Both seasons of the Netflix series, Stranger Things, have combined the familiarity of the 1980s and the terrifying unknown of dark fantasy worlds. Creators Matt and Ross Duffer and producer/director Shawn Levy have mastered the art of balancing multiple genres and emitting an array of moods that leave viewers perplexed, terrified, and nostalgic. Gina McIntyre’s Stranger Things: Worlds Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-the-Scenes Companion is a compelling look into all of the creative pieces that have come together to create a pop culture sensation.
I wish I had had this book to read when I was a kid. As a child of eight or so, I would have, if you’ll pardon the expression, eaten Time Sandwich right up. Reading it as an adult, I still ate it right up. If you know me at all, you’ll know that this kind of broad sci-fi/fantasy is the sort of thing I live for. It’s time travel at its finest.
I’ve always loved the Boston Metaphysical Society comics, from the original 6-issue arc to the more recent standalone featuring Granville Woods and Nicola Tesla. So, of course, when I heard there was a novel coming out, I was eager to read and review that, as well; however, truth be told, I didn’t think it would be quite as good as the comics. I’ve read novel adaptations of comics before, and while they’re fun, without the artwork, they usually fall short.
“And what you said about stories. I really get that now. You’d said they weren’t about filling time, entertainment. Not that that’s wrong, a story can be both meaningful and entertaining, you’d said, should be both for it to resonate. You told me that stories connected us, made us understand ourselves and each tear a little better. That stories made the world a better place because they are empathy engines.
I like that. Empathy engine. Vroom vroom.
It's a noble cause, storytelling, you’d said. Noble work.
So, here I go being noble.”
Ungent Draaf, the Grashardi ambassador to the Dralein, expected his assignment to be exceptionally ordinary. He’d make a few agreements with the locals, explore the new planet to discover the interests, and just hope that the Terran Protectorate wasn’t on his heels trying to broker disadvantageous power deals with the native species; however, the middle-aged crustacean life form finds himself assigned a role in a centuries-old conflict between creators and created that threatens to destroy everything he knows and perhaps the known universe.
With iconic films like Die Hard, Predator, and The Hunt for the Red October on his resume, John McTiernan may not be a household name, but most American households are very familiar with his work. Author Larry Taylor takes readers on a revealing and engaging look at the film director’s life, career, and eventual legal downfall in John McTiernan: The Rise and Fall of an Action Movie Icon, recently published by McFarland.
Back in 2014, I reviewed a bizarre spy thriller called The Spartak Trigger which I described as, “a good book disguised as a bad book.” Immediately after submitting that review, it occurred to me that that description might not sound as complimentary as I intended it, and I worried that it could be taken the wrong way; however, apparently, the author liked it, because he still tweets that line out as a pull quote every now and then.
Thomas “Awkward” Dante lives a life that very few people would envy. The disgraced fire elemental spends his days drinking alcohol laced with magic and trying to fly under the radar of the mystical powers that be. A murder covered up with fire at Awkward’s home bar, the Lost and Found, throws him back into the world of supernatural sleuthing, and he’ll have to use every bit of his knowledge of Mystixology (the art of casting spells with booze) to stay out of the clutches of the multiple groups who want to make him person of interest number one.