A Detailed Mirage: Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney

Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney Published: June 13, 2017 Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc. Genre(s): Adventure, War, Science Fiction Format: Audiobook Length: 12 hrs and 9 mins I think what drew me to Fata Morgana was the promise of an old-fashioned adventure with a bit of romance: a WW2 bomber plane flies …

Read moreA Detailed Mirage: Fata Morgana by Steven R. Boyett and Ken Mitchroney

The Girl Who Wasn’t: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

LIFEL1K3 is the rare book that I mostly enjoyed until the end soured me on the whole thing. It’s a mash-up of a lot of genres and tropes, which gives it a certain amount of madcap charm, but it squanders that good will with some draggy pacing, an overload of teenage angst, and a final twist that feels like a gotcha moment designed only for shock value. It’s also overstuffed with plot and world-building, so it’s almost impossible to summarize succinctly.

Read more

Modernized Space Girl: Barbarella, Volume 1

First, some caveats about this review of the new Barbarella comic written by Mike Carey: I’ve never seen the Jane Fonda movie, so I watched the trailer to get a feel for it because it felt like a necessary entry point.

I also read the first volume of the classic comics by Jean-Claude Forest so that I’d have a baseline to compare against the rebooted series. From a writing standpoint, I’d say that the two versions of Barbarella are on close to equal footing, but the art in the modern version just does not do the character justice.

Read more

Suburban Weirdness, Circa 1988: Paper Girls, Vol 1

Paper Girls feels like a forgotten 1980s adventure that piles on the subversive twists. They don’t make movies like that anymore, let alone ones this weird. I think the technical term here is “box office poison,” and yet I’d love to see Paper Girls up on the big screen. It begs for the kind of lovingly nostalgic adaptation that could only work with modern special effects and sensibilities.

Read more

Armada: Second Wave Slump

Armada is Ernest Cline’s pitch for a Last Starfighter reboot, tailor-made for the inevitable blockbuster film adaptation. It improves on the movie in a number of ways but introduces new problems of its own; although it is more grounded and believable than the original, the plotting is slapdash and the pop culture references are overwhelming.

Read more

The Bunker: Apocalyptic Wish Fulfillment

In The Bunker, five friends decide to bury a time capsule in the woods, only to find the titular bunker when they start digging. Once inside the bunker, they discover letters from their future selves, who somehow sent a bunker full of evidence back in time to warn their younger selves about the impending apocalypse they will have a part in causing. It turns out this innocuous-looking group of young people includes a future president, a soon-to-be brilliant scientist and several other eventual movers-and-shakers. Heavy stuff for a bunch of recent college grads, no?

Read more

Gamification and C-Monkeys: Corporate Double-Talk

Gamification and C-Monkeys by Keith Hollihan Published: October 22nd 2013 Publisher: ChiZine Publications Genre(s): Thriller, Science Fiction Format: eBook Length: 280 pages Gamification and C-Monkeys are a pair of related novellas sold together as a “flip book” with a different cover on each side. The effect is clearly meant as a call-back to days when …

Read moreGamification and C-Monkeys: Corporate Double-Talk

Ancillary Justice: I Am Beside Myself and Myself

Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie Published: October 1, 2013 Publisher: Orbit Genre(s): Science Fiction, Space Opera Format: Paperback/eBook Length: 410 pages Ancillary Justice is science fiction crammed full to the brim with wild ideas. The main character, Breq, is an “ancillary soldier” cut off from her ship for almost twenty years, but she isn’t exactly …

Read moreAncillary Justice: I Am Beside Myself and Myself

He’ll Clean Up This Planet: Version 43 by Philip Palmer

Published: October 28, 2010 Publisher: Orbit Genre(s): Science Fiction Format: Paperback Length: 560 pages Version 43 is a weird book. If the reviews on Goodreads and elsewhere are any indication, it’s the sort of book that inspires polarizing reactions. It’s long at over 500 pages. It’s gory, vulgar and occasionally squick-inducing even though it isn’t …

Read moreHe’ll Clean Up This Planet: Version 43 by Philip Palmer

Episodic Fascism: Judge Dredd Volume 1 by Duane Swierczynski and Paul Gulacy

Published: April 23, 2013 Publisher: IDW Publishing Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Science Fiction Format: Paperback Length: 120 pages My only exposure to Judge Dredd is the 2012 movie starring Karl Urban and Olivia Thirlby, which I understand stays true to the comic while telling a pretty badass little crime story. I only watched it a week …

Read moreEpisodic Fascism: Judge Dredd Volume 1 by Duane Swierczynski and Paul Gulacy

The Many-Headed Hydra: John Scalzi’s The Human Division

Published: January – April, 2013 Publisher: Tor Genre(s): Science Fiction Format: Audiobook Length: Various The Human Division is many things at once; it is, of course, a new story in the Old Man’s War universe, but it’s also an experiment in digital distribution. It feels a bit like the modern equivalent of a fix-up novel, but …

Read moreThe Many-Headed Hydra: John Scalzi’s The Human Division

Strange Attractors by Charles Soule and Greg Scott

Story: Charles Soule Art: Greg Scott Published: April 9th, 2013 Publisher: Archaia Entertainment Genre(s): Graphic Novel, Science Fiction Format: Hardcover Length: 128 pages In Strange Attractors, Heller Wilson is a grad student studying complexity theory, a branch of mathematics devoted to the study of complex systems. He’s a career-minded guy, and is currently working on …

Read moreStrange Attractors by Charles Soule and Greg Scott