In the immortal notes and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin:
“Summertime, an’ the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ an’ the cotton is high.
Oh, yo’ daddy’s rich and yo’ ma is good-lookin’
So hush, little baby, don’ you cry.”
While statues of Lincoln freeing the slaves are being pulled from their pedestals maybe cotton fields aren’t the acceptable subject of song, especially with all that yo’ and mammy going on in the lyrics. But here at Orion’s Cold Fire we appropriate culture with a rakish grin and a tip of the cap.
Anyway, we are bearing down on July and anyone who has been hanging around here for more than a year knows that July is my sacred time. I live to have a week or two off during the hottest, sunniest, least wintery time of the year. It must be my Mediterranean heritage. Relaxing in a country environment during this time of the year with no work responsibilities is as close to heaven as I am ever likely to get either before or after death (being an irredeemable sinner).
Because of the COVID hoax I will be deprived of the annual pleasure of seeing all of my relatives this summer which is tragic. But I refuse to let this insanity cancel this most joyful time of the year and I intend to fulfill all my usual rituals and revel in all the things I enjoy. I intend to grill up a barbecue and eat watermelon and corn on the cob, enjoy potato salad and lemonade. I’ll watch old movies and listen to music that evokes memories of the best of times. I will photograph birds and bugs and flowers and I will sleep in a hammock under a tree and listen to the music of the wood thrush and the song sparrow (or at least a blue jay and a mourning dove). And for a few days I will ignore BLM and antifa and Nancy Pelosi and even my soulless boss.
But what I will not ignore is OCF and the good folks who come here to see what crazy things I’m talking about next. I will have things to say and reviews of things I like. I will share photos and anything else I think might be interesting. Things may slow down a little but there won’t be a gap. What hopefully will be missing is outrage. At this time of the rolling year I think it is more than desirable to forsake the doom and gloom that is so all encompassing in our daily lives and look for the good and happy and fun. I will seek out the traditional sources of wholesome happiness and sling them at you folks with both hands. I will accentuate the positive. I will be jolly if it kills me.
And so, this is my intention. It is possible that some new atrocity will preclude all this. If the Jacobeans come marauding down the highway and torch the Compound then most probably my plan for revelry will evaporate. Bad weather could throw a damper on my plans or illness could ruin it. But I wish everyone out there a very happy high summer, especially you folks in the northern latitudes. This is the time we look forward to during all those short snowy days and long frigid nights of winter.
It is simply wrong to begin with a theme, symbol or other abstract unifying agent, and then try to force characters and events to conform to it.
As we head into the heart of the summer and the upcoming Fourth of July holiday I figured I’d just put together a note on how things will be going. I’ve been extremely busy at the day job. This unfortunately cuts into my blogging time. I’ll be putting up a review of Larry Correia’s book “Hard Magic.” I enjoy Larry’s Monster Hunter books and I can already say that the review will b extremely positive. Larry has a knack for writing an enjoyable fantasy story.
I’ll have the chance to test out that new 200-600mm lens I bought and hopefully get some good photos of birds and critters.
I have some political posts that I’m working on and we’re bound to have some new BLM atrocities on the 4th so stay tuned for more to come.
Takeover is listed as the first book of “Galaxy’s Edge Season Two.” This signifies the end of the first story arc that pitted the corrupt House of Reason against the imperial designs of Goth Sullus with the Legion trapped in the middle. With the end of that chapter we begin this season in the aftermath of that struggle with the Legion reorganizing the Galactic Republic after the defeat of the Goth Sullus and the dissolution of the House of Reason.
All of this change has left almost everything and everyone throughout the galaxy in flux. This is the story of one of those places, Kublar, a world with its own indigenous race now heavily controlled by a government installed from outside by the now defunct House of Reason and also heavily colonized by an aggressive and hostile outside race called the zhee.
An outside force arrives in the form of a private army of mercenaries hired by a man called Arkaddy Nilo. Nilo has a plan to alter the imperial methods of the Galactic Republic and restore freedom to the many worlds that chafe under the rule of the Republic. Takeover is the story of how that plan is implemented by Nilo and of the two primary weapons that Nilo uses. One is a former legionnaire named Carter who leads a platoon of combat soldiers that provide the skills needed to aid the koobs (nickname given to the natives of Kublar) in their fight to take back their planet. The second is a former Republic Navy spy named Bowie who performs clandestine operations for Nilo meant to destabilize the coalition of the House of Reason government, the zhee and a local group of koobs who benefit from selling out the interests of the rest of their people in return for special treatment.
Anyone who has read any of my earlier reviews of the Galaxy’s Edge books knows I’m an enthusiastic fan of the series. The authors Jason Anspach and Nick Cole have created an exciting and inventive universe full of military science fiction fun. Takeover continues this legacy with a new cast and fresh storylines that provide a different direction from last season. The opportunities for expanding the scope of the story are very apparent in Takeover and back story about the nature of the invaders from the “Savage Wars” era is sprinkled in the story line that Bowie inhabits.
The battle scenes are exciting and well-drawn. The characters are interesting and include good guys to cheer and plenty of bad guys to snuff out. And as opposed to season one there are plenty of opportunities for the good guys to actually win the day without sacrificing the whole cast.
Okay, so this is a no-brainer. I highly recommend Anspach and Cole’s Galaxy’s Edge series and I am happy to announce that the first book of Season Two, Takeover, continues the proud tradition of Season One in providing quality military science fiction that you can enjoy. And you can even applaud as the social justice losers in the government imposed by the House of Reason are thwarted and routed by the good guys. What could be better than that?
Life’s single lesson: that there is more accident to it than a man can ever admit to in a lifetime and stay sane.
This episode features the return of Harry Mudd, a character from the first season episode “Mudd’s Women” in which he played a smuggler and con-man that was trafficking in chemically enhanced mail-order brides. This present episode is decidedly written as a comic story.
A new crewman on the Enterprise named Mr. Norman hijacks the ship by overriding the helm and engine room with a Deadman’s Switch that will explode the ship if it is tampered with. He sends the Enterprise to a planet that cannot directly sustain human life but requires domed habitats. When Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura and Chekov beam down to the planet they discover that the planet is inhabited by two hundred thousand androids and one human, Harry Mudd. When Kirk threatens Mudd if he does not release the Enterprise Mudd laughs at him and explains that Harry will give the orders because he is the ruler of this planet. His status is that of an absolute king and his title is Mudd the First. Harry tells Kirk that in escaping from a capitol crime he stole a spaceship and crashed on this planet and the androids took him in. He has had hundreds of beautiful android women created to serve him and surround him with beauty. And he has had one other android specially made, one that looks and acts exactly like his shrieking harpy of a wife Stella. Whenever he approaches her shrine he only has to say, “Stella dear,” and she screams out his name, “Harcourt Fenton Mudd,” and then launches into a tirade of insults and accusations to which Harry only has to shout, “Stella shut up!,” upon which she winds down and goes dormant. Mudd draws great solace from this ritual that allows him to always have the last word.
But Harry also reveals that although he can have whatever he wants he can’t leave. Because the androids desire to have someone to serve they keep him as a virtual prisoner. And so, he is desperate to escape. His plan is to use the Enterprise to sail off to life in the galaxy with some of the androids as his beautiful crew. In exchange he will leave the Enterprise crew on the planet to give the androids someone to serve.
Kirk and his officers attempt to learn something that will allow them to regain the Enterprise before Mudd leaves. Spock learns that there are many series of identical androids, the Allices, the Maisies, the Roberts. But there is only one Norman. He is the central control for the rest of the androids and he may be the key to escape. We also learn that the androids were the servants of a race that came from the Andromeda Galaxy but was destroyed by a nova of their star. Meanwhile the androids inform Harry that they are not going to let him have the Enterprise. They recognize that Harry is a corrupt individual and should be kept away from civilization. They instead will take the Enterprise and use it to contact human civilization and both serve and control humanity for its own good. They intend to become so useful to people that they will leave all action up to the androids. The androids hope to eliminate war and other illogical activities that humans are prone to.
Kirk and his crew and Harry Mudd devise a plan to overcome the androids. They exhibit illogical behavior and say nonsensical things and this has the effect of shutting down the individual androids in a sort of overload condition. Finally, Spock, Kirk and Mudd channel their efforts to overwhelm Norman. The last step is for Kirk to state to Norman that Harry Mudd is a liar and everything he says is a lie. Then Harry tells Norman, “I’m lying.” The paradox of these two statements overloads Norman. Smoke comes out of his ears and he shuts off.
The final scene has Kirk telling Mudd that the androids have been reprogrammed to terraform the planet. Mudd will remain there under their surveillance and will only be released when they decide he has been reformed. Mudd looks at the beautiful androids and decides that he can live with that. Suddenly the Stella android, no longer in a box, runs up to Harry and starts accusing him of skullduggery. But when Harry tells her to shut up nothing happens; she continues the diatribe. Several more Stellas show up and when Harry notices that one of them has the tag number 500 he begs Kirk to save him as the Enterprise crew walks away laughing.
This episode is for laughs and should be evaluated in that light. The Stella gag is extremely funny and one that can be appreciated by any husband no matter how genial his wife might be, bless your heart, Camera Girl. And the end gag with the Stellas is even funnier. The familiarity of Kirk and the other crewman with Harry Mudd’s crimes and foibles is somewhat amusing although at some points taken a little far. Shatner mockery points are restricted to some overacting when Kirk is belittling Mudd about his crimes and misdemeanors. But there’s not much there. All in all, it’s a satisfactory episode. Call it a 7 // 3.
Why should things be easy to understand?