Reviewing the Pages: The Wheel of Ice

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Aboard the Wheel mining facility around Saturn, Dr Who #2, Jamie and Zoe see blue dolls who look like their landlady Mayor Laws’ baby Casey. Power-hungry Administrator Florian Hart accuses rebel teens of sabotage. The mystery goes back to the creation of the solar system, and could kill them all.

It’s never a good thing when the TARDIS takes charge and ends up taking the Doctor and his merry band of companions along for the ride. The current issue: it’s a disturbance in time, and it’s up to the Doctor, Zoe and Jamie to figure out why.

I have to say that I rather enjoyed this tale. Sure, the Doctor doesn’t play too much of a role in this tale, but, we’re usually following along with either Zoe or Jamie, which is also interspersed with interludes that deal with a wide variety of back story. Which, I love in this instance. While the story goes right along its merry way, the interludes provide background into certain characters and key objects in the story.

Now, I’m not well versed in the realm of Classic Who, but I do have to say that I have, at the very least, a passing familiarity not only with the Second Doctor, but also his current traveling companions. But, I can’t forget about the characters of Jo, Phee, and Sam; who this story kind of revolves around, in a way. Then, there’s Florian, who’s motivation is driven by greed and revenge, and she will stop at nothing to get her way.

All in all, I really enjoyed this read. I loved the alien setting within the Rings of Saturn; enjoyed all of my friendly characters (yes, that includes reading through the Scottish of Jamie and MMAC); and enjoyed the story unfold throughout the pages. Just be careful when venturing out with the Doctor in this one; space is dangerous.

I’m getting rusty with these reviews, I need to pick the pace back up.

Anyway, the one thing I really want to talk about here is Arkive.  I’m only mostly sure that Arkive is a ship, or at least a ship’s intelligence, and not an actual being.  There’s no way that a being could live for billions upon billions of years.  Which makes what exactly Arkive is rather fuzzy.  It has a want…a desire to go back to where (and when) it came, but its attempts are futile and proving to be far more difficult that it realizes.

I love the alienness of our setting.  It has both man-made elements to it in terms of the space debris that turned up, and the rest of the natural setting of Saturn and her moons.  Whether it was within the rings, or on Titan, I rather enjoyed the uniqueness of each area.

Sorry I’m not able to get into more.  I really don’t want to spoil anymore, and some of the more important centers of my brain are shutting down for the evening (it’s almost midnight at the time I’m writing this). So, I leave you this.  You should read this.  Sure, there’s more focus on the companions than the Doctor, but it works out in the book’s favor.  Enjoy the characters and the setting, and who knows, you just might be able to help Arkive.

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Reviewing the Pages: The Lodestone Files: The Things in the Shadows

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Idris Sinclair lives a rather typical life; helping his family run their cherished diner. However, all the normalness he knows in life is about to go straight out the window when he happens to break into an abandoned van in the restaurant’s parking lot. He discovers a small weapon’s stockpile and various files, involving affairs foreign to him. 

As night begins to set in, the family is involved in one of our government’s most heinous and dastardly secrets involving entities, not of this world. 

It walks among us. It could be anyone—or anything. Suspect everyone you know, or you pass on the street. There is nowhere where you are safe. Run all you want; it will only make you taste more delicious to it. 

It’s too late. It already knows where you are. 

It’s. Here.

Much too short! That’s what I think about this story. There’s so much here that we are given in terms of information, and it leaves us so many answers. What exactly are these creatures? Why are there people watching them? What is going to happen to the boys? Etc, etc. McCartney starts off with a lot of atmosphere, letting us get connected to the characters, and then, pulls the rug out from beneath us during the meatiest part of the story.

I really want to learn more about this world! I hope that McCartney has more plans to dive into this world in the future. It might be short, but it packs a punch, and I highly recommend this to any avid reader.

No spoiler alert today, because this is just too short, and I’ve pretty much said what I wanted to in the Goodreads review above.  Seriously.  Go check this read out.  I got my copy through InstaFreebie, but I cannot state enough that I loved this read.  Go find it.  Check it out.  Trust me, you’ll enjoy it, and want more.

Reviewing the Pages: Doctor Who: Shada

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From the unique mind of Douglas Adams, legendary author of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”, comes “Shada”, a story scripted for the television series Doctor Who but never produced—and now transformed into an original novel…
 
A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
Imagine how dangerous a LOT of knowledge is…
 
The Doctor’s old friend and fellow Time Lord, Professor Chronotis, has retired to Cambridge University, where among the other doddering old professors nobody will notice if he lives for centuries. He took with him a few little souvenirs—harmless things really. But among them, carelessly, he took The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey. Even more carelessly, he has loaned this immensely powerful book to clueless graduate student Chris Parsons, who intends to use it to impress girls. The Worshipful and Ancient Law is among the most dangerous artifacts in the universe; it cannot be allowed to fall into the wrong hands.
 
The hands of the sinister Skagra are unquestionably the wrongest ones possible. Skagra is a sadist and an egomaniac bent on universal domination. Having misguessed the state of fashion on Earth, he also wears terrible platform shoes. He is on his way to Cambridge. He wants the book. And he wants the Doctor…

Can I give this more than 5 stars? Goodreads seems to think I can’t, but I will. I will gladly proclaim this book a hefty 20 stars out of five. Why? Because I enjoyed this book. Because it’s a mixture of humor, science fiction, suspense, drama, and humor. Yes, I said that twice. Gareth Roberts does a tremendous job of keeping Douglas Adams’ humor and tone within this story (even though Adams never did actually write a novelization of this, you can tell he’s in there). Yes, there are some places where you are fit to be tied about finding out the last little detail, but it pays off in the end.

This book will make you laugh out loud, so be prepared to get some very strange or dirty looks (I got one from the family cat). This is a brilliant adventure, and I recommend anyone who enjoys science fiction to check out this book. Just, make sure to keep track of your mind. You’ll never know when you just might lose it.

Oh my.  Hang on…thanks River.  Anyway, I love this book.  It blends together Doctor Who, and the wonderful humor and imagination that is Douglas Adams (through the pen of Gareth Roberts).  Now, mind you, I have seen very little of Classic Doctor Who (meaning I’ve only watched clips on YouTube, shame on me).

Now, let’s get right down to it…this book is amazing.  And a lot of the details that came out of this, which is based off the series script for the Fourth Doctor, would have been incredible to watch on the screen, if only they could have gotten it right.  Which they apparently hadn’t.  All thanks to a production strike during the time that this was filming.  But that’s alright…I think this one would be much more appreciated on the page, rather than the screen.  But that’s just me.

As I stated in my Goodreads review, you can tell where Adams’ tone shines through, and it’s thanks to Roberts keeping in touch with it.  Roberts does a fantastic job of keeping Adams’ humor in, while adding his own humor and giving us just the right amount of suspense on certain plot elements.  Yes, there were times where I was confused on Skagra (goodness I’ve had to spell that name a bazillion times), but I loved the pay out in the end.  And there’s Chronotis.  I honestly didn’t expect to see that coming, but it worked wonders when it did.

I want to show love to some of my favorite parts of this book, but I’d be here all day.  So, I’ll summarize.  There’s the bit where the Doctor (in a fashion that I’m not sure is in line with the Fourth Doctor, or if it’s just him being patronizing), Romana, and a medal (which is where I cracked up); the ship reading out The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey to Skagra (and the Doctor’s subsequent reading of it); and the brief little reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (which is all shared to the annoyance of my ex-Mrs./lovely friend Princess Penguin).

If you are a fan of Doctor Who, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams’ work in general, or just quirky and fun science fiction, check this one out.  Just watch out for friendly, yet scatterbrained, old professors.  You never know what secrets they might hide.

Reviewing the Pages: Relic

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Just days before a massive exhibition opens at the popular New York Museum of Natural History, visitors are being savagely murdered in the museum’s dark hallways and secret rooms. Autopsies indicate that the killer cannot be human…

But the museum’s directors plan to go ahead with a big bash to celebrate the new exhibition, in spite of the murders.

Museum researcher Margo Green must find out who-or what-is doing the killing. But can she do it in time to stop the massacre?

Oh how I missed Pendergast. I don’t know how I picked up this book to start with, but once I finished it the first time, I really wanted to read more about our mysterious Southern gentlemen with the FBI. But I never picked the series back up. Now, after re-reading the introductory novel to Pendergast, I realized quickly that I really should. Pendergast is an enigma, and I want to know about him.

This story gives us a fascinating look into ideas on evolution, and whether they are working theories or not, is a different story altogether, but I still enjoyed the tale. I’m one for reading books that help expand my brain with wide amounts of knowledge. Usually, it comes in the form of scientific information, like evolution, or paleobiology, or astrobotany. Maybe that’s why I like The Martian so much…it taught me a lot of plausible ideas. Which is where this book comes in…that there are still things that we as human beings have not explored. Things like bridging the gap in the evolutionary record. Science changes and adapts in every way, and I hope that, like this “little” discovery in this book shows, one day just might change the world.

This book is also a really good mystery, because while it gives you some information outright, the bulk of the information; the story that is getting woven here gets slowly revealed with each new revelation that the characters make. And I like that. Even with reading this book again, it gives me great pleasure in following along with the mystery. If you enjoy reading books heavily steeped in mystery with deep tendrils of science fiction, that I urge you to check this book out. And maybe, you’ll just might find yourself wanting to follow along with Agent Pendergast on his next adventure.

Alright.  Big spoilers here.  The ending is a very nice setup to getting us into the next book.  So the creature has been vanquished, and our heroes are celebrating their success, not only in taking down the creature, but their individual successes in life.  Which is good for them.  Bad for the rest of the world.  While they realize that the creature had a humanoid-like facial structure, the latecomer to the party holds the actual key as to what happened.  Which is dangerous.  Especially for someone like Kawakita.  I didn’t like his character.  Not because he’s poorly written or anything like that, but because he’s a character type that I don’t find appealing. The highly-motivated, almost world-conquering personality that won’t stop until he gets exactly what he wants using any means necessary.

There is so much more that I want to learn about Agent Pendergast.  We get that he’s Southern, to the point where he was raised almost in a more traditional Southern manner.  He’s very particular about how he dresses (to the point where he shows disdain for having to use his jacket for a trap).  He also seems to have a problem with people being nasty, especially towards him.  I love how the authors describe D’Agosta after a couple of Pendergast’s verbal lashings.

While I listed above that this is science fiction and mystery, there is also a great deal of horror involved in it as well.  It take you for a wonderful, brain-pleasing ride that, at the very end, will leave you wanting more. Just, keep all body parts and organs inside the ride at all times.

Reviewing the Tape: The Lazarus Effect

Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to another movie review.  It’s been a while since the last one, so things have changed a little bit.  So, let’s get right into the action.

The right side of a woman's face with full black eyeballs with scarring all around that same eye. The words "The Lazarus Effect" are at the bottom right in white, 5 cast members names above the title, and the tagline "Evil Will Rise" at the bottom middle.

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Alright, let’s get right down to business.  While this movie can be classified as a horror movie, the scares really don’t start happening until the second half of the movie.  Sure, there are some moments where stuff happens and it could make you jump.  But, most of the scares come after Zoe is re-animated.

This movie does bring up a very interesting, and valid point.  What would happen if we scientifically brought back somebody from the dead? And, as we can tell, the movie does its best to bring us its idea as to what would happen.  Now, there are some science fictiony things like levitation, mind-reading and thought-projection, but at the same time, it does bring up a very interesting point to focus on the real world.  What would happen to the human mind should it get re-animated? Would we come back the way we were before we met our demise? Would we withdraw because of the knowledge that we were dead? Would we go on a homicidal rampage? All those questions, and many, many more…should only be answered in the movies.  I hope that we, as a scientific society, stay away from the question of re-animating the dead, for a very, very, very long time.

There is one thing that sticks out to me though.  Sure, we get this big, evil corporation that takes away all their research…and that’s it.  That’s all we get.  There’s panic that this corporation is watching their every move.  But, besides the fact that they broke the rules of the grant, and therefore forfeit all of their research…why did we even have to include them? Other than to serve as the catalyst for the plot? I just…I don’t quite get it.

But, for those of you who want to watch a movie with a mix of science fiction and horror without a lot of blood involved, check out this movie.

Body Count: 4

 

Old Time Radio History #11

Hello everyone, and welcome back to another edition of Old Time Radio History.  Now, it may be said that this isn’t really “history” because I’m not going over the history of the individual shows.  And that’s ok. You can find all the information you need on Wikipedia.  Really, I’m just here to showcase off the media of the days before television became a household luxury.  There are a lot of programs, actors, and various individual shows that I want to share with you that this post is going to continue until I just run out of items to showcase.  Speaking of items to showcase:

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Now, for the most part, the shows that I’ve featured here of a more realistic nature for the most part.  But, science fiction also had their time to shine on the radio.  With adult shows like X Minus One, 2000 Plus and Dimension X, and children’s shows such as Space Patrol, science fiction on the radio is an interesting, and wonderful experience.  Below is an episode of X Minus One, so enjoy!

Did you enjoy the episode? Have I broadened your horizon yet? Until next time, I am the Baumeister, and I have been obediently yours.