastard Londo Mollari, this on focuses on his former attaché, and future Emperor, Vir Cotto, with appearances from the familiar cast of characters, and even David, the half-human half-minbari whose mere existence is a bit of a no-no for the minbari.
Vir goes on a real journey in this book, from a bumbling, crying, frightened little man-child, to a resistance leader with a drop of self confidence.
We get yet more insight into Londo's mind, and for a character that I once despised, I really do feel sympathy for him. Despite how much he and G'kar rag on each other, you can tell that they genuinely care for each other and it really comes across in this.
I recommend it whole-heartedly for all B5 fans who thought that the show, and the one that came after it, ended all too soon, and didn't get enough press....more
I was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind, ten years after the Earth-Minbari War. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent anI was the dawn of the Third Age of Mankind, ten years after the Earth-Minbari War. The Babylon Project was a dream given form. Its goal: to prevent another war by creating a place where humans and aliens could work out their differences peacefully. It's a port of call, home away from home for diplomats, hustlers, entrepreneurs, and wanderers. Humans and aliens wrapped in two million, five hundred thousand tons of spinning metal, all alone in the night. It can be a dangerous place, but it's our last, best hope for peace. This is the story of the last of the Babylon stations. The year is 2258. The name of the place is Babylon 5.
Good god, I love Babylon 5 so much that I can even recite the opening scrawl from memory.
Babylon 5 is a show that started in 1994, and lasted until 1998. It was ground breaking for the time, as the first show to ever use CGI heavily, and was well known for it's writings on love, life, religion, politics, and what it means to be a member of the Younger Races.
Taking off just after the season finale, the novel concentrates on the remarkable bastard, Londo Mollari just after he becomes head of the Centauri Republic, which is a monarchy by the way.
Having bonded with an alien parasite, Londo starts down the path of madness that may ultimately consume him as he struggles with his new-found power, the Drakh parasite that is controlling him, and trying to cope with atrocities he watched happen only years before.
Londo Mollari is a magnificent bastard whose way of speaking, mannerisms, flamboyant presence, and complicated relationship with G'Kar are brought to life within these pages.
Peter David seems to have a thing for Sci-Fi and expanding the universes of well known TV shows and movies, and you can certainly tell that he was having fun as he wrote this book, and helped to keep the Babylon flame burning.
I will certainly look into the other books, and never forget the Babylon 5 Mantra dear reader.
Ivanova is always right, I will listen to Ivanonva, I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations, Ivanova is God....more
Firstly, let me say that I hadn't heard much about this until the wonderful Dan Reilly of Goodreads.com sent me a message, asking me to review it.
I waFirstly, let me say that I hadn't heard much about this until the wonderful Dan Reilly of Goodreads.com sent me a message, asking me to review it.
I was intrigued not, only by the cover art, but by the fact that I'm apparently famous, or noteworthy enough to start getting requests. Next thing you'll now, I'll be handing out the Best Actress Award to Justin Beiber at next year's Academy Awards.
I'd like to take a moment to talk about the cover art, before I throw myself into the review. Well, it's there, and it serves its purpose. That's not to say that I don't like it, I do, it's just I can't make heads, or tails of its peculiar, bright man with sparkly glasses. But I do like it, and I can tell the artist worked hard on it.
The stories inside are written by various authors, and each pull you in differently. Memento Mori, by Stefanie Demas has its strange statistic about Japanese people dying on golf courses, whilst Yes Officer opens with the harsh, and often tolerated subject of domestic violence.
The Rag sucks you in with its brilliant, garish art styles, and cerebral stories by talent writers. Once you've finished your first story, you are already hooked, you just don't know it yet, and you find yourself craving more of rich worlds, and realistic characters, that you want to both love and hate simultaneously.
These are the stories that can feed a junkie's love of good prose. Each story thrills, excites, and draws you in differently, and by the time you finish one, you want another.
Not everybody will get these stories, and some may even find them too strange, or even high-brow for their tastes. But when you get to it, you realize that these stories are all about people, and highs, lows, and billion other emotions that are the thing that defines us as human, something that I'm sure we can all relate to on some level....more
I'm not the type of person who enjoys poetry, or rhyme, but I make exception for this wonderful book.
I found one day at work, when I was putting severI'm not the type of person who enjoys poetry, or rhyme, but I make exception for this wonderful book.
I found one day at work, when I was putting several horror novels back on the shelve, and found that it was hidden beside all of the Stephen Kings and the Lovecrafts.
Intrigued, I decided to read a few pages on my lunch break, and wound up gorging on the entire book within a couple of hours. Its a wonderful, lyrical, smart set of poems, with lots of obscure words and names, and is easily readable....more
I've indulged in a couple of Trek novels since I started to watch the shows earlier last year, and this is one of the better ones.
Due to being busy, II've indulged in a couple of Trek novels since I started to watch the shows earlier last year, and this is one of the better ones.
Due to being busy, I had to listen to the audiobook, instead of reading the prose, and boy, was I lucky. This particular audiobook was read by none other than Janeway herself, Kate Mulgrew.
The novel starts with Janeway on an unnamed planet, still stuck in the Delta Quadrant. From there, the plot involves plasma storms, a dead, angelic species, and the Kazon, who look like red Klingons and have hair like an afro made of brilo pads, and gives us some insight into Janeway's backstory.
Mulgrew reads the prose wonderfully, and I don't think I ever heard her stumble. Her voice is raspy and haunting, the type of voice that sticks with a person, long after she falls silent. I wonder if I could get her to read Lovecraft? It would suit her.
My only problem with the reading is the background noises. This is one ofthose audiobooks that decides that the listeners are too dumb to know what footsteps sound like, or what the exact sound of a dog barking is like. It's a bit of a hassle and more than once did the sound effects drain out Mulgrew's voice.
The novel is part of what is called the Star Trek Novelverse/Expanded Universe. Which are a collection of novels, radio plays, video games, and fan productions, some cannon, others not. This one isn't considered cannon by any means, though I've always kept my own cannon with science fiction, keeping what I like, and discarding what I hate, Star Trek Nemesis, I'm looking at you!
So this is now part of my own, personal cannon, along with Picard and Crusher hooking up.
In closing, this is a great, if slight hard to find novel that is one of the better Trek books. Somebody who isn't familiar with the series will be lost in the list of names, locations, and sciencey-sounding gadgets familiar to regular viewers, but Trekkies like myself will love it....more