Posts Tagged ‘Space Travel’

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Author Rhett C. Bruno weaves a sci-fi detective story set a few hundred years in the future, in which long-time bounty hunter Malcolm Graves is given the task of finding a bomber who decided to strike on one of Earth’s most celebrated holidays. However, Malcolm gets an unexpected surprise when Pervenio Corp., the company he tracks bounties for, decides to team him up with a partner named Zhaff from their new and highly secretive training program. Malcolm is not overly fond of working with a partner, particularly one as young and inexperienced as Zhaff, but he soon realizes that he may need all the help he can get in order to crack this case.

Bruno crafts a noir-style, sci-fi narrative, with some heavy action elements peppered throughout. Malcolm Graves, the grizzled bounty hunter who’s only in it for the money and the booze is a character that we feel like we’ve met before, and Zhaff, the by-the-book, almost robot-like partner is another trope of the detective genre most of us are familiar with. That being said, the author gives each of them just enough quirks to provide just enough depth for both of them. Occasionally these main characters feel a little thin, but never to the point where it becomes a distraction, or difficult to read.

The story takes us on a journey from Earth to the moons of Saturn, but for all the distance that gets covered, I feel like this is where the novel is lacking just a little bit. A greater description of the worlds the characters visit would have made for a more immersive experience that the reader could get lost in. Bruno gives us enough detail to understand where we are, and I will admit, the descriptions and immersion do get better as the book goes on, but the earlier chapters have a somewhat sterile quality about them that made it a little hard for me to actually get into the story in the beginning. However, as the story goes on, and some of the strands begin to weave themselves together, the picture that gets presented is ultimately one that I enjoyed.

Rhett C. Bruno gives us a narrative not unlike some other sci-fi detective/bounty hunter stories that we’ve encountered in the past. It’s not quite as complex or grand as some of those, but it does have a simplistic and streamlined appeal to it that makes for a nice change of pace from those larger, more complicated works. It won’t completely blow your mind, but it will keep you entertained.

The Verdict for Titanborn:
4 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

 

 

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The latest book to join the Halo universe, New Blood by Matt Forbeck, is also the shortest. It details the story of Sergeant Edward Buck in his own words, and his experience as an ODST (Orbital Drop Shock Trooper for those not familiar with Halo lingo) before volunteering for the Spartan-IV Program. The book kind of acts as a little bit of a prologue to Halo 5, where Buck is already a Spartan, but the main focus is to add a little bit of depth to someone who’s really just a background character.

Forbeck does a pretty good job of making Sgt. Buck stand on his own as an interesting character. However, the story is somewhat generic. There’s really nothing new here in terms of the universe. At just under two-hundred pages, this is a short read for the really intense fans of the Halo extended universe. If you’re just a casual fan, I would say leave this one on the shelf.

The Verdict for Halo: New Blood:
3 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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It’s here!  It’s here!  It’s finally here!  The long-awaited Star Wars: The Force Awakens is officially in theaters now, and I stayed up ridiculously late last night to watch it and give my loyal readers the skinny.

After three decades, and a few somewhat disappointing prequels, we’re going back to that famous galaxy far, far away.  Following the events of Return of the Jedi, the Galactic Empire is shattered, but in it’s absence a new, more aggressive force, known as the First Order, has emerged.  They are searching for the last known Jedi, Luke Skywalker, who has vanished from the galaxy, and they will stop at nothing to find him.

First up, the story.  This movie draws A LOT of parallels to the original trilogy, which is simultaneously the best and worst thing about it.  It’s great because it looks and feels so much like the movies that you’ve watched over and over.  The action is there, the adventure is there, the breathtaking visuals, and epic space battles are there, and the whole spectacle becomes one massive nostalgia trip.  However, its greatest asset is also perhaps its biggest flaw.  It pulls so much from the story of the original trilogy that it almost, just slightly tends to border on predictable in certain spots.  Particularly when one takes into consideration that this is just the beginning of another trilogy.  However, even with that borderline predictability, it’s still just so damn difficult to not enjoy this movie.

The next best thing about The Force Awakens is the acting.  Abrams and company absolutely nailed it with the casting here.  The talent is young, but they are very good.  Daisy Ridley’s Rey is the standout star here.  She plays her part to perfection and commands the screen whenever she’s on it.  John Boyega’s Finn is a solid secondary character who becomes more and more endearing to the audience as the movie goes on.  And really, what more is there to say about Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher?  They pick up their roles as Han and Leia like they never left them.  And even though they reprise their iconic roles from more than thirty years ago, they still allow the young talent to shine and take the center stage.  It was nice to see them be a part of the story, but not have them shoe-horned into being the main part of the story.

J. J. Abrams and Disney really knocked this one out of the park.  It looks like a Star Wars movie, it sounds like a Star Wars movie, and best of all it FEELS like a good, old-fashioned Star Wars movie.  And I think at the end of the day that is the best praise that I can give it.

The Verdict for Star Wars: The Force Awakens:
5 out of 5

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

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Andy Weir’s The Martian tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney, a member of the third manned mission to Mars.  During the course of this mission, a violent dust storm separates Watney from the rest of the crew.  Once they are no longer able to read his vital signs in their monitors, they presume him dead and decide to scrub the mission and leave the red planet in order to prevent further crew deaths.  Fortunately for Mark, he survived the dust storm, but now he’s the sole inhabitant of a dead planet, with only a limited amount of food, oxygen, and water, and no way to contact Earth.  Perhaps surviving the storm wasn’t so fortunate after all.

In his debut novel, Weir crafts an amazing storytelling example of ‘man vs. nature,’ as Watney must literally figure out how to provide everything for himself until the next mission to Mars in just over four years.  Obviously, we spend a tremendous amount of time with one single character here, but it never seems to become too much.  Weir gives Mark a wonderful sense of humor about the entire ordeal, as there were numerous times during reading where I actually laughed out loud.  That is not to say that we also don’t get a taste of Mark’s frustration, time and time again as things don’t go according to plan, but that’s what makes him such a great character, his humanity.  It’s that humanity that makes Mark a very easy character to rally behind.  He’s incredibly likable and you hope to see him make it through his ordeal not because he’s the good guy and that’s what you’re supposed to want, but because you actually want to see him survive.

There were two particular aspects about the book that I didn’t really care for.  The first is that it is very technical detail heavy, particularly in the earlier parts.  I understand that Mark is an astronaut, and that he probably would know all of these things and want to record them in order to replicate his processes, but at some points it seems to bog the story down a little bit.  Don’t get me wrong, it probably could have been much worse, but as it is, it’s still quite noticeable.  The other aspect that I took a little bit of issue with was the constant barrage of bad luck that befall Mark, his crew, and NASA in general.  With everything that goes wrong on the mission, you would think it was cursed.  I understand that it’s there to create drama, but at certain points, it actually comes off as a little forced.  Also, from time to time in the novel, NASA seems to be a tremendously careless organization, in both preparation and it’s treatment of certain individuals.

Overall, this novel is not perfect.  It has a few storytelling flaws, and some forced conventions, but a strong main character that you feel you can genuinely root for keep it really entertaining from start to finish.  I’m curious to see how the Matt Damon movie version of the story turns out later this fall.

The Verdict for The Martian:
4/5 – I can dig it.

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Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
Secret Wars Journal #4
Civil War #3 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Old Man Logan #4 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Where Monsters Dwell #4 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
X-Men ’92 #3 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
The Wicked + The Divine, Volume 1: The Faust Act