Blu-ray Review: Star Trek: Enterprise Season One

Star Trek: Enterprise Season One Blu-ray

About the Show:
STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE recounts the adventures of the pioneers of space travel who ventured into the universe 100 years before James T. Kirk helmed the starship of the same name. Set in the 22nd century, ENTERPRISE takes place in an era when interstellar travel is still in its infancy. Captain Jonathan Archer (Scott Bakula) has assembled a crew of brave explorers to chart the galaxy on a revolutionary spacecraft: Enterprise NX-01. As the first human beings to venture into deep space, these men and women will experience the wonder and mystery of the final frontier as they seek out new life and new civilizations.

Included in the Blu-Ray Set:
Disc 1:
“Broken Bow”
– Commentary
– Deleted Scenes
“Fight or Flight”
– Deleted Scenes
“Strange New World”
Special Features:
– In Conversation: Rick Berman and Brannon Braga
– Cast Introduction
– Network Presentation
– Syndication Presentation
– Archival Mission Logs:
– Creating Enterprise
– O Captain! My Captain! A Profile of Scott Bakula
– NX-01 File 02

Disc 2:
– Deleted Scene
“Terra Nova”
“The Andorian Incident”
– Text Commentary
“Breaking the Ice”
Special Features:
– Archival Mission Logs:
– Cast Impressions: Season 1
– Enterprise Secrets

Disc 3:

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SciFi Book Review: Hellhole: Awakening

Hellhole: Awakening by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson

After declaring his independence from the corrupt Constellation, rebel General Adolphus knows the crackdown is coming. Now he needs to pull together the struggling Hellhole colony, the ever-expanding shadow-Xayan settlement, and his connections with the other Deep Zone worlds. Even then, he doubts his desperate measures will be enough.

Diadem Michella Duchenet has collected a huge space fleet led by Commodore Escobar Hallholme, son of the hero who originally defeated Adolphus. They expect resistance from the General’s rebels, but who could possibly stand up to such a mighty fleet?

Adolphus knows he’s running out of time, but he still has some hope—the shadow-Xayans have banded together to defend their sacred planet with “telemancy,” but can they discover new powers to protect all the stored alien lives on the already devastated world? And when all hope seems lost, the awakened Xayans reveal information hidden even from their own followers—the existence of a bigger threat that makes even the Constellation fleet seem insignificant.

Once again, the narrative jumps around each chapter to a different character and plotline. Thankfully, there’s a handy glossary of characters in the back of the book that I referred to more than once. And after a while, I didn’t need it, as each character has a distinct voice and separate situation or goal. General Adolphus confronted with problems off world and on Hellhole, pulled in separate directions. And each complication is more urgent and life-threatening than the last. Meanwhile, Diadem Michella focuses her attention on taking out Adolphus, while her trusted advisor plots her downfall.

While the novel is lengthy, the chapters are short. And the subplots that I thought would drag eventually became the most suspenseful and exciting. Though, I did have trouble following some of the stories, especially the one following the Xayans off world. And I kept expecting the big reveal about the “bigger threat” mentioned in the synopsis, which never happened until the very end of the book. And even then it’s only briefly touched upon as a cliffhanger.

The real suspense and adventure picks up pretty quickly and made for surprisingly fast reading for the length of the book. The switching around between characters each chapter actually helped the feel of being fast-paced and engaging. I was pleasantly surprised by the direction each subplot took. Unpredictable, with complexity on an epic scale, Hellhole: Awakening is an impressive sequel that I enjoyed immensely.

SciFi Book Review: Mila 2.0

Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza

Mila was living with her mother in a small Minnesota town when she discovered she was also living a lie. She was never meant to learn the truth about her identity. She was never supposed to remember the past.

Now she has no choice but to run–from the dangerous operatives who want her terminated because she knows too much, and from a mysterious group that wants to capture her alive and unlock her advanced technology.

Evading her enemies won’t help Mila escape the cruel reality of what she is and cope with everything she has had to leave behind. However, what she’s becoming is beyond anyone’s imagination, including her own, and that just might save her life.

Mila is still grieving for her late father. Though, her memories are choppy and confusing after an accident. And her mother seems to be acting strangely around her, keeping her at arm’s length. She has only made a couple friends, since arriving in Minnesota. But when the new guy in school shows interest in her, suddenly her best friend completely changes. And not for the better. When Mila is in an accident, she discovers something even more devastating. She’s not human. And Mila’s blooming romance is cut short, when she and her mother have to flee from dangerous men who will stop at nothing to get her technology.

This science fiction adventure is an impressive debut by a talented new author. This fast-paced, action-packed thriller is impossible to put down. Mila 2.0 is non-stop excitement and suspense from beginning to end. The story unfolds in a dramatic way, with an incredibly strong and well-developed heroine. Futuristic technology paired with the intensity of a spy novel, both teens and adults alike should enjoy this one. First in a planned trilogy, I can’t wait for the next. This has certainly made the list of my favorite reads for 2013.

SciFi Book Review: Earth Girl

Earth Girl by Janet Edwards

2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. Eighteen-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ape, a throwback, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra makes up a fake military background for herself and joins a class of norms who are on Earth for a year of practical history studies excavating the dangerous ruins of the old cities. She wants to see their faces when they find out they’ve been fooled into thinking an ape girl was a norm. She isn’t expecting to make friends with the enemy, to risk her life to save norms, or to fall in love.

Jarra is bright and brave, and leaves behind an easy life to prove that she’s not truly handicapped. Her off world classmates are a variety of vibrant characters. Their interactions were engaging and brought life to the story. And Jarra’s relationship with Fian brings a bit of a romance angle as well.

This is a truly remarkable science fiction debut. It may be marketed to young adults, but like many other “YA” novels, adults will enjoy just as much. This is a true space opera – though much of Jarra’s adventures take her back to Earth as well. The drama, adventure, and character development made this novel impossible to put down. Jarra is a fascinating character whose world view is completely changed by her experiences, taking her to the brink emotionally. And Jarra makes an unforgettable impact on her classmates as well. I highly recommend this fantastic science fiction novel. Earth Girl will certainly be on my list of favorites this year.

Wasteland Book Tour: Guest Post

Authors Laurence Klavan and Susan Kim visit today for the first stop on their blog tour, promoting their new release Wasteland!

Welcome to the Wasteland. Where all the adults are long gone, and now no one lives past the age of nineteen. Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan’s post-apocalyptic debut is the first of a trilogy in which everyone is forced to live under the looming threat of rampant disease and brutal attacks by the Variants —- hermaphroditic outcasts that live on the outskirts of Prin. Esther thinks there’s more to life than toiling at harvesting, gleaning, and excavating, day after day under the relentless sun, just hoping to make it to the next day. But then Caleb, a mysterious stranger, arrives in town, and Esther begins to question who she can trust. As shady pasts unravel into the present and new romances develop, Caleb and Esther realize that they must team together to fight for their lives and for the freedom of Prin.

Our Visions of the Future:

LAURENCE: The last thing I am is a scientist or sociologist, but I imagine the future will be driven by changes in technology and the disintegration of the environment. Both things will dictate that we spend more time indoors hiding and/or being entertained. This will be bad news for schools, stores, theaters, beaches, sports arenas, restaurants, and dating, and good news for books (or whatever replaces them), television (or whatever replaces it), frozen food and enforced time with your family. I would invest in companies that make entertainment and other content for electronic devices and those that build houses on stilts and reinforced basements.

SUSAN: I just read an article online about predictions made in 1998 about 2013 (which isn’t even that long… I mean, there already was an internet, so big deal, right?) and how they got stuff wrong like assuming we’d all have robot maids by now. But anyway, here are my totally unscientific predictions, based on my own anxieties and neuroses and overall pessimism as opposed to anything REAL.

1) The environment will be beyond messed up. The bad things that happen now every few years around the world will happen all the time, everywhere: earthquakes leading to tsunamis leading to nuclear meltdowns, hurricanes breaching city walls, crop-scorching dust bowls, shrinking arctic shelves. And the creepy stuff re. runoff and chemicals in our water will get even worse…. I predict heavy-duty mutation in our not-so-distant future and a reliance on purely laboratory-made food.

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