Thursday, August 13, 2020

The Unsettling Stars by Alan Dean Foster

 

The Unsettling Stars (Star Trek)The Unsettling Stars by Alan Dean Foster
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, that was fun.

One of the long-delayed Kelvin Universe tie-in novels, it was fun to see this at last. This is an untapped angle of the Trek Universe and it has interesting angles.

Alan Dean Foster has a long history with Trek - his Star Trek Log books would be great to see in e-book form.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Rock and a Hard Place by Peter David

 

A Rock and a Hard Place (Star Trek: The Next Generation, #10)A Rock and a Hard Place by Peter David
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Well, it's Peter David, what did you expect?

David does his usual great job of portraying Trek characters and universe, while pushing the limits with his own angles and humor. This is a nice A/B story with Riker "helping" on a rugged terraforming planet while he is replaced temporarily by a ... space case. That is to say an officer who works to drive everyone crazy - despite Troi assuring everyone he is sane. He gets results AND manages to step right up to the edge of ... just about every edge there is.

This is a great TNG story - no surprise.

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Saturday, August 08, 2020

Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz

Scatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass ExtinctionScatter, Adapt, and Remember: How Humans Will Survive a Mass Extinction by Annalee Newitz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Timely reading in a world that seems desperate to kill us. Seems like there are many ways life has been challenged on this planet - and Newitz details 1) how it survived and 2)What we need to do to KEEP surviving....

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The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

 

The Relentless Moon (Lady Astronaut, #3)The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It's amazing how timely alt-history SF can be....

This continues the saga of the post-Meteor history which accelerated the human space development, aimed at keeping humanity alive as Earth dies. I could go on and on about how this book was timely to our COVID-19 era, but that would involve spoilers....

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Thursday, July 30, 2020

An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris

An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose, #1)An Easy Death by Charlaine Harris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow - Charlaine Harris has *range*... so many different series.

This was like Louis L'amour meets Stephen King... except I realize King has his western series too.

Very good, very violent - the pace never lets up!

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Saturday, July 25, 2020

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump

Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous ManToo Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man by Mary L. Trump
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

No surprise, but plenty of sad detail of a dysfunctional family.

Mary Trump paints a detailed picture of DJT and his family - all the influences that shaped our warped president.



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Thursday, July 23, 2020

Balance of Power (Star Trek: The Next Generation) Balance of Power by Dafydd ab Hugh

Balance of Power (Star Trek: The Next Generation)Balance of Power by Dafydd ab Hugh

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Well.... funny!

I remembered bits and pieces of this book from back in the day when I first read it - it's definitely a Hitchhiker's Guide kind of vibe, with multiple in-joke SF references. The best thing in the beginning is all the commiseration offered Geordi over the death of his beloved (not!) professor.

Sometimes the jokes go on too long, but there is a lot to like in this jolly Trek romp. I'm glad to find where the line about "a broken chronometer is right twice a day" discussion was, one I've remembered for years.



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Monday, July 13, 2020

Star Trek Archives Vol. 3: The Gary Seven Collection by Howard Weinstein

Star Trek Archives Vol. 3: The Gary Seven CollectionStar Trek Archives Vol. 3: The Gary Seven Collection by Howard Weinstein
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Gary Seven and some great adventures!

A nice collection of stories - and cross Trek eras! - that take up the further adventures of Gary Seven. I love the interactions between TOS and TNG crews.


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Perchance to Dream by Howard Weinstein

Perchance to Dream (Star Trek: The Next Generation, #19)Perchance to Dream by Howard Weinstein
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a nice first-contact story with enough mysteries and questions to keep the story going. I enjoyed the trip back in early TNG days (around the fifth season).

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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Cohesion by Jeffrey Lang

Cohesion (Star Trek: Voyager: String Theory #1)Cohesion by Jeffrey  Lang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Interesting world building, intriguing alien race. Nice collaboration between Be'lanna and Seven.


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Thursday, June 11, 2020

Becoming by Michelle Obama

BecomingBecoming by Michelle Obama
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent. Inspiring. Bittersweet.

This is a terrific account of Michelle Obama's life, as well as a window into the history of the Obama presidency and the remarkable family that occupied the White House for 8 years. Inspiring to look forward to a day when such occupants will again grace its walls. Bittersweet, of course, since it is hard to resist considering the current occupant.


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Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott

Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential PrayersHelp Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Always good advice: pay more

Very thoughtful reflection on prayer. Such a good summary of what prayer is all about. Help, thanks and wow. Amen!


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The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson

The Rise of Skywalker (Star Wars: Novelizations, #9)The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(note: review is of Marc Thompson's audio book version)t
This is a great companion to the movie - Carson does a terrific job filling in the story from the movie, and building the inner story of the characters. Thompson's performance is again excellent, vocally creating the entire cast of characters. You KNOW these voices - he really brings Carson's novel to life. Paired with the visual images from the movie, this creates an amazing extended experience of this crowning episode of the Skywalker saga.


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The Science of Sci-Fi: From Warp Speed to Interstellar TravelThe Science of Sci-Fi: From Warp Speed to Interstellar Travel by Erin  Macdonald
My rating: 5 of 5 stars




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The Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny BeyondEarthThe Future of Humanity: Terraforming Mars, Interstellar Travel, Immortality, and Our Destiny BeyondEarth by Michio Kaku
My rating: 4 of 5 stars




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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov

The Naked Sun (Robot #2)The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A classic! Mystery! Logic! Robots!!

There's no one to compare to the good doctor. Very good to spend time with him (and his robots)


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Friday, May 01, 2020

Our Last Christmas Together: A Sunlit Lands Christmas Tale by Matt Mikalatos

Our Last Christmas Together: A Sunlit Lands Christmas Tale (The Sunlit Lands)Our Last Christmas Together: A Sunlit Lands Christmas Tale by Matt Mikalatos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nice episode - set in, but independent of - the Crescent Stone. A very nice meditation on Christmas.


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The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos

The Crescent Stone (The Sunlit Lands #1)The Crescent Stone by Matt Mikalatos
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Amazing! I'm reminded of "The Princess Bride" - it's adventure, it's humor, it's romance... and more!

On beyond Narnia, for sure - Mikalatos tells a deep, fun and fast moving story that is (at least part) driven by .... social justice. Now that may sound like a buzzkill - but far from it. This is a good, fun, funny and deep story - I know I'll be back.


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Thursday, April 16, 2020

Tau ZeroTau Zero by Poul Anderson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hard SF problem story with problems that just keep coming.

Much like "The Admirable Crichton" this story follows an everyman- the "constable" assigned to an interstellar flight who effectively becomes the king, the leader as problems mount. Hard science - no FTL - and lots of detail which may bog down some. But Anderson does well to keep the action (and problems) coming.


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Friday, April 03, 2020

The Higher Frontier by Christopher L. Bennett

The Higher FrontierThe Higher Frontier by Christopher L. Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Intriguing new story delving into "new humans," the aftermath of V'Ger, Miranda Jones and the Medusans. Lots of interesting (and timely) things to think about.


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Monday, March 16, 2020

Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack

Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best HopeStar Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope by Una McCormack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well paced prequel to Star Trek:Picard. Fits neatly into the story as it has been unfolding.
Clearly well matched to the story arc as it has been rolling out, and clearly influenced by our world and current events (climate change denial, immigrant and refugee crisis) - very well done.


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Monday, March 09, 2020

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the LusitaniaDead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Riveting and charming and moving!

Not likely I'll ever go on a cruise, but this journey - on the Lusitania's last voyage - is vivid and detailed, certainly giving a deep understanding of the life on board such a luxury palace. Larson skillfully weaves together the details of shipboard life, and the doom waiting for the ship, as well as the machinations of British intelligence who silently watched the specter stalking the liner.



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Monday, March 02, 2020

The Cruel Stars by John Birmingham

The Cruel Stars (The Cruel Stars, #1)The Cruel Stars by John Birmingham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow! Very enjoyable and complicated story with some fascinating world building. Hard to even start describing all the interesting aspects of the story. The only downside is I have NO idea when the next installment will be available.

Recommended!


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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Taking Wing by Michael A. Martin

Taking Wing (Star Trek: Titan, #1)Taking Wing by Michael A. Martin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nice beginning to the journeys of the USS Titan. After listening to Fortunes of War, I needed to rewind to the beginning of the Titan's journeys.


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Dead Endless by Dave Galanter

Dead EndlessDead Endless by Dave Galanter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A clever direction - philosophical and mysterious and more!

Galanter gives us the USS Discovery ... but one with CAPTAIN Burnham. A Paul Stamets meeting Hugh Culber ... but not his Hugh. And there's a talking (sort-of) tardigrade. It's a very trippy story - but one that leverages off of ideas and events within the Discovery series in an interesting and engaging way.


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Star Trek: Picard - Countdown #3 by Kirsten Beyer

Star Trek: Picard - Countdown #3Star Trek: Picard - Countdown #3 by Kirsten Beyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars




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Star Trek: Picard - Countdown #2 by Kirsten Beyer

Star Trek: Picard - Countdown #2Star Trek: Picard - Countdown #2 by Kirsten Beyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fun, action-packed!

Great art, and great backstory for the new series. I need to get the final installment now, darn it! :)


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Star Trek: Picard - Countdown #1 by Kirsten Beyer

Star Trek: Picard - Countdown #1Star Trek: Picard - Countdown #1 by Kirsten Beyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars




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The Martian by Andy Weir

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent!
Five stars, because I can't give it six or seven. Really, I can't say enough about how excellent this was. Serious hard SF and a moving human story. Don't miss it!


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Doctor's Orders by Diane Duane

Precious Blood (The Gregor Demarkian Holiday Mysteries)Precious Blood by Jane Haddam
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second of Haddam's Demarkian stories, this has lots of interesting tension and puzzles. I can't say I care for the Cardinal, but his insistence on NOT allowing the police to inspect the possibly poisoned sacramental wine added a clever dimension to the story.

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Precious Blood (The Gregor Demarkian Holiday Mysteries)Precious Blood by Jane Haddam
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second of Haddam's Demarkian stories, this has lots of interesting tension and puzzles. I can't say I care for the Cardinal, but his insistence on NOT allowing the police to inspect the possibly poisoned sacramental wine added a clever dimension to the story.


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Monday, January 06, 2020

Invisible Kingdom, Vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson

Invisible Kingdom, Vol. 1Invisible Kingdom, Vol. 1 by G. Willow Wilson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Intriguing.

A space opera in a world where collusion between a religious order and a galaxy spanning corporation. Hard to describe, but filled with intriguing ideas and beautiful art.


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Thursday, January 02, 2020

Space Cat by Ruthven Todd

Space CatSpace Cat by Ruthven Todd
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A curious cat and a whimsical story.

We got this out of the library after yet again seeing covers for "Space Cat" books on another jigsaw puzzle. Written at the dawn of the space age, this tells the story of "Flyball" a very independant and sure of itself cat who stows away - first on an airplane, and then on a rocket ship. Flyball is adopted by the pilot/astronaut destined to make the first moon voyage - AND Flyball get to go along.

Clearly not the MOST scientific of SF stories, this was an interesting snapshot from the 1950's before anyone (feline or human) had been in space.


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Precious Blood by Jane Haddam

Precious Blood (The Gregor Demarkian Holiday Mysteries)Precious Blood by Jane Haddam
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second of Haddam's Demarkian stories, this has lots of interesting tension and puzzles. I can't say I care for the Cardinal, but his insistence on NOT allowing the police to inspect the possibly poisoned sacramental wine added a clever dimension to the story.


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Thursday, December 26, 2019

Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 4: Legend Found (Star Wars: Poe Dameron by Charles Soule

Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 4: Legend Found (Star Wars: Poe Dameron (2016-2018))Star Wars: Poe Dameron Vol. 4: Legend Found (Star Wars: Poe Dameron by Charles Soule
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great action, great art, great stories!

Always fun to read these additions to the galaxy far, far away. I especially appreciate the very cinematic guided view of the digital comics!


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Sunday, December 22, 2019

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 5: Worst Among Equals (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra by Simon Spurrier

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 5: Worst Among Equals (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra (2016-))Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 5: Worst Among Equals (Star Wars: Doctor Aphra by Simon Spurrier
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hard to beat Dr Aphra! Crazy adventure with the Doc paired with Triple Zero in the worst way...

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Not a Creature Was Stirring by Jane Haddam

Not a Creature Was Stirring (The Gregor Demarkian Holiday Mysteries)Not a Creature Was Stirring by Jane Haddam
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great time for a re-read! Gregor finding his way in a bloody, complicated mystery.


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Saturday, December 14, 2019

Star Wars Vol. 4: Last Flight of the Harbinger by Jason Aaron

Star Wars Vol. 4: Last Flight of the HarbingerStar Wars Vol. 4: Last Flight of the Harbinger by Jason Aaron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good adventure in the GFFA. Thanks to Prime (and currently, a brief Unlimited subscription) there is a LOT of Star Wars to catch up on.


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Monday, December 09, 2019

Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly

Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher, #1)Those Who Hunt the Night by Barbara Hambly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Creative and cunning take on Vampires!

I'd read this some years ago and picked it up recently on an e-book sale - I'm glad I did.

Hambly does a great job of creating an Edwardian setting with an Oxford don (who is also disenchanted ex-spy) being drafted (blackmailed, really) by a vampire to investigate who is killing vampires. Plenty of twists and turns, as well as fun world-building imagining the world and "life" of vampires. Happily a series with many episodes, too - I'm already on to the next one!


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Wednesday, November 27, 2019

The Lost Years by J.M. Dillard

The Lost Years The Lost Years by J.M. Dillard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Filling in the blanks....

I've enjoyed Dillard's many Trek books - a touch of horror (vampires, demons, magicians) lurks there within the SF world of Trek. This is a good story that provides answers to the Trekkers - how did Kirk wind up an Admiral? Why did Spock attempt kolinahru? And it's all wrapped up in a story with ancient Vulcans, Romulans and more.


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Monday, November 25, 2019

The Tears of the Singers by Melinda M. Snodgrass

The Tears of the SingersThe Tears of the Singers by Melinda M. Snodgrass
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Charming - another story around song, and Uhura!

After re-reading Uhura's Song recently, I had to get a copy (in print!) of this classic Trek novel.
A nice adventure wrapped around a mysterious space phenomena, "space baby seals," Klingons and a genius musician. Love, adventure and tragedy all wrapped together.


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Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke

Rendezvous with Rama (Arthur C. Clarke Collection)Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C. Clarke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent hard SF story, terrific premise.
Clarke does a good job creating a mystery - one which he doesn't actually *solve*, which I rather like - not sure if the sequels tie things down too much.


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Resistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse

Resistance RebornResistance Reborn by Rebecca Roanhorse
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Good warm up to coming attractions (i.e. Episode 9). As always, Marc Thompson does an excellent job bringing the story to life, vocally giving the known characters voices and creating distinct characterizations for the new people.

Roanhorse does a great job drawing on current canon (film, TV, novels and more) to show the struggles of the resistance in finding allies and resources for their fight against the First Order.


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Wednesday, November 06, 2019

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietyThe Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This historical fiction paired well with "Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare" as a visit with the events of WWII. An epistolary novel, Shaffer reels out a fascinating story of the German occupation of Guernsey during the war. One of those stories that draws you in and won't let you go - and leaves you a little sad when it's over.

Highly recommended!

(Also might pair well with the Blackout/All Clear! Duology!)

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Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Sundiver by David Brin

Sundiver (The Uplift Saga, #1)Sundiver by David Brin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Invention and remarkable world-building!

The first of Brin's Uplift Saga, Sundiver presents a remarkable future. Complex, and with a galactic milieu unlike any in SF. As much as I enjoy what I call "franchise fiction" (Star Trek, Star Wars) (and I *do*) sagas like Brin's are a wonderful example of deep world building.

I think the breadth of these books are amazing - and I like to think immune to being done as film - this is a place where books really rule. I've read this before (and will again, no doubt) - this time around, thanks to my public library (libraries rule!) I listened - it was excellent!

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Saturday, November 02, 2019

Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler's Defeat by Giles Milton

Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler's DefeatChurchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: The Mavericks Who Plotted Hitler's Defeat by Giles Milton

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Remarkable!
An excellent story, an amazing accomplishment - this behind-the-scenes history of WWII efforts that significantly aided the allies is riveting.

It's like "Mission Impossible" - clever gadgets, undercover work and more - but not fiction!



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Friday, November 01, 2019

Hidden Universe Travel Guides: Star Trek: The Klingon Empire by Dayton Ward

Hidden Universe Travel Guides: Star Trek: The Klingon EmpireHidden Universe Travel Guides: Star Trek: The Klingon Empire by Dayton Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was fun - lots of detail - I especially appreciated the shout-outs to "The Final Reflection."


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Sunday, October 27, 2019

Uhura's Song Uhura's Song by Janet Kagan

Uhura's SongUhura's Song by Janet Kagan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Always a pleasure! Kagan creates characters, situations, and cultures that give you an ethno-mystery, a medical-mystery, a travel adventure and more. Excellent world building within the Trek TOS universe. I've not doubt I'll read this again (and again!). Just a top-notch story!



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Friday, October 25, 2019

Star Wars: Pirate's Price by Lou Anders

Star Wars: Pirate's Price (Flight of the Falcon, #2)Star Wars: Pirate's Price by Lou Anders
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Giving *voice* to Star Wars.....

I enjoyed this light bit of the GFFA mostly for Jim Cummings voicing the carefree pirate Hondo. Having just been to Black Spire Outpost (i.e. Disney's Galaxy's edge) it's also another bit of the world building for the Star Wars land - there are many references to that locale, along with some rather silly action featuring Hondo, Han and Chewie.

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Collateral Damage by David Mack

Collateral Damage (Star Trek: The Next Generation)Collateral Damage by David Mack
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nice coda to the whole Section 31 episodes. Plus there's action, adventure, humor and more!


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