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Robert Batten

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Author

Tag: scifi

New Captain Marvel Trailer

A new Captain Marvel trailer has dropped — have you seen it yet?

I'm getting pretty excited for this movie; it looks like there'll be plenty of Marvel's self-aware humour, and Captain Marvel herself is looking [email protected]

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Dystopian Giveaway to ring in the new year

I'm giving away some great dystopian books to celebrate the start of 2019!

I'm giving away:

Entry is free. By entering you agree to join my mailing list (if you're already on my mailing list, you can still enter).

Entries are open until 16 January 2019 (Australian Eastern Daylight Time).

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2018 in Books

2018 was a good year for reading. As they do every year, Goodreads have started generating member’s “year in books” reports, and it’s always fun to dive in and remind yourself what you read (you can view mine here).

The Stats

This year, I finished 65 books, which is way up for me, but is also deceptive, as that includes children’s books I read with my son. If I remove those 31 short stories, that means I completed 34 novels in 2018.

In total, I read approximately 13,000 pages, with the shortest book being only 16 pages (Stephen Biesty’s Trains) and the longest book coming in at 768 pages (The Fireman by Joe Hill).

(more…)
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No season of Doctor Who in 2019

The BBC has announced there won't be a 2019 season of Doctor Who, but we will get a New Year's special on 1 Jan (instead of the more traditional Christmas Special) and the series will return in 2020.

This news, while disappointing, isn't a surprise. There had been talk the new writing team didn't feel they could do the show justice while still churning out a full season each year, and even rumors they (and Jodie Whittaker, could depart).

I think this year's season has been excellent; episode one was a little shaky for me, but since then it seems to have gone from strength to strength, and I love Whittaker in the role of Doctor. It's going to be a long wait, but I'm confident the 2020 season will be worth it.

Update: we’ve also been gifted with a trailer for the New Year’s special. 

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Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Genres: Science-Fiction | Dystopia.

"I live for the dream that my children will be born free," she says. "That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them."

"I live for you," I say sadly.

Eo kisses my cheek. "Then you must live for more."

I’ve been getting hassled about reading this series for a while, so finally sat down and read the first installment — Red Rising. It was fantastic.

Red Rising is set on Mars in a distant future. It follows Darrow, a red, who believe themselves the first colonists on the planet, mining the resources necessary to terraform the surface and make the planet safe for full colonization.

Only, that’s not really true.

A series of events reveals to Darrow just how badly they’ve all been lied to. Left with nothing but a hunger for revenge, he agrees to become the enemy in order to bring them down.

“See. That’s what I don’t get. If I am a good man, then why do I want to do bad things?” Darrow.

What follows is a brutal adventure and Darrow’s first steps on his mission. Darrow is a great character who grows significantly throughout the book and Brown does an amazing job building a believable world. I became completely caught up in the narrative and cheered out loud on several occasions as Darrow successfully pulled off something particularly outrageous. He is wild, audacious, and driven, and I can’t wait to dive into the rest of the series.

Where to find it

If you're interested in Red Rising, you can learn more on Goodreads here, or buy a copy from Amazon here.

While you're here

If you enjoyed this recommendation, why not have a look at my other recommendations as well?

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Redshirts by John Scalzi

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that:

1. Every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces.
2. The ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations.  
3. At least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

I listened to the audible rendition of this novel, which is narrated by Will Wheaton. I mean, how could I not? It’s a comedic spoof of Star Trek narrated by Will Wheaton. It lived up to my expectations.

Redshirts is a send up of the sci-fi trope regarding crew members in red shirts dying on away missions (which originated with Star Trek). Whenever an adventure required someone to die for dramatic tension, you could be guaranteed an inconsequential character in a red shirt with minimal backstory would bite the bullet. In Redshirts, Scalzi digs into what might happen if the hapless souls became aware of their precarious existence. It’s a great concept and sets up some fantastic hijinks. I took a little longer to settle into this story, as I adjusted to the tack it was taking (after all, the entire point of this novel is poking fun at cliches), but I soon found myself absorbed with the characters and the mystery of, “What the hell is going on with the Intrepid?”

You’ll like this if…

If you love classic sci-fi like Star Trek and don’t mind making fun of it a little, or if you’re a fan of other send-ups like Galaxy Quest, then you should enjoy this novel.

Finding Redshirts

You can find Redshirts on Goodreads here, or pick up a copy on Amazon here. If you want the Will Wheaton audible version, that's over here.

If you liked this recommendation…

Why not check out my others? Each is for a book I enjoyed and would happily recommend to a friend.

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