Being a geek means occupying a constant state of wishing you had MORE: more of your favorite characters; more world-building; more detail; more conversations; more involvement; more adventures; and so on, world without end. Sometimes, this need is met with whole universes of satisfying detail. Open the pages of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings and you will end up in a world fleshed out with whole languages, annotated histories, compendiums, and additional stories that exist solely to tell the backstory of a character’s distant ancestors.
“This sunroof is where I have greeted the day for a year. I’m an ocean away from the job I have dutifully served since college in Taipei, Taiwan, providing logistical support to Chinese separatists, part of California’s covert Cary Grant Brigade. Life has been different for some since China succeeded and the U.S. lost the scramble for the world’s last oil supplies – but not for me. I’m still broke.”
It’s 2046, and struggling LaLaLander journalist Richard “Dick” White is living a bohemian existence on the edges of a Venice, CA, not much different from our own. Except that California and the Western States seceded after the government didn’t provide relief after the great Earthquake of 2026, and the region is now more prosperous than the rest of the country.
After the barn fire Jesse Sullivan deliberately set to kill her abusive step-father Eddie, it was revealed that she was infected with the NRD virus and the angry young woman had two choices: become a licensed death replacement agent or go to prison for murder. It wasn’t much of a choice; however, when agents start showing up permanently dead and Jesse is attacked on an assignment, things get, well, complicated. When work was the only thing she could count on to run like it should, Jesse isn’t thrilled by the twist, especially when certain…visions make her fear she’s losing her marbles like her mentor, Rachel. Staying alive and finding some answers is just the tip of the iceberg, and this is one necronite who isn’t going down without putting up a serious fight.
Recently, Andrez Bergen finished a comic series called Trista & Holt: a genderbent retelling of the story of Tristan and Iseult, told in classic noir style and set in the disco era. I had the pleasure of reviewing the comic and highly recommend it. Now, Bergen has adapted that story into a novel called Black Sails: Disco Inferno. It’s the same story, told in a different way, but the effect is a very different one. Even at the places where I knew what was going to happen, I still found it a thrill to read.
Fifty years ago, the Enterprise first embarked on her five-year mission, taking interstellar explorers from their living rooms on a journey through the stars. There was a lot that made the show unique, not the least of which was because a show that was openly “failing” going into its third season has become a force unto itself, inspiring a fandom that espouses continuously the remarkable nature of its stories (this writer included). Though I’m more at home in the 24th century with Picard and the Galaxy and Sovereign class ships, there’s no denying that without the original adventures of a slow-speaking, but quick-acting, captain, his Bilbo-loving First Officer, and their intrepid crew, there wouldn’t be a United Federation of Planets, any continuation of the name Enterprise, or such a bright future predicted in sci-fi.
*Be sure to find out how to win your own copy of The Jack Reacher Field Guide: An Unofficial Companion to Lee Childs Reacher Novels below the review!
Like many filmgoers, I was introduced to the character Jack Reacher in late 2012 when I saw Jack Reacher staring Tom Cruise. Not a consistent reader of the thriller genre, I was, however, aware of Lee Child's name, because I would regularly see at least one (or more) of his books prominently displayed on the bestseller shelf at the local bookstore and his paperbacks in the local grocery store on the magazine rack. I took from the movie that Reacher was enigmatic, intense, and deadly; I wanted to know more! Thanks to Smart Pop and BenBella Books, they have just released George Beahm's The Jack Reacher Field Guide: An Unofficial Companion to Lee Child's Reacher Novels.
Ernie EJ Altbacker has worked on several television shows that include Static Shock, Ben 10, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and Spider-Man, among others, and he has written six Shark Wars novels targeting middle schoolers. He has now written a teen/young adult book titled Handy Andy Saves the World. Evoking the innocence and charm of the 1950s sci-fi B-movie, Altbacker's story of a down-on-his-luck handyman who unwittingly helps fix an alien spaceship is an enchanting tale.
Last year marked the 125th anniversary commemorating the birth of horror writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft, and, as a result, renewed interest in his writing has inspired a higher number of anthologies collecting short stories inspired by H.P. Lovecraft. Scott Gable and C. Dombrowski, who co-edited By Faerie Light and Ghost in the Cogs, have once again collaborated on a Broken Eye Books title, Tomorrow's Cthulhu: Stories at the Dawn of Posthumanity. In this edition, the editors collected together 29 stories inspired directly by Lovecraft's Cthulhu and Dream Cycle (Dreamlands) mythos while incorporating scientific tones and interests. All channeled the inexplicable call of the characters to the hidden and unknown.
Jonathan Maberry is back as editor and co-author of V-Wars: Night Terrors (IDW), the third installment of vampire and werewolf stories that began with V-Wars: A Chronicle of the Vampire Wars in 2013. In the original volume, Maberry commenced with the premise that a dormant bacteria was unleashed with global ramifications. And, as with the first and second volumes, Maberry is joined again by leading authors of horror and science fiction, creating an ongoing and ever-expanding tapestry of stories about the Beats (humans) and Bloods (vampires).
A Cold Season, written by Alison Littlewood, is a spine-tingling horror novel revolving around Cass, a woman who is trying to start a new life for her and her son Ben after the death of her husband on the front lines in Afghanistan. She settles on the idyllic town of Darnshaw, needing only an Internet connection in order to run her website design business. Soon after moving to Darnshaw though, she slowly realizes there’s more to the town than meets the eye. Almost immediately after moving in, Cass finds most of the locals to be none too pleasant, and Ben starts acting out, becoming extremely hostile towards her, lashing out at her verbally and physically. Soon, Cass is locked in a battle with evil for her son’s life.