Once again, disappointed in the art. But the larger problem is that either there are multiple panels missing from the issue (maybe more than two pagesOnce again, disappointed in the art. But the larger problem is that either there are multiple panels missing from the issue (maybe more than two pages worth) or it truly is the worst example of cohesive storytelling I have seen in GN form. More than that, it has no thematic sense. ...more
The art was inconsistent, the story was a muddled mess that awkwardly tried to bridge the gap between the series and movie, and -- worst of all -- itThe art was inconsistent, the story was a muddled mess that awkwardly tried to bridge the gap between the series and movie, and -- worst of all -- it was at no point compelling.
I am sure that there are many Whedonites (or Whedonians, or Whedophiles, or whatever title worshipers of Joss Whedon have given themselves) who will love it simply because it has the characters they never bothered to watch when this was a TV show. I watched the show (my complaint back then was that it had neither enough Sci-Fi nor enough Western to satisfy my desires, and I largely stand by that assessment) when it was on. Saw every episode (that aired) that way first. But I am not in shocked awe over the glory of the concept or execution. And, like the one Buffy graphic novel I managed to read, this made me realize that perhaps Whedon is best handled in measured doses with definite ends....more
Once again, Richard Castle [Tom Straw] has a devil of a time dealing with how to have the charactersMaybe something like 2.25 would be more accurate.
Once again, Richard Castle [Tom Straw] has a devil of a time dealing with how to have the characters address one another (Rook continues to refer to Nikki Heat as "Nikki Heat" when speaking directly to/with her, only once going so casual as to call her "Nik"), and many of the scenes are filled with obvious filler to get the page count over 200. But that isn't what really bothered me this time.
• Edmonton plates [p. 2] So, Edmonton is a city in Alberta. Alberta is a province in Canada. Much like how the U.S.A. has license plates issued by states (and not cities), Canada issues plates by province (and not city). In the summer of 2014, designers in Edmonton pitched a different design for Alberta plates, but they would still be Alberta plates. And, realistically, this would have happened after the book was written (but maybe not before final proof). But a mistake like this on the second page is what makes me wish that both the proof-readers and editor would be fired for missing this.
• The Bimmer [p. 51] About a half a decade ago, somebody got a bug up his or her butt that people were referring to BMW cars as "Beemers" because BMW motorcycles were also called "Beemers". Actually, I'm sure the motivation predates that, but there has been an effort to separate the two types of vehicles without any consideration that the people at the Bavarian Motor Works (or Bayerische Motoren Werke AG) would not use either term for their products. The issue here is that, aside from the pretentious people who feel a need to distinguish their car from someone else's motorcycle, is that the manufactured distinction has not made it mainstream. And the audience for the Castle books is likely not to be up on the issue. [I am surprised that I remembered it at all, but I also have not had any need to talk to anyone about their not-a-Mercedes in a long while.] While this may have been a 'proper' route to take, the use of Bimmer was forced. Like someone on staff was looking for a way to shoe-horn in obscure knowledge and make it look like a spelling error.
• The Beretta 950 [p. 121] I'm not really a gun guy. I do not own any guns (though I do like to go shooting). Guns can be expensive, ammunition certainly is, and there is always an off chance that I may just want to shoot someone badly enough to do something really stupid...like take a loaded gun out in public while angry. Not that I endorse anyone doing the last thing on the list, but I'd say there is better than a 0% chance that could happen with me at some point in my life, and it just makes it much easier to not have a gun. Mind you, if I had a ton of money and my own shooting range, I'd want some guns. But with a ton of money, I think I could use money well before 'firepower' to try to lessen my anger toward someone. But to make some kind of point, I do not know the Beretta line well enough to know that the 950 is also the Jetfire. This made it awkward as I had to stop reading and go and check to see if Heat's back-up weapon changed during an encounter. Instead of first addressing the weapon as a Beretta 950 Jetfire and then short-handing it as '950' and 'Jetfire', the author decides to use both terms without reference to the other. Given how clunky he is with names, he really should have been able to be clunky here for the benefit of the reader.
Oh, and the story is just too damn slow for the first two thirds of the book. The insertion of the hurricane feels forced and, more shockingly, disrespectful to those who went through the ordeal of dealing with it. I'm not sure why I keep reading these books. Maybe for a sense of completion. Maybe because they are not very taxing (except when one has to stop reading to go look up information about handguns). But I would greatly prefer if the team behind the projects would demand a better quality of workmanship in the writing. ...more
Okay...first thing's first. I picked a good time to read this. An hour of after work reading on Sunday, a round trip on the El, and another hour afterOkay...first thing's first. I picked a good time to read this. An hour of after work reading on Sunday, a round trip on the El, and another hour after I got home and the book was done. Two days work, and it didn't feel like work.
It wasn't a great book. Yes, Friedman managed a couple of great instances of the Bones-Spock back and forth, and his Kirk felt around 80% true to TOS Kirk. The plot seemed a retcon contrivance to justify David's feelings toward's Kirk in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, with little at stake in the political crisis happening underneath the Enterprise.
I had trouble keeping the Klingons straight. Maybe because only a few had (what I deem to be) Klingon-sounding names. Now, I am wholly of the opinion that ALL KLINGONS MUST DIE. Not sure if that applies to Torres from Voyager, because I like that character -- and I like that Tony Todd got to be a part of the Star Trek universe -- but the Klingons are the worst of Imperial Japan and Soviet Russia rolled into one. I don't root for Klingons. I don't try to understand Klingons. They exist to be the bad guys. Why Roddenberry backtracked on that, I have no idea.
Still, for its weaknesses, the book still entertains. Friedman could have found more for Uhura to do. Hiding a grin behind her hand (demurely) and answering the phone seem more outdated and chauvinistic when the story is coming from the 1990s than the 1960s. He also could have given more personality to Spock (since the character shines in his moments of quiet humanity more so than his rote Vulcan personality). But at no point did I find myself thinking that the story didn't belong in the Star Trek universe. It certainly is not the abomination the last two movies have been....more
There are some problems with this book. Most of them stem from the tenuous temporal relationship it has to Frozen Heat, but once again the faux RichThere are some problems with this book. Most of them stem from the tenuous temporal relationship it has to Frozen Heat, but once again the faux Richard Castle stumbles over inserting characters just to reference Fillion's role on Firefly or to pay homage to people who work on the show. A real editor would help make these books less of a chore on the reader....more
Anderson has an odd fixation with using character's full names for an extended period (even when they don't seem necessarily appropriate to the regionAnderson has an odd fixation with using character's full names for an extended period (even when they don't seem necessarily appropriate to the region from which the character hails...though I'm sure I wouldn't have been able to research that in 10 minutes in '96) and inserts a US Major into the story that could have been at home in a Irving Greenfield novel. While those are things that I can chalk up to how a novel may not age well, what weighs down Ruins is that there is no suspense or wonder left for the final third of the book. It is simply an exercise of getting to the end of the story (which is screamingly obvious)....more
There is the engineer/nuclear physicist who doesn't know how an internal combustion engine or microwaveThere are several problems with Ground Zero.
There is the engineer/nuclear physicist who doesn't know how an internal combustion engine or microwave oven works. UC Berkeley, a state school, is described as having a high tuition cost (one can argue whether or not $1200/year would have been exorbitant, but it is about 11% of what Harvard would have been charging at the time). The USS Dallas is a Spruance class destroyer (no Spruance class ships are named after American cities) in a novel that inserts a discussion about Tom Clancy, an author who actually took the time to note that the USS Dallas is a Los Angeles class submarine.
These are things that draw the reader out of the book and make him/her wonder if the author is simple (read: stupid) or just doesn't believe that research plays any part in storytelling. It undercuts every level of verisimilitude needed for the reader to place the story in that murky universe that runs parallel to our own.
Perhaps a greater sin is the need Anderson feels to try to wedge in backstory for Scully. It can be done, but the author has to either have a mastery of the characters or (and this is probably the better route to take) write the novel before the series is in its second or third season. Nothing about it seems authentic to the character or the show. Given that he mostly has Mulder and Scully looking sideways/askance at each other, trading quips, and not respecting each other (except to announce to others that they respect each other), it is truly jarring.
Now the real problem is that Anderson sucks out all of the suspense by revealing just exactly what is happening about a third of the way through the book. All that is left is for the inevitable conclusion and a weird post-script about government shenanigans.
While Anderson has a less infuriating writing style than Charles L. Grant, he handles the story less well. Still...seeing how poorly the series has held up (the first two seasons in particular), I'm not sure expecting much from the novels is the proper attitude to have....more
I don't want to praise this book, but I don't want to be cruel to it either. Normally I have no problems being hypercritical but an ST:TNG/X-Men crossI don't want to praise this book, but I don't want to be cruel to it either. Normally I have no problems being hypercritical but an ST:TNG/X-Men crossover is, on its face, an indulgence into fanboy fantasy. And the real problem is that Friedman has to try to serve twenty different characters in a 264 page novel. Many are just in the way, but the assumption is that no ST:TNG fan would be okay with characters cut completely out of story.
I would forever be okay with anyone cutting Worf out of everything. Worf sucks. Friedman has a great (albeit inadvertent) example of how much Worf sucks. Worf is a Klingon. Sure, he wasn't really raised by Klingons, and almost every Klingon he encounters dislikes him (including, to a limited extent, his brother) because Worf doesn't really understand what it is like to be a Klingon living in a Klingon society. But Worf works to keep himself apart from Federation social norms as much as possible because of his BS posturing about being a real Klingon. (view spoiler)[In the book, somebody dies. Somebody who was under Worf's command. It happens in battle. Does Worf give him a 'warrior's death' ceremony and hold open his eyes and howl at the heavens? No. Does he make sure the body comes back (because Star Fleet officers do things like that)? No. He decides that the body is useless once the person is dead (which is in keeping with Klingon philosophy, provided the soul has been properly honored). But the dead somebody isn't a Klingon. He is part of a culture that would probably want the body brought back from the 'battlefield'. Worf doesn't care because his beliefs are different. (hide spoiler)] Worf sucks, and this book does a decent job of highlighting it in that specific instance.
Planet X is a breezy, quick read. Forgetting the PG-level tough guy Wolverine is depicted as (I had stopped reading X-Men comics in 1995, so I don't know if he reverted back to that or if this was in keeping with the animated series version of Wolverine), the X-Men are painted in basic, broad strokes that will give unfamiliar readers an idea of who they are without much development beyond that. Likewise, there isn't much of an opportunity for the Enterprise officers to shine because of the very crowded stage. But it is mildly entertaining. The story probably would have been better served to have let either franchise deal with it solo (the X-Men are no strangers to space travel), but it was a mildly fun diversion. I just don't think I would recommend it to anyone who did not feel an inner-geek drive to read it on their own.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Never mind that there isn't a complete or comprehensive list of the Rules. What bothered me (and hence the two star rating) is that there is not evenNever mind that there isn't a complete or comprehensive list of the Rules. What bothered me (and hence the two star rating) is that there is not even the most meager of commentary on any of the individual rules, not even in some tongue-in-cheek manner.
Just assembling what was mentioned on the show (through Season Three?) without giving a nod towards how these Rules of Acquisition have driven Ferengi culture seems weak. Compare it to the work the non-Paramount employees did with the Nitpicker's Guides, and it ends up feeling like an overstuffed postcard.
Not that I was expecting a lot, but I was hoping for more than this....more
The faux Richard Castle still thunders through the Nikki Heat novels like someone seeking to fill pages more than tell a story -- see every awkward inThe faux Richard Castle still thunders through the Nikki Heat novels like someone seeking to fill pages more than tell a story -- see every awkward instance of referring to characters by their full names or the repeated explanations as to nicknames of characters -- but at least Frozen Heat made an attempt to do more than follow the 'let's visit the same suspects repeatedly until one of them turns out to be guilty' device that had been the trademark of the earlier novels. This one loses points for the odd need to people the detective force with characters who are little more than just names as well for having the repeated violations of personal dwellings not seem to have much of an emotional impact on Rook or Nikki. If it weren't for an odd sense of devotion to the TV show, I'm sure I would never have read this. Having done so, however, it did nothing to enhance the experience of watching the show....more
This may be the worst book I've ever read. Author Andrew Dymond felt compelled to create a Farscape that felt entirely alien to the one depicted by thThis may be the worst book I've ever read. Author Andrew Dymond felt compelled to create a Farscape that felt entirely alien to the one depicted by the TV show, and told his story as though he were Douglas Adams hired to parody a Star Wars novel. Awful on all levels. From abandoning the plot to interject exposition in the most leaden way possible to needing to add as many unfunny throw-away characters as possible to not being particularly adapt as a fiction writer in terms of style, Dymond gets it all wrong....more
I am not sure why the Nikki Heat books feel like such a chore to read. This one finally was starting to build some traction, some momentum, but it kinI am not sure why the Nikki Heat books feel like such a chore to read. This one finally was starting to build some traction, some momentum, but it kind of falls apart before and as it ends. Too many 'elements' added just to pad the page count (or so it seems), and the characters are still only accessible as caricatures of the TV show's characters.
I would like to think that a heavy revision (taking out all of the worthless crap, because it wasn't even diverting except by force) and different final draft would have let the framework of this novel have a much better story. As it is, the Castle books keep giving ill-defined characters little reason to be there and only occasionally let the plot evolve....more