So I bought this as it has a novel idea (if you'll pardon the pun, I wouldn't) its a novel that comes with a Adventure for the Alien RPG in it. Full disclosure I am a fan of Drew Gaska's work. Could someone else have written the Alien RPG? Sure but I don't think it would have been as good. Seeing that the new novel would have the RPG Adventure was what made me pre-order it.
The Novel ***
it was ok. Read it pretty quickly. Some of the stuff I liked a lot some things like the base, some of the characters. Somethings I didn't like. The dog was one, as was some of the British elements which were hard to take seriously. More at home in a Victorian pulp novel than Alien.
The Adventure *****
So this was the most expensive adventure I have bought really. I mean that is on me. I bought it for the adventure rather than the novel. The adventure is a added bonus not the reason to buy the book. Unless your me and do it in reverse, but that is the Kritfayle way.
So this is a short adventure (as expected) but there is room for a lot of fun RP. To give me time to think about it we have already had the players decide who they wanted to play and have had their agenda's given to them. The agendas they do not share with each other. Watching Raven's face when they realized just how much trouble they were in, how much trouble they would cause the other characters and the drama and stress that would come from it was worth the price alone.
Its a good adventure. It ties into the book well and the characters have some cool moments because of that. it also has some of those moments for the players. Those moments add to it and give the players a little extra connection to what is happening. In many IP RPG's (IP referring to existing shows, books etc in this case) the games feel distinct from the parent setting. Like a Expanded Universe but not part of the canon in any way. The Alien RPG doesn't feel that way and connecting the adventure to the novel's events is a interesting way to do it. It makes the novel more of a fun read for the players as they are seeing how they effected things and vice versa. If you play the RPG then get it. I think it adds something extra and is worth it.
The Batman, The Worlds Greatest Dectective. VENGENCE. I have always liked the Batman as a character. He is very different to lighter characters like Spiderman. Spiderman was cool for the over the top action against other super villains and the occasional hero. I liked Batman for very different reasons. He was trying to make streets safer. Super villains had big goals and big plans and while their stories were interesting they were unrelated to me as a kid. Batman laying the hurt on a scumbag was satisfying. Over the years though the character has changed and seen lighter and darker versions. He has also seen more perfect versions as well as more broken ones. He is not a great hero. His parents get killed so he dresses as a bat to extract revenge. New versions like Chris Nolan's and the most recent The Batman has examined the transition of the character a bit more from revenge to something else. The character is very flawed and not a role model. For all that though there has been a fertile ground to tell stories.
The opportunity came to get this figure on sale and I grabbed it. Overall the figure is good and for what I paid it is excellent. Where these kinds of figures lose points is in their paint jobs. Many will say painted by hand but that doesn't really mean much. The base colours are very good and good coverage. Things like the symbol are very difficult to do on miniatures and the symbol here looks good. Where it fails is in two areas. One the eyes. More definition around the edges is needed. The second is in the wash. Washes are used on miniatures to give some definition and a fake shadow. Even coats are something miniature painters aim for so the wash has a unified coat in the areas we want it to go. On many figures/statues this does not happen. You can see the uneven drying of the wash on his arms, in the chest creases, boots and leg muscles. Instead of giving some shading it looks more like stains which isn't the effect they should be going for.
Overall though I am happy with it based on the price. If you can get it on sale then its quite fun.
As a kid growing up there were many Sci-Fi shows in the 1980's. In some ways it was a golden age. Yet two stood out to me. One was Battlestar Galactica. The two movies were excellent and left a lasting impression. The second was Buck Rogers in the 25th century. In the end I feel both series fell somewhat short of their potential. Season 2 Buck Rogers especially and issues with the shows lead actor are well documented.
For all that Buck Rogers was a very fertile ground with lots of room to tell all sorts of different stories. There were good messages in there also. The Earth had suffered. Humanity had survived and rebuilt. In that beautiful glossy future there still remained the scared cities from the war and the forgotten remnants of humanity in the wasteland. There is a lot to play with there. Moral and ethic questions in a range of areas.
There was a uneasy peace/war with the Draconian Empire and in that there was a lot of the Space Opera excitement that sci-fi shows did so well. The effects were great and the reliance on models and real explosions for some of the ship destruction gave the series a look that cgi heavy series don't always seem to have.
In the end the series never reached its full potential before cancellation. It was very cool however to find that there was three new stories written by Andrew E.C. Gaska. The rings of Saturn feels very much in the Space Opera area of the show and was where I feel it was best. While there is a large area to play in season 2 started to get a little strange at times. This book does not do that.
This is a novella and comes in at 118 pages. While not the size of a novel I have to admit I am quite fond of Novella's. There were a lot more when I was younger. They are shorter but also easier to get through. They make great reading on holidays, while on the train and when you want to read but don't have lots of time. They move at a decent pace because they have to and never feel like they drag. They get to the point and stay there. The cover art is great and has that 1950's Amazing Stories art vibe.
If you remember Buck Rogers and want some more stories then give this a go. If you want something different that isn't cynical like some of the more modern stories then give this a read.