Superheroes seem to be everywhere in current pop culture; their movies break bank at the box office, their comics consistently sell well, and children collect figures and video games featuring their favorites; however, society forgets that these superheroes didn’t evolve in a vacuum. Marvel and DC didn’t wake up one day and decide to invent individuals with extraordinary powers. Author and storyteller Csenge Virag Zalka uses her book, Tales of Superhuman Power, to explore and reveal the ancient roots of many current superpowers. Through her collection of fifty-five folktales, readers can learn how humans have been fascinated with exceptional skills since the creation of stories.
Those who follow my reviews (Thanks for reading, by the way!) may be tired of hearing my constant praise for Smart Pop Books and their awesome publishing line, but that certainly doesn’t mean that I’m about to stop anytime soon! For those who are unaware, Smart Pop’s publishing line is sure to thrill any fan of geek culture, debate, and discussion and also features a number of brilliant and highly enjoyable essay anthologies focusing on popular culture subjects like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Hunger Games, Star Wars, Veronica Mars, and many, many more! It’s amazing offerings like these that make Smart Pop the go-to publisher for the intelligent and introspective geek.
A walled city of crime, drugs, and prostitution in the middle of a prosperous enclave sounds like something out of a creative dystopian novel; however, it was the reality in Hong Kong until Kowloon Walled City was demolished between March 1993 and April 1994. New author Ryan Graudin blends reality and fiction in her second novel, The Walled City, to create an eerie, harsh world where emotional ties can cost you your life, and the best policy is to trust no one.
Shiva and his tribe eagerly accept an invitation from the Suryavanshis (sun tribe) to migrate from rural Tibet to the fertile land of Meluha to leave behind the struggles of fighting other tribes for resources and simple survival in the harsh terrain; however, when the young man experiences a strange reaction to the Somras, a special life extending medicinal drink, his new country hails him as a predestined savior who will lead them to triumph over their enemies, the Chandravanshis (moon tribe). As he rapidly tries to absorb customs and rules of his new life Shiva also searches to resolve his feelings about his elevated role. Does he want to be held up as a symbol of hope for an entire people, and is he really capable of doing what the prophecies foretell anyway?
When it comes to my reviews of volumes put out by Smart Pop Books, I can’t help but start every article with a gushing endorsement of the publisher and their products. Smart Pop’s publishing line is a geeky reader’s dream come true, featuring a number of brilliant and highly enjoyable essay anthologies focusing on popular culture subjects like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Hunger Games, Veronica Mars, and many, many more. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Smart Pop Books established itself a long time ago as the go-to publisher for the intelligent and introspective geek.
David Hair’s Scarlet Tides, the second novel in his Moontide Quartet series, has been compared to great fantasy epics such as A Song of Ice and Fire and The Wheel of Time, and it easily earns it place amongst them. Spanning two continents, multiple countries, and countless cultures, Scarlet Tides follows the holy (and not so holy) wars, political machinations, alliances and betrayals, and magical maneuverings of powerful rulers in a game of thrones that would almost put the denizens of Westeros to shame; however, true influence is held by those who can wield magic, and they don’t always hold the same values as the ruling nobles. The person who comes out on top will depend entirely on who can control the most mages . . . and the mysterious Leviathan Bridge that only connects the two continents during periods of low seas known as Moontide.
The recent release of Dr. Mütter's Marvels from Gotham Books may not be the typical reading fare of many who include themselves as members of “geek culture,” but author Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz’s “true tale of intrigue and innovation at the dawn of modern medicine” is such a captivating, gripping, and intensely interesting historical tale that even the reader who has mere casual interest in the subject will find themselves devouring Aptowicz’s text in a matter of days, if not hours. The story of the mysterious Dr. Thomas Dent Mütter and his fascinating and noble effect on the advancement of American medical practices and treatment is a rare opportunity to step into a time in our nation’s past, when surgery was performed without anesthesia, patients were restricted against their will during extremely long and painful procedures, and one kind, intelligent, and gentle man searched passionately for something more civilized than the world before him.
Anyone who follows my reviews on Fanboy Comics knows by now that I’m a HUGE fan of Smart Pop Books. Featuring a number of brilliant and highly enjoyable essay anthologies focusing on popular culture subjects like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Hunger Games, Veronica Mars, and many, many more, Smart Pop Books has established itself a long time ago as the go-to publisher for the intelligent and introspective geek.
Fifteen-year-old Rosie Sinclair has run out of opportunities in her drab, poor hometown of Doli, AZ. Fortunately, her skill as an amateur filmmaker grabs her enrollment in the elite Forge School, the premier arts school in the country, but there’s a catch. Everything at the school is broadcast on a reality series called The Forge Show, and Rosie must make the top fifty most popular first-year students to stay. At the same time she chafes against the sleeping pills mandated by the school’s strange twelve hours of sleep policy and during the night hours begins to uncover signs that Forge School may not be the creative mecca everyone believes.
Ashley has been the target of bullying in her small community ever since a bid for popularity in middle school went disastrously wrong. Her mother worries more about her daughter not fitting in, her best friend seems to think that Ashley should just try harder to see the good in her tormentors, and her artwork is the only chance of escape from the microcosm strangling her. Ashley finds limited relief in her Older Self on the other side of the mirror who tries to give advice to prevent repeats of her mistakes; however, when you’re the only one who sees the person you’re talking to in the mirror, what’s to prevent everyone else from thinking you’ve finally gone mad?