Star Trek: Nemesis & Stronghold
The compact Coward, a compilation CD of songs by
Noel Coward, most recorded in the 1930s. Currently up to
I travel alone, recorded 29 October 1934. This
one is melancholy, minimalist, but appealing. Others are
quite comic. The Ivor Novello character in the film
Gosford Park sings similar songs.
A recent movie:
Star Trek: Nemesis. This was an entertaining
film, though totally undemanding. As an attempt to scratch an
S/F itch, it wasn’t much of a success, but it was enjoyable
enough. From the science-fiction point of view, the
most disappointing thing about the Star Trek universe is the
dreadful lack of variety in the aliens. They are all too
obviously people with plastic prostheses on their heads. For
all that they don’t get big roles, at least Star
Wars has more interesting looking creatures.
The Star Trek universe is also less imaginative in its
conception of the future than, for example, Banks’s Culture
novels. There clearly hasn’t been much thought put into what
technology advances might achieve. If a space-ship is
“intelligent” enough to automatically put a
force-field over a hole in the ship’s structure, surely it
should be smart enough to maintain motion detectors and person
identifiers throughout the ship. In particular, a tedious
on-ship battle between the ship’s deputy boss, and the enemy’s
deputy in the bowels of the ship should never have
Anyway, with engaging hero and anti-hero (Jean-Luc Picard
vs. Shinzon), you can ignore all of these sillinesses
and enjoy the bad guys, and their eventual downfall.
A while back, I waxed lyrical about the enjoyment I was getting out of
Stronghold Crusader. I got about two thirds of the way
through the Crusader Trail, up to a mission that starts
you off between two instances of the Richard the Lionheart opponent.
The problem is basically that the scenarios get harder by making the
initial conditions more and more disadvantageous for the human, not by
making the opponents any smarter. It eventually gets boring playing
against opponents that never get any better. What I’d really like is
a human opponent. In the meantime, I am playing customised skirmish
games where I can control the initial conditions.