Salut, 

Looks like I’m not going to get my wish re US elections given the weekend’s revelations. It does stink of “dirty tricks” – one wonders what this weekend is going to hold.

In slightly more upbeat news: Star Wars Battlefront 2 (not going to be confusing at all…) has been announced for a release date in the latter half of next year. More of the same or will they develop the aerial combat & single player modes? Bring in clone troopers, battle droids etc from the prequel trilogy? I’m intrigued by the news but not especially excited as Battlefront has dropped so far down my playlist of online games I revisit. Multiplayer combat maps are all very well and good but there’s a distinct lack of variety that the original PC games had. 

I also managed to continue resisting purchase of Civ VI. As have many other civ fanatics that I know. I’ve heard some good things, some bad things from those few who did crack but by far the biggest criticism is the UI. Mess that up and you lose the fan base…

Other odds and sods: last night’s quiz saw the Island of Yoshi’s pushed into second place and again, because I was overruled with my answers which turned out to be correct. Being the caring, sharing person that I am, I held off a whole five seconds before rubbing it in. Still, the food was good, desserts looked amazing (had to resist the Malteaser cheesecake) and the poison of choice was Leffe Blonde. All in all, a much more pleasant evening that recent quizzes which have felt a little fraught. Personal issues, y’understand.

Book news: For the most part, I’ve been re-reading the Star Trek Vanguard series, with half a mind to go straight into the Seeker series of novels. Last week the second in John Jackson Miller’s Prey Trilogy was released so I interrupted Vanguard for this. It’s TNG’s salute to 50 years of Star Trek (TOS had it’s nod earlier this year) which ties in the events of Star Trek III into the wider Trek universe, developing more on Commander Kruge, Klingon politics and a heavy focus on Riker and Worf.

I’ve enjoyed JJM’s work in the Star Wars Universe – Kenobi was a brilliant novel, KOTOR comic books were a great tribute to the games – still haven’t gotten around to Knight Errant tho’. But these Trek novels feel kinda weak, particularly in relation to some of the better stories that have been released in the last couple of years. I cite Rise Like Lions, Disavowed and The Missing as particularly good books as well as Uncertain Logic and Live by the Code. Despite a promise by the authors to get away from what has been criticised as “Star Trek West Wing” with Articles of the Federation and back to exploration, the Prey Trilogy goes right back to the politics, albeit from the Klingon perspective.

My biggest criticism of the trilogy is that the characterisation of the regular characters has been given a massive kick in the balls. It’s been all but eliminated in favour of the narrative which has been enjoyable but horribly predictable. I had worked out Braxton Cross’ backstory half way through the first book (before he was so named), I worked out how the Unsung would be used/abused, likely disposition and fate of Korgh. I compare it to Kenobi and although I suspected “Plug-Eye’s” true identity early on (trying to avoid spoilers), I didn’t see the wham in relation to Orrin Gault.

Many of the Klingon characters have regressed into the typical Rah-Rah types rather than the more three dimensional ones as shown in Keith RA DeCandido’s Klingon books. I’ll grant you that with many links to the “past”, there has to more of that behaviour but I still felt the balance was way off. So I’m hoping that the third book in the trilogy (end November 2016) will show a vast improvement over the previous two books but all in all, not the best tribute to 50 years of Trek. One can only hope that next year with 30 years of TNG to be marked, there’ll be something better in the offing.

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