I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.

Peter Clines builds a helluva story and can wave his nerd flag high with the best of them.  In his book, The Fold, Leland “Mike” Erikson has a genius-level IQ with an Eidetic memory to boot and uses it to teach high school juniors English Lit until an old friend comes knocking with a job he finally can’t refuse.  Scientists working on a DoD project in the desert have created something that will change the world as we know it, but something seems a little off, and Mike’s just the man to get to the bottom of it.

“Empty Quiver (n) – A U.S. Military reporting term to identify and report the seizure, theft, or loss of a nuclear weapon.”


Following up his initial success with the YA/superhero mashup, Crimson Son, writer Russ Linton has achieved a remarkable hat trick with his follow-up novella, Empty Quiver, a quintet of tales that span from the dawn of the Augment age, long before the events of his prior novel, to near modern days, complete with sly references to Central American politics that still ring true.

Enter the Janitor is a unique and cleverly written book about the secret, semi-Men in Black-style organization that keeps things clean, both literally and figuratively. And, keeping things clean is a messy business sometimes. Just ask Ben, the Janitor. He doesn’t just mop floors and clean windows. It’s his job to protect the world from Scum and Corruption, which lurk just beneath the world we think we know.

If there was one book out there that I knew I was way behind in reading, it was Ready Player One.  Every conversation I’ve had about geeky books over the last year has included the question, “Have you read Ready Player One yet?!”  followed immediately by the statement, “You need to read it RIGHT NOW!”

Okay, people,  I heard you.  And, boy, were you right . . .

Stick your head out pretty much anywhere in the internet these days, and you’re going to get whacked with some form of commentary attempting to be smart, funny, and satirical.  Memes, tweets, blogs, posts, likes . . . everything on the internet serves the person trying to get a laugh and draw some attention.  Interesting target for laughs pops up on your radar? You can have your entire social media arsenal engaged and destroying the mark in less time than it takes to order a latte.

So, it’s refreshing to find someone out there willing to put the time and effort into planning, editing, and crafting an honest-to-goodness, hold-it-in-your-hands, hard-copy publication.  The creators of The Devastator, a series of satirical magazines on a wide range of pop culture topics, are doing just that.  Founders Geoffrey Golden and Amanda Meadows have corralled a massive group of wildly talented contributors from the wide world of comedy writing and editing, mixed them together with an equally strong group of artists and illustrators, and are serving up one heck of a cocktail menu of humor.

Imagine if the Roman Empire never fell. Then, imagine if an entire Roman Legion descended upon the pristine continent of “Nova Hesperia,” a place we would refer to as the Continental United States.  In this alternate history, the Romans were the first white men to set foot on the new world, and what they found was not exactly what they expected.

UPDATE (as of 5/6/15):  STOP THE PRESSES! Marko Kloos is going to be writing “at least” a fourth installment to the Frontlines series, so ignore every mention of “trilogy” below.  I hereby revoke my sad good-bye to Andrew Grayson and company.  Pestering for a release date to start in 3, 2, 1 . . .

SPOILER WARNING: I am going to do my best to avoid specific spoilers in the paragraphs that follow, however, I am going to be discussing the resolution of the Frontlinestrilogy story arc, which will inevitably get a bit too spoilery for some, I’m sure.

One good turncoat deserves another.

Allow me to start pretty simply: This book is fun.  I had a blast reading it and was hungry for more when I got to the last page.  Joanne M. Harris, known for Chocolat (which I’ll admit freely that I’ve never read, when I buy things with that word on it, usually it’s delicious), takes us on a journey through Norse mythology from the point of view of the Trickster God, Loki.  I was excited about the title from all of the recent Tom Hiddleston magnificence, but Harris’ playful romp through one of the darkest creation/end-of-the-world mythos out there is a sheer delight that is much more nuanced and intriguing than even Marvel’s take on the role.

In 2007, Marc Cushman, screenwriter, television and film producer and director, and author, set out - with the help of a mountain of research material provided by Gene Roddenberry and Robert H. Justman - to write the definitive story of the making of Star Trek: The Original Series.  What originally started as a single volume quickly swelled into a series of books, one devoted to each season the show aired.  The third and final book in this series chronicles a lame-duck season of television, one that saw the loss of a desirous time slot, dwindling budgets, struggles over script writing, and a pinnacle of frustration between the showrunners and network executives ultimately overseeing production.

Lydia Millet’s Pills and Starships takes us to a future world, decades past the Global Warming tipping point.  Oceans have risen, species are extinct, and humanity is just trying to hang on by its fingertips.  Massive corporations run things for the “First”,  the upper, less-than-1% of society that can afford to have a private company manage their infrastructure for them.  The rest of the world’s surviving population lives in a disease-ridden, nature-threatened squalor.

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