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.
What if god was one of us?
Welcome to Elan, but not the one you know from the Riyria Chronicles. Not yet, at least, as this new series is set 3,000 years prior to the world as it stands in those volumes. The Rhune are ordinary humans with technology befitting the cusp of the Bronze Age and the life expectancy to go with it. The Fhrey are godlike to them, having a life span that crosses millennia and with one sect harboring a magic that can quite literally reshape the world. This is the world that Michael J. Sullivan transports us to in Age of Myth, and the great care that he has taken in his world building is evident from the first chapter. All the creatures in it have an order, one which has been set by the Fhrey and not challenged for a very long time. Ripe with history and wonders that inspire the imagination, it’s the perfect setting for storytelling in the vein of the greats of the genre.
One of my favorite movies in recent memory is the 2014 What We Do in the Shadows (directed by and starring Taika Waititi who is currently directing the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel), a delightful parody of all-things vampire and reality TV. Shot in the faux-documentary style of The Office and following the daily lives of a group of vampires sharing a flat in New Zealand, What We Do takes on every vampire (and werewolf!) trope imaginable to hilarious effect.
*Be sure to find out how to win your own copy of Bioethics and Philosophy in Orphan Black below the review!
After the airing of the last episode of Fringe in 2013, leaving me bereft of serious and densely packed science fiction in my TV landscape, I went on the hunt for a new series that could fill my need for truly mind-bending sci-fi concepts and themes. I’ve partly filled the void with shows like Person of Interest and…well, several whole-series binge re-watches of Fringe.
*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.
Ever since she was seventeen years old, Dale Highland has been on the run: from her unexplained murderous blackouts she calls Rages; from an aunt who clearly despises her; from a world that she just doesn’t quite manage to fit; however, a chance encounter with a stranger pushes the young woman to face some bizarre truths about who, or maybe what, she really is. Thrust into a cat-and-mouse chase from a powerful, otherworldly organization, Dale needs to choose what she finds most vital to being herself and ultimately whether having supernatural blood prevents her from being truly human.