Monday, December 21, 2009

Death Troopers

Joe Schreiber has been allowed to play in the Star Wars Universe and has written the first Star Wars horror novel. It's good to see the Star Wars brand moving in new directions and showing that there is a lot more to the brand than pure Space Opera.
The story begins with a prison barge that has broken down in a remote section of space but finds itself near a derelict Star Destroyer. A small party crosses over to salvage parts for the prison barge and find the Star Destroyer has been abandoned. Only half the party return and they quickly take sick with a mysterious disease which spreads like wildfire throughout the prison barge. Soon only a handful of survivors are left and they must band together to save themselves. But then the dead start to rise ... and they're hungry.

I enjoyed reading this novel. The tone is set by the great cover artwork, and Schreiber seems to be having fun playing in the Star Wars Sandbox. An efficient horror novel that also fits well into the Star Wars Universe.


It's 2010, Elizabeth XXX is on the throne and Sir Rupert Triumff has returned from his journey in which he discovered Australia. But his return drops him in the middle of a conspiracy that threatens the throne. It's up to Triumff to save the day.
Dan Abnett's Alternative history is a fun romp. Based on the premise that Elizabeth I married Phillip II to create a world spanning empire that ran on 'magick' and alchemy. Because of the presence of magic technology has stalled and even though it is 2010 it is the Elizabethan times technology wise.

The book is a fun read full of gags and characters buckling their swash. There is daring-do and dastardly plots with back-stabbing galore. Abnett has a lot of fun with this setting and that makes it a joy to read. I look forward to visiting this world again.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Kell's Legend

Now that David Gemmell has past away I need to go elsewhere to get my fix of hard-hitting, action-packed fantasy. Having just finished reading Andy Remic's Kell's Legend my search is over. Remic is quite clear that Gemmell is a huge influence on his writing and it shows.
Remic's hero Kell is an aging warrior who is forced by circumstances to pick up his axe (yes an axe in involved), and fight the invaders. The parallels between Kell and Druss are numerous. Both are aging axemen who carry a famous axe, both a grizzled veterans with surly temperaments and bear-like physiques.

But despite all this I did enjoy Kell's Legend. (It goes without saying I like Gemmell's work as well.) It's bloody and the fights are epic, and I don't mind the hero as crotchety killing machine. While Remic isn't Gemmell this book will fill any Gemmell shaped hole in a fantasy fans life. A fun, fast-paced, action-packed read. Enjoy.

Pro Ball

The FreeDarko site is a place to find excellent writing about the NBA. A site that believes that basketball is important, and that it can be written about with wit and intelligence. As they set out in their book The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac they also have a manifesto which states amongst other things, "The Citizens who support it (the NBA) affirm their right to be entertained and diverted by the league, no matter what the month" and "we ask: Is there no such thing as a beautiful Loss? A noble Faliure? A compelling Train Wreck? ... We assert our right to be amused by non-Champions."
The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac extols this manifesto as it looks at the styles, stats and stars in today's NBA. Consisting of short biographies of NBA stars each entry is written with a keen eye for the game as well as a sense of fun that energises the whole book. The almanac also contains great artwork that fits seamlessly with the text.

Fans of the NBA will get a kick out of this book. It's a book written by fans for fans and it is clear that the writers care about their subjects. Here's hoping they produce many more books like this.