Archive for the ‘Sci-Fi’ Category


Starborn by Stan Lee & Chris Roberson

January 11, 2011

‘I just know this is what I’m supposed to do with my life. The second I get a contract on the novel, I’ll quit my crappy job and make something of myself.”

Two issues in (at least, after enthusiastically seeking out a review copy) and I’m glad to report that Stan Lee & Chris Roberson’s Starborn isn’t just another comic series on the shelf. It has reminded me once again why Stan Lee’s comics are always a joy to read, and is definitely reinforcing why Chris Roberson is currently one of the best writers in the business (seriously, check out his work on Vertigo’s iZombie with artist Mike Allred, you”re brain will thank me). If the trend continues, Starborn will become one of the handful of comics that I happily collect and is more than worth passing on to you.

To set the book up for a moment, Benjamin Warner is an aspiring writer mindlessly drudging through the work week in an unfortunate office job while he chips away at his first novel in his free time. Warner is immediately a likable character, and as something of an everyman I imagine that most of us will relate to his wanting to better his situation and follow his dreams — though I doubt we’ll have to face an alien horde that seems intent on our destruction the next time we drag ourselves in to work.

It seems that the characters from his books are more real than he could have realized and save for the timely intervention of a childhood friend, in the form of the lovely Tara Takamoto, he would have been doomed to destruction by the claws of his very creations. The book moves at break neck speed and there’s never a dull moment as Khary Randolph masterfully lays out the story in his uniquely dynamic style. The pages prove very fun to look at whether the story has Warner sitting at his desk, or falling from a 50-story skyscraper and I like that with situations like this that the book certainly doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’m also looking forward to seeing some of the world building Roberson appears to have in store for us as we’re introduced to the cosmic side of our “Starborn” hero. This is a fun one so far folks, and there’s always room for a little more of that in comics, at least there certainly is in my collection.

If interested, look for Starborn #2 from BOOM! Studios this Wednesday at your local comic shop. See if you can’t pick up the first issue as well, as both will be well worth the trip.


Star Wars, The Old Republic “Hope” Trailer

June 15, 2010

Maybe it’s a bold statement, but I think Star Wars is getting better and better all the time, especially since the birth of The Old Republic, now spanning multiple genres.

Then, of course, there’s BioWare:

The Battle of Alderaan. The Republic’s gravest hour. Recently promoted to Darth, Malgus launches the first of many surprise attacks that would become his trademark during the Great War, perfectly timing the assault with a feint that pulls the Republic fleet light-years away. Thousands of assault droids and hundreds of Sith set the heart of the Republic ablaze, and Alderaan’s few defenders are swept away with ease.

Unknown to Darth Malgus, small groups of Republic Troopers are stationed on Alderaan, some recovering from wounds, others are awaiting orders. As these brave soldiers take to the forests and mountains to fight a guerilla campaign against Malgus’s forces, the Republic fleet rushes back to repel the invasion. With time running out and Alderaan’s capitol threatened, it falls to Havoc Squad, the elite Republic Special Forces unit, to coordinate one last desperate stand against Malgus’ vastly superior numbers.


(New) Tron Legacy Trailer

March 9, 2010

Be sure not to miss the new trailer for Tron Legacy. Just watch your back while you do…

To say that I’m excited about this would be a huge understatement (but that’s nothing new to those of you who also grew up loving the original with your trusty Frisbee by your side).

December really can’t come soon enough.


Diving into the Wreck-verse

February 9, 2010

One of the sci-fi novels that I was anticipating most late last year was Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving into the Wreck, a novel about an “active historian” diving into the wreckage’s of space in search of the past, an honest living, and most recently, clues to a massive and mysterious ship that drifts abandoned in an area of space where it shouldn’t have been able to travel. What happens as she investigates further leads to, by most accounts, a page turner of a novel that moves at break neck speed, which is exactly the kind of thing that I’ve been looking for in a sci-fi book following a few…more methodical books as of late.

And I suppose the best news, for those that perhaps haven’t yet heard, is that fans of Diving into the Wreck are in for even more “diving” as the author has recently sold the rights to the sequel, entitled City of Ruins to Pyr books:

Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Diving into the Wreck is proving to be quite a hit. Portions of the novel had already garnered not one but two Asimov’s Readers Choice Awards before the book itself came out. And since Diving appeared, the novel is garnering numerous favorable comparisons to the best of sf film and television, in that it brings back a sense of action and adventure that Rusch herself feels is so often lacking in contemporary SF literature.

So I know quite a few of you will be as excited to learn as I am to announce that  we’ve just shaken hands on a sequel, City of Ruins, so that fans can follow the further adventures of Boss and her crew. The novel sees Boss dealing with the repercussions of events in Diving, and further expands the universe in which the novel takes place in all sorts of interesting ways.

So, while I wait for Diving into the Wreck to arrive at my door (only a few days now), I thought I’d download Rusch’s short story set in the same universe, entitled The Spires of Denon to hold me over. You can obtain the short story from Scribd as a .pdf download for $1.99 in the case you can’t track down the Asimov’s Science Fiction Anthology (#400) in which it originally appeared.

On my way to print it out as soon as I submit this, and looking forward to some happy reading in the days to come.


Star Wars: Death Troopers

October 28, 2009

death-troopersWith Star Wars, The Clone Wars Season 2 firing on all cylinders, and BioWare’s The Old Republic on the horizon I’ve had Star Wars on the brain and was looking to find something fun that would coincide well with the chill in the air as Halloween approaches — so to that end Joe Schreiber’s Star Wars: Death Troopers was recommended to me and having purchased a copy it will be all that’s on my plate this week as I take a break from Dune (which I’m about 3/4ths of the way through) and jump back into a galaxy far, far away:

When the Imperial prison barge Purge–temporary home to five hundred of the galaxy’s most ruthless killers, rebels, scoundrels, and thieves–breaks down in a distant, uninhabited part of space, its only hope appears to lie with a Star Destroyer found drifting, derelict, and seemingly abandoned. But when a boarding party from the Purge is sent to scavenge for parts, only half of them come back–bringing with them a horrific disease so lethal that within hours nearly all aboard the Purge die in ways too hideous to imagine.

And death is only the beginning.

The Purge’s half-dozen survivors–two teenage brothers, a sadistic captain of the guards, a couple of rogue smugglers, and the chief medical officer, the lone woman on board–will do whatever it takes to stay alive. But nothing can prepare them for what lies waiting aboard the Star Destroyer amid its vast creaking emptiness that isn’t really empty at all. For the dead are rising: soulless, unstoppable, and unspeakably hungry.

Beyond the blurb I’ve heard good things about Death Troopers (what a great backdrop for a horror story an Imperial ship is) so I’m really looking forward to spending the next several days with it.


Next Audio Book for the Queue?

August 12, 2009

Guards! Guards! P1As I mentioned in a previous entry, the blow from my 90-mile commute each day to and from work has been softened by several good audio books over the past year and to the point that instead of dreading the long drive I actually look forward to it so that I have one more opportunity to immerse myself in a good book for a couple of hours as opposed to enduring the mundane drive through traffic.

I’m just finishing up a particular book and am at the point where I’ll be picking out the next and find that I’m a little torn with this one. I managed to whittle the picks down to a couple of books by two legendary authors that I’m ashamed to admit I’ve never read before: Guards! Guards!: Discworld #8 (Terry Pratchett) & Dune (Frank Herbert). I’m really excited to read both of these but I’ve gone back and forth on which one to tackle first. On the one hand Terry Pratchett’s tome is sure to be wildly entertaining and have me laughing out loud in what I hear is a fine story, but on the other Dune is a modern “must read” sci-fi classic that I should have read years ago and I’m champing at the bit to finally dive into it. What’s more, both audio books are read by great voice actors that don’t make the decision any easier. In the end it doesn’t really matter Dune_sc1as I’ll just pick up the other book next month but dang if I’ll be able to figure it out this round without resorting to closing my eyes and picking blindly.

Of course, any suggestions you may have are always appreciated and may just help me out a bit.


Star Wars: The Old Republic Cinematic Trailer E3 ’09

June 3, 2009

SW_The Old Republic_R1

Like so many youth of my generation, I still remember sitting back in awe as the opening scene in Star Wars: A New Hope played out.  John Williams score proudly announced “Star Wars” and following the text intro (that I probably couldn’t read at the time) we were treated in epic fashion to the huge stark white Imperial Battlecruiser moving ominously and methodically  through space in pursuit of a starship, seemingly stretching for miles before coming into full view.  And after a quick battle in the corridors of the captured ship we met one of the greatest villains in any entertainment medium, and the character that would shape one of the most memorable sagas of all-time, Darth Vader.

Well, I was hooked, and I’ve been a huge fan through thick and thin ever since.

There have certainly been highs and lows in my experience with the enduring Star Wars franchise, but one of the brightest periods in the franchise following the original trilogy was Bioware’s treatment of the mythos in its Action/RPG video game series Knights of the Old Republic, a 2-game epic that masterfully fleshed out the Star Wars saga in time long before the name Skywalker rose to prominence, fleshing out new characters, settings and ideas as original and compelling as much of what we’d seen and enjoyed previously.  Well, Bioware is back and once again teaming up with LucasArts has brought the Old Republic back once more in the form of a massive MMO (Massively Multi-player Online) game for the PC that is set to release (to much hoopla)  in 2o1o.

I mention it here because Star Wars played a huge role in developing my love for epic, fantasy and science fiction, and honestly, I’m pretty dang excited about it!

Hope you enjoy the trailer!


Ender’s Game: Some Observations (5/13)

May 13, 2009

I’ve watched through his eyes, I’ve listened through his ears, and I tell you he’s the one.

Having reached page-214 in Ender’s Game a little after midnight last night, I decided that if I had any interest in functioning today that I had better put the book down and hit the hay.  As anyone that’s been wrapped up in a good book knows, it’s often a difficult if not impossible task to put that book down as weariness calls — and while common sense did win out this time and I closed my eyes for the night my brain would have none of it — and continued to flash scenes from the book, possibilities to come, moral quandaries etc.  and I don’t know how long it took before I actually fell asleep.  I woke up this morning more than a little groggy and given that this is the second time this week this has happened not only do I have an added appreciation for the weariness that Ender endured with less than 6 hours of sleep (sans the battle room as an excuse), but perhaps I should take a page from his advanced intellectual mind and…make more time during the daylight hours to read.


With less than a 1/3rd of the book remaining everything is just starting to hit the fan and I think that I’ve begun to understand how the book managed to capture the imagination of young and old alike when it was first published in 1985.  But let me set this up for a second, it wasn’t all that long ago that I wasn’t sure that I’d be able to get all that  much out of the adventures of the younger set.  I’m 20-some odd years removed from my 10-year old self and reading about the dreams of adolescence, despite my having dreamed them myself, just didn’t appeal to me.  But somewhere along the way something reminded me how much fun I had had with those books in my youth and in returning to Narnia, for example, I found that as an adult I had fostered an even greater appreciation for the land of Aslan than I did as a yung-un.  George MacDonald repeatedly reminded readers that there was a difference between the childish and the child-like and despite advancing ages there is plenty for the adult to glean from the adventures, morals, and settings in the child-like story.

And as Orson Scott Card aptly put it in his introduction to Ender’s Game:

I think most of us , anyway, read these stories that we know are not ‘true’ but because we’re hungry for another kind of truth: The mythic truth about human nature in general, the particular truth about those communities that define our own identity, and the most specific truth of all: our own self-story.  Fiction, because it is not about somebody who actually lived in the real world, always has the possibility of being about oneself.  The story itself, the true story, is the that the audience members create in their minds, guided and shaped by my text, but then transformed, elucidated, expanded, edited, and clarified by their own experience, their own desires, their own hopes and fears.

The book, and Ender, have endured because we find pieces of ourselves in the character – regardless of age – and identify with his plight, probably wishing along the way that we were as intellectually and physically adept as he was but nonetheless satisfied that somewhere on the surface, or deep down, that we’re also capable of great things if we too have a child like heart, a measure of enthusiasm, and a reason to fight.  Ender was a third, an oddity, and at the ripe old age of 6 had everything taken away from him because he had some desire to protect humanity, to do something he was apparently able to do.  He left his family behind (his sister Valentine being the hardest to part with), lost all communication with them for ~ 4 years, had persistent bullies to deal with, faced a cruel regiment designed to break him if  indeed he could be broken and/or make him stronger if it didn’t kill him in the process.  He faced death threats, abuse, mental assaults, exhaustion and cruelty at the hands of adults for years all holding on to the idea that he wouldn’t lose himself, that mayhaps he could protect humanity one day if he could wake up and endure it again the next day.  Sure, he wanted to go home — but he didn’t.  There’s a perseverance and determination we can all learn from and thanks to Card’s brisk pacing, colorful characters, and a “game” that puts Quidditch to shame (all in good fun) he’s managed to do it in a very entertaining manner. I regret it took me as long to get there, but the lessons in the book certainly aren’t lost on me…and perhaps I’m even more capable of applying them now than I would have been way back then.  That’s what I’m telling myself anyway.

Look for a full review of the book shortly.


Rewards You Say? Ender’s Game & Black Company

May 12, 2009

Ender's Game_R1Well, I called up one of my credit card companies this morning to see if they’d be so kind as to not slam me so hard into the ground with their ridiculous interest rate every month (that’s American Express if you’re interested) and by calls end I had successfully managed to drop the percentage a couple of points.  Of course, I’m closing the account all together as soon as its paid off as I’m done with borrowing money, but every little bit counts on the way to that goal right?  Anyhow, in the process of checking my account, I noticed that I had racked up a few of those “Thank You Rewards” that I had never redeemed and it turns out that I had enough to pick up a handful of books!  Now, I don’t recommend racking up debt at all, much less for thank-you-points but on my way to cleaning out the account free books certainly don’t hurt!

To my surprise, there was a pretty great selection of books and I had filled my cart in minutes.  I did have to trim it down in the end, and decided that it would be best to maximize the reward by getting a few compilations that I’ve been on the look out for, featuring several novels each.  Here’s what I went with:

The Ender Quartet Box Set: Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the Mind (Orson Scott Card)

Chronicles of the Black Company (Glen Cook)

The Books of the South: Tales of the Black Company (Glen Cook)

I’m just finishing up a library copy of Ender’s Game, and am really enjoying it, so I look forward to finally adding it to my library (the book was first recommended to me some 15 yearsago by a good friend) along with Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide and Children of the MindRaymond Swanland_BookoftheSouthbefore catching up with the series to Ender in Exile.  I’ll post my thoughts on Ender’s Game as I finish that up so keep an eye out for that.  And as far as Glen Cook’s Black Company is concerned, it’s one of the series I’ve been looking forward to diving into most thanks to the premise of an elite mercenary group fighting in the trenches of a dark war and an epic story that folks have gone on and on about.  Plus, with Steven Erikson’s Gardens of the Moon, Malazan Book of the Fallen Book 1 arriving at the end of the month it seems appropriate that I’ll be able to start the series whose author served as a major inspiration for Erikson.