Tuesday 26 December 2023

Books Received in December 2023

Many thanks to Kensington Books for an eARC of Escape Velocity.

Escape Velocity by Victor Manibo - I love murder mysteries in space, and this one adds in the class disparity that makes it topical. Out May 21st, 2024.

A decades-old murder looms over the glamorous clientele of a high-end space hotel . . . while an unforeseen threat percolates in the service corridors. The guests are about to experience the hospitality they deserve.

Space Habitat Altaire is the premier luxury resort in low Earth orbit, playground of the privileged and the perfect location to host reunions for the Rochford Institute. Rochford boasts only the best: the wealthiest, most promising students with the most impressive pedigrees. Complete with space walks, these lavish reunions are a prime opportunity for alumni to jockey for power with old friends and rivals—and crucially, to advance their applications to live in an exclusive Mars settlement. Earth is dying, and only the best deserve to save themselves.

Aboard the Altaire for their 25th reunion, finance magnate Ava pursues the truth about her brother’s murder during their senior year, which cast a dark shadow over their time at Rochford. Laz, ambassador and political scion, hopes to finally win Ava’s heart. Sloane, collecting secrets to conceal his family’s decline, angles for a key client. And Henry, heir to a healthcare empire, creates an unorthodox opportunity to get to Mars in a last-ditch effort to outrun a childhood secret.

While these erstwhile friends settle scores and rack up points, they fail to notice that other agendas are afoot at the Space Habitat Altaire, and their own futures aren’t the only ones at stake—“the best” will soon regret underestimating those they would leave behind on Earth.


Thursday 21 December 2023

Happy Holidays!

Wishing a very merry Christmas to those who celebrate it!

Tuesday 12 December 2023

Movie Review: Soldier

Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson, 1998
IMDb listing

Todd 3456 is a soldier, trained from birth. When a squad of upgraded solders come of age, the older generation are retired. After a test between the squads ends badly, Todd is presumed dead and dumped on a waste planet. There he finds survivors from a crashed colony ship and discovers what a family is.

This was a surprisingly good film. The story of Todd trying to fit into regular society while he clearly has massive PTSD was unexpectedly sad and touching.

The special effects looked rather cheesy and their grasp of space travel is pure science fiction but those are very minor elements of the film and easily overlooked.

The last third of the film is one massive fight scene with lots of death and explosions.

I really enjoyed this film.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

Movie Review: Oxygen

Directed by: Alexandre Aja, 2021
IMDb listing

A woman wakes up in a medical cryogenic unit with no memory of how she got there and her oxygen supply quickly running out.

This is a pretty good French science fiction movie centered around a single actor. Watching the woman try various ways to get out of the medical unit, get help, and regain her memories, alternates between horrifying and inspiring. She’s clever and comes up with numerous ideas. The actress, Melanie Laurent, does an amazing job in a challenging role.

As an outside observer, there is a twist that’s easy for us to guess but understandably hard for her to consider. She did annoy/frustrate me a few times, but given the circumstances, her panic was deserved.

The special effects were decent. The main set had lots of detail and really felt claustrophobic and highly scientific.

There are a few gory bits and one very successful jump scare but on the whole the horror is more due to being trapped in a box with a timer counting down.

If you like psychological horror and don't mind subtitles, this is a good film.