While this may not have been the worst book I've ever read (thanks to Dan Brown) it is definitely nowhere near as good as the "hype" -which surroundsWhile this may not have been the worst book I've ever read (thanks to Dan Brown) it is definitely nowhere near as good as the "hype" -which surrounds it- seems to suggest.
Aside from the usual OOC moments which many franchise books are prone, and this is no stranger to, the actual mystery The Vulcan Academy Murders is structured around is so flimsy Scooby & the Mystery Inc gang wouldn't have a problem unmasking the villain in less than 30 mins (actually that might not have been a have bad crossover with this story).
To imagine, however, that the brightest minds on Vulcan, Captain Kirk & Co as well as Sarek couldn't have figured out 'whodunit' is soooo beyond laughable that it's just sad. Especially when the resolution to this story is telegraphed so loud and clumsily that it could have come echoing off a Cooke+Wheatstone developed a telegraph system from the 1800's (okay, that might have been a reach but I contend they were loud and clumsy, just like a certain TOS book... wink-wink).
If the mystery wasn't very good at least the premise wasn't total $#!^ - Spock's mother is in need of medical attention, so the crew of the Enterprise take some leave on Vulcan for a visit and so the Captain can schmooze it up with T'Pau as well as hit on any human woman he runs across... apparently.
There's also a side love story between Spock's cousin and the human doctor whose breakthroughs will save the day. Despite some vaguely interesting wisps about the mental connection of a bonding this Vulcan/Human May/December romance came off as bland... at least I think it's M/D, all the blather about age and sexual maturity was kind of forgettable (if only this book was).
Sadly the premise is just about the only thing that doesn't smell of overly ripe cheese as, on their first night in town, Kirk googles Italian Restaurants because, and I $#!^ you not, every planet has an Italian Restaurants... or so the Captain claims. That gem and a few other, mostly about women, caused me to wonder (even at an early age) exactly which word to add the '-ist' suffix to in order to form the noun which would best describe the bigotry within these pages (written in the dark times of 1983).
I know people have been fascinated by Vulcans since the television series began and enjoy reading just about anything that expands on the richness of this fictional culture, this book adds little texture to that. Unlike the much more insightful (and better written) Spock's World
On top of all of that I feel the need to point out to Jean Lorrah that curiosity is not, however you and perhaps the Trek editors might wish it to be, an emotion. Curiosity is a desire for knowledge but you don't feel curiosity in itself. After-all that would be antithetical to the Vulcan experience!? If one is curious about something, however, they may have an emotional response stemming from that curiosity.
My curiosity over this book's fans caused an emotional response, though it's likely it is one I shouldn't share here... Instead I will end this with a quote from the book that proves anyone can get a franchise book published:
It was Greek to Kirk, except he knew Greek so this was Vulcan.
If I have to recommend not reading this book, you haven't been paying attention!...more
Countless numbers of readers have shared the shameful joys of the franchise novel over the years, whether itNegative Stars... Sooo many Negative Stars
Countless numbers of readers have shared the shameful joys of the franchise novel over the years, whether it be X-Files, Indiana Jones, Mission: Impossible or even Highlander. Together we've followed our favorite characters/creatures/worlds into comics, novels and whatnot... But there are some novels, in just about every franchise, from Halo to Star Wars (K.J.A. I'm looking at you) where the reader can't help but realize - 'it must've been written on a bet.'
The bet in the case of Imbalance seems to have been: Can an almost totally incoherent and ridiculous piece of self-indulgent claptrap, not only get printed but a best-seller, just by slapping the name "Star Trek" on it?!
Of course the bet was won and while Paramount Pictures, Titan Press and V.E. Mitchell laughed all the way to the bank, we... we, the readers were left to foot the bill and in more ways than one.
For me, the completion of this (I hesitate to call it a book) collection of words on paper and bound up coincides with the tapering off of my interest in reading Next Gen and, in fact, most franchise related novels, aside from a few exceptions. And that is no coincidence, for in reading this I came realized that, while some of these franchise stories may be nice little nostalgic rides, there are many-many-many more like this: The most underwhelming book I had read to this date.
I was as lucky, as much as I was cautious in picking up many of the franchise related tales. That coupled with youth and time allowed me to read some entertaining yarns in these expanded universes. Then, this dog of a book made it's way from the library into my hands -shutter- and I learned (not for the last time) how the dregs of storytelling can masquerade themselves within the sentiment of childhood glee (I'm looking at you Mr. Bay & you Mr. Orci).
While dropping a few Tribble references into this shameful excuse for a story might make it appear to be set in the Trek universe, the awful characterization and lazy plotting doesn't any value to that universe. In point of fact it diminishes, not only good Trek but the joyful experiences of the world in which it expands from.
And that is exactly what this book did, starting with the re-introduction of the Jarada, a race first heard of in the TNG episode "The Big Goodbye." Where it was revealed that this insect-like species, well known for their idiosyncratic attitude toward protocol and especially for their peculiar language, were isolationist. A point is even made to inform viewers that even Capt. Picard had to studied for days in order to communicate just a scant few lines in the Jaradan's language because the slightest mispronunciation, by an outsider, is regarded as an insult.
While that might have been an interesting string to pick up, it was not. Indeed that particular point was not just left dangling but it was basically snipped right off. As, conveniently, the Jarada want to have a chat with Federation representatives in English. Which begs the question, why were this race use at all? Why not just invent a race or use some other established race?
Those, of course, would just be the first in a slue of questions a reader would have here. Some others might be:
* Had V.E. Mitchell actually watched a single episode of TNG? * Why is Chief O'Brien a selfish jerk? * Did he and Keiko ever have a single conversation before they got married? * Why, in a future society built on tolerance, peace and acceptance do most of the members of the Federation have stereotypical views and/or are intolerant? * That then begs the question - Is V.E. Mitchell racist, sexiest or both? * Why make the Admiral a Vulcan and explain that they acts like a human, rather then just use... anyotherspecies? * How does an incompetent and selfish officer serve on the Flagship of the Federation... even if he does know people... Dammit, this is the Trek-verse, command wouldn't let that pass (maybe I'm a bit nitpicky here but once you see 5, 6 or 35 faults it gets so you can't miss them)? * And for the love of the Awakening, why does EVERYCHARACTER in this book ACT like a PETULANTCHILD at some point?
On top of all of that Keiko is made out to be THE WORST, because... women (seriously, that is the reason).
Sadly, what is so frustrating about this book is that there are some good ideas buried in there, they're just so far beneath all the garbage Mitchell is shoveling over the reader, it can only glimpsed in bits and pieces. Perhaps, as the book was published during season 5 -of the 7 season series- the PTBs just didn't give a $#!%%... in the end, whatever the reason, this book was a huge waste of time.
I recommend this book be avoided at all costs!...more
This book is split between solid story telling, the main focus of the tale being the failing health of John Jonah Jameson, Sr. (husband to Pete's AuntThis book is split between solid story telling, the main focus of the tale being the failing health of John Jonah Jameson, Sr. (husband to Pete's Aunt May) as well as the effect it is having on the extended-Parker Family, and some serious OH NO, NOT AGAIN moments with the mysterious return of Miles (The Jackal) Warren.
Poised, Spidy now is for yet another throwdown with Warren, along with his EVIL Gwen Stacey, who -back in the day- I believe was referred to as a "genetic duplicate" meaning she wouldn't degenerate like most Earth-616 clones. [NOTE: In the 'before-time' MARVEL Editors tried to keep some sort of unifying sense to what could be done in their fictional universe. As a result cloning almost never was successful for long periods, a flaw Professor Warren had been obsessed with solving by creating clone-after-clone-after-clone of Peter and Gwenie... like you do].
All of this, including John's illness, is meant as a lead-up to DEAD NO MORE, a new arc which appears to be yet another (Spider-Man) story with more gawddamn clones in it. This revelation might leave the reader somewhat unsure of how they feel regarding what's to come. Because, historically, that shtick worked out in ways that were the opposite of what one might consider good... at least when the Spider-Books employed it.
So despite the semi-intriguing nature of this volume, some readers [myself included] may be thinking: That gag has whiskers on it (almost as long as this phrase's)... oh, and -NEWSFLASH- saying someone isn't a clone, when they are grown in a lab, doesn't make them not a clone.
As baffling as that might sound to the folks over at MARVEL!?
Continuing the upwards swing that started with Last Days this volume really brings the smiles and adventure of this modern day Spider-MA Solid 4 STARS
Continuing the upwards swing that started with Last Days this volume really brings the smiles and adventure of this modern day Spider-Man (er, girl... or young lady... no, it's girl) to life.
There are still some issues, here and there, but it's doing it's job well... even going as far as to poke the beast of Ms. Marvel's own fame in the real world as well as the madness of the Converg-- I mean Secret Wars event....more
[This volume should be read ONLY after the "Spider-Women" Collection.]
This book is a bit of a mix-mash that ranged from 'decent' to 'meeh': The first[This volume should be read ONLY after the "Spider-Women" Collection.]
This book is a bit of a mix-mash that ranged from 'decent' to 'meeh': The first bit -really just issue #8- seems to be tripping over itself to conclude (view spoiler)[the mini-movie-of-the-week Silk & Black Cat in Undercover Blues(hide spoiler)]but the clean smooth lines of the story's art, courtesy of Stacey Lee, almost makes up for it.
However for, ALMOST, the rest of the book there is nothing that can make up for it the breakneck pace all Cindy's problems just vanish away... (view spoiler)[On the positive side the 'civilian life' breaking into Cindy's superheroing was well done and a long time in coming seeing as Cindy Moon is pretty terrible at most of the 'secret identity' stuff.
But the resolution to a story years in the settingup, was -to say the least- a major let down as all of a sudden Cindy & Co. jump into the pages of Heavy Metal. with talking dragons and dangers sooo terrible her civilian friends make it out okay and the threat is never satisfactory explained away.
And while that might have been okay if done cleverly, it was just another scattershot of more I Don't Know What from Robbie Thompson. A writer that makes up in bad dialogue what they are missing in actual plot. Which -lets face it- this is a MARVEL book, a mediocre plot could be overlooked if the art took us there... but it became apparent, all too quickly, that Tana Ford could not parody the high octane fantasy this story demanded.
With both story and art falling flat we then get some unicorn and rainbow ending to the last of Cindy's quests... The things that had been driving her since she left that bunker back in 2014 and into the Spider-verse.
For a character who was supposed to fill the gap made when Peter Parker/Spider-Man went corporate, she sure seems to have it easy all of a sudden. Leaving readers to wonder, just like every supporting character in the book: What next?! But also - Why should we care?
I don't know why this book was running the Kentucky Derby when it came to solving the dangling plot threads of Cindy Moon's life but with them all tied up and nothing to catch our attention for the next bit other than some tired old trope of betrayal that seems so prevalent in Super-Hero tele today I really can't say I'm all that excited as to see where another Spider-themed-Villain story is going.
Read it... don't read it... I'm ambivalent. Though I do believe it's time MARVEL does something of substance with Cindy/Silk or just let her fade away until she's resurrected by the next creative team brought in to revitalize the Spider-Man franchise....more
But instead of heading into Fred Hembeck territory, as it rightfully should have, it ventured into... well, one would suspect the creative team thought it was the sort of, genre (and social) commentary that came out of the X-Statix series. However those aspects of E is for Extinction: Warzones were never focused enough to be as [debatably] successful as that series was.
Because of this the book came off more pretentious than fun. Something which can be the ruin of a WHAT IF... story, causing it to feel crass, at its worst, and stupid, at its best.
Anyone who has read the source material understands the pitfall of pretension was something it constantly contended with. Fortunately, for many readers, the Grant Morrison New X- Men run did over come it... at least most of the time (*cough* Here Comes Tomorrow *cough*).
Whereas E is for Extinction: Warzones embraces that pretension. I can understand, to some, there's a kind of humor in that. But not to me... not here at least (speaking of which, I actually rather liked Here Comes Tomorrow, but there's no accounting for tastes).
To it's credit this is where the books most successfully parodies several aspects of The New X-Men. Only, as we see from the litany of lunacy that parade through these pages, E is for Extinction took just about everything wrong, or potentially wrong, with Morrison 's series and ran with it. Ramos Villalobos does his best impression of Frank Quitely, the illustrator of the source material, and that's the book.
I'm not going to get into the plot because it a scattershot of mad genius and pedantic stupidity - With suicide, adultery, murder, brainwashing and sexual harassment vying with a army of evil multidimensional Henry "The Beast" McCoy's, a Dark Phoenix, and lots of fan service love/death scenes.
I can't, in good conscience, recommend this book to anyone... but if what I wrote intrigues you, go for it. Otherwise, AVOID IT AT ALL COSTS!!!!...more
I have loved the Spider-Man mythos since I was a kid and because of that I have read a lot, I mean A LOT, of Spidy. One might think that perh1.5 Stars
I have loved the Spider-Man mythos since I was a kid and because of that I have read a lot, I mean A LOT, of Spidy. One might think that perhaps because I care for the characters I might hold unreasonable expectations but I do not expect much more than an entertaining tale that makes some sort of sense (even if it's only spider).
As a result I have read just as many stories over the years that were not-so-great, as were great... this book, sadly, falls into the former category. Which is unfortunate, since author Dan Slott has done a pretty good job with much of his decade long Spider-Man run.
Why was this books such a disappointment... some of it has to do with MARVEL directives and some of it has to do with the story:
A huge part of this collection seems to be the introduction of super-villain Regent into the 616 Universe, AKA the core MARVEL universe. However, Regent is really just a human version of the Super Adaptoid (something even the characters point out).
In that story a married MJ and Peter, along with their daughter, live in a police state world where Regent rules [BTW when someone's super name means, a person who administer a country because it's leader is absent or incapacitated. He's a bad guy! Just sayin'] and together the Spider Family must stop him... or whatever.
Cramming that into this volume is what caused it to seem even more derivative than it should have (I mean come on, it's a hero comic - derivative is almost always on the table but that JUST HAPPENED)... on top of which we had to deal with some Brian Michael Bendis IRON MAN nonsense that has MJ as his assistant (because running a night club that burnt down twice and being a model/actress totally qualifiers her for that job).
Sadly those were not even the worst parts of this book(view spoiler)[... The real head slapping moments happen when the supposedly more grownup Spider-Man (yes that's what Slott has been pushing Peter towards in a different yet similar way to what JMS did) gets into a childish fight with Iron Man while they are supposed to be mentoring Miles Morales and MJ has to don the Iron Spider/Scarlet Spider armor to save them... except how does she use an armor build for someone who already has enhanced super-human abilities?!?!
Despite how much your brain might hurt from trying to figure that out, she just does plus she's able to beat this (very 90's comics looking) human Super Adaptoid who has already been able to collect the powers of half the Avengers (including Thor). This mirrored the much-more sensical climatic fight in Renew Your Vows. Which is something the even characters comment on with the drop of an "Ooo, déjà vu" line from the cast (AKA - buy this other book) (hide spoiler)].
All that being as it is this was not the worst Spider-Man story I've ever read [despite my rating]. Indeed there are some moments, like bringing together Peter, MJ, Harry and Betty Brant for some scooby gang moments, that are a good time. But those are too few and far between.
I would hesitate to recommend this book, especially if you've read Renew Your Vows because I found it to be a waste of time. If you're coming at it totally new you might like it... but I wouldn't hold your breath....more
Chris Sims & Co. gave us another installment of fun nostalgic X-Men action with lots of twists and turns! This book is RECOMMENDED for those readers who understand comics are a whimsical thing, enjoy the X books, remember 90's, as well as MARVEL in the 90's. You'll enjoy reading this book... I know I did!...more
Once again a solid book - compendium to the television series.
As with the prior volumes this book directly fits into the series in ways ot3 Stars ★★★
Once again a solid book - compendium to the television series.
As with the prior volumes this book directly fits into the series in ways other media tie-in comics do not, connecting moments or asking questions like: 'What were the rest of the team doing during Terrors or just before Targets?' As well as exploring other mysteries...
This book still works for what it is and while you may not lose much by just watch the series, a fan will gain both texture and substance by jumping on in, between these pages... Recommended for all YJ fans!...more
Another solid volume - compendium to the television series.
As with the last volume this book directly fits into the series unlike other3.5 Stars ★★★
Another solid volume - compendium to the television series.
As with the last volume this book directly fits into the series unlike other media tie-in comics, connecting moments and solving mysteries like Artemis' save of Kid Flash in Schooled, prior to her joining the team.
On whole this book still works for what it is and as with the previous volume this one lends both texture and substance to the series and, while you may not lose much if you just watch the series, a fan will gain much by diving between these pages... Recommended for all YJ fans!...more
A solid book - compendium to the television series.
What I like about this book is how it fits into the series, unlike other media tie-in3.5 Stars ★★★
A solid book - compendium to the television series.
What I like about this book is how it fits into the series, unlike other media tie-in comics this book directly connects to the series starting with what happened between Superboy's line "Get on board or get out of the way." and Batman starting up YJ at Mount Justice in the series premiere Independence Day.
Greg Weisman, Art Baltazar & Franco along with Kevin Hopps do a good job keeping the stories in this book at pace with television series while adding a certain level of maturity and depth to the characters. Artist Christopher Jones and Michael Norton do their best to capture the animation style and on the whole the book works for what it is. And while it's different than the show it's also, not so much.
On whole this volume lends both texture and substance to the series and, while you don't lose anything if you are just watching the series, a fan will gained much between these pages... Recommended for all YJ fans!...more
First it should be noted that issues #7-8 were part of the Spider-Women Crossover, which is collected separately, and should be read before this volumFirst it should be noted that issues #7-8 were part of the Spider-Women Crossover, which is collected separately, and should be read before this volume (whatever the Goodreads Spider-Gwen series page might indicate).
(view spoiler)[Once you are caught up on Gwen Stacy's issues, namely her having lost her powers, you can come in on this story. A story where we find Earth-65's Spider-Woman struggling with it means to be a hero. (hide spoiler)]
While issues #9-10 sort of pitter about in the texture of Gwen's life and the world she inhabits, issues #11-13 really dive into what being a hero means for this young musician as well as why, former War Machinist turned NYPD Detective, Frank Castle is so obsessed with capturing and unmasking Spider-Woman.
Of course the stylized art of Robbi Rodriguez is striking and the book has the humor you've come to expect from Spider-Gwen. However this story really tries to address more serious issues, including those that have haunted Gwen since her neighbor Peter Parker, A.K.A. The Lizard, died and she became her Manhattan's THREAT or MENACE.
Probably the best volume in the series so far and it's also the first time we really see what this series can be. If the creative team can keep this up they will have fulfilled my faith in this book....more
Perhaps a more apt title for Spider-Women might have been, Isn't Spider-Gwen Cool!?! Mostly because Gwen, and her Earth, take the lead in this crossovPerhaps a more apt title for Spider-Women might have been, Isn't Spider-Gwen Cool!?! Mostly because Gwen, and her Earth, take the lead in this crossover event.
Stuff happens that mean nothing to Jessica Drew's life and Cindy Moon's... the latter being totally useless in this story and the former being almost totally useless. But just when you thought this crossover was as useless as, well the Spider-Women featured in it(view spoiler)[, we find out that the Cindy Moon of Earth-65 is some evil super genius billionaire and she created Spider-Gwen for some nefarious if unspecific reason... as villain do... I guess.
Evil Cindy, with the help of Earth-65's Doc Ock, play the usual doppelganger who created a hero gags, like impersonating Silk on her Earth... blah.blah.blah. taking away Gwen's powers... blah.blah.blah. Then alternative versions of well-known characters bounce in-and-about... like they would, you know... blah.blah.blah. Oh and Earth-65's Jess Drew is a guy... blah.blah.blah.
Then we all go home like nothing happened, even the now spider power-drug addicted Gwen, and laugh about how this will all be payed out again because there wasn't any real resolution (and Cindy poked the bear) (hide spoiler)].
The synopsis found for this collection, just about everywhere, makes the significance of Spider-Women vague. Even on Goodreads Spider-Women is miss-listed. The annoying thing is, that while this story is only just okay at best, if you read Spider-Gwen this book is a MUST in-between Volumes 1 and 2, unless you do not want to know what the heck is happening.
Having read all three main characters' books, I was somewhat disappointed at seeing really only one character getting any sort of development here, Gwen. Despite the fact they do a better job with her here, than was done in Volumes 0 & 1 of the Spider-Gwen series. Meanwhile, this book makes Cindy Moon out to be rather annoying (a point of view some MARVEL readers have seen her from for a time, I understand, but until this book I hadn't shared that sentiment) while Jess is... well... Jess is there... doing Spider stuff.
Robbie Thompson makes a bit of a train-wreck out of Silk, trying to tell a Cindy story in this clearly Gwen-centric volume, on the other hand Jason Latour does surprisingly well and Dennis Hopeless adds some cohesion to this scattershot of a crossover book. He does, somewhat, succeed but all-in-all it is a mediocre story with brief wisps of good (maybe even excellent) blowing around here-and-there.
To some extent those moments are supported by the artist working the crossover. Still, I don't feel Vanesa Del Rey's art fit the story being told and the characters in this collection. That being said Bengal, Joëlle Jones and Nico Leon gave it their all and that effort shines through!
RECOMMEND FOR Spider-Gwen READERS... ONLY because they NEED to read this book if they are to have an inkling as to what's going on in her series. Otherwise, steerclear:
Really 1.3-1.8 STARS (the higher based mostly on the Gwen stuff)...more
*Main Story: Spider-Island - 2.5 Stars ★★ Having enjoyed Spider-Island, some of these Secret Wars one-offs and much of Christos Gage's work I decided to pick this book up. And while Gage seemed to write Agent Venom as if he was Batman in Grant Morrison's JLA, the story wasn't too bad.
It was a fun idea and after how it ended I could see why Gage set it up the way he did.
It's the usual "All is lost" scenario where the heroes must fight guerrilla style against all odds (including former friends and allies) as they try to save their world. Hitting the usual notes as well as adding a few twists this book tries hard... still something was missing from it.
Something someone here refereed to when calling it not "Gage-worthy." But it was a good try and not every What If... story can be Conan in Manhattan.
*Back Up Story: MC2 - The Spider Family - 2.5 Stars ★★ The MC2U was an alternative future created in the late 90's by Tom DeFalco. It was revived recently in the Spider-Verse Event and this story deals with the fall-out from those events.
Spider-Girl, now Woman, A.K.A. MayDay Parker tries to come to terms with the death of her father and the new addition to her family as she also struggles with the choices she made in Spider-Verse. All-in-all this was a nice little story and a fitting epilogue to her Spider-Verse adventure....more
After reading this book I barely have enough restraint to put words together in any other way than with venom. So, I'll just try to be brief...
This 18After reading this book I barely have enough restraint to put words together in any other way than with venom. So, I'll just try to be brief...
This 18$, 90 page, book is almost completely unreadable, especially for a pre-2011 DC reboot fan... the art, however, is another story indeed:
At this point the name Gary Frank usually means the art quality will be high (even if no one ever has lips) and his work on this book isn't any different. Along with Phil Jimenez (who is one of my favorite illustrators), Ethan Van Sciver and Ivan Reis the art team does their best to produce a good comic book.
It's for nought, unfortunately, because all the pretty images in the world cannot divert the reader from the incoherent ramblings of Geoff Johns as he tries to write himself out the the corner he backed into after he, and his cohorts, turned DC comics into Image Comics of the 1990's in order to make that exploitative cash that Image had been rolling in... until readers realized that all the stories they came out with were high on flash and low on substance.
Though one might believe that there were some substances the boys at Image Comics were high on during their 90's success. Sadly for many of the Image Crew their bubble burst and those who didn't lose their fans, if not their shirts, had to move on (with few exceptions). But, I digress.
What DC loosely calls a story in DC Universe: Rebirth revolves around a ghostly Wally West (not the one from the 2011 reboot but also not quite the one from before as he's clearly younger and, for some inexplicable reason, wearing his Kid Flash uniform) as he floats around the DCU watching the people who he once knew, but seem to have forgotten him, and cries out for their help. Of course, as Wally seems to be omniscient here one must wonder how Geoff Johns thinks this plan makes any thing close to sense.
Think Kingdom Come only... well... bad! All of this happens while Johns re-tells Wally's origin, in the most pedantic way possible.
The supposed bright side of which is that the old continuity is edging its way back in. But the real bright side of this visit to the reboot DCverse most fans hate (but did sell like hotcakes for awhile there) is that this is yet another reason to call for Geoff Johns being band from writing comics!
In short - You could read this or just slap yourself in the face for 10 mins and you'll get about the same experience out of it!
Don't get me wrong I can see where Steven Baxter was going here and "Yes" I admit they are intriguing ideas. Sadly the framewThis book IS THEWORST!!!
Don't get me wrong I can see where Steven Baxter was going here and "Yes" I admit they are intriguing ideas. Sadly the framework he used to explore the ideas he was playing with here are soooo incredibility flawed that a brisk wind would knock them over.
I did peruse a few of the other reviews on Ultima before I began this write up because, on occasion, I have found other's readings can point out some things I missed. In this case, it seems, I am one of the few who mulishly read-on despite how bad$#!^^ insane I felt this story became. And as I sit here writing this I wish I had been born a quitter, or at least known when I was beat, 'cause this books was just dumb.
Just how dumb? Well, to say that it might cause you to lose IQ points might not be as big an exaggeration as one might think:
Where to begin....
Okay first off everything that was good about the first book is just not in this one... So if you did, by some chance, like the first book this is not that book. Not even close.
Next, the main character of the PROXIMA Series is a cross between the Lost In Space Robot and a tractor called ColU. And when an unfeeling one-dimensional computer, who's only job seems to explain the pot to the reader, is the focus of your story... well, you should maybe know that your story is going to be pretty lame.
As for any other characters, including those who made it through the first 500 page book in this series, they are casts off will appalling frequency and coldness. Not that any of these so-called characters have any depth to them, at all. So when they are flung away, left behind, killed, or just forgotten you really won't care about them.
Though readers will probably be frustrated by it, just as they will be with all the inconsistencies, and their are many.
So, with characters who are only there to move the plot (and to talk about/have sex it seems) or dialogue written as if by a child, not to mention intelligent brainbugs. I wish I couldn't mention them, actually, but it turns out they are more important to this two-book series than the space probe A.I. Baxter spent a huge percentage of the first book on.
Another A.I. character, that may have actually been the most interesting, which he then just forgot about until the very last few pages Proxima.
Let's not forget that, thanks to the 'plot device' of kernel power, no space-faring race need make any scientific progress. So that in this book you will meet several groups of humans that colonize far off planets while not having so much as solar powered calculator anywhere!
Yet, there are still two A.I.s in this book.
And off they go, with their human companions from the established reality to one where the Roman Empire is flying through space in wooden ships using space sextant, or whatever. If that's not enough how about the Incan's in space?! No, that is not a joke. Or, that is to say no more then this book isn't a joke. It's almost as if someone took all the joy, and sense, out of a Robert A Heinlein book!
I'm not sure but I also think that Steven Baxter might be raciest... though maybe he just hates people who read SF books, that was why he wrote this (gawd I don't even want to call it a novel)... this book, to torturer us! Mostly by repeating the same information over and over and over again. Is he getting paid by the word? Or was this supposed to be a serial? Maybe Baxter was lost himself and he needed to repeat what was going on over and over so he understood (instead of talking about the missing characters or you know going into some character development).
This story wouldn't have even made a good Star Trek TOS episode, despite how it felt like it was at times. Heck I've read ST novels that were way better then this gobbledygook... and Oh, so many pages of gook I wish would have been gobbled by the editor.
(view spoiler)[What really gets in my craw is that he then retroactively tries to explain away the inconsistencies by saying it was the 'Dreamers' meddling... and don't let's talk about that ending. (hide spoiler)]
Also I would like to point out that at one point (I think this might have been in the beginning of this book or the ending of book one) the crew of the space ship talks about using radar in space. WTF - I thought this was an SF book: Radar would not work in space!
Honestly the only way this book wouldn't have had me hate it - with the white hot passion of a thousand exploding suns - would have been if, when they went to discover who was controlling the universe, it turned out to be Steven Baxter himself.
DONOT READ THIS BOOK - EVEN IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT... NOTHING IS WORTH HAVING TO SLOG THROUGH THIS TRAVESTY OF A BOOK! NOTHING!!! ˈnə---THiNG!!...more