Books

Books

Tue
30
Dec

TenNapel's Nnewts Epic Fantasy of Amphibious Proportions

Nnewts - Escape from the Lizzarks by Doug TenNapel

Doug TenNapel introduces a new world to his fans with the first book of the NNEWTS series, ESCAPE FROM THE LIZZARKS. At its most basic level, NNEWTS pits peaceful amphibians against aggressive reptiles. Both sides employ different magics, with the Nnewts relying on their magician and the Lizzarks relying on their Wizzark (and yes, TenNapel knows how that sounds, and even pokes fun at the idea himself within the story).

When the Lizzarks invade Nnewtown, they kill ruthlessly. The only apparent escapee is young Herk, who has been cursed with tiny back legs which prevent him from walking out of the water. His flight leads him to a lost kingdom, a confrontation with an evil deity, and a lost colony of Nnewts, with hints of mystical connections Herk never knew he had.

Tue
02
Dec

DK's LEGO Architecture Visual Guide Could Inspire More Master Builders

LEGO Architecture: The Visual Guide

If I ran an architectural firm, I'd make it a point that my conference room and break room would both have a healthy supply of LEGO brick. And maybe many of them do. I know that the most basic of the blocks fuel creativity, and frequently come home amazed at the complexity (and height) of some of my son's creations using just the Duplo brick that he prefers.

Tue
11
Nov

Crag Banyon Saddled with Superhero Woes in Flying Blind

Flying Blind by James Mullaney, a Crag Banyon Mystery

Crag Banyon is a private investigator cut from the same cloth as Sam Spade and Mickey Spillane. Unfortunately, his world is a Terry Pratchett-like mishmash of Christmas elves, underworld demons, anthropomorphic personifications of ideals -- and superheroes. If it's a science fiction trope, it's just another client to Banyon.

In FLYING BLIND, the latest installment of the Crag Banyon Mystery series from James Mullaney, Banyon has to put aside his hobby -- drinking -- to take on two cases: tailing a husband whose rich, smoldering wife suspects of cheating, and sleuthing out the identity of a super-villain who has taken it into his head to be the arch-enemy of the latest cape-and-tights wearing flying super do-gooder, Minus. (Actually, the identity isn't the issue -- it's Doctor Cohen -- but do you know how many Doctor Cohen's there are in the city? And that's just assuming all the MDs!)

Mon
10
Nov

Zimmerman and Scott Unveil Area 51 History in Graphic Novel

Area 51

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. And sometimes, fiction is a lot more fun.

For much of my life, I've heard the strange tales about Area 51, Groom Lake, Nevada and the Roswell, New Mexico UFO story -- always connected, even though the two sites are a 14 hour drive apart. Oh, the theories that were generated about the strange lights in the sky, the rousting of trespassers, the autopsies of aliens and all advanced technology that we simply couldn't have come up with on our own. It was the seed from which the best science fiction stories blossomed.

Wed
29
Oct

Elephantastic! Emotionally Evocative Children's Work

Elephantastic!

When Timbo, a stuffed elephant, arrived at Andrew's apartment, he was thrilled -- especially when Timbo starts talking to him! Together, this pair of new friends set off on adventures of imagination... which all too soon come to an end when Andrew learns the package that brought Timbo to him was meant for his neighbor, Louise.

ELEPHANTASTIC! is a gorgeously told and illustrated story from Michael Engler and Joelle Tourlonias. It is emotionally evocative of both Milne and Watterson, and expertly communicates through the artwork the overlay of the imaginary over the reality. When Andrew learns the truth, the reader is just as crestfallen as the child -- and they simultaneously share in his elation when the story reaches its heartwarming conclusion.

Tue
21
Oct

Second Rudderhaven Anthology Offers SF/F Epiphanies and Revelations

Rudderhaven Science Fiction and Fantasy Anthology II

I love anthologies. The stories are short, there's enough of them that you're likely to find a handful that you really enjoy, and they're ultimately re-readable, and on second and third passes, you may find the stories you skipped the first go-round end up surprising you later when your mood shifts.

Fri
17
Oct

IDW Does America a Favor with Puck Collection

Puck from IDW

A picture, so the expression goes, is worth a thousand words. That being the case, the political cartoon is worth a thousand words and change, the art form being one that conjoins the satirical image with paucity of pithy text. Which brings us to one of the pioneers of the form: the magazine called Puck, the subject of this lavish (and heavy!) compendium from IDW and The Library of American Comics.

Wed
15
Oct

IDW Publishes Complete Wonder Woman Newspaper Strips

Wonder Woman The Complete Newspaper Strip 1944 1945

When you have someone list three superheroes off the top of their heads, without thinking, they usually recite the holy trinity of heroes by rote: Superman, Batman...and Wonder Woman. They've been on top of the media since they began, not just in comic books, but also in newspaper strips and (later) animated cartoons.

Wonder Woman's newspaper strip didn't have what one could call a lengthy run, but it certainly was an interesting one. William Moulton Marston, inventor of the polygraph and dabbler in polyamory and bondage play, introduced the need for a feminine hero while he sat on the editorial board for DC Comics. Tasked with creating the character, Marston gave the world Wonder Woman -- an Amazon princess with powers from the Greek gods.

Tue
14
Oct

Rudders Chart Course to Science Fiction and Fantasy Haven

Rudderhaven Publications

Some people attend science fiction conventions to meet their favorite authors. Some go to see friends they haven't seen since the last convention. Some go to take in the sights and sounds, and some go to buy goodies not on display in regular stores.

And some people go to meet publishers, to network, to find a home for their next story. And if the wayward author is fortunate, he crosses paths with someone like Douglas Rudder, of RudderHaven Publications. That's what this author did, when attending this year's Archon 38. Here is Douglas and his family, discussing the goals of Rudderhaven Publications, and the anthology books they had currently with them -- as well as the anthologies planned for the future.

Fri
10
Oct

From Superheroes to Space Opera with Van Allen Plexico

Van Allen Plexico at Archon 38

I've bumped into author Van Allen Plexico at a couple of different venues we've shared, from past Archon conventions to Free Comic Book Day appearances. I even had the opportunity to co-host a panel with him at this year's Archon 38.

So it was an inevitable opportunity as well as an estimed privilege to corner him at his dealer's table this year to talk about just a few of the many books he's written, from superhero sagas like his Sentinels series to space opera and his latest science fiction venture, THE SHATTERING.

I'm still waiting for the day when Plexico collides all his worlds into one -- and issues a story about a superhero's journey through perilous outer space aliens in a quest to obtain prime tailgate space at an Auburn bowl game.

 

Thu
09
Oct

C.S. Marks Rides High at Archon 38

CS Marks, author of the Elfhunter series

The Archon science fiction convention is quickly taking the express train into yesterday, and I still have so much material left! One of the more interesting writers I encountered in the main aisle was C.S. Marks -- a biologist whose scientific background guides the framework of her fantasy stories, the Elfhunter series. Don't let the pointy ears and fuzzy animatronic horse fool you: Marks is one sharp cookie with a clear idea of where she wants to take her readers.

But don't take my word for it! Click the video below and get some insights into the world of Alterra (and it's residents, both humanoid and equine) straight from the horse's mouth (so to speak).

 

 

Mon
06
Oct

David J. Pedersen's Got Angst. Lucky Him!

David J. Pedersen, Angst

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the annual Archon convention isn't the costumes you see or the panels you attend or the goodies you buy. It's the people you meet.

While volunteering as a panelist and roaming the hallways like a homeless web reporter, I made the acquaintance of David J. Pedersen, author of the fantasy novels Angst and Buried in Angst. Admittedly, it may or may not have been the posters (and personal appearances) of his model, Cristi, which initially attracted me to his table, but the means, in this case, justified the ends. Or something like that. What I'm really trying to say is that I grew my circle of friendly acquaintances in the community, and learned about a new series of fantasy novels which take a unique approach to the tried-and-tired sword and sorcery formula.

Mon
22
Sep

New Collection of Fossilized Failure in Hugh Murphy's "T-Rex Trying and Trying"

T-Rex Trying and Trying

When Hugh Murphy's first collection, T-Rex Trying, hit the shelves, I shared it around the office as we all found several of the situations of the "I've got a great big head and little bitty arms" plagued dinosaur to alternate between thought-provoking and hysterical.

T-Rex Trying and Trying is the natural evolution (see what I did there?) of the series, putting our beloved and beleaguered tyrannosaur through even more mundane pitfalls, even as his own life expands to include She-Rex and, inevitably, Wee-Rex. Yes, T-Rex is now the patriarch of a prehistoric family, and they all fall prey to the same... shortcomings.

Wed
17
Sep

Justice League of America: Survivors of Evil

While the Crime Syndicate was busily taking over the Earth, the question was raised: Where was the Justice League?

The heroes of the world had been imprisoned, uniquely, within the Firestorm matrix, each in a world that capitalized on their psychological weaknesses, trapped in scenarios that prevent them from realizing they're in a fiction. Only the Martian Manhunter and Stargirl understand what is happening, as they probe deeper into the prison. But are they in the process of rescuing the heroes, or are they in a prison themselves?

Tue
09
Sep

Justice League: Forever Heroes

DC's Justice League books were, perhaps, the most enjoyable ancillary chapters of the Forever Evil event. Not surprisingly, they were written by Geoff Johns, so their content didn't contradict anything happening in the main Forever Evil miniseries, and having Ivan Reis and Dough Mahnke provide the interior artwork made them a thing of beauty.

Tue
02
Sep

Forever Evil (hardcover)

Forever Evil

Geoff Johns proves time and again that he not only knows how to play with all the toys in the DC sandbox, but that he can do it better and use them in ways previously untried.

I've always enjoyed DC's decades-long riff on the Many Worlds theory. So much so that I have my Green Lantern #40, with Hal Jordan and Alan Scott learning about Krona and his multiverse-creating experiment, framed on my office wall, next to my two-part Justice League of America: "Crisis on Earth-3" issues. Those issues, introducing the evil mirror-image Justice League members known as the Crime Syndicate, form the keystone to this epic tale where the bad guys have been playing the long game -- and finally win (at least for a little while). The Crime Syndicate was quickly followed by the Lawless League of Earth-A, but that team didn't have nearly the resonance of the Crime Syndicate.

Wed
27
Aug

The Flash, Volume 4: Reverse

It took a little bit, but I'm finally starting to really like The Flash in DC's New 52 Universe. He has a new status quo, a new life, and a new love in Patty Spivot -- even though there's every indication that at some point in the future Barry Allen is destined to be with Iris West. He also has a new angle on his Speed Force powers, which play heavily into this fourth volume, "Reverse."

Thu
29
May

Legacy, Book 3: Overload

Legacy, the next generation of The Destroyer franchise, has had a slow start over its first two books, but the characters are starting to settle into their roles and the styles of Destroyer creator and veteran writer Warren Murphy and that of The Last Witness author and creator Gerald Welch are starting to hum like a well-oiled machine. And speaking of well-oiled machines... No, it's too soon to let that cat out of the bag yet.

Tue
20
May

Genius, Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth

I've had the opportunity to peruse a couple of art books over the years, and while I can appreciate the quality of the work that goes into them, and the talent of the artist being showcased, eventually it seems each turn of the page starts to reveal "more of the same."

With Genius, Animated: The Cartoon Art of Alex Toth, there is just so much variation of style, so many characters and stories involved, and so much nostalgic coolness to it that anyone who remembers even a pinch of the cartoons involved will be entranced for hours. I know I was, because I spent three hours with this book, which was pretty much a cover-to-cover experience.

Wed
23
Apr

The Art of Thief

Video game art books take fans inside the minds of the creative writers and artists that build beautiful, unique, and beloved characters and universes. They are made with the sole purpose of providing commentary and conceptual artwork to let the fans fully realize the work and progress that was made in the process of building the game. The Art of Thief does all of these things well, letting fans get a more in-depth view of the main character, Garrett, supporting characters, the world, items, and more, but will likely leave you wanting more.

Pages

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