Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Earth Station Who episode 118, my first podcast experience.

For anyone who has read this blog you will know I am a avid listener to quite a few podcasts on the ESO Network, mainly because they talk about subjects that interest me but more importantly because they are so much fun to listen too. Earlier this year we went to the Timegate convention where I was lucky enough to meet some of the guys from the network, and see the live recording of the Doctor Who podcast Earth Station Who. I remember sitting in the audience thinking it doesn't get much better than this, well I was wrong because as good as that experience was sat watching a live episode this Sundays episode topped it. Why I can hear you all ask or maybe not, either way it was because I had been invited to be on the latest episode of Earth Station Who. I had received a message from Mike Faber asking if I wanted to be on the show it was an offer I didn't even have to think about, the guys were recording early around 3pm US time so even with the 5 hour time difference the time was perfect for me.

After letting Mike know I was happy to join them it was a quick update on my Skype account as I hadn't used it in over a year, then find my headphones and microphone and I was set for my first ever podcast.

Now to say I was nervous is an understatement but the guys quickly put me at ease as we talked for around 10 minutes before the show started, the Mike said are we all ready then it was 3,2, 1 and the show started.

Now I'm not given anything away as you should go to the website and download the show, which is also available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. What I will say is I had a fantastic time and the geek in me was doing somersaults with happiness, I also had to push myself to be more involved as the fan in me was content to listen to the show as I normally do. There are also other lessons I learned from my first time, like don't touch my headphones, breath away from the microphone and buy a better quality microphone. Because after been on this podcast I have been bitten by the podcast bug and I would like to become more involved, whether that means hopefully guesting on podcasts or dipping my toe into the podcast pool I'm not sure on yet. But I now have an itch, and one thing I have learned about itches is if you don't scratch them they never go away.

On a final note I wish to thank Mike Faber for thinking of me for the show, and Mike Gordon, Jennifer Hartshorn and Mary Ogle for making my first podcast experience a memorable one. 

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Earth Station Who Podcaste

I made a guest appearance on the Earth Station Who podcast yesterday, and had a great time talking about this weekend's Doctor Who episode Heaven Sent. When the episode is up I will let everyone know.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Beyond Lovecraft Indiegogo Campain

Help support this wonderful campaign that will feature art from the talented and award wining artist Rob Moran.

Beyond Lovecraft

Beyond Lovecraft is a portmanteau horror story that draws directly on the works of H. P Lovecraft. Drawn by award winning artist Rob Moran and written by award winning writer Jasper Bark, it's a 96 page graphic novel featuring four stand alone tales and one on going story that links them all together. This is a grim and cosmic love letter to the mythos that means so much to the creators.

Hit the link below to go to the campaign website 

Monday, 9 November 2015

Movember week 1

Well its been a week and I'm at the itchy stage but the moustache is coming on nicely, I have already been told by a few people at work that it makes me look old (which is nice). But its all for a good cause and I will be young looking again in 3 weeks time, well sort off.

If you want to help my support of Prostate Cancer you can donate at the link below, every little helps.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Movember 2015

                            Movember 2015

This month I will once again be taking part in the Movember campaign, to try to raise some money but as importantly raise awareness of prostate cancer. Because unfortunately we (men) are a bit rubbish in getting or asking for help, subsequently too many men die because they leave it too late to get help. Last year I grew a Frank Zappa style moustache, this year I'm going for more of a Magnum Pi one. I will post updates on my endeavours over the coming month, but please if you have any suspicion that something doesn't feel right or you have concerns. Please get it checked out don't wait for it to go away, it is more than likely nothing but it's better to be safe than your family to be sorry.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Edgar Rice Burroughs At The Earth's Core, by Bobby Nash and Jamie Chase

At the Earth's Core was one of my favourite films growing up so going into this book I thought I knew the story, surprisingly I was way off the mark as the book packs so much more into it's pages than the film ever did. For instance I want aware that Edgar Rice Burrough's appeared in the story, or that it started in the Sahara desert with the books hero David Innes telling his story to Edgar Rice Burrough's.

For anyone who isn't familiar with this story mining business man David Innes joins forces with a crazy inventor called Abner Perry, Perry has invented a manned drilling machine called the mole that he believes will make both him and Innes a fortune. Unfortunately things don't go to plan and our duo end up at the earth core, but instead of molten rock they find themselves in the wonderful but dangerous world of Pellucidar. A world that is filled with strange people and creatures most of whom are not friendly, a place where if you don't have your wits about you a grizzly death isn't far away. Throw into the mix a love interest for David as he falls for the charms of Dian the Beautiful, and a dominant species of mind controlling carnivore pterodactyls and you have a real boys own action and adventure story.

The book is written by Bobby Nash a writer I am well aware of and I have to admit I am a fan of his work, I was also lucky enough to interview him a few years ago. As a fan of Bobby's work I always thought I was going to enjoy this book, what I wasn't prepared for was how blown away I was with this book it is simply stunning. And that is not an exaggeration as the story telling and pacing throughout the book is absolutely perfect, from the opening page to the very last one. But were Bobby really shines is in his ability to make David Innes a believable and likeable character, Innes is an ordinary man dealing with extraordinary circumstances while still maintaining his personal sense of honour. As with all adventure story's you always know the hero is going to win out in the end, but even knowing this Bobby has still managed to build a real sense of danger with every turn of the page, and if the chips were down David Innes is someone you would want standing next to you.

The painted artwork by Jamie Chase is also spectacular and helps set the mood and tone of the book perfectly, from spectacular landscapes to terrifying creatures Jamie's art bring the whole world of Pellucidar to life. As someone who cannot draw beyond stick men ( I kid you not) I can only imagine and marvel at the hours and patience it must take to create artwork of this standard.

As I said at the start of this blog as a child I had watched the film adaptation of At the Earth's Core, and as all films of this type it was one of my instant favourites. So I went into this book thinking I already knew the story, how wrong I was the differences between the film and this book is like night and day. Each has their own merit but if I were to chose between watching the film again or reading the book, the book would win every-time and if you haven't read the book because you've seen the film. Do yourself a favour and pick up the book, I guarantee you will be highly delighted you did so.

On a final note I recently found out that there are several books written about Pellucidar, so I am hoping that Bobby and Jamie get the recognition they deserve for this book. So they can go on to produce the rest of them, and if they do so they can have my money now.

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Justice League of America #3

The Justice league is fractured Wonder Woman is trapped alone in a destroyed Olympus with only a Oraculum for company and answers, unfortunately for Wonder Woman none of its answers are good or of any help to her. Flash and Green Lantern have been transported to Krypton a few thousand years before it was destroyed, then just as you thought it couldn't get any worse Flash disappears again leaving Hal alone and lost in time.

Back on earth the so called Krypton God Rao is still putting the world to rights, the sick are been healed, criminals are turning over a new leaf and the starving in Africa are been feed. Not content with that Rao is turning Africa's barren lands fertile, and dealing with the warlords to ensure peace and stability throughout the region. While all this looks and sound good the UN council are not too sure, and believe the changes been made are coming too fast and possibly at too high a price. Something that is hinted at when Rao after appearing at a UN council meeting, tells the council he will not stop and when challenged he tells them he will be more forceful in his persuasion..

Meanwhile Batman been the sceptic that he is (shocker right) also believes Rao has alternative motives, and that behind his apparent benevolence lies a bigger sinister plan. He goes as far as to accuse Superman of handing the planet on a plate to Rao, whle having nothing but faith that he is really the long fabled Kryptonian god.

There is some great dialogue between all the characters in the book, Flash and Lantern most notably between Superman and Batman as they debate Rao. Bruce asks Clarke to show him he is wrong and show him he can believe, when asked ''In Rao'' Batman replies ''In you''. Its dialogue that sums up the relationship and respect the big two have for each other, and something so many writers get in other books they are featured in.

Writer Brian Hitch is doing a stunning job crafting a story where you know the so called saviour of earth is bad, but he is doing everything right to get the people of the planet on his side by performing miracles throughout the world. There is a real sense of a world changing event happening with the overhanging feel of foreboding menace just around the corner, the real strength of any JLA book is the members of the team and even though in this story they are split across time and space. You never loose the sense that these are the top players of the DC Universe that can overcome any threat they encounter.

It should also be noted that Hitch is not only writing but also doing the artwork for this book a feat I can only applaud, as his standard of artwork which in my opinion is always excellent doesn't seem compromised by doing both. His attention to detail not only on characters but also in background work is one of his strengths, again this is only my opinion but I know what I like and I like Brian's work.

JLA has fast become one of my must read monthly books and for me is one of the best books been put out by DC at the moment, which is a surprise as it doesn't sit within present DC continuity or the events going on within any of the teams other books. Bruce is still Batman, Superman still has his powers and Hal isn't the lone wolf he is in his book at the moment. I cannot comment on Flash and Wonder Woman as I don't read their books, but I would be surprised if this book tied in to any of those two titles.

Were only at issue 3 so back issues shouldn't be hard to find, so do yourself a favour get down to your local comic shop and pick them up. 

Monday, 31 August 2015

4 Doctors #1

One of the great joys of Doctor Who is that at some point (usually fixed - Doctor Who fans will get that) you eventually get a multi-Doctor story, so its no surprise that Titan who took over the comic licence and have been producing some great 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th Doctor story's. Have produced a weekly multi story featuring 4 Doctors, what is a surprising is just as in the TV show the 9th Doctor isn't coming to the party. So its the War Doctor who makes up the numbers instead, I'm a little disappointed as I would have liked to has seen Eccleston's Doctor interact with his future selves. But the War Doctor is a rich seam of untapped story lines so my disappointment was tempered slightly, the multi covers 19 in all for issue 1 also grabbed my attention as some of them are stunning.

Its with the War Doctor we start at some point in the Time War where we see him and his allies take down a Dalek ship, the Daleks were about to do something bad to the planet and the Doctors allies. Now I know that's a bit of a vague description of the Dalek plan but it isn't pivotal to the story, and Daleks don't turn up to sing songs and hold hands or plungers round a camp fire so we know their intentions was not good. Unfortunately the War Doctors time in the book is fleeting 3 pages to be exact, which is a shame as I would like to see this Doctor explored a bit more. 

The story switches to the 12th Doctor where we see via flashbacks that Clara has learned, that if the Doctors all meet each other it will start a chain of events that will end of the universe. So naturally while the Doctor is asleep she takes the TARDIS to Paris in 1923, where coincidently the other two Doctors are both happily walking around Paris totally oblivious that there other self is there. Clara's plan is to meet the Doctors former companions and convince them to keep their Doctor away from the other Doctors, now what could possibly go wrong with that plan I hear you cry. Well everything if the meeting place is not only a Paris cafe but a fixed point in time, (now you get it) where the Doctors are supposed to meet. Apart from the flimsy premise of getting the Doctors to meet each other, the story is actually very good with Paul Cornnell capturing the voices of all 3 Doctors perfectly. I can actually hear the voices of Tennent, Smith and Capaldi in my head when I'm reading the book, then again my head can be a scary place to be or so the voices in it tell me.

The artwork on the whole is very good although I found the 
likenesses of the Doctors to be a bit hit and miss, which proved for me at least to be a slight distraction from the story in places. The other issue I think that may hurt the book is apart from Capaldi's Doctor, the other two Doctors are with companions who haven't been in the show. I know they have been used in the comic but a casual fan who may pick up the book due to the crossover could be confused or put off, there is an explanation as to who they are at the beginning of the comic but that may not be enough we shall have to wait and see.

This first issue is a set-up issue but there is enough of a hook to keep me interested, I look forward to seeing how the story develops over the coming issues and hope for a little more War Doctor. 

Issue 1 comes with a total of 19 different covers some of which are quite imaginative, so far I have 4 of them and will hunt the rest down over timey wimey.

Four Doctors Covers (19)

Sunday, 23 August 2015

The Sheffield Film and Comic Convention 2015

After last years first ever and successful Film and Comic Convention to be held in Sheffield, it was always going to be difficult to please everyone in its second year as the first year was so successful. Complaints of the guest list not been as good this year are to me a little harsh and subjective, as some guests may be top of one persons list and not even make another persons. For instance Game of Thrones had a big presence last year which did nothing for me or my wife, as we have never watched the show (I know there will be some gasps at this revelation). However this year both John Levene and Peter Purves were there as guests and as a Doctor Who fan I was over the moon, throw into the mix a Doctor in Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant his companion Peri and the con was a winner for me.

What really makes or breaks a convention for me is how well it is organised and the friendliness of the staff, and straight off the bat I have to say both were exceptional with some of the staff going that extra mile for us as we had an issues with our tickets. We had pre-ordered our tickets for both days and some photo shoots but unfortunately, one of the photo shoot tickets was missing and one of the Sunday tickets was for a child. Both these issues were sorted out in no time at all the Sunday ticket at the box office before the event started, and the photo shoot by the staff at Showmasters once we got into the event. I have to say a big thank you to the staff that allowed us to gain early entry, as the time for the missing photo shoot ticket was very close to our standard entry time of 11:00. This enabled us to sort things out and get to my photo shoot on time, I do after add here that I did nearly miss my photo with Nicola but that was my fault as I was wondering round the convention floor instead of keeping track of the time.

As with all conventions the cosplayers were out in force with a wide range and variety of costumes, some of which were out of this world and some not so much. I will however jump to the defense of anyone who goes to a convention in costume, as they are braver then me and secondly they are celebrating their love of a character or franchise and that should never be discouraged.

As I said at the start of this post there has been some complaint about the quality of guests, and while I think it unfortunate that Billy Dee Williams pulled out of the show. The inclusion of Michael Biehn and Robert Englund more than made up for his absence, and the ques to both those gentleman's table never seemed to go down. 

For me it was the Doctor Who guests that had my interest and I wasn't disappointed in any of them, as the fan boy in me excitedly talked to each of them as soon as I meet with them.

Nicola Bryant was very happy to talk as she signed my Peri figure and I almost missed my photo with her. As they had changed the area photos are taken from last year and I stupidly hadn't checked, but I made it in time truth be told I was the last one there but it all worked out in the end.

Colin Baker was unfairly treated during his time as the Doctor in my humble opinion, it was a time when the BBC wanted to end Doctor Who and put no money into the show at all. So it is to his credit that he has been and still is a fantastic ambassador for the show, we talked about his work on the Doctor Who audio adventures (Big Finish) and his Big Finish regeneration story that was coming out on the Monday after the con. We also talked about Timegate a convention in Atlanta that Colin attended a few years back and one I was lucky enough to go to this year, he was full of praise for the people of Timegate and the fans he met there saying that its a great convention to visit, a sentiment I agree with. Colin signed my figure of himself and happily shook my hand as I left his table, I later had a photo with Colin (on time this time) and it was great to see he was still interacting with the fans making each persons experience with him personal.

Peter Purves played Steven when William Hartnell was the Doctor and his love of the show still shines through today when he talks about the show, we spoke about the Time Meddler story I had recently watched, and his Big Finish story Secret History where Steven meets the 5th Doctor. Peter signed a photo of himself and the 1st Doctor shook my hand and also kissed my wife Helen's hand.

John Levene played Sargent Benton opposite two Doctors the 2nd and 3rd in his time on the show, John was an absolute pleasure to meet he talked to everyone regardless if they wanted an autograph or not. Sgt Benton was a stand out character to me and the little boy I was would never have believed he would one day meet him, a fact I told John who gripped my hand with both his and said bless your heart (I did get a little misty). John made the convention for me and when I met him for his photo shoot he immediately reconsidered me, and to be honest the photo i have of myself with John is one of the best guest photos I have ever had taken. So bless your heart John it was not only a pleasure to meet you, but a honor as well you sir a a true gentleman.

The Sheffield Film and Comic con has a lot to offer fans of a wide variety of shows and is very well organised, there are plenty of merchandising to spend your money on and to be honest I did as did my wife on things for me. I can only see the event going from strength to strength as its first two years have been outstanding, if you can make the event in 2016 you should come and check it out I don't believe you will be disappointed.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Random 10 No 4: The James Palmer Interview.

The Random 10 - No: 4 The James Palmer Interview

Hi Robert. Thanks for the interview. I am an award-nominated author, editor and publisher best known for the alternate history giant monster anthology series Monster Earth. I write science fiction and pulp adventure, and my work has been published by Airship 27, Pro Se Productions, White Rocket Books, and Moonstone. For more info on me and my stuff, visit and

How did you first get into writing?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer, even before I knew what a writer was and did. I’ve been writing with an eye toward doing it professionally since I was in high school.

Who or what were your early influences?
The comic books and science fiction I read as a kid, with a smattering of Saturday morning cartoons. Starting with guys like Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, then moving on to SF writers like Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Harlan Ellison. Modern writers like Robert J. Sawyer, Cory Doctorow and Charles Stross continue to amaze me with their intelligent futurism and wild imaginations.

Where do you draw your ideas for stories from?
I get ideas from all sorts of places. Old comic books or cartoons, a science article, a snippet of a television show. Anything. Sometimes ideas just pop into my head full formed, others I have to work at them, often combining two ideas before I get a sense of what the story is about. The other day a visual popped into my head of a group of mercenaries and a woman breaking into a mountain crypt, and I wrote the story to figure out why. Two nights ago I finished it. Ideas are weird like that.

Not all ideas will never make it to the page

What is your least favorite part of the writing process?

I love all aspects of the writing process, but I hate what comes after, like editing and the production aspects that go along with writing in this new world of indie publishing, like cover design and formatting.

If you could write a story using any character which one would you choose?
That’s a tough one, because there are so many. I’d love to write a Godzilla novel or comic. A pulp character like The Shadow or The Spider would also be fun. I’d probably want to team up multiple characters against some big huge menace.

Your books have some wonderfully designed covers, who designs them and what’s the process on getting the cover you want?
Thanks! I’ve had different people help me over the years. An artist from Singapore named Karl Comendador has done a lot of covers for me, and writer and tattoo artist James R. Tuck has done some of the cover design. I recently got Mark Maddox to start work on a cover for a book that I didn’t write, but am publishing, so I’m very excited about that, and I can’t wait to see it. I’ve just been very fortunate to be able to network with so many super talented artists and cover designers I’ve met at conventions and online on Facebook. I think the process for getting the cover you want just comes down to communicating it to the artist. I’m not an artist, but I know what I like when I see it, and I usually have a vague idea that a good artist can make even better than it was in my head. I think another good point is to not do it yourself unless you know what you’re doing. I don’t, so I try and find others who can do it for me.

You use twitter, conventions and other social media to connect to fans. Do you consider this to be an important part of your work?
Absolutely. Writing is very solitary, and it helps to get out and meet with other like minded creators and fans, even if only online. It’s also great for networking and learning about different publishing opportunities, finding cover artists, that kind of thing, as well as marketing yourself and your books.

Do you have any upcoming books or projects you wish to talk about?
I have several in the immediate pipeline. I just published a short novel called ARCHER OF VENUS (, which is kind of a John Carter of Mars type tale with time travel. It’s the first of a planned trilogy. I have stories coming in a few anthologies, including LEGENDS OF NEW PULP, featuring a new female character I created. It’s coming from Airship 27, and proceeds benefit fellow pulp creator and publisher Tommy Hancock, who is dealing with some medical issues.

My story “Slow Djinn” will appear in another benefit anthology that White Rocket Books is doing. I don’t have the title yet. I also have a story in THE AMAZING HARRY HOUDINI, coming soon from Airship 27, and a story in THE BLACK BAT RETURNS from Moonstone.

As if that wasn’t enough, I’m working on the sequel to ARCHER OF VENUS, called SWORDS OF MARS, and getting some original stories together for a new quarterly project I’m creating called MASKED ADVENTURE DIGEST, which will feature several of my stories and one complete novel, and will be available for print and e-book. I hope to have the first issue out by the end of September. Fingers crossed.

How do you like to relax when you’re not writing?
I like to read, spend time with my family. I like watching Godzilla movies with my daughter, who loves them as much as I do. And of course working my way through Daredevil on Netflix.

Where can you be found for anyone who wants to check either you, or
your past and present work?

I’m on Facebook and Twitter ( And my websites are and And for news of my upcoming releases, they can visit either site and sign up for my newsletter. It’s free, and they’ll get a free e-book.


I had the pleasure of meeting James on a resent visit to a convention in the states, James is not only a wonderful writer he is also a great person to meet and talk too. I would encourage anyone who is at a convention that James is attending, to go up and talk with him. I would also like to thank James for taking time from his busy schedule to do this interview, and I wish him well in all his future endeavors. 

On a final note I am currently reading Archer of Venus and its a fantastic story.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Sons of Fire # Vol 1

30 years ago Jacob Crowe started a fire which nearly destroyed the town of Black Rock, it was a fire that resulted in the deaths of several Black Rock residents. Jacob is now in prison serving time for his actions when he is asked to tell his side of the story, by a young would be reporter who has been digging into the history of the fire. As part of a school essay that he is writing, the young kid believes there is more to the story than was originally made public. 

Jacobs story is told in a series of flashbacks where we see glimpses of his troubled home and social life, all of which play a part in turning him into the arsonist we know he becomes.  (I'm trying not to give too much away)

Its during the flashbacks that we see the death of his farther and brother who die in a fire he may or may not have started, before been shipped off to stay with his mother who walked out on her family a few years previously. We also get to meet Andrew Danner  the local collage star quarterback, and his girlfriend Sarah Nickles. Andrew is a young man with secrets of his own, and for reasons he only knows seems to have made it his mission to protect Jacob when he needs him the most. Most of the characters we meet in Jacobs flashbacks all seem to have their own agenda and secrets, all of which start to intertwine into the main story arc. 

As a reader you could very easily become lost 
within the story's interweaving plot lines, but thanks to clever writing and good story pacing from writer Adam Lance Garcia,I personally never found that to be the case.

Apart from the cover the story is printed in black and white, however as the Walking Dead comic has proved you don't always need colour to show great visuals. As artist Heidi Black proves throughout this book, I really enjoyed Heidi's 
artwork which was excellent throughout the book. Her lines and shading complement the story superbly, which all helps to set up the atmospheric tone and mood of the book.

Sons of Fire is a dark tale with superhero elements inserted throughout the book, although personally I wouldn't class it as a superhero book. For me Sons of Fire is a coming of age story, where choices made by a young man are looked back on with regret in his later life.

At the end of the book I was keen to read more which I think is a fair indication of how good a book is, and I look forward to Sons of Fire volume 2 which I believe is planned for later this year (please).

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Batman Beyond #1

I have loved the Batman Beyond concept since I first saw the animated series in the late 90's, so when DC began printing further adventures of Terry McGinnis the future Batman I was all over the book. As the years past the Batman Beyond book evolved as more future versions of established DC characters were introduced, along with the original but now older Superman leading the new Justice League. Unfortunately all that came to an end as DC launched their weekly book Futures End which brought Terry into the DCU proper although 5 years into the future from the then current story lines (not confused yet), after given the book a few issues I decided it wasn't for  me and stopped buying it. Jump forward around a year and Batman Beyond is again on the shelf much to my delight, but unfortunately for me Futures End has dramatically changed everything about the book I loved.

There is a new Batman Beyond fighting crime in Neo-Gotham and his name is Tim Drake, now I don't know if its the present universe Tim Drake or the 5 years later Futures End Tim Drake?
Now it looks as if I will have to do some research to do if I am going to find out, what exactly happened to Terry but as you read the book you do find out he died fighting Brother in Eye Futures End (gutted).

As we start the issue Batman is fighting a gang of Jokez who are trying to take down a shield that is protecting  Neo-Gotham from the all seeing Brother Eye, or the not so all seeing Brother Eye if it cant find a city the size of Neo-Gotham shield or no shield. After sorting out the Jokez Tim is off to visit Terry's younger brother Matt, who seems more than a little miffed that Tim has the Bat suit and not him. His annoyance only covers a few panels but its something I'm betting will play out in the months to come, After his visit Tim,s on his way to a Brother Eye prison camp known as The Lodge, the prison has been built on the ruins of New York city (why is it always New York). Tim's reason for going to the Lodge is to try to find some of Terry's friends, who are rumored to be held there as Brother Eye interrogates them for information. While checking out the prison Tim has an encounter with a Brother Eye converted Superman that damages his suit beyond repair (for now), so we see a de-powered Tim join a line of new prisoners and once inside he encounters a familiar face from his past (spoilers).

Now I am torn over this book because Dan Jurgens pens a good opening issue and Bernard Chang does a great job on the artwork, its just that this Batman Beyond insn't my Batman Beyond, I also like the character of Tim Drake but not in his current role. Also this isn't the same time-line as the one I read and watched on TV, Futures End seems to have changed that time line and the grumpy old man in me just inst happy about it.

Having said that I will see out the first story arc to see where it goes before deciding if I will stay with the book or not, the completest in me say you have to stay but my head may rule the collector in me on this one.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Orlando 2015

After our hectic weekend at the Timegate convention in Atlanta (see post on the Needless Things website), it was off too Florida for a relaxing 10 days in Orlando (as relaxing as Orlando can get). So after a quick flight one hour and 15 minute flight from Atlanta we arrived in sunny and very hot Florida, I have to add at this point that my dear wife Helen slept the entire journey. She cannot remember seeing us pull off the gate as we prepared for take-off, she only woke up when we landed and asked the question ''are we taking off''?

My answer is not for the sensitive eyes of anyone reading this, but needless to say this wasn't the first time my wonderful wife has done this. Helen has the knack of been able to sleep on a plane even before it takes off, while I don't so guess who can occasionally get irritated when we fly. 

So after breezing through the airport it was on to I-drive and within an hour we were booked into our hotel, unpacked and sat in the Buffalo Wings bar enjoying happy hour which we enjoyed just a little too much if I am honest. Happy hour was a scenario that was to repeat its self over the course of the next 10 days, be it either in the afternoon or on a night as happy hour ran from 14:00 to 16:00 and 22:00 to midnight so we always managed to make one of them.

When we wasn't enjoying happy hour (this sound bad) we were visiting the parks be it water or theme, or just walking around the shops trying to raise the America economy. Below is a breakdown on my thoughts on each of the parks, I will add here that we didn't visit Disney not because we don't enjoy the Disney parks it was purely down to time and cost, mainly cost of a Disney ticket.

Wet & Wild

This was our first visit to this water park and probably our last as Universal have announced they are to close it in 2016, however after reading a few negative reviews we were pleasantly surprised on how much we enjoyed our day there. The park is big there seemed to be something for everyone be it a little child or a large one, there was plenty of room to lay down and relax and the wave pool was a lot of fun if you didn't fall over (long story). The food was basic but edible which is always a plus, and it wasn't over priced especially if you shared a drink (were from Yorkshire). If asked I would recommend Wet & Wild as worth a visit, especially if you were staying on I-drive and didn't have a car.

Universal Studios

Universal has moved on quite a lot since our last visit in 2012 and as much as we enjoyed the Universal parks, apart from Harry Potter world they were starting to look a bit old and stale. 

Well all that has changed as a vast amount of investment has been put into the parks since we last visited, Harry Potter is now stretched across both parks Universal & Island of Adventure. In Universal they have added Kings Cross Station along with the Hogwarts Express that takes people from one park to the other, but the star of the park is Diagon Alley which is simply out of this world. The work that has gone into making Diagon Alley look authentic is utterly breathtaking, every little detail has been thought of and you can spend hours just waling around taking it all in. All the shops you would expect to find are there, along with an actual fire breathing dragon on top of the wizards bank Gringotts. 

There has also been a few new rides added to the parks with the Escape from Gringotts ride which is good, but not as good as the Forbidden Journey ride in Hogwarts in my humble opinion. We went on it twice and on both occasions they had technical issues with the ride, which changed our 30 minute wait into a 70 minute one so maybe my judgement is slightly coloured.  

A transformers ride has also been added to the park which if you have seen the films may make some sort of sense, we haven't so although we found the ride good and interactive the storyline was totally lost on us. What was very good was the Transformer that was stood outside the ride interacting with the crowd, I know there was a man in there somewhere but it did look very convincing.

The addition of Krusty Land which has been built around the Simpson ride is also fun, and adds a little bit more the the park as you walk around.

We also noticed (you could not miss it) the contruction that was going on between Jurassic Park and Toon Lagoon, I am led to believe that this will be a King Kong interactive experience set to open in 2016. It looked very impressive even in its part built state, and its an attraction I am looking forward to seeing when we visit again.

Sea World

Now I know Sea World has taken some flack in resent times after the documentary Black Fish, it is however a park that we enjoy and love to visit. Antarctica Empire of the Penguin has been added since our last visit, and although the ride is nothing to shout home about it is worth going on it to see the penguins at the end. 

We also booked a back lot tour on one of the days there which only cost $50 for the both of us, we were shown the conservation that takes place within the park and surrounding areas. How Sea World care and look after injured or abandoned animals in the park, before releasing them back to their natural habitat once healthy. We were given the chance to stroke a shark which is not as dangerous as it sounds, as this species of shark was only around 12 inches long. Much to the disappointment of one young boy on the tour, who thought he was going to see and touch a great white shark. The highlight of the tour was the chance to see a penguin up close and Helen was lucky enough to be able to touch one, as Helen loves penguins it was probably the highlights of the holiday for her.



We ate out most nights and in all honesty didn't have a bad meal while we were there, Chilli's do a fantastic set menu with drinks for $28 which is mad when you take into account their portion sizes and quality of the food. Buffalo Wings bar has a large selection of food that are all worth sampling, the 3 cheese pizzas and Big Jack Daddy burgers are especially welcoming.

It was our 36th wedding anniversary while we were away and we had our anniversary meal at the Olive Garden, the meal, drinks and whole feel of the place is just perfect for a special meal well worth a visit.  Add to that Bennigans American Faye and the pizza takeaway across the road from our hotel, and we were never going to go hungry on this trip.


Wrap up

Its been a while since we had visited Orlando and I think the time away was a good thing, as we enjoyed the parks more with all the changes that had been made. It may be a few years before we go back again but its a place we enjoy visiting and love, I would encourage anyone who reads this blog that hasn't been to go at least once to see for yourself how wonderful Orlando can be.

Monday, 22 June 2015

TimeGate a convention we will never forget.

I have a guest post on the Needless Things blog site, talking about our experiences at our first State side convention Timegate. My thanks to the Phantom Troublemaker for putting the post up on his site, the links below will take you to the Needless Things blog and to the Needless Things Facebook page.

And after reading my post check out the wonderful blog that is Needless Things and the equally awesome Needless Things podcast.

Needless Things Needless-Things Facebook page

Needless Things Needless Things Blog

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Star Trek / Planet of The Apes: The Primate Directive #3

Writers Scott and David Tippton bring us yet another unlikely but enjoyable franchise crossover, having already written a Matt Smith Doctor Who / Star Trek Next Generation story, they have now turned their talent to produce an original series Star Trek / Planet of The Apes crossover.

The crossover is explained by way of an advanced portal that has allowed the Klingons to enter the apes alternative time line so they can expand their empire without Federation interference, of course Kirk and and his crew love nothing better than a little interference when it comes to the Klingon Empire so they have followed them through the portal to see what they are up to.

At the start of the issue we find Dr Zaius in deep thought as he ponders potential food shortages, the general unrest among the ape population, and the increasingly uncontrollable gorilla army who seem intent on invading the forbidden lands. Elsewhere the Klingons are fueling a potential apes civil war by providing the gorilla army with advanced weaponry, while Kirk and his crew are having trouble not only from the apes they encounter but from Taylor the stranded earth astronaut from the first two ape films. Taylor is upset that Kirk has decided to invoke the Federations Prime Directive, and ordered his crew not to interfere with the evolution of the planet apart from putting an end to the plans of the Klingons. Having managed to beam on to the enterprise Taylor is giving Kirk and his crew the run-around as he looks for weapons that will put an end to ape dominance over mankind, the inevitable fight between Taylor and Kirk finally takes place with Kirk literally loosing his part of his shirt before the two men agree on a compromise.

The story as Spock would say is fascinating and the Tippton brothers have successfully merged two worlds that I didn't think possible to merge, the story is a plausible one as far as space opera and talking apes can be and the story doesn't feel forced (see Star Trek / X-Men).

Rachael Scott's art is fantastic and her character likeness of the Enterprise crew is uncanny, something that's not always easy to do when your dealing with such well known and established characters. Personally I enjoyed seeing the old series Klingons again, who I much prefer to the film and Next Generation style ones (sorry Worf). 

As strange a concept this book seemed when I first heard about it, it is a cracking read with great artwork and as they say in movie land well worth the price of admission.