Cibola Burn by James S A Cory review

Cibola Burn by James SA Corey
Cibola Burn by James SA Corey

Cibola Burn (The Expanse Book 4)
by James SA Corey is another addition to The Expanse series. It is also a rollicking good read. I personally didn’t think it quite on par with the first couple of books, but it is still bloody good.

After the events of the previous book, the ring system is now open and a 1000 planets are ready for colonisation. Consequently, some people who have been having a pretty shit time of it rush through and start a colony on one of the planets. Technically they had no right to do so and when a corporate colony ship arrives, things getting unpleasant in a shooting and exploding kind of way. With tensions high between the corporate lot and the colonists, it’s decided that a mediator is needed. So James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante are called in. Then things go mental.

As I said earlier – Cibola Burn is a rollicking good read. It is different from the previous three in that it is set almost entirely on the disputed planet of Illus rather than leaping about the solar system. This is both a plus and a minus. The plus is that the story feels a bit more rounded and complete. The minus is that at times things slowed down a bit and there was no chance that the narrative was going to leap to another part of the solar system where something exciting was kicking off. While the story slows down a bit around a third of the way in, it does consequently kick into high gear and then things are brilliant again.

The crew of the Rocinante are back and if you have read the series this far then you will probably like them. There are a few new characters – some are good, one is bad. There is a scientist lady who basically just needs to get laid but then becomes more interesting. Another is a miner/settler who is a great and likeable character despite how he starts the book. A third is a security chief who also changes and develops as things kick off. But is is the bad guy who I felt let things down a bit. He was a bit too cut-out baddie. He doesn’t change in any way at any point. I guess that was just his personality and there are people like that in the real world, but I found his personality a bit annoying and slightly unrealistic.

Don’t get me wrong though, I thoroughly enjoyed Cibola Burn and can’t wait for the next one. The world that the James Corey duo are making gets more interesting with each book and there are intriguing developments with the protomolecule and Miller to make this more than just an ‘episode’.

My review is probably redundant anyway. If you have read books one to three then you are going to read book four. While I found Cibola Burn slightly weaker than the others, it is still a great read.

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New Doctor Who opening sequence made by fan

Some clever chap called Billy Hanshaw had an idea for a new Doctor Who opening sequence. He made the sequence and it went viral because the internet has both taste and a lot of nerds. Stephen Moffat consequently saw the clip and it is now the basis of the new credit sequence. Moffat obviously has permission from Hanshaw and the BBC are obviously going to add a couple of expensive graphics to it. But the new Doctor Who opening sequence is pretty much good to go already. Go internet and go creative Doctor Who fans!

 

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New Doctor Who Trailer 2014

Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who
Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who

A couple of new trailers have been released to drum up excitement for the new Doctor Who series. Which isn’t really needed but is appreciated nontheless. Thanks BBC! The first was released last month and is a taster for the series as whole:

The second is a trailer for the first episode ‘Deep Breath’

Annoyingly, Doctor Who season 8 (depending on how you judge these things) or the 12th Doctor’s first series or whatever you want to call it, starts on Saturday 23rd August 2014. Just after I leave England. If only there was some kind of advanced technology that will let me watch it…

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First glimpse of the new Wonder Woman

I know I should be more excited about Batman and Superman when it comes to the new Batman vs Superman film, but… well… you know… Wonder Woman. An Amazonian warrior princess who may or may not be a demi-god depending on which origin story you follow. Who’s not going to be interested in that?

I’m sure some purists will complain that the picture of Gal Gadot as the new Wonder Woman isn’t what they envisaged. But the original outfit would look crap on the big screen. Here is the first glimpse of Princess Diana (that really is her name) in Sensation Comics 1942:

Wonder Woman Sensation Comics
Wonder Woman Sensation Comics

ww tvOr maybe people think she should look like the Wonder Woman  who featured in the TV show from the late 70s? I remember she featured quite heavily in my dreams when I was about 8 years old. But then so did the Bionic Woman and Mindy from Mork and Mindy, so perhaps it wasn’t just the outfit. Also, a costume that looks like something a pervert would make if given  an American flag is a weird choice of clothing for a foreign princess.

I think the new outfit looks good. Exactly what I imagine an Amazonian warrior princess would look like. And that is something I imagine a lot. Basically, the outfit is a variation on Xena’s which is no bad thing given what it could have been.

Without further waffle, here is the picture. See what you think.

Gal Gadot as the new Wonder Woman
Gal Gadot as the new Wonder Woman

Thanks Wikipedia for the old comic pictures (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wonder_Woman)

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Futurama in 3D

futuramaI saw this a few days ago and I felt selfish for not sharing it. Plus, anything to do with Futurama is always worth a mention as it is brilliant. Artist Alexy Zakharov has made a 3d 30 second rendition of the skyline in Futurama. It is basically the opening sequence but without the Planet Express crashing into the screen at the end. It looks incredible and I want to live there. I need to work out how to make this a screensaver.

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Hyperion by Dan Simmons

2011-03-29_image2In Dan Simmon’s classic scifi novel Hyperion, 28th Century mankind has spread across the galaxy but are still behaving pretty much the same as ever. Consequently, a war is approaching between the Hegemony – a civilisation who live on a ‘web’ of planets linked by portals and faster than light ships, and the Ousters – a group of nutters who live in the fringes of space. Add to this mix the Artificial Intelligences, who were created by man but then buggered off to live in a semi virtual place called the Technocore. They still pretty much run the Hegemony though and without them nothing will run. The AIs are up to all sort of mysterious things in the background and are almost god like in their knowledge.

Got that? Good. As the war heats up forces start to converge on a planet called Hyperion. The AIs select a group of seven pilgrims to travel to this mysterious world and a place called the Time Tombs. These tombs annoy the Technocore because even though they can predict nearly everything, the Time Tombs buck that trend by being baffling. Oh, and they are guarded by a psychopathic spiky metallic entity called The Shrike that kills everyone and may possibly be travelling backward through time to kill everything that ever lived.

While the pilgrims travel to the tombs they wonder why they have been selected for the trip and so begin to tell each other their stories. So it is basically like the Canterbury Tales in structure. There is a priest, a soldier, a scholar and so on, and they all have a unique voice and fascinating story.

Apologies for the long intro. I could have just said that Hyperion by Dan Simmons is like a Canterbury Tales in space and is superb. It is also fascinating and brilliantly written. Each story stands alone as a brilliant tale yet while gradually telling you about the universe the characters inhabit and the various mysteries that surround the Time Tombs and the uber violent Shrike.

What I have given you is a very brief overview of the setting and the structure of Hyperion. There is so much more and it is all good. It helps that all the stories are brilliant and completely different from each other while being linked by the over-arching narrative of the journey. I’ll cut to the quick – I loved this book and can’t wait to read the sequel Rise of Hyperion. It is a classic I had left on the shelf for too long and I now highly recommend.

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Cibola Burn is out!

Life has been a bit mental recently but I still find time to read thanks to a regular commute and an even more regular bowel.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Hyperion by Dan Simmons

I am currently reading a book by an author I have been meaning to read for years. I am almost ashamed to say that I have quite a few Dan Simmons books on my shelf but have only just started to read one these epic tomes. I have now almost finished reading his space Canterbury Tales-esque novel – Hyperion – and will definitely be reading a hell of a lot more. It is absolutely superb and unless it has an awful ending (which is unlikely as it is the first part of an award winning series) I can recommend it already. I will review it soon.

Cibola Burn by James A Corey
Cibola Burn by James A Corey

This has put me in something of a quandary however, as I normally just plow on if I have started a series I like and I have book two – The Fall of Hyperion – sitting quietly on my kindle.  BUT the next instalment of  James A Corey’s equally brilliant Expanse series is out and is also now on my kindle screaming for attention. In case you haven’t read an of The Expanse series then I should point out that you are wasting your life. I would also suggest that you start with Leviathan Wakes right now. There are also rumours that the series may soon be a TV show, so get in quick if you want to be one of those annoying bastards like myself who always bleats on that “The books are better” to any poor sap that passes by.

I guess this entry is essentially saying – sorry I haven’t written much (I am moving house and country) but here are two books you can be getting on with in the meantime. Well, The Hyperion Cantos is 4 books and so far, so is The Expanse series. So here are eight books to be getting on with. That should be enough. Now if you will excuse me, my kindle and I have to catch the train home and then go to the toilet.

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Possible new Star Trek TV show

Star Trek
Star Trek

If you are a Trekkie try not to get too excited because we are still very much in the realm of internet rumours. But the word is, there might be a new Star Trek series being pitched. There are numerous stories circulating the web on sites like Den of Geek (http://www.denofgeek.com/tv/star-trek/20931/is-a-new-star-trek-tv-series-in-development) that a guy called David Foster is pitching an idea for a series set after Voyager. Apparently it won’t clash with the JJ Abrams’ Star Trek reboot as that is in a new timeline. Or something. Whatever, it will be Trek.

I don’t know how likely this is going to be though because I had also read other rumours that seem to be talking about different Star Trek series from the one above. One involved Jonathan Frakes (aka Riker) directing some new Trek show but I think that particular story stemmed from confusion about the fact that Frakes is about to direct a TV series of the Librarian franchise. (Which is actually pretty fun in a ‘rainy Sunday afternoon might as well give it a go’ kind of show.) I hope I am wrong as Frakes is a great director.

Yet another rumour was to do with an apparent casting agency looking for a young Deanna Troi. But that could just be a load of Trekkie pervs trying their luck.

I think the big question should be: ‘Why the hell is there no current Star Trek on our TV at all?’ Going by all the fan made stuff appearing on youtube (which I have written about before here and here), there is clearly a big call for it. I’m pretty sure Trekkies would be rabidly keen on it. My main worry is that they will try a reboot or make it all gritty or something. I want a traditional Trek series where the first couple of seasons are pretty average apart from the occasional brilliant episode, then it gets awesome, with all the characters being quite nice and vaguely attractive. Might as well bring Worf into it as well. Can someone make that happen please?

keepcalm

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