The Book of Deacon trilogy by Joseph Lallo (spoilers)

2016-08-17 by . 0 comments

The Book of Deacon series covers

So I have just finished the Book of Deacon Trilogy by Joseph Lallo. All in all I enjoyed it hugely. It was a nice quiet light fantasy with all the favorite magical elements, Dark, Light, Grey, Elemental, a little bit of Healing and some scary crystals and really bad dudes. I feel that it was a good solid trilogy that makes a nice filler between heavy series or just a nice holiday series when you don’t want to think too much. You can just read the story and let the events unfold in front of you. There were some issues with the series but I will get into that in a little bit!

The characters are all mostly likable (Ether being the exception) and even though the bad guys are truly evil, one can’t really hate them. They are all simple characters that are easy to understand (maybe a little to simple but…) and in the case of Myranda and Deacon, easy to get behind. You feel for her point of view about the war and about what it has done to her homeland. This being the driving factor for her as a Chosen.

Personally I rather liked Leo/Lian, he was for me the most well drawn character and the one that I felt that the series could easily have been based more on (on a side note I am looking forward to the prequel Rise of the Red Shadow as it follows Lian). He was certainly the most complex character, with his past as a slave and career as a famed assassin turned reluctant hero.

But I may be a little ahead of myself! I have not even told you what the series is about… shame on me! Let me put that right, right now.

There are two countries, the Northern Alliance and Tressor. They have been at war for about a hundred and fifty years… During that time things have gotten a little out of hand with evil beings from another set of worlds having come through a portal and slowly setting themselves up to take over this world as well. The only issue is the Chosen, Five heroes that were touched by the gods and made for the purpose of protecting the world. So the story starts as we follow the Chosen as they find each other an slowly all agree about what needs to be done. We have have Ivy, Myn, Leo/Lian, Ether and Myranda.

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Fant4stic: A Review

2016-08-13 by . 2 comments

I originally wrote this review earlier this year, but have been inspired to post it by our latest Movie Night.

Loosely based on the Marvel characters of the same name, 2015’s Fantastic Four is a bizarrely dark version of their origin story. The film marks Fox’s third attempt at the franchise, and the 2015 reboot manages to fail even more than the first two. Fantastic Four is 100 minutes of boredom and poor creative decisions.

Fantastic-Four-2015-Movie-Poster-Wallpapers

Alternative names: “Fantastic Bore,” Fantastic Snore,” “Fail-tastic Four,” “Not-a-Single-Fan-tastic Four,” “Fantastic Fourgotten” and “Terrible Piece of Trash Movie.”

The film begins with Reed Richards, played as a child by Owen Judge, being mocked for his scientific aspirations. This is the film’s best part, as there are no obvious plot-holes or cringe-worthy creative decisions. Additionally, Richards’ flying car plans are a nice reference to the original comics.

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Star Trek 50 Day 5: Getting deep into DS9, Star Trek writers reflect on the TNG era, and the Star Trek Rat Pack steals the show!

2016-08-08 by . 4 comments

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

Sunday, August 7th was the fifth and final day of the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration here in Las Vegas. After the previous day’s three captains — Shatner, Bakula, and Mulgrew — in addition to Walter Koenig, Michael Westmore, and the crowd-pleasing Star Trek The Concert, one might wonder how Day 5 could hope to top all of that.

Quark's Bar

Upon arriving at Quark’s Bar this morning for some much-needed tea and coffee, it was clear that some of the festive spirit of the first four days had succumbed to the realization that the celebration was nearly over. There were hugs and even tears as some convention-goers were saying goodbye to friends, old and new, before rushing off to catch flights. The crowd of more than 6000 people who jammed themselves into yesterday’s Shatner session and last night’s Nevada Pops concert had been whittled down by Sunday travel plans (and perhaps also by raging hangovers), but it was nice to see that the Leonard Nimoy Theatre was still at near-capacity for the morning panel sessions.

Vendors' Area at Star Trek 50

Last chance to grab memorabilia or autographs from the Vendors’ Area!

Today’s programme had fewer items on it, but it was still an amazing day with some of the most candid and intense panel sessions of the entire convention — especially the incredible six-person DS9 session! You can read all about it below.

R2D2 at Star Trek 50

Characters from other franchises wishing Star Trek a happy 50th birthday…

(Coverage of previous days’ events can be found here.)

Day 5 Round-up

Q&A and Music with Casey Biggs (Damar, DS9) and Vaughn Armstrong (Admiral Forrest, Enterprise)

The day began with an energetic session with Casey Biggs and Vaughn Armstrong! Regarding Damar’s drink of choice, kanar, Biggs had this to say:

BIGGS: I want each of you to go home and pour yourself a two-and-a-half ounce glass of carob syrup. And pretend that you like it.

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Star Trek 50 Day 4: Captains Shatner, Bakula, and Mulgrew, Bakula’s talking to Fuller, more TNG stars, Walter Koenig, and Star Trek The Concert!

2016-08-07 by . 5 comments

Today was one of the most anticipated days of the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration here in Las Vegas!

Why? CAPTAINS! We had William Shatner (Captain Kirk), Scott Bakula (Captain Archer), and Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway) — not to mention Walter Koenig (Chekov, TOS) and Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Michael Dorn (Worf), and Marina Sirtis (Troi) from TNG!

The evening entertainment was provided by the The Nevada Pops performing Star Trek The Concert, a programme of instrumental music from TOS to the reboot films and everything in between!

It was a crazy, jam-packed day and you can read about it all below! The sessions were spell-binding for the most part, although I do take issue with the Jonathan Frakes / Michael Dorn / Marina Sirtis session, which I felt was unnecessarily combative with the audience. My recap of that is also below.

The sessions with Kate Mulgrew and Scott Bakula were fantastic, and there’s even a little something for Babylon 5, Quantum Leap, and Star Wars fans below!

(Coverage of previous days’ events can be found here.)

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

Day 4 Round-up

Costume Parade / Contest!

We finally made it to the Costume Parade, where hundreds of cosplaying Star Trek fans, some in incredibly elaborate costumes, marched around the convention centre in the early morning and arranged themselves for a massive photo-op in the Leonard Nimoy Theatre.

One awesome costume I spotted today was a fan dressed up in a homemade but extremely accurate white engineering suit from the TOS films. Later, I saw a group of fans dressed as a Minions version of the TOS crew!

Later in the day, the Costume Contest took place, during which Terry Farrell (Dax, DS9) was a guest judge. Here are the winning efforts:

  • 4th Place: a pair of space jellyfish from TNG “Encounter at Farpoint”Space Jellies from "Encounter at Farpoint"!Jellyfish Aliens at Star Trek 50
  • 3rd Place: a TholianTholian!Tholian at Star Trek 50
  • 2nd Place: a couple of guys with phaser rifles dressed in the spacesuits from First Contact
    Assimilate This!

    “Assimilate this!”

    First Contact Costume at Star Trek 50
  • 1st Place: a little more obscure, the aliens from the end of TOS “Catspaw”Sylvia and Korob from "Catspaw"(Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to snap a photo of these costumes, but they were a nearly exact replica of the ones seen in the screenshot above.)

Michael Westmore Borgification Demonstration!

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Star Trek 50 Day 3: New TOS footage, George Takei, getting candid with TNG and Voyager stars, and a DS9 documentary in the works!

2016-08-06 by . 1 comments

I’ve just finished the third day of my 5-day mission to bring you the best of the Star Trek 50th Anniversary celebration in Las Vegas!

Things are really heating up here! The festivities started early today with the Starfleet Academy Cheerleaders who gave us a pep rally as the crowds shuffled in for the morning programme. The Leonard Nimoy Theatre in the convention centre was bursting at the seams as attendees with weekend-only passes began to show up. At the high point, more than 5000 fans were packed into the theatre!

And today’s programme was nothing short of stellar, including:

  • An announcement of a project that will release long-hidden missing footage and audio from The Original Series
  • A deeply personal session with George Takei
  • A rare convention appearance by Kirstie Alley
  • A bunch of stars from TNG and Voyager with some hilarious interviews!
  • An announcement of a forthcoming DS9 documentary with a plot for Season 8, Episode 1!

(Coverage of previous days’ events can be found here.)

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

Day 3 Round-up

Costumes

My favourite costumes today were:

  • A pair done up as the Borg Queen (complete with tubes in her occipital and parietal lobes and flashing LEDs embedded in her chest and abdomen) and the human skin-job Data from First ContactData and the Borg QueenBorg Queen and Data Costumes
  • A fan costumed as Armus from TNG “Skin of Evil” (the black slime creature who killed Tasha Yar) — I’m not sure how this fan was able to breathe with the full-body shiny black plastic encasing him and so he gets extra kudos!Armus from "Skin of Evil"Armus Costume
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Star Trek 50 Day 2: Ferengi fun, Whoopi Goldberg, and Klingon karaoke!

2016-08-05 by . 3 comments

The Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration continues in Las Vegas with Day 2 (Thursday)! On today’s menu were

  • panel sessions featuring prominent guest stars from various Star Trek television incarnations over the years
  • Michael and Denise Okuda, who were promoting a soon-to-be-released massive update of the Star Trek Encyclopedia
  • Whoopi Goldberg, undeniably the highlight of the day!

The festive spirit was even more palpable today than yesterday, with participants continuing to arrive, bringing with them an increasing number and complexity of costumes, and musical acts such as The Roddenberries treating fans to impromptu gigs in the corridors! Not to mention the copiuous amounts of Romulan ale flowing at most times of day from Quark’s Bar….

Below, I’ll fill you in on what went on during the panel sessions and on some generally interesting things I spotted during the convention.

(For coverage of yesterday’s events, click here.)

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

Day 2 Round-up

Costumes

The concentration of costumes is increasing with each day as we approach Saturday’s Costume Parade. While I saw many notable ones on Day 2, the one that struck me the most was a fan done up as the injured Christopher Pike from TOS “The Menagerie”. Not only were his facial wounds a perfect match for those on Pike, the individual was confined inside a 23rd-Century wheelchair exactly like that seen in “The Menagerie”! The wheelchair was mobile and he was accompanied through the convention halls by a Talosian in equally perfect costume.

Christopher Pike in "The Menagerie"

Pike and Talosian

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Star Trek 50 Day 1: Gorn Santa bearing gifts, Leonard Nimoy memories, and a raucous Klingon talk show

2016-08-04 by . 2 comments

As promised, here begins our coverage of the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas!

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

Star Trek 50

To ensure smooth access to the panel sessions and special events on Day 1, we took advantage of pre-registration the previous evening. Despite this, we were still faced with a depressingly long queue. We were rewarded for our wait with a surprise in our registration packs: a Star Trek 50 commemorative coin. This was a nice touch!

Star Trek 50 Commemorative Coin

I rounded out the evening with a preview visit to the Vendors’ Area. Although the convention hadn’t officially begun, Garrett Wang (Harry Kim, Voyager) was already there manning his own table. I happily purchased a Captain Proton t-shirt from him while he complained at fans about not being promoted from ensign. Clearly, time doesn’t heal all wounds. He bid me farewell by offering me a “sci five” (a high-five in the shape of a Vulcan salute).

Garrett Wang at Star Trek 50

Garrett Wang (Ensign Harry Kim, Voyager)

What struck me upon arriving at the convention centre is how broad the appeal of Star Trek is. People from all walks of life were lining up for their registration packages. I couldn’t count the languages I was hearing. There were couples, families, groups of friends, and (c’mon, it’s Star Trek) distinguished loners. There were elderly folks and children. There were Klingons and Romulans, Bajorans and Cardassians, all brought together in a mutual love of all things Trek.

Leonard Nimoy Theatre at Star Trek 50

Resistance is Futile

Day 1 Round-up

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Coverage of Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration for SFF:SE!

2016-08-01 by . 2 comments

We’re in for an exciting five days: the Star Trek 50th Anniversary Celebration in Las Vegas!   Organized by Creation Entertainment, the fun starts on Wednesday 3 August and continues until Sunday August 7.

Star Trek 50 in Las Vegas!

I, Praxis, will be your (un)official SFF:SE correspondent. That’s right: I’m here in Las Vegas and will be reporting on each day’s worth of Romulan Ale-fuelled debauchery. I’ll endeavour to deliver any juicy morsels of little-known Star Trek lore that happen to be uttered in the panel sessions and generally report on the goings-on in this sea of special guests, rabid fandom, costumes, and merch.

Speaking of guests, the list is nothing short of incredible. Apart from a few notable absences (Patrick Stewart and Avery Brooks, unfortunately), nearly every living Star Trek actor will be present, including the indomitable William Shatner. We even have that poor guy who played Apollo in TOS whose nipples were taped over!

The full guest list is here.

I’ll also report any stray details regarding the new Star Trek TV series and upcoming films, should they be revealed.

So stay tuned over the next week as I provide your daily feed of Star Trek mania live from Las Vegas!

In the meantime, you can read about how a full-scale USS Enterprise had almost been built in downtown Vegas:

The Enterprise Has Landed more »

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The Martian Novel by Andy Weir (Spoilers)

2016-07-27 by . 7 comments

The Martian by Andy Weir

After seeing the movie was I was all hyped to read the novel, I thought that it would be great! I was wrong. Here follows why and yes there is going to be mentions about the movie throughout because I just can’t help be compare the two. They are joined in my mind and the movie is what got me reading this novel.

It was a perfect example of why the first person does not work for a whole novel. In places maybe but for a whole novel? Nope. The characters were cold and besides the many and long rants about how much of what and science stuff (more than there needed to be) there was little to entertain the eye around the story. Mark Watney did not make up for this lack. Without a face to show emotion or a third person narrative to show the reader the emotions there was nothing much to connect to. In truth, I was bored. It just ran along in a dull day to day entry log that was filled with stuff that had could have been said with half as many words and gotten to more interesting things faster. In a way this was a novella stretched to the length of a novel. For the worse I feel.

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Review – Star Trek Beyond

2016-07-24 by . 5 comments
The USS Enterprise crew explores the furthest reaches of uncharted space, where they encounter a new ruthless enemy who puts them and everything the Federation stands for to the test. – IMDB

Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond opens nearly three years into their five year mission to explore deep space. Except for the occasional bout of failed diplomacy, life on the Enterprise has becoming fairly routine. One might almost say boring. Fortunately for them they are getting some much needed ship leave and they head off to the newest Federation Space Station, named Yorktown.

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