24 March 2011

Third Sentence Thursday #3

Another review of the third sentence of a novel.  To-day is...

Third Sentence Thursday

"The whaling ship was on its last, its vertical, voyage."  (The Wind Whales of Ishmael by Philip José Farmer)

Looks like this book is starting off with a ship sinking.  Not a bad start, and to be expected from 'science fiction's incredible sequel to Moby Dick.'  Only poor Ishmael survives to witness the sinking of the Pequod but his adventures appear to only be begining.

Book cover illustration by Bob Habberfield

Here's how Third Sentence Thursday works:

1) Take the book you are reading now and post the third sentence
2) Review this sentence anyway you want (funny and silly reviews encouraged)
3) Post a link to your sentence to Sniffly Kitty's Third Sentence Post for this week.

23 March 2011

Doctor Who - Short Trips & Side Steps

This book is a collection of Doctor Who short stories published in 2000.  It is really a mixed bag of stories; some good, some not so much.  I'll be brief in the descriptions of each story and try not to leave too many spoilers.  I haven't read any other Doctor Who novels so I don't have anything other similar writings to compare them with.

A Town Called Eternity: (by Lance Parkin & Mark Clapham) The sixth doctor and Peri travel to an old west town called Eternity.  The Fountain of Youth is reviving dinosaurs and the Master is running around causing trouble.  Overall about average.... maybe a little better since it involved the Master and dinosaurs.

Special Occasions: (by Gareth Roberts, Clayton Hickman, Norman Ashby, David Agnew, and Steve Buford) Some holiday themes short stories.  The only one I cared for involved the Doctor leaving a present for the Brigadier on Christmas Eve.

Nothing at the End of the Lane: (by Daniel O'Mahony) A story involving Barbara Wright and parallels the first Dr. Who episode.  Not bad, but I'm not sure exactly what the author was going for.

Countdown to TV Action: (by Gary Russell) I couldn't stand this one.  The Doctor was constantly referred to as Doctor Who and he even called himself that on one or two occasions.  I think this one was my least favorite of the bunch.

The Queen of Eros: (by Trevor Baxendale) The Doctor is captured by an evil queen who wants to force him to marry her.  Not a bad story as the Doctor tries to use his growing influence with the queen to try to change the society of her world.

The Android Maker of Calderon IV: (by Miche Doherty) I thought this was one of the better ones.  On the short side but a great story.  Written from the point of view of the villain. Not only was this one of my favorites from the bunch, but Mr. Doherty was kind enough to leave a comment below explaining some of cultural references I didn't get in some of these stories. Be sure to go down into the the comments after reading this post for more details.

Revenants: (by Peter Anghelides) This was a good one.  The Doctor and his companion have to deal with a scientist who is experimenting in things that could damage the timestream.  Some interesting things happen as they caught in a time loop that isn't quite a time loop.

Please Shut the Gate: (by Stephen Lock) The Doctor, Jamie, and Zoe on Mars.  My favorite cast from the show and I could picture them acting out this story.  Well done.

Turnabout is Fair Play: (by Graeme Burk) The Doctor and Peri are separated and have their bodies switched.  Peri has to try to act like the Doctor and defeat the bad guy when the Doctor in her lovely body is nowhere to be found.  A little above average.

The House on Oldark Moor: (by Justin Richards) Another one where the Doctor is referred to as Doctor Who, just not as often or as annoyingly as in Countdown to TV Action.  The story was about average and involves the first Doctor along with Barbara, Susan, and Ian.  A bit of a mystery and a little action to top it off.

Gone Too Soon: (by Christopher M. Wadley) The sixth Doctor has had a vision of the future and realizes he will be regenerating soon.  He uses his remaining time traveling though time and doing things he always wanted to do and interacting with historical figures he always wanted to.  He even travels to the dawn of time and carves 'The Doctor was here' on a rock.

Reunion: (by Jason Loborik) Written from the point of view of a Earth native.  He happens to be one of a number of humans that carry part of a fragment of some alien entity that wants to be reborn.  This poor fellow is pulled into a series of bizarre and horrifying events that he can barely comprehend.  Luckily the Doctor shows up to save the day.

Planet of the Bunnoids: (by Harriet Green) A planet with robot rabbits?  Almost skipped this one.  It actually turned out to be rather good.  The First Doctor along with Vicky and Stephen arrive on a planet where they encounter some strange robotic rabbits.  There is also a strange incorporeal alien who feeds off emotions.  He plans to kill Vicky and/or Stephen to feed off their fear by the Doctor tires to tell the alien that love is a more powerful emotion and would feed it better.  In the end guilt ends up being the strongest emotion of them all.

Monsters: (by Tara Samms) The Seventh Doctor and Ace in AD 2000 London tracking down a monster.  Meanwhile there are a couple of kids getting into trouble and crossing paths with the Doctor.  In the end the alien is destroyed but it seems that one little girl's mother is a monster in her own way.

Face Value: (by Steve Lyons) Aliens with no individual personalities can only gain their own sense of self by stealing the appearance and personalities of others.  They do this on a resort that happens to be on a living planet and things start to get dangerous.  While this wasn't one of my favorites it did have the feel of a Doctor Who episode.  Some bonus points for that.

Storm in a Tikka: (by Mike Tucker and Robert Perry) The Seventh Doctor and Ace get caught up in some sort of battle between some deities/powerful aliens.

Vrs: (by Lawrence Miles) I liked this one.  Creative and the shortest one in the book.  It was also a product of its time given what things were like in the year 2000.

21 March 2011

Back Online

Work has been busy.  My old computer was giving me trouble.

Now I have a new computer and things are good.  Not as fancy as I would have liked, but it's good enough to get me back on City of Heroes and it now allows me to have dual monitor capability.  Having two monitors going is great.  One is the old monitor from the computer which has been replaced, the other was the cheapest one I could find that would fit the limited space left on my desk.

The productivity of my set-up is much higher now, which was the most important part of getting the new computer.  Part of me wonders what it would have been like to buy a super-duper computer and a 48" television for a monitor so I could play COH on Ultra-mode, but I think I can survive without knowing - or wasting money on a television.  Working remotely at home will now be much easier as well.  That will be nice on the really snowy days or days I just don't feel like going into the office.

Just a few more weeks until I have some more free time.  Now that my writing group is meeting again I'm getting motivated to finish the draft of my novel in April or May.  That'll be cool.  Then I can start work on the next project.

So being overworked, tired, and not having a reliable computer has limited my postings on this and my other blogs.  In the coming weeks that will change and I hope to have daily posts up in the near future.

Thanks for your visit.

10 March 2011

Third Sentence Thursday #2

Third Sentence Thursday

This week the third sentence from a history book I've been reading at the gym:

"If the boy from Fife feared at that moment that he might miss the action, however, his anxiety was unjustified." (The Pity of War by Niall Ferguson)
 This 'boy from Fife' was in a hurry to enlist at the beginning of the Great War.  It was believed by many that the war would be over by Christmas.  The boy turns out to be the author's own grandfather who served and was wounded a couple of times.  This sentence is important in setting the tone for this book which re-evaluates the causes and other myths of World War I.

Here's how Third Sentence Thursday works:

1) Take the book you are reading now and post the third sentence
2) Review this sentence anyway you want (funny and silly reviews encouraged)
3) Post a link to your sentence to Sniffly Kitty's Third Sentence Post for this week.

03 March 2011

Third Sentence Thursday #1

Third Sentence Thursday

Be sure to go over to Sniffly Kitty's blog and check out other Third Sentences.Over at Sniffly Kitty's Mostly Books blog there is the 'Third Sentence Thursday' meme. It seemed like a fun thing to try out. The basic concept is to take the third sentence from a book you are currently reading and give a review of it.

"Weeds, even bushes, sprouted from the cracks, but the freeway was still the best route south from the Valley."
(The Valley-Westside War by Harry Turtledove)

Something terrible has obviously happened a number of years ago. When I read freeway I picture a modern road, however this one is in poor repair and even has bushes growing out of cracks and potholes. The 'Valley' brings to mind Los Angeles. Something terrible has happened.

(130 years ago, in 1967, a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States broke out. That was the backstory for this world.)

Here's how Third Sentence Thursday works:

1) Take the book you are reading now and post the third sentence
2) Review this sentence anyway you want (funny and silly reviews encouraged)
3) Post a link to your sentence to Sniffly Kitty's Third Sentence Post for this week.

02 March 2011

Mutant Arena - Pementa vs. Barnabas

The first of eight mutants now battles the eighth. Which will be victorious in their struggle across the ruins of Rha-Chez-Tur? Will the photonic dinosaur eat the mutant chili pepper, or will the great lizard get a terminal case of heart burn? Let's find out!

Pementa and Barnabas both spot each other early on. The flames coming from the chili pepper are a dead giveaway and the dinosaur's purple scales are not the best camouflage. Both have found some high-tech gear; Pementa a dimensional shuntshield and Barnabas found a healing patch.

Barnabas reacts first. He begins to cautiously close the gap and hurls a glowing photonic blade at his opponent. The blade strikes activating the dimensional shuntsheild. Two points of damage penetrate the shield as it de-activates. Pementa is pushed back by the force of the blade.

Pementa responds by closing with the lizard and projecting fire at him - but misses.

Now Barnabas uses his Tyrannosaur charge and his battle axe. A solid blow hits his fiery opponent inflicting 11 points of damage and pushing it back.

Lashing tendrils project from Pementa towards its enemy. It scores a hit and inflicts 10 points of damage while slowing the big dinosaur. Both combatants have now taken some damage.

This does not last long however. While untangling himself from the tendrils Barnabas slaps his healing patch on his wound recovering to full strength as a result.

Pementa next unleashes a flame attack and closes to an adjacent space with its enemey. The main flame attack hits inflicting 14 points of damage while the fiery aura inflicts an additional 5! If not for the healing patch Barnabas would have been defeated. As things stand he is now bloodied.

Realizing being close with a mutant with any sort of energy aura is a recipe for defeat, Barnabas withdraws and launches his glowing blades. He hits inflicting 13 points of damage and pushes his opponent even further away. Pementa is now bloodied as well. The next hit scored should bring victory for the lucky combatant - and it is now Pementa's turn!

Still disoriented from the photonic blade Pementa's fire blast misses its target. Barnabas dives behind some debris and unleashes his final photonic blade. Pementa is torn to pieces as it takes 14 more points of damage.

Barnabas wins!!!

(There are four mutants left that still have to fight. What match-up do you want to see next?

#1 Zzzzzzzzzzzzz: A Nightmare-Entropic creature from another universe
#2 Fredbert: A Mind Coercer-Cryokinetic
#3 Xera: A shapechanging psychic
#4 Kitty: A mutant cat)
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