All posts by SciFiChick

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PBS Digital Studios: The Origin of Science Fiction

Check out: It’s Lit!, the new PBS YouTube series that aims to help people of all ages explore books in a new way.

The Origin of Science Fiction
It’s the literary manifestation of our anxieties and excitement surrounding technology. While science fiction is associated with Mars, robots, and cyberpunk, its origin story is shaped throughout several centuries. This includes The Age of Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution, and…Frankenstein? Check out the origin of science fiction in a brand new episode of It’s Lit!

Blu-Ray Review: Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Own Ready Player One on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on July 24, or Own It Now on Digital!

Synopsis:
In the year 2045, the real world is a harsh place. The only time Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) truly feels alive is when he escapes to the OASIS, an immersive virtual universe where most of humanity spend their days. In the OASIS, you can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone—the only limits are your own imagination. The OASIS was created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance), who left his immense fortune and total control of the OASIS to the winner of a three-part contest he designed to find a worthy heir. When Wade conquers the first challenge of the reality-bending treasure hunt, he and his friends—known as the High Five—are hurled into a fantastical universe of discovery and danger to save the OASIS and their world.

Review:
Wade Watts spends most of his free time on a virtual treasure hunt for a legendary prize to control the OASIS – the virtual world where everyone retreats. When Wade finds the first key, he soon finds danger from a powerful corporation that will do anything to seize control of the OASIS.

I had read the original novel years ago, but forgot enough to not compare the story too much. The retro, 80s references and music made this extremely fun and nostalgic for me. And even though I’m not a gamer, I enjoyed the unique landscape of the OASIS – and that it’s more integral to the story than the real world. The acting is great. But it’s the OASIS itself that steals the scenes – from immersion into movies to stunning landscapes and and endless variety of colorful avatars. The story is full of suspense, heartfelt drama, romance, and plenty of humor. This is definitely a film I’ll watch again and again.

Book Giveaway: Shadow’s Bane

Courtesy of Berkley, I have a copy of Shadow’s Bane by Karen Chance for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 17. I’ll draw a name on August 18, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Shadow’s Bane

Box Review: TeeBlox – June 2018

TeeBlox

TeeBlox is a t-shirt subscription service that brings 100% authentic licensed geek and gamer shirts to your doorsteps every month. No hidden fees. Cancel anytime. Satisfaction Guaranteed.”

Get 1 shirt and 2 other items starting at $12.99/mo and use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

Subscribers can pick from the following categories: SciFi, Marvel, DC Comics, Cartoons, Movies and TV, Games, Hot Meex, or Disney!

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Continue reading Box Review: TeeBlox – June 2018

Blu-Ray Review: Rampage

Rampage

Synopsis:
In 1993, a breakthrough new technology gave scientists a path to treat incurable diseases through genetic editing. In 2016, due to its potential for misuse, the U.S. Intelligence Community designated genetic editing a “Weapon of Mass Destruction and Proliferation.”

Johnson stars as primatologist Davis Okoye, a man who keeps people at a distance but shares an unshakable bond with George, the extraordinarily intelligent, incredibly rare albino silverback gorilla who has been in his care since he rescued the young orphan from poachers. But a rogue genetic experiment gone awry mutates this gentle ape into a raging creature of enormous size.

To make matters worse, it’s soon discovered there are other similarly altered animals. As these newly created super creatures tear across North America, destroying everything in their path, Okoye teams with discredited geneticist Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris) to secure an antidote, fighting his way through an ever-changing battlefield, not only to halt a global catastrophe but to save the fearsome creature that was once his friend.

Review:
Davis (Dwayne Johnson) is great with animals, and has a special bond with the albino gorilla George. But when one of several containers carrying an experimental virus crashes to Earth, George is exposed and begins growing and showing unusual aggression. When the government hunts down George and the other infected animals, Davis scientist Kate (Naomie Harris) try to find another way to stop the animals before more lives are lost and Chicago is destroyed.

Rampage is based on a video game that I knew nothing about. But it had the feel of King Kong – if he had lived like Koko the gorilla before growing to his enormous size. There is quite a bit of humor and drama that lightened an otherwise violent, intense film. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays a surprising character that defied my expectations. This action-packed, fast-paced story was a lot of fun. The villains and several of the surprises and fight scenes were over-the-top and silly. But it’s a action film based on a game – and one that I really enjoyed.

Special Features:
“Rampage” 4K Ultra HD, 3D Blu-Ray, Blu-ray Combo Pack contains the following special features:
• Not A Game Anymore – From arcade sensation to movie monster epic, we explore how the Midway video game inspired the filmmakers to create the ultimate disaster film.
• Gag Reel – Hilarious outtakes and mishaps captured during production.
• Deleted Scenes – Deleted scenes that barely missed the final theatrical cut.
• Rampage – Actors in Action: Strap in for a wild ride as Dwayne Johnson, Joe Manganiello and the cast prepare for the film’s demanding stunts and explosive set pieces.
• Trio of Destruction – Follow the innovative design team and the artists at Weta Digital as they bring to life the biggest and baddest monsters for the film’s climactic battle royal.
• Attack on Chicago – Director Brad Peyton reveals the challenges of filming on-location in Chicago and turning digital destruction into a cinematic reality.
• Bringing George to Life – Discover the wonder of what it’s like to be a gorilla, as movement coordinator Terry Notary teaches actor Jason Liles how to move, behave and become “George.”

“Rampage” DVD contains:
• Not A Game Anymore – From arcade sensation to movie monster epic, we explore how the Midway video game inspired the filmmakers to create the ultimate disaster film.

Book Giveaway: The Darkest Legacy

Courtesy of Disney-Hyperion, I have an extra finished copy of The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken for one lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends August 3. I’ll draw a name on August 4, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: The Darkest Legacy

Fantasy Book Review: City of Bastards

City of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts

Synopsis:
Tilla, bastard of House Kent, has it made. Safe from her murderous father in the dazzling capital of Lightspire, she lives a life of luxury under the protection of the Volaris King, alongside her boyfriend, Zell, and best friend, Princess Lyriana.

So why isn’t she happy? Maybe it’s the whispers and stares that follow her wherever she goes, as the daughter of the traitor waging war against Lightspire. Or maybe it’s the memories of her beloved brother, Jax, who lies cold in his grave even as she tries to settle into a life in the city’s prestigious University.

Then Tilla stumbles upon the body of a classmate-a friend. The authorities are quick to rule it a suicide and sweep it under the rug, but when Tilla herself is attacked by a mysterious man with terrifying powers, she’s convinced of a conspiracy. Her friends beg her to stay silent; what she’s suggesting is impossible . . . and treasonous.

But Tilla can’t-won’t-let it go. And the deeper she digs, the more questions she uncovers. How is the West beating the supposedly invincible Lightspire mages in battle? Is it connected to the shadowy cult wreaking havoc in Lightspire? Nothing is as it seems in the glorious capital, and Tilla’s presence might just be the spark that sets the Kingdom aflame.

Review:
City of Bastards is the second installment in the Royal Bastards series. Tilla, Lyriana, and Zell are safe in Lightspire at the University. But Tilla doesn’t have many other friends other than her roommate, who is suddenly murdered – though no one seems to believe her. There is a conspiracy brewing, and Tilla is determined uncover the answers.

This sequel is a fast-paced mystery, with an impressive, complex plot. The characters are engaging; and Tilla is especially relatable. The story is full of suspense, drama, and romance. And I enjoyed this even more than the first in the series. I love the unique spin on the unlikely heroes as well ask the magic aspect. This is a surprising and exciting young adult, fantasy series that ends too soon. I’ll be impatiently waiting for the next installment.

Blu-Ray Review: A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place

A QUIET PLACE debuts on Digital June 26, 2018 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD July 10.

Synopsis:
A QUIET PLACE is a taut and original thriller that follows a family who must navigate their lives in silence to avoid mysterious creatures that hunt by sound. Knowing that even the slightest whisper or footstep can bring death, Evelyn (Emily Blunt) and Lee (John Krasinski) are determined to find a way to protect their children at all costs while they desperately search for a way to fight back.

Review:
The story begins post-apocalypse. A mother and father do their best to protect their children, yet raise them to be self-sufficient and able to take care of themselves if need be. They live isolated and in complete silence in order to hide from deadly creatures that hunt by sound.

A Quiet Place is a unique and spectacularly intense film. Almost the entire film is silent, other than occasional intense music, and just a few lines of quiet dialog. There is a bit of sign language with subtitles. But for the most part, the story is told through the incredible acting from this small cast of talented actors. There is quiet a bit of slow pacing, that only seemed to add to the intense suspense – as viewers wonder when the next jump scare will come. As with many horror films, there are some plot holes. But this film does an amazing job of creating a feeling of terror, with very little blood. The monsters looked a lot like the demogorgon from Stranger Things season 1. And the story reminded me a bit of Signs, but much scarier as the aliens are faster and more deadly.

Special Features Include:
Blu-ray
• Feature film in high definition
• Bonus Content:
o Creating the Quiet – Behind the Scenes of A QUIET PLACE
o The Sound of Darkness – Editing Sound for A QUIET PLACE
o A Reason for Silence – The Visual Effects of A QUIET PLACE
DVD
• Feature film in standard definition