TV Series Episode Review: Defiance Pilot (2.5 stars)

DefiancePilotPromoDefiance Pilot

First aired April 15, 2013 via the Syfy channel

2.o-2.5 out of 5 stars

Ninety minutes of my life I’ll never get back.  I don’t need another police procedural to watch, even dressed up with some passable CG.  Nor do I need overly complicated political intrigue among not just humans, but let’s throw in a few aliens and mutants.  Give me some good old action adventure or military SF, and less of the contrived relationship drama.

I didn’t find out until after watching the pilot episode, and wandering why the heck the writers and director didn’t better convey the backstory, that an ebook was released last week to help viewers ‘catch up.’  The “Essential Guide” is available free in iTunes and Amazon, but not Barnes & Noble or other retailers (yet).  Makes it somewhat difficult for me to acquire, since I’m boycotting both of the big A’s these days.

I may give this series a couple more episodes before pulling the plug.  Syfy has a high bar to surpass, since they keep cancelling prematurely their original series (case in point: Stargate: Universe, Caprica and Alphas).

Book Review: Transformation by Berg (5 Stars)

Transformation by Carol Berg

5 out of 5 stars

Read in February 2013

An absolute five star masterpiece. I read the first half in one sitting and would have finished the second half sooner had work and sleep not gotten in the way. Looking forward to reading the other two books later this year.

The Beyond Reality Group at GoodReads read and discussed Transformation during February 2013.  Click here to visit the discussion threads.

Book Review (Anthology): 50 Short Science Fiction Tales by Asimov (4 Stars)

50ShortSFtalesAsimovcover50 Short Science Fiction Tales
Edited by Isaac Asimov and Groff Conklin

3 out of 5 stars

Read in October 2008

The Fun They Had by Isaac Asimov — three stars (***) — stories featuring PoV from children rarely appeal to me so this was a cute story more than a good one.

Men Are Different by Alan Bloch — four stars (****) — Amazing for such a short (1-2 pages) story

The Ambassadors by Anthony Coucher — three stars (***) — Ironic paranormal plot

The Weapon by Fredric Brown — two stars (**)

Random Sample by T.P. Caravan — three stars (***) — PoV from a spoiled child who definitely needed a lot of discipline

Oscar by Cleve Cartmill — two stars (**)

The Mist by Peter Cartur — three stars (***)

Teething Ring by James Causey – four stars (****) — ; desperate house wife/traveling salesman but not your normal results

The Haunted Space Suit by Arthur C. Clarke — four stars (****) — this story will bring a smile to your face with the last sentence.

Stair Trick by Mildred Clingerman — two stars (**) — I may have to read this one again as it was a bit odd

Unwelcome Tenant by Roger Dee — three stars (***) — Interesting premises regarding human intelligence/progress or lack there of, but the ending was predictable.

The Mathematicians by Arthur Feldman — four stars (****) — sort of an alternate history told from the point of view of those who usually write history and as a father telling a bedtime story to his daughter.

The Third Level by Jack Finney — three stars (***) — somewhat ironic and humorous ending

Beautiful, Beautiful, Beautiful by Stuart Friedman — two stars (**) — utopia rejected and de-evolved

The Figure by Edward Gendon — three stars (***) — a time machine tale with a twist and a poke of human arrogance

The Rag Thing by David Grinnel — three stars (***) — sci-fi horror in a boarding house

The Good Provider by Marion Gross — three stars (***) — time travel expediency

Columbus Was a Dope by Robert A. Heinlein — four stars (****) — bar tending and philosophy but not in your normal tavern

Texas Week by Albert Hernhuter — four stars (****) — what is real? The backyard you see or envision?

Hilda by H.B. Hickey — four stars (****) — observation does not always reveal the whole experience

The Choice by W. Hilton-Young — two stars (**) — A very short time travel yarn that tries to be more expansive than it is

Not with a Bang by Damon Knight — four stars (****) — the last man on Earth finds the last woman and gets his just desserts

The Altar at Midnight by C.M. Kornbluth — four stars (****) — consequences of space travel and the penances of the inventor

A Bad Day for Sales by Fritz Leiber — three stars (***) — first mobile sales robot not programmed to deal with an apocalypse

Who’s Cribbing? by Jack Lewis — three stars (***) — frustrated author rejected for plagiarism repeatedly for his original works of scifi

Spectator Sport by John D. MacDonald — three stars (***) — a creepy time travel tale

The Cricket Ball by Avro Manhattan — four stars (****) — a delightful story of a professor/scientist’s experiment gone haywire with some British humor thrown in.

Double-Take by Winston K. Marks — two stars (**) — a technology tale about a new way to film and view movies

Prolog by John P. McKnight — one star (*) — Neanderthal man learning to speak

The Available Data on the Worp Reaction by Lion Miller — two stars (**) — Could be an early autism-like story, about a boy who creates a wondrous contraption out of junk but no one can communicate with him

Narapoia by Alan Nelson — two stars (**) — The science is that of psychology, with a twist, so not you’re typical tech heavy tale.

Tiger by the Tail by Alan E. Nourse — four stars (****) — Curiosity caught the quantum physicists, after the hypnotized housewife though.

Counter Charm by Peter Phillips — two stars (**) — Perhaps I’m just dense, but I don’t get this very short story. Perhaps I needed to live in the atomic crazed fifties to understand.

The Fly by Arthur Porges — four stars (****) — Riveting recall of a minature visitor in disguise

The Business, As Usual by Mack Reynolds — four stars (****) — Time traveller swindled by jaded gregarious future con man

Two Weeks in August by Frank M. Robinson — four stars (****) — Imaginary off-world vacations, or not? Cute story that will brighten your day.

See? by Edward G. Robles, Jr. — four stars (****) — Very imaginative alien invasion idea thwarted by the homeless.

Appointment at Noon by Eric Frank Russell — three stars (***) — Not sure this actually qualifies as a science fiction tale, but it definitely had punch.

We Don’t Want Any Trouble by James H. Schmitz — four stars (****) — This is the second short story I’ve read by Schmitz recently and he’s definitely a great writer. This short story is similar to the Thing but even more insidious.

Built Down Logicially by Howard Schoenfeld — four stars (****) — Very short, cute and crisp.

An Egg a Month from All Over by Idres Seabright — three stars (***) — Sort of creepy

The Perfect Woman by Robert Sheckley — three stars (***) — Future domestic bliss tarnished

The Hunters by Walt Sheldon — three stars (***) — People hunted to extinction with a twist

The Martian and the Magician by Evelyn E. Smith — four stars (****) — Son doesn’t want to inherit father’s magic shop and ends up inheriting much more

Barney by Will Stanton — two stars (**) — Scientist’s diary tracking his experiments successes and failures

Talent by Theodore Sturgeon — four stars (****) — Absolute power corrupts absolutely, unless it’s absolutely arrogant to the point of stupidity.

Project Hush by William Tenn — four stars (****) — Secret space race to the moon

The Great Judge by A.E. Van Vogt — three stars (***) — Definitely a warning to all scientists to take an ethics class

Emergency Landing by Ralph Wililams — three stars (***) — The night shift is either very dull or very weird.

Obviously Suicide by S. Fowler Wright — three stars (***) — And ending the anthology on a pratical note, leave it to the women to do the right thing and make the big decisions.

Cumlative rating averaged for all stories : 3.16