Boldly going… nowhere.

Star Trek, Vol. 1Star Trek, Vol. 1 by Mike Johnson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Not impressed with the artwork. Flat, unimaginative, simplified.

The plot starts after the 2009 reboot movie with its altered timeline, Kirk, Spock and company looking like the actors of that movie. The plots follow the original series. Nice idea. But it also means that you know what will happen, if you are familiar with Star Trek TOS. Which means no suspense at all.

Episodes:
Where No Man Has Gone Before
The Galileo Seven

The inconsistencies threw me a little–Spock with blue eyes, Kirk with brown eyes. Is that just carelessness, on purpose or badly researched? Oh, hold on, a few pages later, Kirk’s eyes are blue. Then Spock’s eyes are brown, then blue and then brown again. Sigh. Let’s settle on carelessness.

So, the artwork was unimpressive and had inconsistencies, the plot was boring. Not worth it.

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On the backs of hippos…

River of Teeth (River of Teeth #1)River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Feral hippos in Louisiana, mercenaries and an almost-recommendation by Ilona Andrews, what’s not to like?

Classic caper. Ocean’s Eleven comes to mind. Gather your fellow gender fluid characters and go against the bad guy, Western-style and on the back of hippos…

Other than that pretty flat and predictable, no great surprises. If you are looking for a light in-between read, this is entertaining enough. I might even pick up the sequel at some point.

2017 MacHalo Challenge: Western

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Revisiting the red planet

The MartianThe Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read the book in 2015, watched the movie in 2016, just listened to the audiobook. And watched the movie a second time, whilst I was in the middle of the audiobook. Pity that Matt Damon didn’t narrate the book, that would have been fun. Well, more fun. It was fun to listen to the book. Although I think I laughed the most when I read the book for the first time. The movie adds great visuals to the story. The audiobook is more of a book light version. Not bad, nice to listen to, not essential. It was well done, he did a good job with the various accents and managed to bring across the different personalities and emotions well. Matt Damon, though. That would have been really cool…

Review of the kindle version is here.

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Previous trip to the red planet

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

Update July 2016:
I finally watched the movie today. It’s good, but the book is a lot more fun. I missed its humour the most. There was so little of Mark’s sass left. And all his struggles to survive, how he figured out how to do impossible stuff–it’s so reduced in the movie. The movie does win the last few scenes. You can’t top the visual impact of those frantic scenes with words.

A re-read might be in order!

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Update from August 2015:
A large chunk of the year has passed, I have read some great books in that time, some crappy ones and some in between. This is still the best read of 2015! If you have the slightest interest in the plot, read this!

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Original review from February 2015:

Take one smart-arse with a wacky sense of humour, give him some knowledge of botany and mechanical engineering skills, dump him on Mars and abandon him. Watch and be entertained.

“I’m pretty much fucked. That’s my considered opinion. Fucked.”

Good thing he has some bad 70s TV shows, Disco and some Hercule Poirot to take his mind of things and a never ending supply of crazy ideas, how to survive until the next mission to Mars arrives to save him…

“I would only be “in command” of the mission if I were the only remaining person. What do you know? I’m in command.”

“Damn it, Jim, I’m a botanist, not a chemist!”

“Yeah. This all sounds like a great idea with no chance of catastrophic failure. That was sarcasm, by the way.”

“How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”

“All my brilliant plans foiled by thermodynamics. Damn you, Entropy!”

I thought the snark and humour would get annoying eventually, but they didn’t. Maybe it got old a little, later on in the book, but just a tiny, weeny bit.

Halfway through the book the suspense really took off and reached escape velocity and I was biting my nails. Oh boy.

There were a few moments when the author lost me with his techno babble or I simply was too lazy to try and follow his math, but ultimately this was a great book. Entertaining, funny, suspenseful, with a plot full of surprises and a loveable main character.

“In your face, Neil Armstrong!”

“Beers for everyone if I get back to Earth.”

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