Graphic Novel Roundup: Back To The Future, Ghostbusters, Star Trek, and BSG

Back To The Future: Untold Tales and Alternate Timelines

Back to the Future creator/screenwriter Bob Gale returns with all-new tales from the twisting and turning timeline that made Back to the Future a, well… TIMELESS pop-culture phenomenon! Take a trip back to 1985 and be there when Doc Brown and Marty McFly first meet, and then jump even farther back, to 1945, to witness Doc’s involvement in the super-secret Manhattan Project. Collects issues #1–5.

Review:
This is a fun collection of humorous tales told from mostly Doc’s point of view. In many time periods and alternate realities, this is an eclectic mix of stories. It’s definitely word-heavy rather than action. And the artwork is great and colorful and fits the light-hearted feel. I really enjoyed this book.

(I received free electronic copy from NetGalley for review.)

Ghostbusters International

There’s something strange in the neighborhood… and whether that neighborhood is in New York City or Venice, Italy, the Ghostbusters will be there! After a bust at the United Nations, the boys in gray are engaged to investigate an Old World haunting, where they begin to unravel a mystery that sends them around the globe (while still trying to keep their contract with the City, County, and State of New York!).

Review:
I know there have been Ghostbusters comics for a while now, but this is the first I’ve read. I have no idea who some of the main characters were. But it was still a fun, suspenseful story with plenty of humor and bizarre, supernatural creatures. The artwork is more comical than I prefer. It took me a while to figure out who Peter and Ray were supposed to be. No one looked remotely like the actors from the films. But if you can get past that, it’s an enjoyable story – and I look forward to reading more.

(I received free electronic copy from NetGalley for review.)

Star Trek: Manifest Destiny

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the STAR TREK franchise with this all-new adventure! At the edge of explored space, Captain Kirk and the crew of the Starship Enterprise come face to face with a new Klingon threat… with the fate of the galaxy at stake! Also includes the Klingon Language version of issue #1!

Review:
The e-galley I received only included the first 24 pages of this graphic novel. But from what I read, I definitely want to buy the full copy to read the rest. The artwork is fantastic! The characters and scenery are stunning. And the story is full of suspense… and Klingons. Fans of the new films will want to check these new stories out.

(I received free electronic copy from NetGalley for review.)

Battlestar Galactica (Classic): Starbuck

Finally, the origin of Lt. Starbuck can be told! Battlestar Galactica’s roguish Viper pilot, unbeatable gambler, and notorious womanizer has always been a mystery. How did he wind up a feral child on the planet Umbra, and when did he first fight Cylons alongside Commander Adama? What early adventures solidified his friendship with Apollo, and how will Starbuck react once he discovers the identity of the traitor responsible for destroying his family? It’s the world-shaking origin story that fans have been begging over thirty years for, as revealed by #1 New York Times best-selling author Tony Lee and artist Eman Casallos.

Review:
This is one I bought, as I want to read anything I can get my hands on of the classic Battlestar Galactica. Of course, Starbuck is a favorite character, so I was excited to read his origin story. This was a fun, fast-paced adventure from his boyhood days up to his swashbuckling heroics as a young pilot. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. The artwork fit well, with only minor complaints. And I enjoyed the new (villain) characters as well.

Box Review: 1Up Box – May 2016

1Up Box

1Up Box is a monthly swag distributor that offers something remarkable, something creative, and something unique in which all geeks and gamers can fancy. We connect our subscribers to the best companies producing gear, snacks, toys, art, and just about anything that spells awesome. Each month we assemble a mystery collection of 5-8 items, all of which are kept secret until the boxes are delivered.

Our mission is to bring smiles to the curious, to the epic, and to all the magnificent geeks and gamers of our time by delivering value and creativity.”

USE COUPON: AWESOME to get your first month for just $9.92 + S/H

*SciFiChick.com received a complimentary box in exchange for an honest review.

1Up Box

This month’s theme was RPG!

1Up Box

The box comes with a nice flyer detailing the items included in this month’s selection.

1Up Box

World of Warcraft: Sylvanas Funko POP! (Retail $10.79) – There were 3 options that subscribers could receive from WOW. This was my favorite of the 3, so I was happy to get this one.

1Up Box

EXCLUSIVE Viking Pin (Retail $2-3?) – Cute little design that my niece or nephew may want to pin on their backpack.

Vault Bookmark – This is a fun, holographic bookmark.

1Up Box

Assassin Emoji Stickers (Retail $1?) – A page of 6, large stickers for the young gamer in your life. My niece loves emojis, so she’ll get a kick out of these.

1Up May 2016 RPG Pin – This is a little collector pin that must come each month.

1Up Box

EXCLUSIVE 1Up Buddies TShirt: The Furry Assassins (Retail $10?) – This is a super-cute design on a nice shade of pale blue. And the shirts come in women’s (junior) sizing! They do run small, so order a size or two larger than normal.

Summary: This month’s box was really small, but I was surprised they were still able to fit a POP and shirt in it. The value comes in just over the $20 price tag, so it’s a decent value. And it’s one of the most inexpensive geeky boxes I’ve see so far. Cheaper, if you buy multiple months at a time. And, of course, I’m partial to boxes that include Funko POPs!

Remember, use Coupon: AWESOME to get your first month for just $9.92 + S/H of 1Up Box!

Blog Tour: Ada Palmer Guest Post

Ada Palmer

Author Ada Palmer joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about the world from her latest release Too Like The Lightning!

Too Like the Lightning: A World of Diaspora

The flying cars on the cover of my science fiction novel <em are more than just a promise that this will be a classic, energetic science fiction setting, with dazzling futuristic cities reminiscent of golden age SF. They’re also the center of the political system in my version of the 25th century. This future is linked together by a system of flying cars so fast that you can commute from anywhere on Earth to anywhere else in two hours, close enough to bring the whole planet into practical commuting distance.

Imagine if such a system came in as suddenly as smart phones, and within a few years it came to be effortless to commute from continent to continent. There would be political and even military consequences (we hear about that phase of history in the background of the story), but it’s easy to see how it would also revolutionize lives, and families. No one would have to choose where to live based on a job anymore, since you could in Bermuda, work in Tokyo and lunch in Paris while a spouse or roommate worked in Buenos Aires and you met for dinner in Antarctica. It’s easy to imagine the real estate upheaval as people rush to buy homes to the most beautiful and exciting parts of the Earth, but that generates another political consequence: a world of expats.

With these flying cars, suddenly living in another country wouldn’t be any impediment to still working and socializing primarily in your birth nation, and a huge portion of Earth’s population would suddenly start living in another country. Or is it really living in another country when you spend only a third of your time there, another third working in a second country, and the rest having fun in every corner of the Earth? And what about children born of parents who are Japanese but bought a home on the French Riviera to grow the view? This happens today with expat couples and immigrants, but if the flying car system came in it would suddenly happen to half or more of all the children in the world, within a generation.

This is the birth of the world of Too Like the Lightning, a world of diaspora, in which all cultural groups are spread all around the Earth, and living in the region where your ancestors lived is the exception, not the rule. It is a world of diaspora, much like the world of the internet where we have friends scattered around dozens of cities, and many of our most important relationships are unrelated to geography. In this 25th century, nations as we know them—geographic nations—are a thing of the past, since now that virtually no children grow up in a place that corresponds to their languages and cultures, a fully mobile global population finds it absurd that, in the olden days of people were governed by the laws the splotch of dirt where they happened to be born. Instead, as part of coming of age, young adults choose freely among several globe-spanning borderless nations, selecting the ones whose culture, policies and ideology are most personally appealing. Adults live by the laws of their chosen nations no matter where on Earth they reside, and what is legal or illegal in one house may be completely different from the house next door, depending on the choices of the family.

This world of diaspora is a fantastic place to explore political interaction, and especially cultural interaction. When you start Too Like the Lightning you’re plunged into a whirlwind mix of different races and languages, a detective from Alexandria investigating a break-in in Chile affecting a family with Chinese, Indian and Mestizo members and political effects on Japan and Paris. But this isn’t an exotic jet-set, this is normal life in this world of diaspora, when there are no majorities anywhere on Earth, just dozens of minorities mixing coequally in every space. It’s an amazing plunge, and an amazingly dynamic space in which to see how one mystery can sweep through and touch every corner of such an interconnected world.

About the author:
Ada Palmer is the author of the recently released sci-fi novel Too Like the Lightning and a professor in the history department of the University of Chicago, specializing in Renaissance history and the history of ideas. Her first nonfiction book, Reading Lucretius in the Renaissance, was published in 2014 by Harvard University Press. She is also a composer of folk and Renaissance-tinged a capella music, most of which she performs with the group Sassafrass. Her personal site is at adapalmer.com, and she writes about history for a popular audience at exurbe.com and about SF and fantasy-related matters at Tor.com.

Author Interview: Larry Correia

Author Larry Correia joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about his latest audio book for Audible: Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent! The book is narrated by Adam Baldwin (Firefly, Chuck)!

– Can you tell us a bit about The Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent in your own words?

It is a comedy about colliding universes, and the insurance agents who have to put things right.

– Who is Tom Stranger?

He is number one in customer satisfaction, three years running. Tom’s life is insurance. His home universe was totaled because it had insufficient coverage, so he’s pretty hard core about helping his clients. He’ll do absolutely anything to provide good customer service, and in the multiverse that means everything from zero-G kung-fu to dinosaur wrestling.

– Where did this idea come from?

I was driving down the street one day with Mike Kupari (who is also a novelist) and we passed a sign for Tom Stanger Insurance. Mike read Stanger as Stranger, and said out loud what kind of insurance would you buy from a guy name Stranger? And it kind of spiraled out of control from there. Authors are weird like that.

– What is this universe like?

That is the fun part. It is all the universes, smooshed together. If you can think of something, it is out there somewhere. And when two universes collide, Tom will be there (well, unless neither one is covered, because then it isn’t his problem).

– What book genre do you prefer to read?

My main genres are science fiction and fantasy, but I read pretty much everything. I love westerns, thrillers, mysteries, and I read a ton of non-fiction.

– Is writing for a strictly audio book any different than writing for print?

Yes and no. I write the same for both, but I feel that listening to my own work in audio has made me a much better writer over the years. It teaches you to make your dialog and descriptions better, it helps with the pacing, and really drives home the unnecessary bits that you should have edited out. Above all, it teaches you to quit saying He Said or I Said or She Said too much. That drives me nuts.

– What are you working on next?

I’m currently putting together an anthology of short stories set in my Monster Hunter International universe, featuring writers like Jim Butcher, Jonathan Maberry, John Ringo, Faith Hunter, and Jessica Day George.


Order now, for free from Audible!

Box Review: Smuggler’s Bounty – May 2016

Smugglers Bounty

“Star Wars and Funko are proud to present Smuggler’s Bounty, the only OFFICAL Star Wars subscription box in the galaxy! Featuring 100% exclusive collectibles, apparel and accessories from the Star Wars universe, each box is carefully curated for Star Wars fans and shipped directly to your doorstep. Every box is themed specifically around the Star Wars films with collectors in mind. For just $25 (plus shipping) every other month, members will receive a box full of exclusive Star Wars-themed Funko collectibles and a host of other surprises valued at over $50. Each box will focus on a different part of the Star Wars universe and include memorabilia exclusive to the program, perfect for any Star Wars fan.”

The theme this month was BOUNTY HUNTERS!

Smugglers Bounty

Star Wars Bounty Hunters Patch and Pin – these are small collectibles included in each box.

Smugglers Bounty

Bounty Hunters Tshirt (Retail $10?) – This shirt features several beloved bounty hunters in a bold, vibrant design on a navy shirt. I like it.

Smugglers Bounty

EXCLUSIVE IG-88 Funko POP! (Retail $20+?) – IG-88 is a rival of Boba Fett, and first made an appearance in The Empire Strikes Back. I love droids, so I was excited to add another to my collection.

Smugglers Bounty

EXCLUSIVE Boba Fett Funko POP! (Retail $20+?) – Everyone loves Boba Fett, and this exclusive is an awesome design. He’s blasting up into the air with his jet pack, causing a cloud of smoke beneath him. Love it.

Summary: Because of annoying spoilers, nothing here was a big surprise. I really liked everything included, however. I love that they’re including 2 POPs each month! I’m still not sure why they don’t include a comic like the other Funko boxes, since there are several ongoing Star Wars comics from Marvel right now. Only that minor complaint, otherwise this is a consistent, great value box.

Blog Tour: Nil on Fire: Excerpt and Giveaway!

NilOnFire_blogtour

Lynne Matson joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about her latest release Nil on Fire, complete with an excerpt and giveaway!


I’m so excited to be here today as part of the NIL ON FIRE blog tour! Today I’m sharing the first chapter of the last book in the Nil series: my forthcoming release, NIL ON FIRE.

As y’all may know, the Nil series is a trilogy about a mysterious island where teens have exactly one year to escape, or they die. Think Survivor meets LOST, with dashes of the Twilight Zone and heaps of FEELS. The trilogy begins with NIL, continues with NIL UNLOCKED, and on May 31, 2016, the trilogy ends with NIL ON FIRE. I can’t wait for y’all to read it!

Before I share the first chapter, here’s the synopsis of NIL ON FIRE:
Despite Rives and Skye’s attempt to destroy Nil, the island remains. And back in this world, Nil won’t let Skye go. Haunted by a darkness she can’t ignore, Skye wrestles with Nil nightmares that worsen by the day and threaten to tear her apart. As Skye fights to keep her mind intact, she realizes that to finally break free of Nil, she must end Nil’s vicious cycle once and for all–and she can’t do it alone.

Who will return to Nil, and in the end, who will survive? In this thrilling final installment of the Nil series, the stakes have never been higher: everyone’s fate hangs in the balance, including Nil’s own–and Nil will fight to the death. When the full force of the island is unleashed, Skye faces an impossible choice, a cruel one she’d never imagined she’d have to make. Soon one Nil truth becomes painfully clear: only one side can win.

Losing isn’t an option, but winning will cost Skye everything.
Awesome, right? (Of course, I’m totally biased, and unreliable. I love these characters more than I love Thin Mints, and if you know me, THAT’S SERIOUS.) Ready for the first chapter?

Here you go! Enjoy!

Chapter
1
Nil
After Noon

Paulo blinked, slowly, his consciousness returning in crisp frames filled with color and scent and sound.

He stood alone on the black rock platform. The acrid smell of death filled the air, accompanied by the distant crackle of flames. Above him, the sun burned like smokeless fire, still high noon. But over the carving, the gate was gone. Skye was gone.
His chance to leave was gone.

Reality set in, stark and devastating.

I failed, he thought.

A cry ripped from his throat like the wail of an injured animal. He dropped to his hands and knees on the harsh black rock, landing so hard that pebbles raked his palms, drawing blood, but he was too consumed by his growing terror and overwhelming bewilderment to care. How had he missed the gate? He’d waved to Skye, grateful she’d made it, knowing he was last and that the timing felt right—the completion of a circle begun three months before, the end of a cycle begun years before he or Skye were ever born. Only he’d hesitated, for reasons that he couldn’t explain. For reasons he couldn’t remember.

He’d lost time, mysterious minutes stolen by an invisible entity.

And now he was alone on Nil.

An angry tear welled in his eye; he wiped it quickly, already pulling himself together, knowing he wasn’t truly alone. There were lions and hyenas and pumas on the island too, and he was very aware that he did not sit on top of Nil’s food chain. He coughed, then choked, tasting smoke and salt. The thick air billowing up from the meadow snapped him to attention like a hot slap to the face.

He needed to get away from the mountain. There was nothing for him here, not now.
Not for three more months, to be precise.

Paulo stood, and with one last look around the silent black platform, he stepped back. Then, even though there was no escape, he turned and began to run. Down the steps, past the fiery meadow.

Around him, the island burned.

The island let him go.
It would wait.
It was accustomed to waiting.
Once it had waited for centuries. Time wrapped the island like an invisible sheath, fluid and constant, both armor and weapon.
The island was weakened but not broken.
The male kept running, through smoke and flames and blood as the island settled in to watch. And to wait. And above all, to renew.
And so it began, again. Only this time, the island would not show weakness.
Or mercy.
That era was over.

–End of Chapter One —

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peek at NIL ON FIRE. The full novel hits the wild on May 31, 2016. Or, as I like to say…
The end begins on May 31.

Before I leave, I want to thank you, Angela, for having me today, and for allowing me the perfect space to give readers a NIL ON FIRE sneak peek. Thank you so much for your love of books everywhere and your support of the Nil series over these past few years! I also want to thank all my readers for taking a chance on a crazy island . . . and for sticking with me to the end. This book is for you! To the #NILtribe! #NoRegrets

xo
Lynne


Courtesy of Henry Holt and Co., I have a copy of Nil on Fire by Lynne Matson for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends June 10. I’ll draw a name on June 11, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Blog Tour: Nil on Fire: Excerpt and Giveaway!

Fantasy Book Review: To Kill A Kettle Witch

To Kill A Kettle Witch by Barb Hendee

Synopsis:
Powerful prince Malcolm is facing ruin in the wake of a curse that has destroyed his harvest. He blames the band nomadic Móndyalítko who summer in the meadow below his castle—and he is determined to root out the people who caused the blight by any means necessary.

When Céline and Amelie Fawe, descended from the Móndyalítko, learn that their mother’s people are under suspicion of sabotage and treason, they set out to use their magical gifts to save their estranged relatives and learn about their own origins.

Now it’s up to the sisters—along with their motley escort, including a prince’s lieutenant, a shape-shifter, and an old woman with a murky past—to discover the source of the curse to restore life to the ravaged land and protect the innocent from unfair vengeance.

Review:
Céline and Amelie utilize their gifts once again to uncover a saboteur in a far away kingdom. The Móndyalítko are also the people their mother came from, so they have a special incentive to help out their kin.

To Kill A Kettle Witch is the fourth installment in the Mist-Torn Witches series. Though, these are mostly stand-alone stories that can be read independently, save for some romantic entanglements. Hendee is a master story-teller and creates incredible characters. Mysterious pasts, an imposing shifter, and secrets within the royal family – there is plenty of intrigue and suspense in this captivating story. My favorite scenes are the flashes of backstories from a couple of the characters. They are incredibly vivid and emotional. I will read anything by this author, but this is a definite standout fantasy series.

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