I would love to live in Robert J. Peterson’s imagination for a day. His novel, The Odds, is an imaginative post-apocalyptic chess game to the death blended with The Hunger Games in a universe filled with mutants, monsters, and cell phones more deadly than any bomb. In other words, entirely awesome. My second venture into a Peterson world, Omegaball, is no less imaginative, out there, and highly entertaining but in a completely different way.
Every youngster wants the chance to be chosen for an incredible quest to save the world, but what if you sort of stumble into it thanks to a wacky family friend, a mysterious house, and a vacation in one of the US’s most haunted cities? Lucas and Parker Chance’s family vacation to see their ‘Aunt’ Ruby in New Orleans introduces them to Nicole “Cole” Wells and a quest to help preserve the balance between good and evil. There are clues to find, puzzles to decode, nefarious villains to evade, and, of course, more than a few beignets to enjoy in this fun YA romp that doubles as a love letter to a sultry city of the Deep South!
“Mia glanced toward the window in the kitchen. It was too dark to see anything outside now, so it was just this rectangle of blackness reflecting back the candles and lanterns inside the cabin. She took another swallow of beer and said, very quietly, ‘I think I killed someone when I was thirteen years old.’ “
Most people do it the first time when they’re teenagers. Not me… The first time I ever did it was at work. Honest. In the glass conference room with ten other people.
Technology is madness.
I’m really not sure how to classify Jeremy Thompson’s novel, Let's Destroy Investutech. There are equal parts of romance, techno-thriller, eldritch horror, and a myriad of other styles crammed into his narrative. Beginning with several short stories that have little to do with one another at first, we’re given many pieces of a world that is at once familiar and alien to us, one where technological marvels are the focus of each vignette. We see the overreach of callous masterminds pushing the advancement of things they don’t fully understand intellectually or morally and the uniformly terrible events that result. Once the main narrative begins, there is a weaving in of what came in the shorter stories, but not all at once. Rather, they’re feathered in as we go along.
Being a geek means occupying a constant state of wishing you had MORE: more of your favorite characters; more world-building; more detail; more conversations; more involvement; more adventures; and so on, world without end. Sometimes, this need is met with whole universes of satisfying detail. Open the pages of The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings and you will end up in a world fleshed out with whole languages, annotated histories, compendiums, and additional stories that exist solely to tell the backstory of a character’s distant ancestors.
“This sunroof is where I have greeted the day for a year. I’m an ocean away from the job I have dutifully served since college in Taipei, Taiwan, providing logistical support to Chinese separatists, part of California’s covert Cary Grant Brigade. Life has been different for some since China succeeded and the U.S. lost the scramble for the world’s last oil supplies – but not for me. I’m still broke.”
It’s 2046, and struggling LaLaLander journalist Richard “Dick” White is living a bohemian existence on the edges of a Venice, CA, not much different from our own. Except that California and the Western States seceded after the government didn’t provide relief after the great Earthquake of 2026, and the region is now more prosperous than the rest of the country.
After the barn fire Jesse Sullivan deliberately set to kill her abusive step-father Eddie, it was revealed that she was infected with the NRD virus and the angry young woman had two choices: become a licensed death replacement agent or go to prison for murder. It wasn’t much of a choice; however, when agents start showing up permanently dead and Jesse is attacked on an assignment, things get, well, complicated. When work was the only thing she could count on to run like it should, Jesse isn’t thrilled by the twist, especially when certain…visions make her fear she’s losing her marbles like her mentor, Rachel. Staying alive and finding some answers is just the tip of the iceberg, and this is one necronite who isn’t going down without putting up a serious fight.
Recently, Andrez Bergen finished a comic series called Trista & Holt: a genderbent retelling of the story of Tristan and Iseult, told in classic noir style and set in the disco era. I had the pleasure of reviewing the comic and highly recommend it. Now, Bergen has adapted that story into a novel called Black Sails: Disco Inferno. It’s the same story, told in a different way, but the effect is a very different one. Even at the places where I knew what was going to happen, I still found it a thrill to read.
Fifty years ago, the Enterprise first embarked on her five-year mission, taking interstellar explorers from their living rooms on a journey through the stars. There was a lot that made the show unique, not the least of which was because a show that was openly “failing” going into its third season has become a force unto itself, inspiring a fandom that espouses continuously the remarkable nature of its stories (this writer included). Though I’m more at home in the 24th century with Picard and the Galaxy and Sovereign class ships, there’s no denying that without the original adventures of a slow-speaking, but quick-acting, captain, his Bilbo-loving First Officer, and their intrepid crew, there wouldn’t be a United Federation of Planets, any continuation of the name Enterprise, or such a bright future predicted in sci-fi.
What if god was one of us?
Welcome to Elan, but not the one you know from the Riyria Chronicles. Not yet, at least, as this new series is set 3,000 years prior to the world as it stands in those volumes. The Rhune are ordinary humans with technology befitting the cusp of the Bronze Age and the life expectancy to go with it. The Fhrey are godlike to them, having a life span that crosses millennia and with one sect harboring a magic that can quite literally reshape the world. This is the world that Michael J. Sullivan transports us to in Age of Myth, and the great care that he has taken in his world building is evident from the first chapter. All the creatures in it have an order, one which has been set by the Fhrey and not challenged for a very long time. Ripe with history and wonders that inspire the imagination, it’s the perfect setting for storytelling in the vein of the greats of the genre.