July 2013

The sixteenth book in the series.

Publication year: 2005
Format: Audio
Narrator: Stephanie Daniel
Running Time: 8 hrs and 20 minutes

Christmas has come to Melbourne and the Fisher household is spending it in relative quiet. However, Phryne is thinking of attending the Last Good Party of 1928 which is going to be organized by two of Phryne’s old friends, Isabella and Gerard Templar who are called the Golden Twins because they look perfect and are rich. They’ve come to Australia and Phryne suspects that they might be running away from something. However, when Phryne received threatening letters which warn her not to attend the party, she of course decides to go. Then a mysterious Christmas present is left on her doorstep and it turns out to have a deadly snake it. Fortunately, Phryne’s cat Ember is nearby and kills it efficiently. Now, Phryne is determined to find out who is behind it all.

Unfortunately, her Chinese lover Lin Chung can’t join her because he’s going to a funeral so she’s going alone and meeting interesting new people. Dot and Mr. Butler visit her every day but Phryne stays alone in the Warribee Manor house in the luxurious Iris room. The house is old but has been renovated in a way that horrifies Dot and Phryne. Phryne gets to meet a lot of new people, including female polo players who are at first ridiculed for wanting to play in such a manly sport, a Goat lady and her goat, and several handsome young men. But then youngsters are kidnapped.

I enjoyed the domestic Christmas scenes at the start of the book but for a new reader they could be really slow. Mrs Butler allowed Phryne’s adoptive daughter Ruth to prepare the Christmas dinner and Ruth is charmingly worried about it.

I was a bit surprised that Phryne’s household would just add the mysterious present under the tree. Surely by now she has so many enemies that they should have known better. Dot is very concerned about the party and thinks that Phryne will be seduced into all kinds of wickedness.

The book has a lot of riddles and I really enjoyed those, although I couldn’t figure them out before Phryne. The cast of characters is quite large and most of them are new but I wouldn’t mind seeing them again, especially the polo playing women.

The ending was a bit too convenient but I guess that goes with a Christmas tale.


Collects issue 1-4 of the miniseries.

Writers: Seamus Fahey, David Reed
Artists: Nigel Raynor, Ivan Nunes
Publication year: 2009
Publisher: Dynamite

The miniseries gives an alternate interpretation of how Final Five started. The story starts in Kobol, 4,000 years before the fall of the Twelve Colonies in the hands of the cylons. Kobol is in turmoil. The seer Pythia is telling the people that they have to change their government. Currently they have thirteen tribes with delegates in the Quorum. Pythia says that the divine messengers are telling her that they should unite into one tribe and get rid of their idols and temples. However, she’s sentenced to die for her heresy. We see that Caprica Six is apparently this “messenger” because her image is reflected in a pool of water when Pythia is in the maniac asylum. Michael Tigh visits Pythia in the asylum and he’s clearly in love with her. Tigh turns out to be the delegate of the Thirteenth Tribe in the Quorum. When he gets out of the Quorum hall, a mysterious figure kill him. Then Michael Tigh awakes aboard a resurrection ship. Apparently, the thirteenth tribe are humans who have learned the secrets of resurrection.

However, that has brought on some problems: their death aren’t considered crimes because they aren’t really dead and they’ve become infertile.

Members of the thirteenth tribe are rioting on the streets in order to get their humans rights back while other tribes consider them heretics and plant bombs on the resurrection facilities. Oh, and the members of the thirteenth tribe are atheists which is, of course, their greatest crime.

I was a bit confused when I read the first comic. I was trying to figure out which of the final five are which and why is Saul Tigh called Michael Tigh. Turns out, he isn’t; this is a generation before our familiar Galactica characters. Michael is Saul’s father and of course they have a very strained relationship. However, three of the five are seen only briefly, most of the plot revolves around Ellen and Saul Tigh. Also, I can’t figure out just what the blazes Caprica Six is doing there? She seems to be in heads of people who’ve never seen her in real life – long before her model even existed.

Other than that, I really like the idea that the final five started out as humans are therefore really different from the metal cylons. In this comic, the final five built the other human models and aren’t really “related” to the metal cylons at all.

The first book in the trilogy based on the TV show Babylon 5.

Publication year: 1998
Format: print
Page count: 267
Publisher: Warner Bros.

In the year 2115 telepathy was recognized by Earth’s scientific community as real. Earth was still taking it’s first steps into space and hadn’t encountered any aliens. When humans realized that telepathy wasn’t a hoax, they became scared and started to blame the telepaths about pretty much everything. During those first years, telepaths (and people accused of being telepaths) are hunted and killed, until Senator Lee Crawford founds the MRA, the Metasensory Regulation Authority. However, he doesn’t do it out of kindness; on the contrary, he wants more power to himself and he sees the telepaths as a way to do it. He plots and schemes to get into his position.

However, some telepaths don’t want to join Crawford’s dream. They band together so that they can protect each other. A few of them even make the normal people worship them. But as time goes by, some of them start to see that their best chance for survival is the MRA. Three of them, called Blood, Mercy, and Smoke, strike a deal with Crawford and become the senator’s best hunters. The trio just want to save telepaths; clearly the normal humans are the real enemy…

MRA starts the practice of using commercial telepaths but this isn’t explained any further. After a significant jump in time, the MRA has changed into the Psi Corp.

The book jumps around a lot, covering many people and a couple of generations of both early Psi Corps people and the rebel telepaths. We get to see Lyta’s ancestors and their history in the Psi corps. We also get to see that someone has engineered telepaths, but that’s not a big revelation to anyone who has watched the show. Because of the long time line, the book doesn’t spend much time with each character.

The strongest characters are the MRA’s/Psi Corps’ directors. Crawford is USA’s senator in the Earth Alliance senate and at the start of the book, not every country on the Earth is part of the EA. He’s a strong supporter of EA’s space program which is in danger of being shut down. He manipulates people expertly and uses them for his own ends. Psi Corp’s next director is Kevin Vacit who starts his career as Crawford’s assistant. EA has ruled that a telepath can’t be Psi Corps’ director but Kevin is one of those 30% of people whose telepathy doesn’t show up when tested. He’s kept it a close secret even from Crawford. He also uses the Psi corps for his own ends and even allows the resistance to continue because he believes that the strongest people are among the rebels. Of course, nobody can know that. Neither of these men are particularly likable but I think they are realistic, gray characters. The third morally gray man is Stephen Walters whose telepathy emerged late. Because of his military training Vacit sends him to infiltrate the rebels.

It’s entertaining enough but it doesn’t really bring anything new. The novel is also quite dark: there are a lot of killings, betrayals, and torture, and no humor.

My newest review: Rosa Montero: Tears in Rain.

A cyberpunk book which seems to be heavily influenced by Blade Runner.
I gave it four stars from five.

My newest review: Jocelynn Drake: Angel’s Ink.

Angel’s Ink is the first in Drake’s new series and I really enjoyed it.

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