Ark Royal Review

I can safely say I am a sci-fi fan and when I saw the title of this book on Audible.co.uk it reminded me of the probably now ancient television series which I watched when I was younger. This two coupled together made me want to download and listen/read the book – but did it live up to my expectations?


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When rating audiobooks, I have some criteria in order to evaluate the book. These are as follows ;

  1. Narrator’s Voice – When I start to listen to a book, if I feel that the voice of the narrator engages me and draws me into the book then it is definitely a winner. If the voice doesn’t then I tend to stop the book almost instantly.
  2. Sustainability – Does the story keep me engaged and wanting to listen. If the storyline means that I don’t really want to listen to the book then it gets removed from my ipod. If, however, I want to continue to listen even when I should be doing something else, then this is positive.
  3. Graphic Content – Good books rely on a good story and lots of imagery. However, I don’t think you need to provide explicit gruesome content to make a storyline good. If there is excessive use of gruesome content or long boring descriptions of a hat that someone is wearing, then the book again goes on the ‘avoid this book’ list.

In order to replicate the reviewing sections of Audible, I plan to also comment on; Would I recommend the book, My favourite character, Like or dislike about the performance, Tag line for the book as a film, and then any additional comments. As well as seeing the review here you will also be able to find this on the book within audible.co.uk. With all that said – let’s get on with the review!

Ark Royal is a classic rise of the down trodden to fame. Based around the exploits of an old starship, kept from the scrapyard due to its previous claims to victory, it focuses on how the old design benefits the human race as it encounters a new and yet to be understood alien race. As well as the ship itself being out of date, it is crewed by a group of individuals who all have their problems and difficulties, both personally and professionally. The story centres around the journey and encounters of the Ark Royal with the invading alien race and the development and interaction of the ‘rag tagged’ crew.

  • Performance – the narration is very good, with the voices being used being believable and suitably different so you know which character is talking. The narrator creates suitable atmospheres throughout the book and engages the reader with both the story and the characters.

  • Favourite Character – There are definitely many to choose from including the dedicated PA to the captain, to the almost reluctant leader of the fighter squadron. The struggle between the captain and the second in command is interesting from the start, it how this develops adds to both the storyline and the plot. Even the head of engineering is an engaging character.

  • Tag Line – Not being the most creative person, this causes me some problems although the best I can come up with is – “Maybe you can teach old dogs new tricks”.

  • Recommend this book? If you enjoy the sci-fi genre beyond the perfect world of Star Trek and Star Wars, then this is definitely a book you should read. The story line is engaging and there is not a huge amount of hard to follow space mechanics described. You get the feeling that you are in space without the need to understand astral physics. The characters are easy to relate to and their interactions are based on real world examples, making the whole situation believable. If you are looking for a sci-fi book which is firmly rooted in human interactions and ‘reality’ then this is a good choice. If you hate space and starships – then maybe avoid this one.

  • See the other books I have read and reviewed by checking out my Previous Reads and Reviews pages

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    2 comments for “Let Me In! – Simon’s Cat – YouTube

    1. February 19, 2017 at 2:00 pm

      Would be cool to play an one off, one of the dungeon crawls you made! Maybe the 8 level one!!!

    2. March 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      I miss those early days so much. The current state of rpg’s , the rpg xubculture if you like, doesn’t feel like it did back then. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      I was introduced to Advanced D&D 1st Edition, by my sisters boyfriend (the BEST boyfriend of the many she had IMHO..), who showed me S3 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks module after discovering I enjoyed computer based adventure games, I was hooked immediately and it wasn’t too long before I was hanging around the local game shop, Games Gallery, from which I was invited to join in a game run by the assistant manager, who was to become my long and good friend Steve, who was coincidentally, the reason I got to work at the local branch of Games Workshop for a time. Working there, in those days, before it became a Warhammer only shop, was amazing. It was the proverbial kid in the sweet shop!. Staff discount made it even sweeter – 50% off GW’s own products, and 25% off everything else. We also ran a great rpg club, with about 60-80 members at its peak.
      I was always the GM for my main group as no one else had the time it took to prepare a game properly, though after a few changes to the group, and people from the club popping up, I eventually got to play. Games by a company called Fantasy Games Unlimited (FGU) were very popular in all of my groups. FGU sold games such as Bushido, Aftermath,Space Opera, Chivalry & Sorcery, Freedom Fighters, and Bunnies & Burrows, but there were many many more games, by many different companies, covering all sorts of genres – and I still have them all. Many were, as was the style back then, table and chart and rule HEAVY. We loved that. Comparing themto the current crop of “rules lite” systems, I would certainly go back to the old games instead. We played these games sometimes 5 days a week, as for a time we were all unemployed. It was all we did.
      I often spent days creating scenarios, making maps, creating player characters as well as npc’s. I found it quite therapeutic, as is miniature painting – thousands of the little buggers packed away testify to the time I spent doing it. My “toy soldiers” as my brother in law calls them…
      I used to get quite attached to my favourite characters, and whilst one or two died over the decades, most did not.
      For almost all of my characters I would go overboard by most people’s standards. I like to have an image for my characters, whether a photo or artwork. Sometimes I will see an image and that is the base for the whole character, built around the image.
      I always believed as a player, that giving the GM a detailed background, list of goals, motivations, friends, contacts and enemies, will help the GM bring my character into the game more, by using some of what I have given him in the game. As a GM I like to see what players come up with for their characters, and will often use it in the game. It involves the player more, makes the game more personal if part of the game is suddenly about them, and it can help the players become more invested in their characters.
      For myself, I would often map out the characters home, create a family tree, siblings, etc.
      For our Star Trek RPG (by FASA Corp), I created the whole crew of a 500+ personnel star ship… All as detailed player characters. Unnecessary and a bit OTT I know, but it helped bring every department on the ship alive, every member of the landing party was a person not simply a red shirt.

      I am often bemused whilst watching streams when I see the gm of a streamed game pull some “new” idea out of his box of tricks, and the players are like “wow!”, “that’s original”, “I would never have thought of doing it that way!”, knowing we did it 30-40 years ago.

      The games my most recent group and I played/ran, were very detailed games with a lot of depth. Quite dark games too, mature themed, and often very emotional and intense. Having played with the same people for nigh on 20 years, you create a bond, a closeness and familiarity that allows you to communicate in a way you couldn’t, with people you don’t know very well.
      I have been brought to tears several times in recent years during the last (decade long) game we played ,as some scenes were simply too emotional or powerful, overwhelming (GM was a bastard – but an EXCELLENT GM).

      Sadly the group folded, but the GM offered to keep the game going for just me, which he did for a few years, which to be honest I really needed, as it helped me through a bad depression at that time).
      Over the years I have experienced a lot of things because of rpg’s, and made some great friends, too. I have a lot to be grateful for, regarding rpg’s. I was discussing with my brother in law, my collection of rpg’s and miniatures. When he realised how much they are worth, (some regularly sell for £100’s!) he always tells me to sell sell sell. He doesn’t grasp what they mean to me .
      Yet I won’t. Part of me hopes and prays that I will get a local group together (even some of the old group!) and start using them again. But aside from that, as my memory fails, little by little each year, these boxes and books and miniatures on the shelves are my constant reminders of happy and sad and exciting moments, and great fun, and more importantly, great friends.

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