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review 2018-05-26 19:23
A deeper exploration of the dilemmas in a Star Trek trope
The Joy Machine - Theodore Sturgeon,James Gunn

Of all of the Star Trek novels that I read, there are none that I look forward to reading more than the ones by authors who also scripted episodes of the show itself, in no small part because they developed the canon upon which the entire series is based. Though Theodore Sturgeon's novel was developed from a plot outline for the series by another author (the under-appreciated James Gunn), to read a work originating from the writer of "Shore Leave" and the Vulcan-defining classic "Amok Time" was an exciting prospect, especially considering its origins as a proposed episode for the series.

 

The result proved every bit as good as I thought it would be. In it the Enterprise is dispatched to Timshel, a planet that has quarantined itself off from the rest of the Federation. Beaming down, Captain Kirk finds a population that has turned away from intellectual pursuits to a life structured around laboring daily for a nightly dose of stimulation from the Joy Machine a computer created to provide a life of perfect happiness for the people. As Kirk investigates further, he grapples with the moral questions entailed in ending the Joy Machine's rule, as well as the frightening prospect of falling under the machine's control himself.

 

Sturgeon and Gunn's plot evokes a lot of the tropes that often recurred in the original series, echoing in particular the first season episode "Return of the Archons" in which a computer's rule established a tranquil population by eliminating individual expression. What sets the novel apart from the episode is the extended exploration of the implications of the Joy Machine's rule. Often this takes the form of dialogues between various characters, as the Enterprise crew argues with both the computer and its subjects, who readily and even eagerly accept the computer's programmed regimen and who raise larger questions about the purpose of  human lives in the process. In this respect it evokes the moral and ethical dilemmas posed in some of the best episodes of the show, which are explored in greater depth than was ever possible due to the constraints posed by the format. As such Gunn's novel possesses a fidelity to the original series often lacking in other products of the franchise, while at the same time showing just what fresh possibilities exist by exploring its themes using other media.

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review 2018-05-25 22:00
Absolutely fantastic!
Transformers: IDW Collection Phase Two Volume 3 - Jimbo Salgado,Nick Roche,Alex Milne,John Barber,James Lamar Roberts

This is just splendid: a lot of storylines are coming together, and it's beautiful to watch it all in one go.  

 

I think I'm gonna reread all this next year, too, to be honest.

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review 2018-05-25 17:22
Loving phase two
Transformers: IDW Collection Phase Two Volume 2 - Livio Ramondelli,Chris Metzen,Flint Dille,John Barber,James Lamar Roberts

The spotlights were mixed, but I'm truly enjoying both More Than Meets the Eye and Robots in Disguise.   This is a fascinating and illuminating reread and I get more and more every time I read these comics again.   MTMtE is particularly nuanced, and I am continuing to enjoy that the most.

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review 2018-05-25 16:07
Exploring an untapped part of the Star Trek universe
The Rift - Peter David

Returning to Vega after their adventure on Talos IV, the U.S.S. Enterprise encounters a rift in space. After taking his ship through the rift, Captain Christopher Pike and his crew meet the Calligar, an advanced civilization in the far-off Gamma Quadrant; while initial interactions are promising, the Enterprise is forced to return to Federation space before the rift closes. Thirty three years later the rift opens again, giving the Federation the opportunity to renew the contact, this time with a team led by Captain James Kirk in the Enterprise-A, though this time the Calligar leader precipitates a crisis that jeopardizes both amicable relations and the Federation representatives sent to establish them,

 

On one level it's surprising that, even after a profitable half-century of developing the Star Trek franchise, so little has been done with the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise that preceded Kirk's merry band; indeed, there are even more works about author-created characters than there are ones featuring Pike's time in command. Peter David uses the limited material from the original pilot to provide a depiction of a very different Enterprise crew, giving his work a freshness that is often lacking in a Star Trek novel. His concept of a periodically-opening rift to a distant part of the galaxy is also an interesting one, serving as a nice way to tie events to the Enterprise crew with whom fans are more familiar. Yet the second half of the novel is more disappointing, as the plot follows tired characters into well-worn grooves with a predictable course of events. Though David enlivens this part with some knowing jokes and a nice little twist, it still doesn't live up to the originality and promise of the first half of the book.

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review 2018-05-25 07:31
Offered to the Cyborg (Cy-Con #2) by Jessica Coulter Smith
Offered to the Cyborg (Cy-Con #2) - Jessica Coulter Smith

Offered to the Cyborg is the second book in the Cy-Con series, but can be read as a standalone. Shaylee was kidnapped from Earth, and has been used and passed around as a slave since then. Although she has had children, she has never found pleasure in the making of them, due to the pain and humiliation she has endured. So when Wrylack enters the medbay where she is being held, she really has no idea of what is going to happen next as he treats her in a way she is totally unused to.

 

This is a fast-paced story that will draw you in and leave you wanting that HEA for Shaylee, Wrylack, and Shaylee's babies. There were no editing or grammatical errors that disrupted my reading flow, and the scenes flowed from one to the next. The characters were enjoyable and complemented each other. This is the first book in this series I have read, but I am intrigued now about other stories featuring other characters that I haven't read yet. Norvak definitely needs his own story!

 

For a quick and enjoyable Sci-Fi steamy read, I can definitely recommend this one.

 

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and my comments here are my honest opinion. *

 

Merissa

Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

 

Source: archaeolibrarian.wixsite.com/website/single-post/2018/05/25/Offered-to-the-Cyborg-Cy-Con-2-by-Jessica-Coulter-Smith
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