Captain_Bravo

What's the last non-Trek book you've read?

183 posts in this topic

Someday I will read more of Titan's stuff.  I liked the Eighth Doctor books I read.  And Cornell is a great Who writer. The books I read were collected from the comic strips that went out in Doctor Who Magazine as each Doctor was still on the air (the strip has been running almost as long as the show itself has, just in various different outlets), and I have to say this run in the 80s is fairly good.

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Finished up the second Volume of the Sixth Doctor's comic run from Doctor Who magazine in the 80s.  For the most part, I would say the whole run of his comics that ran concurrent with Colin Baker's time on TV, are actually stronger than the show itself was at the time. More consistent storytelling, neat ideas, total weirdness and experimenting in styles and strange beings...and because it was printed in Black and White?  The coat isn't as hard to look at.  Unfortunately, the final comic story in the collection, "The World Shapers" (which also happens to be the title of the collected Volume as well), is kinda lousy.  Overly reliant on continuity and came up with some continuity connections in Who-lore which don't mesh well with my understanding of things and also just felt like too much continuity porn.  But beyond that weak final story, I enjoyed both Volumes of the Sixth Doctor's comic run (as well as the run fronted by the Fifth Doctor). 

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7 hours ago, Sehlat Vie said:

Humans, 2.5 & 6.

humans_series_2_group.jpg?itok=qe_ylfeP

Holy smokes, this show is SOOOO good now.  It's officially 'must-see' TV.  
This is everything that Caprica wanted to be, and perhaps a leaner, meaner version of what Westworld should be.

Next week is the two-hour season finale, and I can hardly wait. 

But I suppose you watched it, rather than reading it? :giggle:

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1 hour ago, Sim said:

But I suppose you watched it, rather than reading it? :giggle:

Senior moment.... My bad. :P :giggle:

Posting and fatigue do not mix...;)

Trying to right my own accidental derail...:P

Actually I have recently read a very good non-ST book (non-fiction) called "Mars in the Movies: A History" by Thomas Kent Miller. It's a chronological review of the evolution regarding the depiction of movies and TV shows that have depicted either travel to Mars or Martians invading Earth.  The author, Thomas Kent Miller, is a former NASA/JPL employee and has some unique insights into the subject matter.   Though I'm not entirely sure I agree with his analyses of "The Martian" and "Conquest of Space."  I found his review of "Robinson Crusoe on Mars" to be very accurate and interesting as well.  

For Mars-nerds like myself?  Well worth a look...

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After taking a little longer to power through the second Volume of Sixth Doctor comics from Doctor Who Magazine, I decided not to go right into the Seventh Doctor comic run, as I was less in the mood for his Doctor even in comic form, and more in the mood for the Eighth Doctor.  Truth is I'm often more in the mood for his Doctor, but I also have read and heard that he had a stronger more consistent run in the comics...so I skipped ahead to his first volume, titled "Endgame," and I clearly was enjoying it more than the latter half of the Sixth Doctor's run, because I sped right through it.  It had nice tie ins to earlier comics of the Fifth and Sixth Doctor, yet forged a whole new path with Izzy, who is a very likable companion. Based on that, very excited to see where the Eighth Doctor's adventures went in the comics. 

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The Eighth Doctor strip was pretty great, must've been, or I wouldn't be plowing through it so quickly.  The second Volume of his run, titled "The Glorious Dead" is top notch Doctor Who, no matter the medium.  It starts with a story called "The Fallen", which is followed up with several stories that build up to the big finale of "The Glorious Dead," and it is a top notch run of stories that effectively serve as a genuine sequel to the TV movie, and quite frankly, it is a better story than that movie ever was.  We see the return of Grace and what happened to her, we see the Master get a grand return from his death at the end of that movie, and it just builds nicely and everything flows. I enjoyed the first Volume of Eighth Doctor Comics, it had a nice run of stories with a decent arc, but this second arc was even better. I can kind of picture these comics as a series that could've been following the TV movie (though had the show ever been made into a series it would've never been this good based on what ideas they seemed to have for the show...none of the people involved in this would've been there for the show).  The comics, thus far, really seem like a good start to the Eighth Doctor's adventures, and I can kind of picture them taking place before Big Finish and Charley and everywhere he has gone since Big Finish got McGann behind the mic.  The comics are like the early days of his Doctor to me.  For a Doctor with such a short lifespan on TV, he has one hell of a prolific set of adventures to his name.

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Volume Three of Doctor Who Magazine's collected Eighth Doctor comics.  Volume Three kicks off the beginning of the strip being run in full color, and also features the final arc featuring the Eighth Doctor's companion Izzy, who joined at the very beginning of his comic run.  I have to say, the plotting of story arcs within small stories with big old payoffs at the end...I mean I always saw Buffy as a major influence to Russell T Davies relaunch of Doctor Who, but knowing he was a fan of this comic run has really highlighted that he could've just as easily taken some creative spark from this run.  Each Volume has really felt like a distinct season, in much the same way as the RTD era launched Doctor Who with a season long arc mixed in with individual stories.  And they are so entertaining and just feel like proper Doctor Who.  It is almost a shame to see Izzy go, perfect companion material, but she had a good long run, and her arc really came together beautifully in the end...the timid girl who loved sci-fi and struggled with the fact that she was adopted, and by the end of it she is stronger, is far more confident in knowing who she is, and accepts that her adoptive parents actually love her.  I love that early on there was this red herring of "she doesn't know her real parents" as if that would come into play at some point...but in the end?  She realizes that her real parents are the ones that adopted and raised her and loved her all those years.  Beautiful stuff.

Hope I didn't go to spoilery for anyone who may care to read these great books someday...they are definitely recommended for Who fans...and while I touched on some thematic stuff I loved, I think the real meat I left out...the stuff that makes it really worthwhile I tried not to mention.

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Another day, another Doctor Who Comic Strip Volume under my belt. This time it is Volume Four of the Eighth Doctor, which showcases the end of his era fronting Doctor Who Magazines' strip before the show returned on TV and the Ninth Doctor would take over.  They were even offered to show the regeneration by Davies...but after certain rules put in place by RTD and the BBC took hold...it ultimately came down to DWM deciding it might be best to just not have the regeneration (they couldn't show Eccleston prior to him being on TV, they could only show him with Rose, and they couldn't even do one story with the current companion of Destrii staying on with the Ninth Doctor)...so they decided against it, and in the end have McGann not regenerate into Eccleston in the strip, and have he and Destrii walk off into the sunset after a chat about the importance of change, and that they really have no idea what could lie just over that hill. It is actually a rather brilliant ending.  It ends this rather consistent and phenomenal run for the Eighth Doctor in the comics (and that run lasted 9 years) so very well. It is a happy ending, one that leaves potential for more adventures while subtly acknowledging that those adventures do not lie within the pages of the Magazine anymore.  And quite frankly, not having the regeneration means we got Night of the Doctor...and who would ever want to lose that (especially as having read the script for the alternate ending that they put in this collection...it doesn't hold a candle to what Moffat eventually gave us).  So I am glad they went with the ending they did, I can see this Doctor continuing on to have more adventures, probably his going on to meet Charley and C'rizz and Lucy and so on in the Big Finish tales. Those feel like they come later to me. 

Anyhow...this final collection of his run is a solid set of stories, but being that they did a bit of standalone stories with the Doctor on his own, and then began a new set of adventures with Destrii that ended up kind of cut short (though ended nicely in the epic "The Flood"), it just doesn't have the same kind of flow and build up and payoff that the other collections had.  The other Volumes really did feel like a thought out season of Doctor Who. The final volume felt like some assorted adventures of the Eighth Doctor with no real running arc, which probably wouldn't have been the case had the new show not returned and probably cut short their initial plans for Destrii as a companion.  She had only really gotten started in the final story.  All in all though?  I highly recommended finding  copy of each Volume of the Eighth Doctor's DWM comic run. A lot of fun reading.  I had enjoyed going through the Fifth and Sixth Doctor's run (though the Sixth Doctor's seemed to run out of a bit of steam in it's second volume), but the Eighth Doctor's was great, no doubt helped by the fact that they were totally free from the show being on the air, and they decided to find one writer to really write the bulk of the scripts at the time. 

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Posted (edited)

This afternoon, I read "Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators and the Mystery of the Invisible Dog" by M. V. Carey. It's only 120 pages, so it was a quick read.

Die-drei-Fragezeichen-Buch-und-der-Karpa

One of my favorite classics of the "Three Investigators" series. :)

IMO, next to the creator of the series, Robert Arthur, the author M. V. Carey wrote the best classic novellas. I especially like her colorful "California in the 60s/70s" vibe -- as in this novel, the esoterics guy into Eastern mysticism and meditation. She has a knack for colorful nonconformist characters.

I guess it's been more than 25 years since I last read that novel, though I'm very familiar with the audio play based on it. It's interesting to compare the original with the adaption, to find out which elements were shortened for the audio play.

Edited by Sim

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And another one:

"Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators and the Mystery of the Talking Skull" by Robert Arthur.

Die-drei-Fragezeichen-Buch-und-der-sprec

Another real classic from the series, one of the only ten novellas the creator of the series wrote.

It was one of my favorites when I read it almost 30 years ago. :)

 

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And a third:

"Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators and the Secret of Phantom Lake" by William Arden.

Buch-die-drei-Fragezeichen-und-der-Phant

Another classic IMO, and one of Arden's best episodes in the series.

It's a huge fun to revisit the series, this time in written form. :)

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I had finally reading Lord of the Rings: Return of the King a couple weeks ago.   

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The first novel of the series: "Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators and the Secret of Terror Castle" by Robert Arthur.

40006143z.jpg

It was nice to read how the whole series started ... in the audio play, all these elements were cut, because they chose a different order and this episode wasn't released as the first.

It's great fun to read about Alfred Hitchcock as a fictional character, and how the three boys sneak into his office. :)

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And another classic from the series: "Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators and the Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot" by Robert Arthur.

Robert-Arthur-Alfred-Hitchcock+Die-drei-

A classic of the classics... book #2, and in the audio play order, it's #1. We learn how the three boys receive the parrot that remains in their office for the rest of the series. And villian Hugenay appears for the first time. :)

I read this before, almost 30 years ago. So the reading was almost a nostalgia overload... :D

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Another graphic novel collection of Doctor Who comics, this time it is the collected Doctor Who Magazine run of the Ninth Doctor, and as his run was particularly short, not a very big run for him.  Knowing that this started not long after the Eighth Doctor's great run ended, kind of really makes this look a rather weak collection.  I am glad they didn't do the regeneration in the comics, or even their idea of a possible "Ninth Doctor: Year One" run (which considering that Eccleston left so quickly and they'd have to shift gears yet again to Tennant?  It probably wouldn't have worked out too well), and I think that is the real reason RTD sort of put in place rules that tied the hands of DWM for the strip and what they had to do with the Ninth Doctor...he might've already known that it wouldn't be a long life for the Ninth Doctor in the comics. It would be problematic to let them set up an arc for Nine and Destrii that again would have to be cut short...and long run it was probably just a wise move to make it a comic starring the Ninth Doctor and Rose. New readers were going to be coming to the magazine when the new show hit, don't confuse them with a comic that has it's own continuity and storylines going. Start fresh, and the two leads of that new show were so clearly the Doctor AND Rose...the magazine needed to reflect that, it wasn't just a branding thing for the BBC or RTD...it was a good branding decision for the Magazine in the end. 

Anyhow the collection features all the stories that ran during his short lived era as the lead of the strip, which was 4 stories, as well as another one off story that was from a Doctor Who Annual...and they are okay Who comics, nothing too exciting or new, no real Arc to behold, not even that many stories.  It seems like they didn't have much of a chance to find their footing with the strip during his run...and after such a long run following the Eighth Doctor in style with basically two major writers for the whole run? It isn't surprising that a short run for the Ninth Doctor was never going to be too brilliant. They had to shift gears, with the main writer of the Eighth Doctor comics taking a step back and Editing the strip rather than writing the scripts, and they didn't have a lot of time to create something special for his era. 

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Posted (edited)

This time, a modern novella from the series: "Alfred Hitchcock -- Die drei ??? --- Poltergeist" by André Marx, episode #73.

7969819._UY200_.jpg

This was one of the first two novels that revived the series in 1997, after it had been in a crisis for around 7 years:

After the original 46 episodes, there followed the "Crimebusters" revival (episodes 47-56), where the three boys are 2 or 3 years older, drive cars and have girlfriends... and the cases are mere crime cases, rather than mysteries. When after the cancellation of the American series, the German publisher picked up the copyrights, episodes 57-72 were written by a very mediocre Austrian author in a similar, "Crimebusters"-like style. So the sales of the series stagnated.

Many fans consider the episodes 47-72 (ca. 1990-1996) the weakest period of the series.

But in 1997, the publisher hired a team of new authors, most of all André Marx (only 24 years old then and a fan himself), who successfully revived the series: Marx took the first classic 30 episodes as a close orientation for the style of his novels, even revived recurring characters from the early period, but added depth to the characters and carefully introduced new styles here and there, while remaining respectful to the original.

IMO, André Marx is clearly the best modern author of the series, a worthy successor of the original authors.

Edited by Sim

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And again a classic from the series: "Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators in The Mystery of the Green Ghost" by Robert Arthur.

Die-drei-Fragezeichen-und-der-gr%C3%BCne

Another real classic, one out of the 10 novellas written by the creater of the series in the 1960s.

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Posted (edited)

And a modern novella: "Alfred Hitchcock -- Die drei ??? -- Nacht in Angst" (="Night of Fear") by André Marx.

41AH72KN9CL._SX313_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

It's episode #86 from 1999, and another of Marx's successful restart novels.

This time, the author is a bit bolder and introduces a new kind of storytelling: The whole story is told in real-time. The whole action takes place between 7pm and 12pm. The novella also is more action-oriented than most others.

Edited by Sim

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Posted (edited)

I can't stop with the "Three Investigators" novels... they're such easy quick reads! :laugh:

Now I just finished "Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators and the Mystery of the Singing Serpent" by M. V. Carey. One of my absolute favorites!

Die-drei-Fragezeichen-und-die-singende-S

I was captivated by this classic novel, when I first read it when I was 9 or so... and still today, I think it's a really decent young reader mystery. Was LA in the 70s really full of weird cults? Anyway, great novella! :thumbup:

Also love the fact that a girl the same age helps the three boys this time. Allie is one of my favorite recurring characters!

Edited by Sim

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The most recent novel of the series I've read so far: "Die drei ??? und die feurige Flut" (="The Three Investigators and the Flood of Fire") by Kari Erlhoff. It's episode #148 from 2009.

Die-drei-Fragezeichen-und-die-feurige-Fl

As you can see, they are no longer using Alfred Hitchcock's name... their license expired around 2005 or so.

It's one of the first novels by young author Kari Erlhoff, and the first (and so far only) modern novel to feature Allie Jamison (from the classic novel "Singing Serpent") as a guest character. Because of that, I am very fond of the audio play based on this novel, and was very curious about finally reading it in the written form.

But my impression is mixed. I'm not sure I really like Erlhoff's writing style, which departs considerably from the classic style (moreso than Marx's modern novels). There is more focus on casual banter between the characters, and on action, than on tension or observation, which used to be an intriguing trait of the classic novels. I also feel the story is not quite as well thought through as others I read. (In the audio play, this isn't so obvious, due to the dialogue-based nature of that medium.)

So... not bad, but I'd say it's not quite as good as other novels from the series I read so far.

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And the third novella with Allie Jamison as guest character: "Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators and the Mystery of Death Trap Mine" by M. V. Carey.

Die-drei-Fragezeichen-und-die-Silbermine

A pretty decent fraud mystery with some "high school holiday" flavor thrown in, and absolutely entertaining, albeit IMO not quite as good as "Singing Serpent". I miss the weird "California in the 70s" characters.

Still, a decent classic.

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"On Tyranny. Twenty lessons from the twentieth century" by Timothy Snyder.

Short, straight to the point, smart and easy to understand. We need such books these days.

You can read it in an hour, yet it contains all basic reminders about fascism and tyranny you need to be reminded of.

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And more "Three Investigators" novellas: Episode #136, "Die drei ??? und das versunkene Dorf" (="The Sunken Village") by André Marx from 2007.

Andre-Marx-Die-drei-und-das-versunkene-D

A pretty decent read, and once again, I got the impression Marx really is the best of the modern authors.

And episode #162, "Die drei ??? und der schreiende Nebel" (="The Screaming Fog") by Hendrik Buchna from 2013.

51-v8aVn7+L._SY445_QL70_.jpg

The first novel by Buchna I read -- a really good writing style, the novel contains many very thrilling moments, well written. But the story is really too far-fetched to be believable.

 

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Finished up "The Iron Legion," which the first of two Volumes of the Collected Fourth Doctor strips from Doctor who Magazine.  It is decent entertainment, not as strong a run of stories as the strip developed into, but these are the early days of the DWM strip, so while they are entertaining, they hadn't quite developed their voice as a strip yet. 

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"Alfred Hitchcock's The Three Investigators and the Mystery of the Fiery Eye" by Robert Arthur. Another of the very early Robert Arthur classics.

Die-drei-Fragezeichen-und-der-Fluch-des.

I hadn't read it before, but of course I'm familiar with the audio play based on it (like with all of the audio plays :P ).

 

And a modern novella from the series: "Alfred Hitchcock -- Die drei ??? -- Tödliche Spur" (="Deadly Track") by André Marx. It's episode #89 from 1999.

71MAVE618DL._SY264_BO1,204,203,200_QL40_

Marx did a great job: After the revival of the series (from episode #73 on), he wrote many novels inspired by the classic style, guest characters from the early episodes reappeared -- like in this case, Morton, chauffeur of the Rolls Royce. For the first time, Morten wasn't just a side character, but got an entire story focusing on him! Was a great read. :)

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