It’s been several years since there was a novel in the X-Wing series, the last taking place well before the introduction of the Yuuzhan Vong or peace with the Galactic Empire. Now, more than 35 years after their last adventure (in an X-Wing novel, that is), the members of Wraith Squadron return to the pages of Aaron Allston in this brand new, and enjoyable, read.
Within the first page of the book, I was immediately captivated by author Brit Sigh's use of the English language to describe a scene. In Torn in Two, he has crafted a psychological thriller full of twists and turns.
In my experience, there’s a strange phenomenon surrounding official movie novelizations. If they’re well written, they can actually exceed the quality of the film itself. (Don’t believe me? Check out the official movie novelizations of the Star Wars prequels!) This usually has to do with the talent of the writer and their ability to enhance characters and a story that comes attached to numerous limitations. Novelist Greg Cox may be slightly hampered by some of the unrepairable plot holes in his official adaption of The Dark Knight Rises, he but still manages to enhance the plot of Nolan’s final Batman chapter to a level that is sure to thrill and satisfy fans of the recently released film.
It’s been a long time since a book covering the Wing Commander franchise has been released, and, in fact, this one still hasn’t really been released. Pilgrim Truth is the conclusion to a trilogy of books by Peter Telep that are based off of the Wing Commander film from 1999 and was denied release on its original date of 2000. Because of license agreements and the publishing contracts, the novel maintained a limbo status for over a decade until the author finally got permission in late 2011 to release it (and his manuscript notes) to the official fan website, Wing Commander CIC (www.wcnews.com). Because I’m a bit of a “wingnut,” and having waited a significant amount of time to read this piece, I delved right into it . . . and really wish I hadn’t.
With the The Dark Knight Rises now in theaters, Batman is, once again, nearly unescapable, whether via television promos, billboards, or movie tie-ins. Obviously, this also means that the brooding Christian Bale, this generation's Bruce Wayne, is just as present and may have many geeks out there wondering what it takes to portray Wayne, what Bale is like in person, and how he rose to the level where he was chosen to play one of the most iconic and recognized superheroes of all time. If you find yourself wondering about the Bale behind the Batman, I suggest you check out BenBella Books’ Christian Bale: The Inside Story of the Darkest Batman by Harrison Cheung and Nicola Pittam, which tells the story of Cheung’s exciting and disturbing adventure during the years he spent as Bale’s publicist, marketer, and personal assistant. While Cheung’s account may leave Bale fans (the proper term is “Baleheads” - thanks, Harrison!) unsure how they feel about their beloved movie star, I can assure you that this book will shock you, make you laugh out loud, and forever change the way you view Hollywood, celebrities, and Mr. Bale himself.
There are several Expanded Universe books available for reading, and I—being the rather large Star Wars fan that I am—enjoy reading many of them. I’m actually way behind in my book list, but I wanted to read Darth Plagueis (by James Luceno), an early 2012 release, because of its information concerning Bane’s Sith Order and the Rule of Two, and especially because of how it directly relates to the Sith most responsible for the galaxy’s woes and well-known to even the most casual of Star Wars fans: Darth Sidious, better known as Senator/Chancellor/Emperor Palpatine.
For those in Geekdom who are not familiar with Smart Pop Books, I want you to know that you’ve been missing out - big time! Fortunately, I’m here to save your geek cred! Smart Pop Books is the pop culture imprint of independent publisher BenBella Books and offers a variety of engaging and thought-provoking, non-fiction titles focused on the discussion and exploration of the best of pop culture TV, books, and film. I was introduced to Smart Pop Books years ago when they stepped into the Whedon world with two must-read titles: Seven Seasons of Buffy and Five Seasons of Angel.
I am conflicted. I want to tell you all about James Renner’s first fiction novel, The Man from Primrose Lane. I want you to understand how this book is so gripping and filled with tension in one moment, yet entirely tender in another. I want to convey the way in which the characters drag you into their lives so completely, that despite the utterly fantastic events described, I found myself investigating whether this was actually a story of fiction at all. I want to share with you the torrential love and hate and heartbreak you will feel as the mystery opens up and swallows you whole. I want to write my way out of the rabbit hole that is The Man from Primrose Lane and meet you on the surface with a map and a glow-stick for when you read it. But, really, what fun would that be for you?
"The Sith have existed in the galaxy for centuries, lurking, waiting for their chance to seize control. As various Sith Lords emerged and rose to power, they recorded their thoughts, exploits, and plots for Sith control of the galaxy. When they fell, their knowledge vanished with them forever. Or so it seemed..."
As Fyodor Dostoevsky brilliantly displayed throughout his novel, Crime and Punishment, money united the most saintly and sinister of characters, as their eventual moral degradation heavily depended on their possession of it or lack thereof. By highlighting the characters Rodya Raskolnikov and Arkady Svidrigailov, Dostoevsky illustrated that all people, when faced with extreme economic conditions, possessed the ability to become immoral, self-involved, and ultimately evil. To remedy these issues of self-centeredness, pride, and greed, the underlying motif of the novel, poverty, demonstrated the need for ideals of self-sacrifice and compassion. Accompanied by the theme of self-alienation, the author attempted to convince the reader that the battle against moral degradation would only be won by bonding together in times of poverty. In essence, while Dostoevsky clearly depicted that this moral demotion was prevalent in society, he was certain to explain that this occurrence was unacceptable and needed to be rectified.