Going Dark

Going Dark (The Red Trilogy Book 3)Going Dark by Linda Nagata
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This review is also posted at
IF you’ve gotten this far I suspect you’re on board no matter what my review says. This is the final book of The Red trilogy. We’ve followed Shelley on his journey and are along for the ride as the series comes to a dramatic, destructive conclusion.

My biggest struggle with this book (and to be honest most books like this) is the amount of physical damage the characters take along the way and yet continue to function at a higher than average level. I credit the author that she builds story time for recovery and maintenance, it’s more than many others do. There are still issues of how much a man can take in my mind, but if you can get past that you’re all good.

There are lots of excellent questions about fanaticism to be discussed in this book. I think if Shelley were shown to be working for the best interests of any country other than our own this book wouldn’t be nearly as successful. It’s better when the fanatic is on your side, right? It was nice to see doubts and changes in how characters acted.

This was a really well done wrap up to an exciting series. Solid action, good characters and a conclusion that should satisfy everyone. Once again worth the read. Fans of military science fiction will really enjoy this one.

An important side note – I really appreciated the way the publisher handled the release of these three books. I’m not as certain of the pricing scheme, but I think if I hadn’t gotten all three of these books at roughly the same time they would have been less successful.

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The Trials

The Trials (The Red Trilogy Book 2)The Trials by Linda Nagata
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This review is also posted at MilSciFi.com

I looked at this book with trepidation. I had a fear that the story was going to slide into the land of courtroom drama. It did, but only for about a third of the book. I should have listened to my own review of Ms. Nagata’s previous book. She tells a compelling story.

The story of Lt. Shelley continues in this book. There are repercussions for his actions in the first book and all of that is reviewed early on. There was a lot of real world knowledge going into the court room portion of the story. I’m glad it didn’t go on longer than it did. This was an important piece of the story but I don’t believe it would have sustained an entire book.

After the political maneuvers are settled there is a brief glimpse of civilian life. Shelly shows characteristics of PTSD and it is not something treated lightly. Of course paranoia doesn’t mean you’re wrong either. The action ramps up again quickly.

Solid action, good characters and a really well thought out continuation of the world the author created.
Once again worth the read. Fans of military science fiction will really enjoy this one.

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The Red

The Red: First Light (The Red Trilogy)The Red: First Light by Linda Nagata
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This review also appears at MilSciFi.com

This was a really well done book. I had actually read one of her other works Limit of Vision and really enjoyed that as well. She is now on the list of authors whose work I will check out every time. She tells a compelling story.

The story of Lt. Shelley dragged me through this book in about a day. It’s a fast read with believable characters. I could see and feel the near future setting. The story has a number of interesting things worthy of conversation – sometimes right up front, sometimes just lurking in the background. I could relate to the hero of the story.

Relating to the hero and having a good conversation is really what I want to recommend about this book. It’s got such a solid world and fast paced action where the danger is real that I just sort of absorbed that and really wanted to dig into motivations of the players. It is particularly relevant right now given our political atmosphere.

I have no idea if this is an acceptable thing or not – but I want to contrast this book with Control Point by Myke Cole. Both of these authors are looking at the lives of soldiers and the changing nature of what warfare is going to mean. They handle it in different ways and their protagonists work things out differently but they are both tackling difficult real world issues by way of their fiction.

Absolutely worth the read. Go and get this book.

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Star Wars TFA

There’s an awful lot out there talking about Star Wars. I’m adding to it and you can’t stop me! There will be HUGE spoilers, so if you don’t want to be spoiled, I’ll give you a warning before I start on that bit.

I am one of the many that watched the original films in the theater. I was 7 when the first film came out and I was totally into the space ships and laser sword fights. I’m still into them.

There’s nothing I can say about the “fixes” made to the original series or about the other three films that hasn’t been said many other places, many other times so I’m skipping past that.

My first reaction as I walked out of the theater was “That was magnificent”. It’s true. I was in there for more than two hours and I was superbly entertained. Maybe it was that I had relatively low expectations and they were surpassed across the board. Maybe it was nostalgia and this movie hit at just the right time for me to really enjoy it. Maybe I missed a bunch of things that when I think about them later will make me less happy with the movie.

It’s probably something of all those things combined. In the end I was happy with my experience seeing this on the big screen. Happy enough that I’m likely to go back and see it again before it leaves theaters. Yes (secretly of course) I am hoping this film knocks Titanic off the top of the all time movie money list – that’s a fluke. I’m certain a number of people were duped by the fact that it was a James Cameron film…

Anyway – Happy. Happy with Star Wars in a way that I haven’t been for a very long time. Author John Scalzi has a very well phrased (non-spoilery) review posted over at Whatever where he says a lot of what I’m thinking.



I’m not going to get too deep into why bringing Jar Jar back as the Dark Side’s Yoda equivalent was a terrible idea…

Seriously, that’s just for those folks that don’t really want to be spoiled but can’t help but look.

There’s one thing that I’m mulling over that just doesn’t feel completely right. I know it’s going to be endlessly debated by fans for a long time to come, but it doesn’t seem right that Han Solo ends the way he does. The thing that bothers me most is that it’s a classic film maneuver – the obscure character death. There’s no Darth funeral pyre, there’s no Jedi robe stomping, just a fall into foggy darkness. I suspect the actor wanted out, so the writers gave it to him but it was ignominious. It’s not at all what you expect despite being the one part of the story that was clearly telegraphed to the audience. It’s kind of like General Patton surviving all the crazy war stuff he did in his life and then dying in a freaking fender bender car accident. It just doesn’t feel right. It’s that one bit that is just stuck in my head and I can’t put the right words to it. I’m looking forward to discussing this with other folks that have seen the movie already – am I the only one?

I’m clearly not the only one who loves the original movies (and all the nostalgia that goes with them). I have hope for this franchise again. That’s the biggest thing the new movie could have given us and it certainly did give me that.

Too Subtle

A few folks have seen one of my newest t-shirts and in a very unscientific way I’d have to say about 75% of them don’t get it. I think it’s too subtle. Now, the people that DO get it think it’s hilarious. For everyone else, here’s the break down:

This is the character the t-shirt refers to: Porkins

And this is my shirt:


I got it from the folks at Off World Designs – you should check them out.

But really – is it too subtle?

Trailer Parking

This is a really busy time of year. It makes me wonder why movie studios feel the need to drop a bunch of trailers on us right in the middle of everything. I’m not particularly opposed – I’ve always thought Hollywood could make a fantastic two minute film – but wouldn’t they be better served to run these later in the winter? I’ve seen Star Trek, Independence Day 2, X-men Apocalypse and a couple of other BIG movies advertised and none of them even come out for 5 or 6 months. I would much prefer waiting on these trailers until I can get really excited for better weather and super action films.

Of all the movies with big hype out there I found the best tease of the group to be the Magical Beasts trailer. I didn’t think I’d want to see Ms. Rowling beat her wizarding world to death but this looks like it has a lot of potential. You should check it out:

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


Latin Distraction

“Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”

In a different aspect of my life I’m working with a web developer to create a new web site (professional, day job type stuff). He gave me a link to the page he’d got pulled together and asked me to check it out. When I did, I saw the above text and was completely distracted. I couldn’t decide what language it was, but my first thought was Latin. I have never been particularly good with languages, but as soon as I saw this I wanted to know what he was posting up on our website – even if it was “just a place holder”.

As it turns out that’s exactly what it is. It’s a place holder that’s been used since the days of typesetting and was started back in the 1500s. It’s average text spacing (I guess) and is meant to fill up space without actually distracting you with what it says. I suppose most people would look at it and just skip it as unreadable. I of course couldn’t let it go – I was completely distracted by it – and ended up learning something new!

It’s good to be distracted sometimes.


I’ve talked to a lot of people and written a number of blog posts about the influence that Dungeons and Dragons had on me growing up. I’ve seen more and more people putting forth that yes, they in fact were part of this movement too – or that they were directly inspired by the development of the game industry. Little things can have massive influence or they can be what keeps somebody tethered to reality. Sometimes the tether doesn’t hold as they rise so far so fast – but the memories others have will still be there. It’s important to remember that even the people we see in the media, behind all that hype and glamour, they are still people. This news bit doesn’t surprise me as much as it might others. Scott Weiland was a gamer too. Once upon a time Marilyn Manson was a kid named Brian who’s grandma wouldn’t let him in the house if he was all made up*. Knowing people before they got super famous will give a different perspective.

People connect through role playing games and board games. It’s part of the realm of Fandom I really love. Get out there, find some friends and play a game.

(*important note – that Manson story is indirect, from a friend of mine – it is not my own. It’s always amazing to me how these sort of things crop up in conversation.)

More like mild dislike…

HaterzHaterz by James Goss
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Three stars might be too much, but there’s no option for 2 1/2.

I picked this book up based on an interesting review I read of it. While I don’t think the book was necessarily a bad one, I think it suffered due to timing. By that I mean, the time when I read it I was also reading a book that I didn’t much like. The book I was reading had pop culture involved in it and I associate that very much with the internet these days. Since Haterz doesn’t happen as a story without the internet it vaguely fell in line – and it wasn’t a good line.

This book is British – both the author and the publishing company are UK based. I only mention it because reading it here in America the references to common things was a distraction. It’s not a huge thing, but it was always there. Store names that I didn’t recognize and occasional slang that I didn’t get just kept popping up ( small example – “chugging” is not the same here in the states). IF you can get past that you can likely sink into the story and just go with it.

So, the story. Clever at first and then it just seemed to go on and on and on and on. Maybe I missed something. I struggled to get to the end. The main character was just not somebody I liked. He was average and wishy-washy. He was well written enough that I did picture his neighbors being interviewed after his arrest saying, “He seemed so normal…”. I will admit the conspiracy (such as it was) did surprise me, but I wanted it to be… I’m honestly not sure what I wanted it to be. More? I pushed through because I wanted to know how it all ended. I didn’t much care for the ending. (Spoiler?) It reminded me very much of the movie ending for Fast and Furious; yes, you’re a criminal but you’ve got a hot sister so everything is ok.

I think there’s a place for this book. There’s a definite link to the times and there is a social commentary conversation to have based off this story. Maybe somebody I know will pick it up and we can chat about it. I believe it’s got really good conversation starter stuff in it and that’s a plus for any book.

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