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.
One of my favorite movies in recent memory is the 2014 What We Do in the Shadows (directed by and starring Taika Waititi who is currently directing the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel), a delightful parody of all-things vampire and reality TV. Shot in the faux-documentary style of The Office and following the daily lives of a group of vampires sharing a flat in New Zealand, What We Do takes on every vampire (and werewolf!) trope imaginable to hilarious effect.
*Be sure to find out how to win your own copy of Bioethics and Philosophy in Orphan Black below the review!
After the airing of the last episode of Fringe in 2013, leaving me bereft of serious and densely packed science fiction in my TV landscape, I went on the hunt for a new series that could fill my need for truly mind-bending sci-fi concepts and themes. I’ve partly filled the void with shows like Person of Interest and…well, several whole-series binge re-watches of Fringe.
*Be sure to find out how to win your own copy of The Jack Reacher Field Guide: An Unofficial Companion to Lee Childs Reacher Novels below the review!
Like many filmgoers, I was introduced to the character Jack Reacher in late 2012 when I saw Jack Reacher staring Tom Cruise. Not a consistent reader of the thriller genre, I was, however, aware of Lee Child's name, because I would regularly see at least one (or more) of his books prominently displayed on the bestseller shelf at the local bookstore and his paperbacks in the local grocery store on the magazine rack. I took from the movie that Reacher was enigmatic, intense, and deadly; I wanted to know more! Thanks to Smart Pop and BenBella Books, they have just released George Beahm's The Jack Reacher Field Guide: An Unofficial Companion to Lee Child's Reacher Novels.
Ever since she was seventeen years old, Dale Highland has been on the run: from her unexplained murderous blackouts she calls Rages; from an aunt who clearly despises her; from a world that she just doesn’t quite manage to fit; however, a chance encounter with a stranger pushes the young woman to face some bizarre truths about who, or maybe what, she really is. Thrust into a cat-and-mouse chase from a powerful, otherworldly organization, Dale needs to choose what she finds most vital to being herself and ultimately whether having supernatural blood prevents her from being truly human.
The Maids of Wrath is the sequel to last year’s Enter the Janitor—a quirky fantasy/adventure about a secret group of people tasked with literally cleaning up the evil in the world. In Maids, we get to explore further the world of The Cleaners and its inner workings, as trouble stems from inside the organization itself.
Ernie EJ Altbacker has worked on several television shows that include Static Shock, Ben 10, Green Lantern: The Animated Series, and Spider-Man, among others, and he has written six Shark Wars novels targeting middle schoolers. He has now written a teen/young adult book titled Handy Andy Saves the World. Evoking the innocence and charm of the 1950s sci-fi B-movie, Altbacker's story of a down-on-his-luck handyman who unwittingly helps fix an alien spaceship is an enchanting tale.
Come for the rules, stay for the learnins. And, PUT DOWN THAT DUCK!
I haven’t been playing Munchkin all that long, only a few years, but I’m hopelessly hooked on it. Even my wife, who wouldn’t go near half of the geeky tabletop or video games that I love, jumps in with an enthusiasm that excites and sometimes terrifies me (which is also exciting but for much different reasons). This is a game that I feel that can grab anyone by the +1 Codpiece of Impressive Title and introduce them to a world that is far bigger and far stranger than any they’ve known. As much as I love the game, and as much as I get all of the gaming references that it riffs off of, I never knew the truth behind the origins of the game or just how much of an impact it has had on the gaming community as a whole. Part of the success of the game can be attributed to the fact that the game is so mutable. There are several variations on the core idea of it, and there are now even licensed versions on the game that, much like LEGO, bring fans of the licenses into the fold and introduce people to concepts that they may have otherwise never have engaged in. Oh, and it’s fun. It’s really, stupidly fun. The cards are all parodies of something in the realm of gaming or a license and often full of the most choice puns that make the game a fun battle ground of groans, laughs, and, of course, screwing everyone else over to achieve victory.
As anyone who gets behind the wheel of car can tell you, Los Angeles is going to hell in a hand basket. In Justin Robinson's The Dark Price of Ahriman, this is literally true. Of course, in Robinson's world, hell is the Dark Planet of Ahriman, and the hand basket is a group of brave, but ill-fated, humans who have chosen to try to interact with and control it.