The first page in Anna Banana and the Chocolate Explosion is a rogues gallery lineup of adorable characters: Zigzag, the ball cap-wearing bunny; Fuzzball, a green and widely grinning fuzz ball; Pingpong, the penguin with the ursine appetite; Foxface, the fox; Whaley, the whale; and Grizzler, the independent bear.
And, of course, there is Anna Banana, the leader of the pack, stuffed animal orchestra conductor, and culinary teacher extraordinaire.
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.
In the first volume of Rat Queens, we met Betty, Dee, Hannah, and Violet, who are . . . well, the Rat Queens. We sympathized with their financial woes, dating missteps, and on-the-job frustrations. We cleaned up after their bar fights, battled assassins and trolls, and magically treated their limb-severing, mortal wounds. As you do.
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.
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.
In a somewhat random turn of events, fueled mostly by my inability to plan for some variety in my reading schedule, I ended up starting The Flight of the Silvers immediately after finishing The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell (See my recent review here.), which meant I’ve been immersed in the topic of time and the themes surrounding its relativity and manipulation for quite a few weeks. All I needed was a good Doctor Who binge-watch to really cap it off.
I have found myself very busy of late, much more so than is typical. Busy mentally, physically . . . with work, family, personal, and professional interests. I’m expecting this level of activity to only increase in coming months and will be perfectly honest that I find the prospect fairly daunting.
Tessnia Sanoby is an extraordinary girl. She is smart, athletic, and loves her parents and friends. She moves through high school and college with dedication and ease. She stays out of trouble, studies hard, and works hard to support herself. She is tall, dark, and beautiful. Tess is so extraordinary and her life so charmingly easy, we soon start to suspect that there’s more to her than meets the eye.