If I were able to craft my own degree in Geek Studies, I would load up on graduate-level classes about Hobbits and vampire slayers and post-apocalyptic survival.  I’d study superheroes and villains, monsters and robots, old worlds and new technologies.  Thankfully, there’s not much need to be hypothetical about the opportunity to study these topics.  There are legions of curious geeks just like me out there crafting opinions, analyzing themes, and bringing scholarly criticism to the wide universe that is popular culture media.

There are two types of stories that I absolutely love: superhero stories and fairy tales. Tales of Superhuman Powers combines them both by putting folktales from all around the world in the context of today’s comic book heroes, from the Justice League to the Avengers.

It’s taken me a while, but I finally sat down and read this Kickstarter-funded tome by Travis I. Sivart and Wendy L. Callahan. Steampunk for Simpletons is a very thorough and delightful book for those looking to dive into Steampunk or at least learn more about the subject. The authors consider this a resource book and rightly so. It pretty much covers every aspect of Steampunk without making your head explode. (Well, almost. They cover a lot in this book.)

The Hunger Games film series may have wrapped up last month, but there’s still a wealth of Hunger Games material for fans to devour beyond the three novels by author Suzanne Collins and the four feature films based upon them. Of Bread, Blood, and The Hunger Games: Critical Essays on the Suzanne Collins Trilogy, published by McFarland and edited by Mary F. Pharr and Leisa A. Clark, is a collection of well-written and thought-provoking essays focused on The Hunger Games series and is a perfect example of the kind of enriching and delicious remedy that will help those fans experiencing the effects of Hunger Games withdrawal in this post-Mockingjay world we live in.

I had the opportunity to review the first version of Adam Korenman’s When the Stars Fade back in 2014, and when I was invited to read the California Coldblood edition, I jumped at the chance to see how the raw nugget of an excellent sci-fic epic had been honed.  All of the potential that I saw in the original shines, and the plot is tightened to create a more digestible piece for readers to process and appreciate. The series has also been converted from a trilogy to a hexology, so the epic has room to breathe a little more and explore some plot points that were almost footnotes in the first version due to the sheer scope of the ambitious storyline.

I love the characters of Roy Scherer and Suzie Miller. I said so when I first read their adventures in Andrez Bergen’s anthology, The Condimental Op. I’m quoted as saying so on the cover of Tales to Admonish #2, which features comic adaptations of the two characters. I probably say it, or some variation thereof, every time there’s a new Roy and Suzie mystery to be read. Well, now my affinity has been rewarded. Small Change is a complete Roy and Suzie novel.

Sean McDonough’s novel, The Terror at Turtleshell Mountain, is billed as horror, but, to me, it feels more like dark comedy.  Maybe I’m just a sick, jaded reader, but the idea of an otherworldly massacre at a theme park billed as the “Most Joyous Place on Earth” gives me a case of the giggles (Okay, maybe it’s the not-so-veiled comparison to Disney that tickles my distorted funny bone.); however, I certainly understand that not everyone will enjoy the warped portrayal of rides, beloved animated characters, and days out enjoying the magic of a theme park.

If the stars didn't die, we wouldn’t live.

C. A. Higgins has found a philosophical quandary in a physical property of the universe and spends her novel preparing the reader for the twist that defines the novel's message.  Though this leaves some questions unanswered for perhaps a little longer than I enjoyed, the murky feelings you're left with at the end make for an excellent discussion piece about technology, the people who use it, and our place in the larger universe.

I’ve seen a lot of Kickstarter campaigns. I’ve contributed to a fair few of them, and even helped to promote one or two. I’ve seen some that succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and I’ve seen others that didn’t even come close to reaching their goal. Through it all, my goal has been to crowdfund a project of my own; however, if I’ve learned one thing through all the campaigns I’ve observed, it’s that it’s much easier to fail at Kickstarter than to succeed, especially if you go in without knowing what you’re doing.

Daniel just woke up in a hospital room with a raging headache and has no idea how he got there.  Oh, and, small detail . . . the Universe is broken. 

So begins Meme, the first novel by Jack Cusick.  Daniel immediately takes up with the titular character, Meme, a fairly mysterious representative of the “World Police,” who claims to be trying to fix this rather large problem.  It is apparent that Daniel’s circumstances are inextricably connected to this investigation, and the two team up out of necessity (and attraction?) to get to the bottom of things.

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