Saturday, October 31, 2015

Review of Vicky Peterwald: Target by Mike Shepherd

Author:  Mike Shepherd.
Title:  Vicky Peterwald:  Target.
Publisher:  Ace Books.
Copyright:  2014.
Pages:  326.
Price:  $7.99 (US).

Overview and Impressions:
Vicky Peterwald:  Target is the first book in a new series by Mike Shepherd, author of Kris Longknife series and Jump universe.  Lt. Vicky Peterwald is the daughter of the Emperor of the Greenfield Empire.  Her life becomes expendable when her younger brother is killed.  Vicky's pregnant step-mother wants her dead.  Vicky Peterwald dodges numerous assassination attempts as she travels back to the Imperial palace.  She pleads with her naval superiors to save her life by saying she'll be their eyes and ears.  After two more assassination attempts, Vicky flees her home world for the safety of St. Petersburg, an out of the way star system in the Greenfield Empire.

Overall, Vicky Peterwald:  Target was a fast and enjoyable read.  Shepherd's writing flows at an energetic pace and there's plenty of action for a military sci-fi junky.  Recommend.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Late October 2015 reading...

I've been sidetracked the past two weeks.  I haven't gotten the reading I hoped to get done.  I'm only a third of the way through Vicky Peterwald:  Target.

I did finish another chapter this afternoon in "Beyond the Reach of Empire:  Wolseley's Failed Campaign to Save Gordon & Khartoum."  I'm now at page 170.  It doesn't paint a flattering picture of Sir Garnet.  I'd love to say something stupid in a fake English accent to liven thing up.  Alas, I won't.  I finished the chapter with the Camel Corps marching across the desert trying to reach Gordon in Khartoum.  It's like watching Titanic.  You know how it'll end.  However, you keep trudging through in the hopes of learning something new.  I've learned something new all right.  Never underestimate the stupidity of Victorian imperialism.  Or was that the Italians at Adowa?

Anyway, this one will take a while to finish.  I'll write a formal review when I'm done reading it...

WIP, 15mm SYW Saxon infantry brigade, 29OCT15

Here's a WIP, 15mm SYW Saxon infantry brigade I started today on my work table:

                                          15mm SYW Saxon infantry brigade and mounted command.

28mm Darkest Africa Game, 09OCT15

Here are photos from a 28mm Darkest Africa Game, 09OCT15.  It pitted Congolese natives vs. Arab slavers.  I ran the natives and lost playing a modified The Sword in Africa rules with Don Cox.

                                          28mm Arab Slaver army.

                                          28mm Congolese native tribe with a witch doctor.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Mid October reading...

I started Vicky Peterwald:  Target yesterday by Mike Shepherd.  It's set in his Jump universe.  On the plus side, it reads fast.  I'd like to devote more time to reading it.  The protagonist is an Imperial Duchess who is also a Lieutenant in the Greenfield navy.  I'm only on page 68.  I'll write a formal review when I'm done reading it.

I'm also reading "Beyond the Reach of Empire:  Wolseley's Failed Campaign to Save Gordon and Khartoum" by Colonel Mike Snook.  I'm at page 145.  This will be slower reading than the lighter military sci-fi book.  Problem is I'm only reading this book once a week.  The military sci-fi I read two or three times a week.

I like Colonel Mike Snook's premise that Wolseley failed to rescue Gordon and then deflected any criticism of his Sudanese campaign in order to save his reputation.  I'm planning on eventually painting up a 28mm Sudanese Ansar army.  This is getting me in the mood to do it.  However, I won't be done with this book for months!  When I do, I'll also have a formal review posted on my blog...

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Early/mid October reading...

When I haven't been assembling 28mm Masai warriors and 28mm Colonial German regulars, I've been hunting down books and putting databases of place to submit short stories/novellas/poetry.

I wasted an afternoon today looking up Writers Market 2016 at the local library branch.  There aren't that many places to submit short stories for fantasy and science fiction.  I only came up with one lead via writers market.  I submitted a short story for the third time.  I have no idea what I'll do with it if it doesn't get accepted someplace.  I'm running out of places to submit!

I tried writing short stories.  I'm short stories wind up becoming longer works.  I vowed not to write anymore.  I'm focused on writing two new manuscripts.  The first rough draft should be done by the end of June 2016.  I'll get the second novel done next year...

I'm looking at not painting for another 8-12 weeks.  Ugh.  I have too much to do.  I should be done with basing all the 28mm Masai by the middle of next week.  A warmachine order came Friday morning.  I got the last of my 30mm Rhulic Dwarf units and paint.  They are the next project in my painting queue once I get the 28mm Darkest Africa figures completed this winter.

I also rummaged around for reading material.  I talked to some friends about getting Horus Heresy No.4:  Flight of the Eisenstein and Horus Heresy No. 9:  Mechanicum.  The consensus was both of those books were good reads.  I also have a bunch of Ebooks to buy for my Nook in the following months.  However, Orion and King Arthur and Alien vs. Alien came in the mail this week, too.  It was cheaper to get the paperbacks than pay for the Ebooks.  Go figure..

Reading-wise, I read a chapter more in Beyond the Reach of Empire:  Wolseley's Failed Campaign to Save Gordon and Khartoum.  I'm also starting Mike Shepherd's Vicky Peterwald:  Target tomorrow.  Reviews will be posted when I get done with the books...

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

WIP, 28mm Masai Warriors and 28mm Colonial German Seebattalion infantry

Here are photos of some WIP, 28mm Masai Warriors from Foundry and 28mm Colonial German Seebattalion infantry from Old Glory Miniatures:

                                          28mm German Seebattalion infantry from Old Glory.

                                          28mm Masai Warriors from Wargames Foundry.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Review of Hammer's Slammers: At Any Price by David Drake

Author:  David Drake.
Title:  Hammer's Slammers - At Any Price.
Publisher:  Baen Books.
Copyright:  1985.
Pages:  288.
Price:  $3.50 (US - OOP).

Overview and Impressions: 
I'd read David Drake about fifteen or twenty years ago with his Ranks of Bronze science-fiction novel about Romans legionnaires in space.  Since then, I hadn't touched anything by him.  I finished up Hammer's Slammers:  At Any Price tonight.  It was a collection of short stories about the men of Colonel Hammer's mercenaries.

Hammer's Slammers are mechanized grav tank/APC units.  Most of At Any Price takes place on the world of Oltenia.  It's a planet inhabited by humans and Molts, a race of teleporting reptiles.  The lizards are at war with the humans who settled the planet three centuries ago.  Hammer's Slammers have been hired to help win the war against the Molts.  An Oltenian general decides to make peace in order to end the bloodshed.  He uses Hammer's men as a way to make the lizards want to end the conflict.

There are two other short stories about guerrilla pacification.  I assume Drake based this on his Vietnam experiences.  He briefly talks about that at the end of At Any Price.  One story is set on a tropical world.  Another is on an Arabic world with a former Hammer's Slammer veteran as a local.

Being military science-fiction, there's lots action and violence.  Drake makes no bones about not making carnage and violence chic or bloodless.  I like that in his writing.  However, I find the reliance on mechanized forces a little disconcerting.  I would have liked more infantry/or combined arms action.  I guess I'm believer in having ground-pounders holding a piece of real-estate at the end of the day.

However, I enjoyed Hammer's Slammer:  At Any Price.  Recommended military sci-fi.