Archive for Books

25 Days of TNG, Day 19: The Relaunch


This article contains major spoilers for all TNG relaunch novels up to and including the Typhon Pact series.

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Even though Star Trek canon says that, after Nemesis, there was no more official Trek until Spock attempted to save Romulus, I think we all knew the intellectual property was too valuable to just be left lying there. The TNG novelists — old and new alike — were given free reign to do whatever was necessary to keep the story going, and they certainly did that.

The relaunch novels can, at this point, be broken down into three main story arcs.

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25 Days of TNG, Day 15: The 10 Worst Tie-In Novels


I first started reading Star Trek tie-in novels when I was about eight. My dad hurt his foot and was in the hospital, and my mom brought me to a bookstore before we went to visit him. I found three Star Trek novels — My Enemy, My Ally by Diane Duane, Dreams of the Raven by Carmen Carter, and How Much For Just The Planet? by John M. Ford — and haven’t looked back. When TNG tie-ins started appearing, I bought them all, saving my allowance and gift certificates until I could afford them.

Unfortunately, while many were great, some… well, some were big-time stinkers. So here’s my opinion on the 10 worst TNG tie-in novels.

A couple of caveats: I stopped reading the tie-ins quite so religiously in the late 90s, so I might have missed a few. Also, this list will not cover the relaunch novels because they’re getting their own article.

So, here goes.

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Book Review: Apollo’s Outcasts by Allen Steele


Every time I read a YA novel, I wonder why all novels don’t move at the same pace. I’m not missing anything in the YA genre — the characters are just as developed, the action is just as action-y, and the story is just as engrossing. I just don’t have to slog through hundreds of extra pages of tangential plotlines and lovingly-rendered character descriptions to get to the good stuff.

And I think that adequately describes Allen Steele’s new YA sci-fi adventure, Apollo’s Outcasts, which will be published this November by Prometheus Books: for the most part, everything extraneous has been trimmed away, leaving a tightly-written, fast-paced novel that I quite enjoyed.

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Book Review: Wrayth by Philippa Ballantine


The following contains spoilers for Geist and Spectyr, the first two books in the series.

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Well, I finished reading Wrayth, the new novel by Philippa Ballantine.

I tried several different thematic ways to approach this review, but I had a lot of difficulty doing that. There’s a lot going on in this book, and I couldn’t really find any singular thing to tie it together because, the moment I thought I was on that path, things changed.

Let me explain.

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Book Review: The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter


I’ve only seen a few episodes of Sliders, and it’s been a while, but as far as I can remember the premise of the show was quasi-similar to Quantum Leap: a team of scientists slides sideways into an alternate version of Earth, does something that can be resolved in a 42-minute episode, and slides on. A quick check of Wikipedia tells me that I’m more or less on the money there.

And that kind of explains to me why parts of The Long Earth, by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter, felt vaguely familiar.

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Book Review: Ink by Sabrina Vourvoulias


In certain parts of the US, immigration policy and illegal alien rights are forefront. In other parts, they exist only as issues upon which to campaign. Regardless of your opinion on the subject, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that we’re moving in one of two directions: full amnesty or full illegality.

Ink, which will be released on October 15, tells one such story. Or, more precisely, four of them.

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Book Review: Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson


Okay, I’m not going to lie to you: I got myself a copy of Death’s Daughter by Amber Benson because, hey, Tara wrote a book.

Yes, I know, I know, the actor is not the character. And yes, I’ve seen other work Benson has written, performed, and directed. I was kind of expecting a certain type of novel, and to a certain extent, I did get it.

I also apparently stumbled into chick-lit. How did that happen?

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Book Review: Kiss the Dead by Laurell K. Hamilton


The following review contains minor spoilers for Kiss the Dead and moderate spoilers for all preceding Anita Blake novels. It also contains discussion of sexual material. Reader discretion is advised.

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Hmm… okay, so, we start with police procedural, and our hero shows up on the scene. She’s got a crap-ton of weapons and abilities, and she uses them to be a monster and save the day, sort of, except that nothing really happens and, twenty chapters later, we’re going back to the station for her to have the new guy — let’s make him a gigantic freaking red herring, just for the sake of argument — come out to someone he’s never met. Add in some drama with the other female cops before the hero goes home to her polyamorous lifestyle and has sex with two gorgeous, exceedingly well-endowed men before being even more dramatic, going to a hostage situation, and then dealing with vampire issues. Then she has still more sex with still more well-endowed men — all of whose eyes and hair we get intimate knowledge of — and obsesses over the fact that, holy crap, I’m in a semi-successful polyamorous relationship, what must be wrong with me??? before sitting down for a discussion and having a little action scene at the very end that she’s not even in the same room for most of, and…

…and then the book just stops.

Yeah. Welcome to Laurell K. Hamilton’s latest Anita Blake novel, Kiss the Dead.

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Book Review: Hunter and Fox by Philippa Ballantine


Some months ago, I spoke rather eloquently* on Geist and Spectyr, the first two Books of the Order by Philippa Ballantine. One of the things I praised was Ballantine’s ability to give the reader just enough information without making a fantasy novel into a doorstop.

Her latest tale, Hunter and Fox — the first of the Shifted World series — is similar in nature, in that a huge world is revealed in small chunks without turning the novel into a gigantic tome. Clocking in at 280 pages (according to my e-reader), it’s definitely not an intimidating read.

But I can’t say I put the book down feeling really satisfied, either.

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