Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Comic Con Expedition 2018

Comic Con again !

This one felt better somehow. Whereas we'd normally have finished up before the show was over and on our way, this time the 5pm closing time came as a great surprise. It definitely crept up on us.

Oh and I have loot too ...
Perhaps not as utterly packed as some years but still plenty to see. Lots to look at.
Curious people making their way around the exhibition. Whatever could be in that case ?
Who will he next be smuggling across the galaxy ? When all else fails, send in the Wookie.
Maybe it was this strange lovely creature ?
Don't let the Red Mandalorian find her ...
This fella just wanted hugs.
Lovely merch on display.
And a little more too.
And some lovely people selling the merch too.
Definitely good for a ride home.
There were many shiny things.
Keep an eye open for the Family.
Although sometimes, deadly opponents can put their feuds aside for a time.
Two heroines on their way to save the world.
And if they can't save it, then they shall secure the rebirth of the world. (Aloy from Horizon Zero Dawn, a great take on post-apocalyptic games).
Possibly the best cosplay of the day, this is Gaige from Borderlands 2. I quite enjoyed playing this character during the time I had in the game.
And there is always a need for a humble hero and his pig.
Definitely a need for more shiny things.
I came away with a little bit of loot :

The mini Lego XWing in the pic above, plus a small adorable Toothless. I also acquired another mug which may find it's way into work next week. And a t-shirt which will definitely join the round of subversive Friday t-shirts.

I also picked up my next book, a Blakes 7 follow up by Paul Darrow aka Kerr Avon which should be good.

A good day out. I'm still tired now though !

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Book 17 - Redshirts

I have to admit, I'm falling behind on the books again.

But I'm still reading far more than average :-). It's been good to get back into the regular reading again.
The latest book is Redshirts by John Scalzi, which I actually finished about a week or so ago.

Great book ! I shall be checking out more from the author. I'd thoroughly recommend this one as a light hearted bit of fluffy scifi.

What's it about ? You know the Star Trek trope where the Captain and his Bridge Crew go down to the planet, dive into the dangerous situation and they all come back alive except for the security people wearing the red shirts ? Yep. This book is about the people wearing the red shirts.

It introduces its premise straight away, with an ill fated away mission. And then it bridges forward to a future where the main characters, new recruits to the ship, are introduced.

The characters quickly figure out what's going on. Their ship, the Intrepid, has a vastly higher death rate than the rest of the ships in the fleet. Except for core members of the crew that is. This leads to the rest of the crew attempting to avoid those core members as much as they can. Because if they are noticed or become part of an away team, death is likely to follow.

The book is heavily about our set of red shirted lieutenants and ensigns and enlisted and how they figure out what's going on with the story then leading them into what they plan to do about it. Can they change their fate before they too join the ranks of the red shirt fallen ?

That's for the book. I could see where the book was going but the fun bit was in the what do they do about it ? I didn't really see that coming and it was highly amusing.

But the author is a massive troll ! I'm not saying why. Ok. The ending is ... a tad different to the normal for a book like this. Kinda ... sudden :-D. I've said too much there.

It's a fun book ! And I bet any Trekkie would get a kick out of it.

Next up is Babylon's Ashes, book 6 in the Expanse series and the last one I'll read for a while. I'll hold off on getting the rest until they get cheaper. No need to pay £10 on a book that will be much cheaper in a few months, especially as there are another couple in the series afterwards. I can wait.

I don't think I can wait until leave happens though. I didn't think I was burnt out this time around but I think it's crept up on me. I'll be glad to chill out for next week, although there are things to be sorted out. Definitely looking forwards to Comic Con on Sunday and there will be pictures ....

I wonder what we'll find there ?

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Gaming Meme


Spotted a meme again and I must complete it ! Wot da meme ?
As usual, click for bigger and legibility. Here goes !

1 - Very first video game. Not sure here, quite likely to be Kingdom on the BBC Micro, this came with the machine. May also have been arcade video games.
2 - Favourite character. Commander Shepard of the Normandy. That'd be Femshep, as Jennifer Hale has a voice with gravitas. You can wholeheartedly believe that Femshep could take on the galaxy and win, plus that voice has been amazing throughout many of the games I've played.
3 - A game that is underrated. Hmm ... perhaps Planetbase. People didn't like this one but I found its moon base building to be captivating ... once I figured out its foibles and intricacies.
4 - Your guilty pleasure game. I think at the moment this is Battletech. A lot of that is down to the sound design. The weapons sound properly chunky and befit their size. They're 1 tonne, 5 tonne, 20 tonne lasers, missiles and cannons and when they hit an enemy mech, it properly sounds like irresistable force is meeting immovable object. I just love the sound in this game.
5 - Game character you feel most like (or wish you were). My Elite captain commander. Because I would like to be cruising the spaceways, plying my trade amongst the distant stars. Perhaps this is one motivation towards wanting to live on a boat.
6 - Most annoying character. Any character that you have to escort. Case in point today while doing a Battletech escort mission. The characters you escort either linger behind slowing you down or race off ahead into danger that you can't get them out of. I only lost one of the escortees today but that still smarts.
7 - Favourite game couple. Mordin and Eve from Mass Effect 3. Enemies from history who come to know each other in an immensely touching way.
8 - Best soundtrack. There are a few ... Machinarium has a couple of gems, Factorio has a lovely ambient, FTL has an excellent intro that switches on chill out mode for me. But Battletech's soundtrack superbly sets the mood and the Stellaris soundtrack is particularly stellar. So to speak.
9 - Saddest Scene. Mordin going up into the Tower. I've played through this myself and watched two streamers play. I will tear up at this scene and the emotional power of this and other scenes in Mass Effect 3 are probably why I have only played that game once.
10 - Best Gameplay. Deus Ex Human Revolution. It doesn't do everything but it does it in a fashion that was definitely not repeated in the follow up game.
11 - Gaming system of choice. PC all the way. It has the flexibility that consoles don't have.
12 - A Game everyone should play. Star Wars Pod Racer. Especially for those who hated the movie.
13 - A Game you've played more than 5 times. This is an odd one because there are story based games which don't benefit from this and high score type games where you go in again to beat your high score. In terms of playing through a story multiple times, I'd call up Neverwinter Nights, which I played repeatedly with different character types. Perhaps once or several times with mage, warrior, rogue, cleric, paladin etc. For high score games, there is Moo, Moo2, Stellaris, Defence Grid ...
14 - Current video game wallpaper. My desktop is told to point at my Elite screenshots folder. There are lots of very pretty images in there.
15 - Post a screenshot from a game you're playing right now. Well ... no game at the moment (I ... kinda need the screen for writing this? :-D ) but :
Mech Battalion on the charge.
16 - Game with the best cutscenes. One thing about World of Warcraft were the epic cutscenes rendered in the engine. Memorable.
17 - Favourite Antagonist. The moment when the Reaper Sovereign reveals itself in Mass Effect was incredible. Here it is. Our heroes come face to face with an implacable machine intelligence utterly confident in its own superiority, its mission and its assurance of success with that mission. A mission that will lead to the extinction of all spacefaring life.
18 - Favourite Protagonist. I think this has to be Paragon Shepard again, with the paragon being the choice of heroic actions, to save the galaxy in style righting all wrongs and helping all those who need help.
19 - Picture of a game setting you wished you lived in. To the Elite folder again !
Elite is quite pretty.
20 - Favourite Genre. One that isn't done so much now, although it's coming back. Space flight games. I'll also indulge in the empire strategy games, usually in space again, plus tower defence as an unexpected choice here.
21 - Best story. Mass Effect ... hands down. The Mass Effect 1, 2 and 3 story is legendary.
22 - A sequel that disappointed you. After loving Deus Ex Human Revolution, the sequel Mankind Divided was far too buggy and I gave up on it early. Also Mass Effect Andromeda ... because it was messed about with too much by EA and ... it just didn't work. Too grindy and a weak story.
23 - Best art style. Couple of things here, you can judge a game by how it looks now or how good it looked compared to the capabilities of the time. Doom and Quake looked great when they first came out but are horrifically bad now. I'd actually describe Battletech as plain, the graphics could have been better ... but its gameplay is very good. I think Deus Ex Human Revolution here, it looks amazing in its stark neon orange style.
Edit - a bit more thought and : World of Warcraft. It has a characteristic cartoonish style with massive shoulders and various exaggerations. It looks great and watching a couple of streams of it made me remember the draw of the game, which is partly down to how it looks.
I need to find my best WoW screenies again.
24 - Favourite "Classic" Title. Hmm, PC classic would be Master of Orion 2. Atari ST - Elite. BBC Micro - either Elite or Revs.
25 - A Game on your list to play. I think this has to be Surviving Mars and Deus Ex Mankind Divided. Both games are ones I should get a lot out of but I bounced off them hard when I first played them.
26 - Best Voice Acting - anything with Jennifer Hale in and Elias Toufexis (Adam Jensen) is rapidly joining that. I love Claudia Black's voice in gaming too, she played Morrigan in Dragon Age Origins plus an insane Quarian Admiral in Mass Effect. And then there's everyone's favourite Quarian, Tali'Zorah. She joins the crew as a girl/young adult on pilgrimage and grows into a leader of her people. And throughout, the face is hidden behind an environment suit mask but you hear that wonderful voice :
One reason why Mass Effect has its special status with gamers is that voice acting. It is incredible.
27 - Most Epic Scene. I'm going to have to be careful or this will be a Mass Effect love in. A lot of the closing scenes from the 4 games quality here. They're amazing. Yep. Climax scenes of Mass Effect 1, where you have a battle raging outside the station, with your character fighting their way through the inside of the station. The two battles are interwoven and I choose the first game because the scene comes to a very satisfying conclusion. I wasn't quite so taken with the climax of games 2 or 3.
28 - Favourite Game Developer. At the moment I think that's Paradox, although they're more publisher than developer at the moment. Honorable mentions go to Playsport Games for Motorsport Manager, Harebrained Schemes for the Shadowrun games and Daylight Studios for the Holy Potatoes games. I must play Holy Potatoes, We're In Space (a game I acquired via Humble Monthly)
29 - A game you were surprised you liked. Tricky, because I don't acquire games unless I'm sure I will like them ... and I will have checked out the game play before hand via videos. Star Trek Timelines and Idle Champions here. Timelines is one I enjoyed but walked away from due to pay to play mechanics. Idle Champions is one I keep running far more than is healthy.
30 - Favourite Game of All Time. Oh my ... which one to pick ? XCom is amazing. Stellaris had me solidly addicted until v2.0. Moo2 is legendary. Neverwinter Nights was a solid favourite. Then there's the Pod Racer game, Tie Fighter, World of Warcraft ...

The list goes on. The thing is to not have a favourite game of all time and just stick at that game, that'll get boring. Be open to new games, new genres, new styles. Enjoy the gaming. I loved Mech Commander 2 ... and Battletech is a natural progression. I'm hoping the forthcoming Mechwarrior 5 Mercenaries will be good as I really enjoyed MW2 Mercenaries. The various Elite games have been excellent progressions on the games that came before.

It's a shame they stopped making XWing and Tie Fighter games, with the apex of that series arguably being Tie Fighter (the games that came after introduced unnecessary and annoying complication). Moo3 and the new Moo aren't as good as Moo2.

Best game of all time - MASS EFFECT !

You knew that was coming right ? The game I'm playing at the moment though is Battletech, with a hint of Skyrim and Kotor 2. I don't think I'll play the Mass Effect games again, although they do have the memories.
I think it's time to stop posting and grab more snacks. Enjoy your gaming !

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bugs - Kill it with fire ! And Plastic

I'm mourning my Battletech campaign.

(picture credit - a Lt Saatch on the Battletech tabletop game forums)

It has hit its end due to a gamebreaking bug. It has a monthly cycle where you pay for upkeep including the wages for the pilots and the maintenance on the ship and mechs.

Trouble is, there is apparently a (hopefully not too) common circumstance where the counter can break. The monthly counter then goes into negative numbers, blocking the queue for repairs to mechs and upgrades to the ship. Yep. It's a game breaking bug.

I think what caused it with me was having a pilot die in one of the story missions, when the monthly counter was rolling over. Oh well.

The thing to remember is - it's just a game. Even if you're quite well addicted to it and are not quite sure what else to dive into ... it's just a game. (Video game addiction can be very tricky, I'm avoiding Stellaris for similar annoyance reasons but I know that if I try Stellaris again, it could well be a 4am or later finish).

But an untimely end to a game campaign doesn't mean you can't try and have some fun with it as a last hurrah until they patch out the bug.

Enter the Locust Horde.
One of the achievements for the game is "Plague of Locusts", where you aim to win a 4v4 skirmish with the lightest mechs. I refitted mine with flamethrowers. Heat is a mechanic in this game, fire jump jets or weapons and heat will build up. Too much heat and ammunition can explode and the mech will shut down. The internal chassis will melt.

Good times.
And toasty fire.
 Satisfying fire.
Kaboom fire.

I ran 3 skirmishes involving these mechs. They managed to take out one enemy in a random battle and although they damaged the rest of them, they couldn't bring any of them down.

I tried a fight with long range Locusts vs these little devils ... they melted. So I switched the sides around and got the win and the achievement.

Hopefully they patch this particular bug soon. If not, it means an unsatisfying time save scumming (reloading to erase failure or mistakes) to avoid pilots dying and even there, the bug can trigger. I'd been trying to avoid that this time around, accepting the occasional death of pilots as part of the story. Dekker died in the first battle, Medusa soon followed and later poor old Samnite who went out in a blaze of glory, rushing the enemy captain in her mech and melting it like the Locusts were doing above.

The tactic worked ... but it cost the company a Samnite.

The story of your characters and mechs is part of the charm of games like these. The faithful mechs that keep on dishing out the pounding. The ones like Breath of Tiamat which did a lot of damage but also needed more time in the shop than any other. Light of BB-8 (a mech with big lasers) was doing well, as was Howling Thunder, Hissing Typhoon (first Heavy mech) and the Light Light Show.

I know, my selection of names is really, really bad.

Like the availability of plastic recycling ! (How's that for a seismic shift in subject !)

I took my empty plastic bottles to the local supermarket on Thursday, hoping to get rid of them all. Imagine my surprise when ... the hole to put the bottles in is smaller than the bottles.

That's just plain weird. And it's indicative of stupid policy when it comes to environmental matters. It's why we throw things in the bin instead of disposing of them as the crusaders would like us to.

(I have a likely solution and it'll probably involve the cinema on Friday pm, so all good).

I'm watching gaming and reading tonight instead of diving in for more but I suspect the bug in Battletech will mean my Skyrim and Kotor 2 characters will see more time put into them and their story.

It is frustrating when bugs like this happen. But it's just a game.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Laptop hype is intensifying ....

It almost happened tonight ....
I did another bit of laptop scouting as part of "I've burned my own dinner the last few nights, let's have someone else do that for me tonight" and headed off to the Mall again.

You can do internet shopping to check for prices but there is no substitute for getting your hands on stuff to see how they look and feel. And tonight, the result of the touch and scout were :

Acer - spongy trackpad. Incredibly unresponsive. I believe a tranquilized sloth would have been more responsive. This immediately drops them off the possibilities, spec will vary but keyboard, trackpad and often screen will be common across most of a company's laptops.

HP - didn't touch them this time. They have serious issues over quality and when I've looked before, their trackpads are better than Acer. As in, still very unresponsive. Sloth standard.

Dell - solid but uninspiring. Overall competent but the screen was dull. It's like my choice of cars ... if you can have Good or Excellent and Excellent is the same price, why do you settle for Good ? The Dell is Good.

Lenovo - one thing that the online reviews told me to look out for was screen quality and the Lenovo that I looked at had inconsistent bands of varying bright and dark across it. This is Not Good Enough and instantly confirms those online reviews.

This is a comment for the shop as well actually. If you put a laptop on display then customers will use it as an indication of quality of the product. If you permit a display piece to show obvious quality issues, then .... WHAT ARE YOU PLAYING AT !

MSI are too expensive.

The Asus laptop though ... had the best features of all of the above. Nice keyboard, responsive trackpad, excellent crisp looking screen. (The other laptops had blurring, this was sharp).

(Essential disclosure note - I ain't gonna be getting freebies from Asus any time soon).

You'll notice that I haven't said anything about spec yet ... Spec is a secondary consideration behind :
Quality - is it going to last, are bits going to HPfall off it, what is the user interface like.
PRICE ! Don't spend too much.
Size - I do like the littleness of my Macbook Air but I'm prepared to sacrifice that for more capability out of the laptop and in this case, it's more spec.

Ok - that's the S word out in the open ... Essential spec for me is :
Processor : i5 at least or AMD Ryzen. The AMD chip is only just starting to come to laptops though.
Memory : 8GB
More Megabites are good. Unless it's a certain Costa coffee place that gave me a shortlived tummy bug on Friday. Nuff said about that.
Storage : Either SSD or SSD + conventional drive. I'll need the space, so I'm looking at SSD + conventional as a minimum. Apparently the reviews don't like the Hybrid SSHD solution very much ... The speed and smoothness you get from having Windows on an SSD is unbeatable ... (This is because around the time of Vista, Windows became very broken on disc caching and they haven't fixed that yet)
And this one have good onboard graphics too. This wasn't part of my original spec but ... I've crept that a bit.

Yep. Nearly bought it tonight but I've held off. Maybe until the end of the week.

That speed thing is very important. People who are used to SSDs and are subjected to machines without them will know what I mean. I've reinstalled Battletech to my SSD and the difference is :

Conventional drive - go refill the coffee mug while it's loading. You'll have time.
SSD - update the iTunes tracklist, look back, it's done. (I don't update it much)

That's the advantage of an SSD. It does this by being a memory device ... and memory chips tend to be far faster at finding what you need than an archaic storage system that depends on magnetic chemical compounds deposited on spinning platters read by an arm that floats above the surface of the platters.

That's the curious thing about tech - if you explain the practical nature of things like hard discs, people would go : Why is it done like that ? That's NUTS ! But it works and it's simple to make so it's the cost effective option.

In other news ...

I restarted my Battletech campaign at the weekend and so far they're doing pretty well. I'm adopting the following strategy :
Pilots are going for Gunnery and Guts - they are very accurate with shooting the guns and they can take a lot of damage.
And this is a game that's all about soaking up damage while dishing it out.
Lower numbers of BIGGER guns - because there is a skill that ignores the damage reduction if you shoot things with only one weapon. And a big gun means the damage is on one area instead of many, which means more chance of penetrating the armour and hitting something soft and squishy.
Getting the morale up quickly when it's cheaper.
Doing more non-story missions to build up the characters and the money.

And ... enjoying less downtime between missions when it's loading stuff in ! Definitely enjoying it much more now that I'm not waiting for the game so much. I have joined the Meme Of Dekker though. He's one of the Mechwarrior pilots that you start with and he gets put in a very squishy mech. You have to be very careful or he gets :
The Meme of Maim. And the AI in this game is merciless, if they detect a weakness then they will focus down that weakness and murder it. In this case, Dekker, in the lightweight Spider ... with a headshot. It took 2 and a half months to repair that mech ...

Not tonight though. The Battlemechs are in the mech bay while I finish off the latest event on Idle Champions. Hopefully Catti-brie has it in her to complete this mission on her own. And without it taking too long !
Oh and the rumour that there is a Red Dot Projector in this laptop is .... just a myth.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Tiny Destroyer is Tiny

Despite procrastinating like hell over the Star Wars may the fourth weekend ... I didn't actually buy any Lego kits.

Well. It technically isn't a kit :
It comes assembled and glued, so not-a-kit.

Nifty though. I may have bought something else little on there too but no kits this time. I'm still feeling a bit deprived of the Lego ... (The new kits aren't interesting and the offers weren't good enough. I have no interest in the Y-Wing UCS kit and not enough interest in the Snowspeeder)

What's happening ?

I'm needing another quiet weekend. Dunno why I'm so tired these days. I'm not getting as much sleep as I need, which is part of the problem. That's a combination of staying up too late and more insomnia yawning into the pillow. I should address the first bit but I don't have any good ideas for the insomnia.

Idle Champions has been keeping my attention for background play and then there's the continuing adventures in Skyrim. The character can still be fragile but also hits fairly hard. I've learned the game better with this third character.

Red Shirts by John Scalzi is a book I'd recommend, although he is a massive troll with his endings. I have a Coda chapter of the book to go and then it'll be figuring out what book 18 will be. An enjoyable read and I'll be reading more.

I've reinstalled the Battletech to my SSD and I'm considering recording a restarted playthrough ... Yep. Might record the gameplay thing again. This does feel like it will be a long drawn out campaign though.

Back to me and my outsides are definitely improving still, although they're very delicate and prone to me redamaging them too much. But there is steady, consistent improvement. Hopefully when my outsides are better, the rest of me will improve too and I'll get some of the energy back.

We shall see.

For the time being, finishing book tonight, dinner's in the oven, procrastination will continue over laptop and I'll have an easy evening with Idle Champions being started up when their weekend thing becomes active.

Oh wait ! Laptop :
I think my intended spec has definitely shifted, it's just finding a manufacturer who will give me good quality with that spec. The idea is to look at what isn't listed in the spec, to check if the value is in the quality rather than the bits. Because if they sacrifice quality, you get a laptop like my last HP which had really poor build and which lasted literally 10 months before expiring with a dead fan. (And I got done with the warranty there too).

So the new spec is still : i5 processor or AMD Ryzen, 8GB, SSD+HD, IPS screen. Gaming graphics.

The gaming graphics is the new item there and the gaming laptops seem to be higher quality too with more likelihood of having the SSD+HD combination. It's looking like selling the soul to Windows as well, just to make the compatibility easier with iTunes. The iTunes software is just too important for managing the music library, although I refuse to use versions newer than 10.7.

Laptop probably coming in the Black Friday sales now, although I'll keep my eye on offers. That's the thing ... don't buy out of impulse, buy when it's the best time for you to spend the money.

Back soon.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Books 14, 15, 16 Hot Legionary Lego

First up,

More books ! I finished reading those Last Legionary Of Moros books again. I enjoyed them yet again but more of that in a bit.
Yeah, it's gone warm again today although I was in my pooter chair instead of being on the sofa. Back to work tomorrow again. Haha, admit it, how many of you resemble the picture above on this cold, warm and hot Bank Holiday weekend ? Probably more than a few.

I'm feeling the tireds again (already!) so I planned a quiet weekend again chilling out and intentionally not doing too much. Sooo ...

Friday - work until lunchtime (I work extra in the week for effectively a 4.5 day working week ... but will hang around on the Friday if tasks demand it). And then it was me disappearing into town for a lunch and a chill out wander around the centre. Didn't buy anything but objective achieved. (The canteen at work happened to be closed so it was a wander in town or the local coffee shop. I should really check them out at some point).

And then a bit more chill out before heading out for weekend supplies and .... pizza. Pizza is good. It just happens that the better pizza shop is by the place I get my supplies from. Convenient.

Saturday had me watching the 6 hour race at Spa, among doing other things (like the laundry!). It was a good race. I'm wondering what will happen at Le Mans because the LMP1 non-hybrids were closer to the Toyotas than I expected. That could be good at Le Mans with the longer straights where the non-hybrids will have an advantage on the straights when the batteries on the hybrids hit their charge limits. And the rest of the field had good battles all day too.

That's the thing about endurance racing, there are usually good battles all day and all the way down the field. They're still very dependent on aerodynamic assistance for going around the corners but not nearly so much as Formula 1, which is wrecked (in my view) by the cars having their cornering performance severely hampered by following other cars closely. So overtaking is very difficult in Formula 1 and lessens it as a spectacle.

The weekend has gotten hotter as it's gone too and I'm not one who subscribes to this theory :
I do tend to suffer in the heat. It's much tougher to cool down than it is to wrap up warm.

Still, it's cricket season so the rain will be back soon.

Lots of game playing has happened this weekend with Idle Champions occupying the PC a fair bit but also a few others :
Motorsport Manager - a couple of races and getting the Backmarker to Best achievement where you deliberately start a car at the back of the grid and come through to win. You need hefty superiority over the rest of the field to make that one work. One issue is that when you get that kind of superiority, the challenge and fun goes out of the game somewhat. Not many races left in this playthrough.
Skyrim - a little today and a few more quests done. My hybrid of a stealth archer and sword and board character is doing nicely.
Battletech - a few more missions completed, although I'm considering restarting my game so I can level the characters differently. I want characters who can shoot straight and I'm feeling that the current ones miss too much.
Kotor 2 - continues to be enjoyable escapism but it feels very linear compared to the original game and most Bioware adventures of its type. Maybe it's just taking a while to crack it open.

Lego is intriguing at the moment. It's the May the Fourth Be With You Star Wars discount weekend and I'm feeling deprived of Lego. I actually have a bunch of it but I want more. But I have no clue as to what I want to get. None of the sets on sale at the moment really appeal. I want the Star Destroyer key chain thing though.

Book ? Book !

Books 14, 15 and 16 are the second, third and fourth in the Last Legionary Quartet by Douglas Hill. This is a tale of Keill Randor, who is the last of his kind. The last Legionary of the Planet Moros. The rest of his people have been murdered by mysterious forces and our boy is out for answers and ... revenge.

This tale is told over the first book and then :

Deathwing over Veynaa - a first infiltration of where the Galactic Warlord is attempting to influence a conflict.
Day of the Starwind - a race against time to accomplish a dangerous mission before all is swept away by extreme atmospheric conditions (massive wind forces) induced by the close approach of a wandering planet.
Planet of the Warlord - the conclusion of the tale where Keill finds his nemesis.

I've intentionally not said too much there to avoid too many spoilers but the books are still worth a read even after all these years. They are short and sweet. There is recap at the start ... but instead of being chapters long (I'm looking at you Mr Turtledove !), the recap is done inside a couple of pages and then it's into the story.

At just over 100 pages a book, these are quick reads but still pack a fair bit in. There's probably more than enough here to fill out a miniseries or a 12 episode or so TV series. It's good stuff where the action and the story rattles along at great pace.

They are dated somewhat by mention of things like magnetic tape but ... these books were written in the early 80s when the compact disc hadn't been invented and I'm not sure that hard discs were in too wide operation either.

It was good to go back to these old ones. I may read some of the other series written by Douglas Hill again soon too.

Time to disappear again now though into the remains of that long weekend. And I'm totally not about to watch a Brickbuilder video about the Lego Snowspeeder ...