Mar 012012
 


Author:
Mike Resnick

Pages:335

Publisher: PYR

Release Date: 2009

Genre: Science Fiction

Characters:

Wilson Cole- Captain of the rebel starship “Theodore Rosevelt”

Val- Valkyrie, tough former pirate, very loyal to Cole

David Copperfield-Alien acts like he is a character in a Charles Dickens book.

Synopsis: In 1970 of the Galacitc Era, Captain Wilson Cole, the crew of the  SS Theodore Roosevelt and his fleet are wanted by the Republic.  Cole was once served in the Republic Navy, but soon parted ways because the Republic could no longer be trusted.   They are constantly under attack and outnumbered, but the Roosevelt is a very tough ship and the captain and crew are extraordinary people.  Cole has a figured out a plan that will test the mettle of his crew, but might just win their freedom and bring down the Republic.

Pro: Mike Resenick is one of those writers that I often end up reading, but for some reason I can never remember that I have actually read many of their short stories and novels.  I think that it might be because his stories are are often very different from one another.  When I picked up Starship: Flagship, and I hate to admit it, I was mainly attracted to the cover featuring a large starship in the middle of a battle.  My favorite Science Fiction is usually the more serious variety.  The cover and description on the back led me to believe this was more of the space opera variety and I was in the mood for some  bug eyed aliens and big explosions.  I was surprised to find that even though the it does have elements of that, it isn’t completely true.

  • Really good characterization.   Especially the alien, David Copperfield.  He is interesting, and appears to be insane due to his strange delusions, but also is very sane and brave.
  • Problems weren’t just solved by blasting people with lasers (even though things got blasted!).  Cole uses trickery and cunning to win battles and avoid fighting when necessary.

 Con: Due to a badly placed bar code sicker at the library, I was unaware that this was book 5 of the series.  So it took me awhile to get up to speed with what was going on in the novel.  When a faithful reader is reading later books in a series they will get bored when previous story is retold. Usually I agree, but I think that Resnick assumed that the readers would know too much from the previous books.  I really had no idea what the alien characters looked like and would have liked more of an explanation of how the technology worked.  For instance, I would have liked to know how the starships operate. They have some sort of fast engine, but they also use wormholes to get from place to place.  I never had an idea as to how fast they move outside of the wormholes.  Also, the surprise at the ending is really out of the blue,  and  is sort of like a backwards Deus Ex Machina.

Conclusion:  As a stand alone novel  this will not go down as one of the greatest every written in the history of science fiction, but I should probably reserve judgement until I can read the rest of the series.  I may append this review if I can get a hold of them.  As it stands, I can only recommend this to people that are really into Resnick novels.

Comment:When I picked this up at the library any indication of this being part of a series was hidden by the barcode.  I’ve noticed that my local library doesn’t pay attention to valuable information being covered up by their stickers.  Don’t get me started on the time I accidentally picked up a Evangelical Christian Science Fiction novel, it almost made my head explode!


Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 3
Plot 3
Imagery 2
Read Again? 2
Average 2.5
Feb 292012
 


Author:
Stephen King

Pages: 447

Publisher: Signet

Release Date: January 1977

Genre: Horror

Characters: 

Danny Torrance- 5 year old boy with psychic powers

Jack Torrance- Danny’s dad, a writer and recovering alcholic.

Wendy Torrance- Danny’s mom, she is somewhat clueless.

Dick Hallorann- Head Cook of Overlook Hotel, also has psychic powers.

Overlook Hotel- Very Haunted hotel.  Many people died here and each new death makes it stronger.

Lloyd- Ghost Bartender

Grady-Former caretaker, killed family and then self.

Synopsis: Struggling writer Jack Torrance takes a caretaker job at a historical hotel, the Overlook, in  Colorado mountains over the winter.  He brings his wife, Wendy, and 5 year old son, Danny.  His son is a very powerful psychic, and in the novel his power is called the shine, or the shining.  Most people don’t notice anything strange about the Overlook hotel, but Danny’s power wakes up something evil and and the family must fight for its life.

Pro: I think that most people are familiar with the classic Stanley Kubrick film based on the book.  In fact, I watched the movie long before I read the book.   They are two very different animals and enjoyable for different reasons.

  • Jack Nicholson as Jack in the film is at a 8 out of 10 level of crazy. In the book, Jack slowly goes crazy but never loses his marbles like Nicholson does.
  • In the book Wendy is not as whiny and freaked out all the time.
  • Even though Scatman  Crothers was good as Dick Hallorann, the character has more depth in the book and he has a more active role.
  • The hag scene is twice as scary in the book.
  • The  topiary animals and the playground are very freaky.
  • The climax is very vivid and would be perfect for a true to story remake with modern special effects and a big budget.

Con: Stephen King’s early writing style is better than the stuff he cranks out these days.  I think it was possibly all of the drugs and not having all of the practice at doing the same thing over and over again.  One thing that bugs me from this era is the the language is often too cute when dealing with kids.  For instance, between Jack and Wendy there are too many references to Danny as Doc.

Conclusion: This is one of Kings early novels, and he was at the top of his game.  Some have called him a hack but the language  is very tight and the imagery is vivid and there a quite a few scares to be had here!

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 4
Plot 3
Imagery 4
Read Again? 4
Average 3.75
Feb 282012
 

Director: P.J. Hogan

Rating: PG

Running Time: 1hr 52 min

Release Date: 12/25/2003

Genre: Fantasy, Literary

Cast: Peter Pan (Jeremy Sumptor), Wendy Darling  (Rachel Hurd-Wood), Captain Hook/Mr Darling (Jason Isaacs), Smee (Richard Briers), Tinkerbell (Ludivine Sagnier), Pirate Cookson (Bruce Spence)

Synopsis: P.J. Hogan directed this underated adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s novel/play Peter Pan. It is the well known story of the boy who wouldn’t grow up.  Peter convinces Wendy and her brothers to fly to Never Land where they encounter Peter’s band of lost boys.  They also fight Captain James Hook and his goofy band of pirates and are helped by fairies, Indians and mermaids.

Pro: It was nice to see a version of Peter Pan without big names and big budgets.  Some of the interesting changes and twists;

  • Traveling to Never Land appeared to take place though space as opposed to traveling on earth.
  • Jeremy Sumpter is great as Peter, and performed some very exciting sword fights.
  • Great imagining of Never Land scenery.
  • I liked the focus on the devilish almost evil nature of Tinkerbell

Con: Some of the special effects did not hold up over the few years since the movie was first out.  Even though Jeremy Sumpter was a good Peter, it was a bit weird seeing Peter played by a boy since traditionally Peter is played by a girl.

Conclusion:  This is a great retelling of the Peter Pan story, and I recommend it to anyone.  I’ve heard that part of the reason for it not being more popular is that it was buried by Lord of The Rings: Return of the King which was out at the same time.

Trivia: Bruce Spence, the Gyro Captain from The Road Warrior  plays on of Hook’s  pirates.  Also, Captain Hook is played by Jason Isaacs who played Draco Malfoy’s father, Lucius in the Harry Potter series.

 

 

Frank’s Ratings

(1-5)

Characters 4
Story 3
Special Effects 3
Would Watch Again? 2
Average 3