I first picked up Being Emily because I was told it was a Young Adult novel featuring a trans* character who found an escape through playing video games, specifically World of Warcraft (WoW). That statement was not entirely accurate. WoW is featured in the book, but it's hardly what I would call a focus; however, this book does lead into a couple of things I figured I could take about. Bear with me, this article is going to be less nerdy than most, as I dive into a discussion about Being Emily, Trans* Young Adult fiction, and the value of escapism in games.
Let me just start this off by saying that this is one of the coolest books I've ever seen. As a Star Wars fan, this book is a joy to behold. The Jedi Path is designed to be an artifact of a forgotten age of the Star Wars universe. It is a textbook written for use at the Jedi Academy during the time when Yoda was a youngling just starting his training. It was then passed down to one of Yoda's students, who then passed it on to his padawan, Count Dooku, who passed it on to Qui-Gon Jinn. Qui-Gon gave it to Obi-Wan, who gave it to Anakin, who gave it to Ahsoka Tanno. At some point, the book fell into the hands of Darth Sidious and was eventually recovered by Luke Skywalker. All of these Jedi have added their thoughts to the text, which adds a personal connection to the book.
Both the Young Adult genre and the practice of “alternative adaptations” of classic fairytales have become very common in today’s pop culture spectrum. Chances are that Fanboy Comics’ readers have experienced these rebooted morality tales, full of elves, goblins, dragons, and other mystical creatures of the imagination, in multiple mediums, including the big screen, the small screen, and even in the sequential art format of comics and graphic novels. The latest entry in this newly forming genre comes from author Neo Edmund, whose e-book A Tale of Red Riding: Rise of the Alpha Huntress is sure to thrill and exhilarate those in the growing fairytale fandom that currently shows no sign of slowing down!
MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
In Clutch's world, 12/21/2012 wasn't just a day of funny Internet posts about Mayans and Galactus eating Australia, it was the day of Rockfall, when hundreds of meteorites crashed into the Earth, destroying much of modern civilization. After 20 years, those who survived Rockfall have learned how to survive, making use of what limited resources they have available in order to fight off animals mutated by the radiation stemming from the meteorites, guard their settlements from more meteorites falling from above, and avoid the many other horrors that have inhabited the world.
I make no secret of my obsession with The Hunger Games trilogy. In fact, I take enormous pride in wearing my Mockingjay pin on my sleeve. While I enjoyed most of the first film adaptation by director Gary Ross, I’m a hardcore geek, so for me, nothing will ever surpass the unfiltered, uncut experience of Suzanne Collins’ brilliant and powerful novels. Katniss Everdeen and her epic, brutal, and bizarrely sci-fi, yet disturbingly familiar, tale of war and rebellion hit me like an arrow to the heart and kept me enthralled until the very last word. Despite the insistence of movie studios to expand the story from a trilogy to a quartet (a common trend these days), I knew that, for me personally, there would always be three volumes only: the untouchable originals. That is, until today. Today, I do something I never dreamed of doing: I clear a fourth space on my Hunger Games shelf for an additional book that has both won a place among the original trilogy and an equally valuable spot in my geeky, little heart. The Panem Companion, written by V. Arrow and published by Smart Pop Books, is that good, and whether you are a longtime resident of Panem or have just recently entered the arena, this is one book no tribute should be without!
To read Justin Robinson’s Mr Blank is like following some self-deprecating, white rabbit into a sprawling, L.A. noir wonderland on a 100-m.p.h., nerd culture-fueled rollick. Hot on the heels of Robinson’s thrilling zombie noir, Undead on Arrival, which was released just four months before, Mr Blank will keep you guessing until the very end.
Star Trek Federation: The First 150 Years is set up as a history book commissioned by the Federation, which covers the time period behind when Zefram Cochrane first invented warp drive and made contact with the Vulcans to the death of Captain James T. Kirk. A lot of familiar ground is covered in this book, including Star Trek: Enterprise, the original series (TOS), and the TOS movies, but the author thankfully doesn't give an exhaustive breakdown of every episode. Instead, the book takes episode highlights and uses them to make poignant connections between the different series, including the Star Trek series that came after. These connections were one of the highlights for me, as the author goes in and manages to smooth out a lot of the discrepancies that take place over the entire history of Trek, doing so in a manner that as Spock would say, “ . . . is only logical.”
Gandalf vs. The Balrog. Neo vs. Agent Smith. Ripley (in her Power Loader) vs. The Queen Alien. If you are even a casual geek or the occasional nibbler of the pop culture pudding, then you’re familiar with these famous face-offs. These titans of Geekdom and more can be in the fantastic new release from Titan Books, The Great Showdowns, by Scott Campbell.
Like its characters, The Emerald Tablet achieves a balance, taking pieces of the science fiction, fantasy, and adventure genres but never skewing too far to any one point. The Emerald Tablet takes place in a new setting where Earth is linked to another planet, Potara, which is inhabited by descendents from ancient Egypt and Greece. Potara has advanced thousands of years ahead of Earth thanks to its faith-based technology provided by the Priests of Amun. In order to fulfill an ancient prophecy concerning the bearer of the mark of the Emerald Tablet, Potara is about to reconnect with Earth, but the Priests of Amun aren't the only ones with an interest in the prophecy.
Part of the pleasure of reading any great work is talking about it with your friends, sharing your discoveries, birthing crackpot theories, and shooting them down just as quickly.
Based on that, Marc N. Kleinhenz is having a ball. As editor of the new collection of essays Tower of the Hand: A Flight of Sorrows (Blue Buddha Press), Kleinhenz and his collaborators delve deep into the world of Westeros and draw out some amazing analyses of Martin’s epic series, A Song of Ice and Fire.
A video game journalist and regular contributor to the TowerOfTheHand.com website, Kleinhenz has gathered a set of essays that go far beyond the realm of typical “fan” sites, instead studying the literary aspects of the series thus far. Wisely, with its divergence from the source material, he and his associates only obliquely reference the hit HBO series, choosing rather to go in-depth on the original source material.