PREQUEL BOOK REVIEW PART 1: Transformers - Ghosts of Yesterday

Discussion in 'Transformers Movie Discussion' started by Tycho, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. Tycho

    Tycho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Posts:
    275
    Trophy Points:
    76
    Likes:
    +0
    BOOK REVIEW PART 1: Transformers - Ghosts of Yesterday

    "The Official Prequel To The Upcoming Blockbuster Film!" - it says so along the top of the paperback novel cover.


    This book is indeed by Alan Dean Foster (Star Wars author of Splinter of the Mind's Eye and The Approaching Storm - pre-middle movies that preceede Empire Strikes Back and Attack of the Clones, respectively, and also the uncredited author for the novelization of "A New Hope." - people are supposed to believe George Lucas wrote that book - yes Lucas crafted the story)

    My book reviews will be complete spoilers of the novel, unless I otherwise indicate.

    The first 17 pages are about Sector 7 - the human agency that's some sort of hybrid between the Defense Department and the CIA. They've found "Ice Man" a maybe 70-90 foot high alien robot frozen in the Arctic ice (Megatron) and are holding his deactivated form in a facility in the frozen tundras on an Arctic island. They've been disecting his technology as best as they can and downloading from his computers I guess, as they learn in 1969 how to design a better spaceship than NASA's using for their Neil Armstrong lunar mission.

    A proper "Star Trek" type crew launch on the new secret spaceship dubbed "Ghost 1" at the same time Apollo 11 launches, so all eyes and radar will be on that ship.

    On board Ghost 1, Captain Walker leads his crew on a suicide mission. They have the technology stolen from Cybertronian design to loop around the Solar System in 6 months. Their mission is to scout out and contact alien life that government intelligence thinks is planning an invasion from some staging base, possibly on one of the moons of Jupiter. They are to transmit their findings back to earth, and make contact if possible, to try and prevent an invasion or war. They don't know what they'll expect to find - except they fear they'll encounter more like "Ice Man" (Megatron).

    Due to politics and bureaucratic b.s., superiors have ordered "Ice Man" packed in a huge cold storage and transferred to Area 51, somewhere near Hoover Dam (G1 homeage of course). They have the brilliant idea to study him closer to where another team is working on "The Cube," which of course is "the Allspark" to see what they can learn by comparing the technology (they can get themselves all killed by calling down the Decepticons upon them of course :rolleyes:  )

    Glancing ahead, not until page 24, is the first Transformer (a fellow named Starscream ) introduced.

    However, while I'm not Alan Dean Foster's biggest fan, Captain Walker and his crew's suicide rocket mission is written exceptionally well, and if I bought this book to read about a guy named Captain Walker, I'd already think it was an outstanding novel.

    As a writer myself though, I find descriptives lacking: I have no idea what Captain Walker looks like, how old he is, or what most of his (6 member?) crew looks like. They call their Comm Officer (Maria Gonzalez) "Uhura," an intentional reference to Star Trek. Also the Ghost 1 is not too clear in my mind either. I'm waiting to see if he accurately describes Starscream as a flying Bionicle piece of crap. :D  That's what he is, isn't he?

    Anyway, while descriptives are lacking, the drama is well written. It does make me want to continue the novel. It's 286 pages btw, paperback and probably $6.99 MSRP. - Better than the tie-in toys.
     
  2. Tycho

    Tycho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Posts:
    275
    Trophy Points:
    76
    Likes:
    +0
    BOOK REVIEW PART 2: Transformers - Ghosts of Yesterday

    "The Official Prequel To The Upcoming Blockbuster Film!" - it says so along the top of the paperback novel cover.


    OK, I'm on the first chapter that introduces the Cybertronians. We start on a Decepticon transport ship. It is not a battle cruiser as one might expect, but maybe the darn G1 ship that crashed in the ocean was their idea of a transport ship. In any case, they are no where near earth.

    Starscream is the main character. (Yaaay! I'm a Starscream fan) He is the leader of the Decepticons. As far as he knows, Megatron has been dead for 1,000 years! However, Cybertronians experience the passage of time differently than we do. For many Decepticons, a leader missing for over 1,000 years is MIA, not declared dead. And most of the Decepticons prefer to go on looking. Starscream is interested because Megatron had taken off after the Allspark and Starscream wants it to help him cement his rule over Cybertron. He's annoyed the mission has taken this long and the war with the Autobots, pretty much the same amount of time.

    Barricade is the navigator / pilot of the Decepticon ship. Blackout is also introduced, and is loyal to Megatron but submissive to Starscream for the time being. Starscream may be the most powerful Decepticon (at least in the present story).

    They discover indications of Cybertronian technology being used to possibly navigate a wormhole. Starscream's standing orders are to annihilate any Autobots they come across. They seek complete genocidal extermination of the Autobots. So they alter course of their ship to investigate.

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Duh-Dah-Duh-Duh-Dah. "We now Return to the Transformers."


    (the novel is cute as they use the Autobot and Decepticon icon symbols at the change of every chapter! Very G1 :thumb  )

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Holy Energon, Prime! The Autobots are on board The ARK!

    Yes, the G1 ship we all knew and loved! I put down the book to run and post as soon as I read this. I could burst another brain cell if Teletran-1 gets introduced.

    I jumped up to go post as soon as the first Autobot in command of The Ark was introduced: Optimus Prime!

    --------------------------------------------------------

    Repeat after me: "I am a major geek. I find this all fascinating!"
     
  3. Soundwave2

    Soundwave2 Excitement! My Style!!!

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    Posts:
    4,010
    News Credits:
    9
    Trophy Points:
    212
    Likes:
    +34
    I'm hooked
     
  4. Tycho

    Tycho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Posts:
    275
    Trophy Points:
    76
    Likes:
    +0
    BOOK REVIEW PART 3: Transformers - Ghosts of Yesterday

    "The Official Prequel To The Upcoming Blockbuster Film!" - it says so along the top of the paperback novel cover.



    I've gotten to what seems to be the immenent breakout of their first battle in the book and Starscream is not in the mood to take any prisoners!

    What's interesting is Blackout pushes him the way G1 fans saw Starscream push Megatron. They play games of dominance and internal politics. You're starting to wonder whether it will be so important for Starscream to just subjegate him, or eventually outright kill him. Barricade seems to definitely not want to get in between those two!

    Alright: I'll spill some more. I'm loving this book!

    The Ark does not look like it did in G1. It is spherical (think Star Wars Trade Federation ship without the ring - the way the TF ships land on Geonosis in SW).

    The Autobots have traced a transmission that hones them in on the AllSpark and plan to leave Ratchet aboard the Ark while they go extra-vehicular and scout the system in their commet-form alt modes.

    But they intercept the Ghost 1 at the same time the Decepticons do and Starscream is not going to tolerate anyone's interference!

    Oh, it seems even at this point, BumbleBee cannot talk - he might have been severely damaged and Ratchet hasn't been able to fix everything.
     
  5. Poho

    Poho That's MISTER Poho to you

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Posts:
    6,207
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    176
    Likes:
    +1
    awesome. must read this book.
     
  6. Hiro Prime

    Hiro Prime Cybertronian Guru Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Posts:
    5,749
    News Credits:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    237
    Location:
    In a Transformers Museum
    Likes:
    +7
    Ebay:
    Wait, is Bumblebee aboard the Ark???

    Cause that flies in the face of what is written in the Prequel Comics. (which I thought were also official)
     
  7. Ra88

    Ra88 Dutchman!

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Posts:
    9,238
    News Credits:
    21
    Trophy Points:
    247
    Likes:
    +59
    Well, Bumblebee left a thousand years ago. The Autobots are appearantly following the energy signature of the Allspark.

    My guess? Bumblebee found which solar system it was in, but unlike Megatron he didn't have the proper equipment to pinpoint the planet it was on (or maybe he was just following Megatron, and Megs managed to shake him when entering the solar system). He goes back to Cybertron, informs Prime, and they board the Ark to track it down more efficiently (probably putting Ultra Magnus in charge).

    As for the Decepticons: Starscream probably finds out what they're up to, and decides to summon his Brigade and follow the Autobots in the 'Nemesis'.
     
  8. Brutus

    Brutus Autobot

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2004
    Posts:
    277
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Likes:
    +0
    I may have missed it, but is this book out in stores now?
     
  9. General Tekno

    General Tekno Self-Styled #1 Lugnut Fan

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Posts:
    10,029
    News Credits:
    223
    Trophy Points:
    322
    Location:
    The Teknodrome
    Likes:
    +239
    What I'm finding rather odd upon thinking about it...

    I can't recall mention of Brawl. All the other 'cons are mentioned, but NOT Brawl.

    And YET, Brawl is getting MULTIPLE toys, including a Leader-class.

    I mean, I disregarded any Megatron = Brawl theories I had a while ago, but still...
     
  10. Tycho

    Tycho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Posts:
    275
    Trophy Points:
    76
    Likes:
    +0
    Yes. Barnes and Nobel, Borders, they all have it I'm sure. I bought it at my local comic book shop. I'm sure the bigger stores have it for $6.99 (paperback by Alan Dean Foster).

    No. BumbleBee is with the other Autobots from the movie aboard the Ark in 1969. They haven't been back to Cybertron in about 1,000 years. Megatron was lost then (when he was presumably frozen in the polar ice) but not before he ripped out BumbleBee's vocalizer in some conflict away from where Ratchet could find resources to fix BumbleBee (who was nearly killed, but I think Optimus saved his life - I'm not clear on that).

    The comic book takes place maybe 1,000 years before1969, so maybe in the year 69AD when the Roman Empire was still crucifying people on earth, though the comic takes place on Cybertron I think (I glanced through it and didn't care too much for the style of the artwork)

    So far, besides "Ice Man," the only Decepticons mentioned are Starscream, Barricade, Blackout, and Frenzy.
     
  11. VAwitch

    VAwitch G1 GeekGirl

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Posts:
    967
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    111
    Likes:
    +1
    Ebay:
    Y'know - since it does take place in 1969, and BB starts as a '74(?) camaro - it kinda makes sense - I haven't finished reading - I'm at the Bot intro. Sadly, ADF's writing of this one just isn't grabbing me like his writing usually does.

    Anyhow - I am theorizing that the Bots can confirm the energy sig being on Earth, but not WHERE, and BB volunteers to scout - and takes on a "current" car. And something happens (low energon?) where he waits until regaining the sig of the Allspark or the map.
     
  12. General Tekno

    General Tekno Self-Styled #1 Lugnut Fan

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2006
    Posts:
    10,029
    News Credits:
    223
    Trophy Points:
    322
    Location:
    The Teknodrome
    Likes:
    +239
    Bonecrusher and Scorponok are also mentioned.

    But not Brawl (I think)
     
  13. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Posts:
    1,632
    Trophy Points:
    126
    Likes:
    +0
    The book was a pretty good read, I'll give it that. I didn't care for the detail of the humans and since I'm on these awesomus boards I knowz already what the Trans characters look like. The fighting was pretty fun description in zero grav "Wee, I'm gonna hurl my energon cookies" Or as I would imagine if I went twirling off after getting smacked by Barricade's tail. Was Barricade the one with the tail? :sly: 

    I read the book in one night came to school drunk, fell asleep in front of a computer, and woke up in a car dealership with a bottlecap. HMMM. Some good times there. 'Cept now I'm so behind in my school work :D 
     
  14. chocula78

    chocula78 Satellite Systems Engr TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2006
    Posts:
    471
    Trophy Points:
    141
    Likes:
    +0
    Ebay:
    I liked the book, but definitely would have appreciated more descriptive passages. They never described how the bots looked or even how old the human characters were.

    Two things that bothered me, that are kind of picky: Ghost 1 is full of civilians and one of them is a hispanic women. It's not her race or sex, but the fact it's 1969. The three lunar astronauts were retired or current military personnel. Would they not at least use a former Navy or Air Force pilot as Ghost 1's pilot or commander? Plus in 1969, any minority had trouble getting a job with the government, let alone a hispanic female. Hell, I'm sure white females couldn't get jobs in black ops within the US govt.

    I am not trying to start a socio-political debate, just stating historical facts.
     
  15. Tycho

    Tycho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Posts:
    275
    Trophy Points:
    76
    Likes:
    +0
    I agree with Chocula about the race / gender demographics issues. Good point I didn't even think of.

    I was surprised to learn that BoneCrusher is a badder threat than Blackout. Optimus makes quick work of Blackout it seems.

    Also, why are there so few Decepticons? Starscream is the supreme leader over 7 of them? (6 of them if Brawl was intentionally left out).

    But let me get this straight, the Autobots regard Megatron as mentally insane half the time, but a more dangerous and diabolical leader than Starscream? I guess that's the way it should be. I'm a Starscream fan which probably explains why I'm grumbling.
     
  16. Ziero

    Ziero TFW2005 Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2006
    Posts:
    4,790
    Trophy Points:
    181
    Likes:
    +0
    In the comics Megatron is a highly violent and very straight forward tyrant. He doesn't mince words or play games and his subordinates fear for their lives just being in his presence. He very much has what seems as a god complex and believes himself to be undefeatable. Starscream seems to be just trying ursup what Megatron has always had, absolute power and domination over the forces of the Decepticons, which is exactly what he should be trying to do.
     
  17. thoughtcrime

    thoughtcrime Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 17, 2003
    Posts:
    1,697
    Trophy Points:
    161
    Likes:
    +0
    I'm enjoying the book quite a bit, but only because its Transformers, the story is decent, and the human characters are enjoyable. But like you said, a lot of the prose is painful and the descriptives are severely lacking. The Autobots' dialogue is downright atrocious, especially Jazz and Ironhide. It reads like Foster either wasn't sure how to approach these characters so he played it safe, or just referred to the G1 tech specs while he was out cashing the check. The book isn't terrible, but it could have been better. Its about what I expected.
     
  18. Tycho

    Tycho Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2007
    Posts:
    275
    Trophy Points:
    76
    Likes:
    +0
    BOOK REVIEW PART 4: Transformers - Ghosts of Yesterday

    "The Official Prequel To The Upcoming Blockbuster Film!" - it says so along the top of the paperback novel cover.



    Well, where I'm at in the book stupid Sector 7 bureaucrats ordered Megatron moved from the Arctic Base to Nevada and not 1/2 hour after the military motrocade convoy starts out, they wind up in a 6-7 vehicle pile up because they transport during a blizzard and skid on the ice. The commanding officer was either just killed in a traffic accident, or at least has a broken leg. *Sigh*


    Meanwhile, BumbleBee (dispatched to make contact with the humans aboard Ghost-1 but driven into hiding by Starscream), is attacked by giant space worms beneathe the surface of the planet and Optimus comes to save him.
     
  19. thepoetrydude

    thepoetrydude Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Posts:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    91
    Likes:
    +0
    That first chapter almost had me leave the book sit and not finish it, but I did enjoy it by the end, eventhough it could have used a better finalized draft or something
     
  20. Poho

    Poho That's MISTER Poho to you

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2007
    Posts:
    6,207
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    176
    Likes:
    +1
    funny you should say that. i went into the book store here and tracked it down, sat and read the first chapter, put the book back and left. maybe i shouldnt have.

    but yeah, i was disappointed by the poor distracting writing.
     

Share This Page