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Before Dishonor (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
Before Dishonor (Star Trek: The Next Generation)
by Peter David
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 3 Sept. 2009
This book follows on directly from the book Star Trek Resistance. The large Queen generating Cube built as a new nexus for the Borg has been disabled by the Enterprise. Admiral Janeway is warned by powerful forces to leave the ship alone but goes anyway to confirm the threat is over. This results in a catastrophic situation with the ship reawakening, resulting in a very different breed of Borg who now seek not to assimilate but to eliminate races, using an entirely new form of technology. The Enterprise rushes off into action, realising that past encounters may hold the key to defeating this monstrous new form of the Collective.

I have usually enjoyed Peter David's works. His novel Vendetta, which is referenced heavily in this book, is an incredible read - absolutely spot on. This book is not. While the crew conflict was interesting to read, some of it really did not pan out - since when would Starfleet officers consider using torture, even under these desperate circumstances? The vulcan counselor once again seems entirely out of place, and Ambassador Spock seems to be thrown in merely to be a super clever replacement for Data. The use of a very old piece of technology is not convincing either. Seven of Nine gets a spotlight at last in fighting the Borg, but the whole thing smacks of inauthenticity. Sad.

Resistance (Star Trek)
Resistance (Star Trek)
by J. M. Dillard
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.99

1.0 out of 5 stars Weak and poorly written, 3 Sept. 2009
Seems like The Next Generation books are going to be tied together in an ongoing continuity much as DS9 books are.

Set some time after the events of Star Trek Nemesis, with the Enterprise now fully repaired from the damages, and new crew members turning up at the Conn, Security and Counselor. The latter is a Vulcan woman who wastes no time making it clear she has no problem criticising Picard and pointing out the errors of his decision making. She also seems to have a problem with Worf, who is currently acting as First Officer until Picard can find a replacement for Riker who has gone onto command USS Titan.

As the ship prepares to get back into service, Picard realises he can sense the presence of the Borg. WIth Starfleet not trusting him, he has to decide if it is worth disobeying a direct order and hunting down the new infestation on his own.

This book is a pretty awful effort. Far too much time is spent on a predictable storyline about a romance between the new conn and security chief, which is put under strain with the new Borg crisis. Beverly spends several paragraphs going over the same thought over and over. Worf comes over as far too soppy and emotionally indulgent, the new counselor seems to get away with being downright rude, and Picard just goes around doing whatever he wants. Plus the fact that Starfleet decides to ignore Picard even though First Contact clearly proved he has insight into the Hive mind is just weird, esp coming from Janeway who ought to know the Collective is never to be underestimated. Scenes with the Queen seem to be nothing more than a rip off from first contact, and suggesting the Borg are now angry and hate humanity is just jarring. The Enterprise resorting to using illegal technology is the final icing on this dismal cake.

Sadly I bought this book to try and get everything from the Borg saga but it really wasn't worth paying for.

The Soul Key (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
The Soul Key (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
by Olivia Woods
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £6.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Fairly flat ending *warning minor spoliers*, 1 Sept. 2009
Set during "Season Nine" of Deep Space Nine, this book manages to tie up most of the plotline from DS9 Worlds:Bajor, Warpath and Fearful Symmetry. You need to read those books at the very least to have a clue what is happening.

Taran'Atar, a Jem Hadar sent by Odo to live among the "Solids" on DS9, has been manipulated into betraying his allies and his gods. Now he serves a new master - Illyana Ghemor, former operative of the Cardassian Obsidian Order. Realising that the Bajoran Wormhole has the power to access countless universes, she has become hellbent on destroying Kira Nerys in not just our universe, but all possible and parallel ones. Kira and Commander Vaughn go on a desperate mission to the Mirror Universe to stop her, and to ensure that that universe's equivalent of an Emissary of the Prophets can be found in time.

This whole story has been a bit flat. When they revealed the potential power in the wormhole in DS9 Worlds, I was rather intrigued, but the follow up was poor. Illiana is just a nutcase who has fixated on Kira (a weak parallel to Dukat's obsession with Sisko). Why Illiana's crew follow her so obsessively is never really made clear. The weaknesses of the Mirror Universe Saga from the tv show are repeated here - it never really made sense that the Terran rebels could stand up to the Alliance, and that is made even more obvious. Solving the problem of how to use the wormhole to access that universe is literally Deus Ex machina - but I don't mind too much, it's obvious the Prophets are maneuvering people and events to suit them. At least we finally get a snippet of the Ascendant plotline - perhaps that is the next major arc.

As the other reviewer commented, Season 8 was a very strong series of DS9 novels; Season 9 has fallen a bit flat so far.

Fable II (Xbox 360)
Fable II (Xbox 360)
Offered by bid2win-ltd
Price: £9.49

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars entertaining but hardly amazing, 19 Jun. 2009
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
This review is from: Fable II (Xbox 360) (Video Game)
Excellent graphics, no doubt about that. BUT the main plotline is a bit dull, and many of the quests are a bit tedious. The cockerney accents really grate after a while.

The whole hunt down 50 gargoyles and 50 keys thing was not v inspiring either.

I liked some of the spells, but others were fairly useless - luckily I cottoned onto that and didn't waste too much XP on them before getting them refunded. At least spellcasting and fighting is quite simple and easy to learn.

The cute little doggie - v useful, but quite often , he barks to let you know there is treasure when it is right in front of you, or he barks, you follow him, and he just goes in circles and it takes ages for him to actually lead you to treasure.

the social interactions thing was a lot of fun at first, then got boring - I did get married 3x! Once to a woman who walked off, so I couldn't divorce her so she just sort of hung on. Second was a male prostitute, whom I decided to dump (took AGES to annoy him enough to divorce) so I could marry another woman to have kids with,

Diverting game but not something which I will get too excited about.

Roswell - Season 2 [DVD]
Roswell - Season 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Shiri Appleby
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £10.42

5.0 out of 5 stars Ratches up tension, 10 May 2009
This review is from: Roswell - Season 2 [DVD] (DVD)
At the end of season one, we found out that there were in fact 4 aliens, not 3, along with their protector Nasedo, and we found out why they were here. Not wanting to interfere with Max's destiny, Liz chooses to walk away from the love of her life.

Season 2 starts off with all of them under stress. By contacting their planet in the last season, they have alerted their enemies to their location, meaning aliens in human guise could attack them at any moment.

There are three major plotlines. The first one is dealing with the repercussions of the end of season one, and Liz's attempts to leave Max to his destiny with the fourth alien, his wife Tess. The second one is a v silly storyline involving alien parasites. The final plotline focuses on Max and Tess, and on Liz investigating the death of a major character. Her investigations break the group apart, and we see some great tension between all the characters.

The final episode does rely on a rather weak plot device to help them solve the final mystery and the ending is dramatic but a bit rushed. But the twists and turns in Max and Liz's storyline is great. An improvement on a good first season, with only the second major storyline letting down a near perfect season.

Roswell - Season 1 [DVD] [2000]
Roswell - Season 1 [DVD] [2000]
Dvd ~ Shiri Appleby
Offered by Discs4all
Price: £10.45

4.0 out of 5 stars Addictive teen series, 10 May 2009
The premise? The Roswell 1947 UFO crash is real - there are 3 alien survivors living as teenagers in Roswell. They have no idea why they are here or where their people are. When Liz Parker is shot, the alien teen Max decides to put himself and his fellow aliens Michael (rebel without a cause) and Isabel (ice queen) at risk by healing her. Cue a tortured romeo and juliet storyline. Then the local sheriff gets interested in reported alien activity,,,

Sometimes the teen romance stuff is actually really sweet, and sometimes it just makes you want to puke. At least they act like teenagers unlike something like Dawson's Creek. There are some X file like conspiracy plotlines. The mystery of who they are is v slowly unravelled but they do give you answers in the first season.

They use a lot of great music in the background, and the special effects are decent. The acting is generally quite good. The stars are just a bit too good looking though ;)

I heartily recommend it to anyone who likes shows like Buffy. Yes there are some cringeworthy moments (the Sexual Healing episode is ridiculous) but also some v creepy ones (the torture scenes in White Room).

The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps
The Millennial Project: Colonizing the Galaxy in Eight Easy Steps
by Arthur C. Clarke
Edition: Paperback

4.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable, 8 Mar. 2009
This book is quite old now, so prob some of his predictions have not come to pass and have become outdated. The writer's premise is that it is far too dangerous to leave all our eggs in one basket - if Earth is devastated by nuclear war, meteor strike or ecological ruin, then humanity and all other forms of life will be forever lost. It is imperative that we start moving towards colonising the stars, but we need to start thinking out of the box and come up with more imaginative solutions.

He proposes 8 major steps towards that goal, each of which will require massive amounts of planning and funding. As each step progresses, the time and resources needed expand as well. He starts off with proposals for creating mini cities in the ocean to mine the ocean for its resources and create the international communities. They will progress to creating laser bridges to space, colonies in orbit of Earth, on the Moon, Mars, the rest of the solar system, and eventually the entire galaxy.

His earlier chapters are much more convincing and better researched - as he progresses further into the future he is of course speculating more and more, and often makes facile comments that our descendants will solve any big issues with ease. Even so, he has clearly done a lot of scientific and engineering based research, and certainly has some v imaginative solutions compared to what we are attempting now with pedestrian attempts to create international space stations. Shame no one seems to be listening - stage one should already have been well underway according to his book.

An inspiring read, if perhaps overly ambitious.

LEGO Batman: The Videogame (Xbox 360)
LEGO Batman: The Videogame (Xbox 360)
Offered by EVERGAME
Price: £13.92

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of lego fun, 8 Mar. 2009
= Fun:4.0 out of 5 stars 
I had previously played Star Wars Original trilogy Lego on the xbox, so I knew what to expect. As before, you control 1 of 2 characters (usually Batman and Robin) who have to progress through each level, collecting lego studs to pay for items later, and collecting special objects to unlock special powers, and using different abilities. In this game, batman and robin can find different costumes throughout the game, and need to put the appropriate one on at the right time to gain a new ability to solve the problem at hand (walk up metal walls, or walk through molten lava, or fire sonic weapons to shatter glass).

The twist is that, once you have solved a level as the heroes, you unlock the ability to set up that level as the villains involved (which usually involves you fighting the police, even commisioner gordon, but not Batman and robin themselves ). The villains have their own unique powers - Joker can electrocute things, Ivy can grow plants, Mr Freeze can, er, freeze things etc. They're almost more fun to play than the heroes.

Even better, you can then replay any level using an unusual combo of hero and villain to collect all the items which are unattainable otherwise.

What I found incredibly frustrating with star wars, was that quite often the computer AI did not position my companion in the correct place, or often set up ridiculous jumps and maneuvers that were stupidly awkward. This occurs far less frequently. But the game is remarkably easy, even for someone like me who is not a serious gamer, I only got stuck maybe 10 times, which means it isn;t much of a challenge, but it is still quite fun.

As before there are a lot of injokes and humourous sequences where lego characters play about and dance to music etc.

I don't think I would buy a third Lego based game though, unless they added some radically new things.

The X Files - The Complete Collector's Edition [DVD]
The X Files - The Complete Collector's Edition [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Duchovny
Offered by Tooboon
Price: £124.90

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice to get back to the series, 16 Nov. 2008
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
After watching the second X files film (which was a bit disappointing) I felt very nostalgic for the series which had spawned it. Only £65 or so on amazon, so that's about 30p per episode, plus you get the first feature film. Most people must know what the show is about, right? An x file is a case which has been deemed to be unsolvable by the FBI, usually because it has some sort of paranormal explanation which no normal agent will think about. Agent Fox Mulder set about investigating the X Files and became an expert in the paranormal, after coming to believe he witnessed his little sister being abducted by aliens. His partner is Dana Scully, who is assigned to work with him to use her scientific and medical background. Each episode usually starts off with a weird occurence, often a murder. The agents are called in, Mulder has some weird explanation (vampires, zombies, ghosts, aliens, mutants, freaks, time travel) and scully tries to come up with more plausible ideas. Usually mulder is right. About 10% of the episodes involve an ongoing storyline about a conspiracy in the government to hide evidence of aliens and their plot to colonise the planet, linked to Mulder's sister's abduction. Those episodes often show us the most personal sides of the agents and their lives.

Having forgotten most of the episodes, it was a bit of a shock to see just how ridiculous and awful some of them really were! Too many of them had a weird, vague ending with no clear resolution, this became more and more evident in season 9, esp whenever Monica Reyes was involved.

Watch from season 1, when the characters are still fresh, and you see Dana Scully as a bright young agent, yet to be dragged into giving up her normal life to an endless search for the truth, all the way to season 9, where Mulder has gone into hiding and been replaced by new agents Doggett and Reyes, with scully having finally had to give up her skepticism and take on the role of a believer. The evolution of the two key characters is great, as is that of their supervisor, Assistant director Skinner. I mentioned there were many awful espisodes, but you get to see all the great ones too - Beyond the sea, Tooms, Sleepless, One Breath, Clyde Bruckman's final repose, Small potatoes, Demons.... list goes on and on! The worst has got to be fearful symmetry - where aliens are abducting and impregnating zoo animals.... Plus you get to watch all the mythology episodes.

There are extras of course. Many episodes have deleted scenes (almost none of them were of any interest, except for in the pilot episode where Dana Scully was supposed to have a boyfriend). There are little documentaries discussing each season, most of which are dull. There are also a few shows trying to pull together the various threads of the mythology to make them easier to understand - alien abduction, the black oil, colonisation, supersoldiers.

Box set is a bargain, v glad to be back with these episodes. Seasons 6,7 and 9 were prob the worst of the series, but every series has at least one gem, so try going through them all!

Crossroads Of Twilight: Book 10 of the Wheel of Time: 10/11
Crossroads Of Twilight: Book 10 of the Wheel of Time: 10/11
by Robert Jordan
Edition: Paperback
Price: £9.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Incredibly tedious, 18 Sept. 2008
Wheel of time is a fantastic series, but this really is the low point. There are FAR too many minor characters running around with subplots, and too much time is spent showing women sniffing in contempt at each other. The Mat/Tuon plot is charming in the end. Rand has maybe two chapters in the book, but they are fairly significant. The rebel Aes Sedai story finally moves one step forward. But the majority of the book has little action.

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