Category Archives: Fantasy

Box Review: Marvel Collector Corps – August 2015

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This is the 3rd box from Collector Corps, and this month set a new bar. The Marvel Collector Corps offers these boxes starting at $25 plus s/h.

The theme this month was Secret Wars. And, as the box hinted, we are treated to the female (Jane) Thor.

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As you can see, it’s Jane-Thor heavy with the Secret Wars theme.

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Secret Wars Tshirt (Retail $10?) – This is a cutesy Funko Pop! style that’s newly released to Hot Topic. It’s not my style, but the little ones in my life will enjoy it. I’m also over so many geek tshirts in black. I need more color.

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Secret Wars #1 Variant (Retail $4.99 – though Variants are usually worth more) – I love that the variants we receive have all been #1’s so far. Great for collectors, like me.

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Collector Corps Pin and Patch – I love getting these each month. I’ll have to figure out something fun to do with them, other than just store them in my collection.

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Thor (Secret Wars) Funko Pop! (Retail N/A as this is an exclusive. They are running about $33 on Amazon right now.) – I love, love this Jane Thor. I had heard rumors since the box cover featured her, so I was glad it was true. I was so happy to have more female Marvel Pops to add to my collection.

Spider-Man (Miles Morales) Funko Pop! (Retail N/A as this is an exclusive. Amazon has it listed as $36.94) – As a big Spidey fan, I was doubly excited to receive not 1, but 2 Funko Pops this month! And the designs on both of these are just fantastic!

Summary: Two exclusive, awesome Funko Pop!’s that cost as much (each) as the entire box… Collector Corps outdid themselves this month. How will they come close next time? I guess we’ll have to reserve judgment until we hear what the new theme will be. Is it too much to hope for a Star Wars theme later this year???

What do you think of August’s box… and have you signed up yet?

Exclusive Author Guest Post: Katherine Harbour


VINTAGE ‘80S FANTASY: FEMALE WRITERS
by Katherine Harbour

The 1980s, for me, was the perfect decade for fantasy, and not just because that’s when I discovered it as a teen (fantasy, not the ‘80s). I’d already read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the Oz books, and Peter Pan. When I was nine, I’d picked up The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe from a library shelf and opened it to the illustration of the White Witch about to sacrifice Aslan, and hastily set it back on the shelf because it looked too scary.

The first fantasy book I bought was Riddle of the Wren by Charles de Lint. The Secret Country by Pamela Dean followed, then Barbara Hambly’s Time of the Dark.

I was hooked.

Glancing at my bookshelves, I am surprised to see that most of the books are by female writers. Many of them are books I bought in the ‘80s. I didn’t seek out women writers—it just happened. Here are some of my favorites:

C.J. Cherryh is known mostly for her SF, but it was her fantasy books—The Tree of Swords and Jewels, Rusalka, The Books of Morgaine, and the swashbuckling Angel With the Sword that I loved. All of them had strong female characters.

Tanith Lee wrote some strange dark fantasies, otherworldly or contemporary. Her characters were archetypes made human and I found her writing language lyrical and dazzling. The Silver Metal Lover was the first SF book I ever read. Her Secret Books of Paradise were disturbing. The Flat Earth series was mesmerizing. And her retellings of classical tales—Sung in Shadow (Romeo and Juliet) and Red as Blood (fairy tales) made me want more.

Nancy Springer’s Books of the Isles blended elves and an almost Arthurian romance mythology with brutality and grim reality. (Also, one of the characters on the cover of The Silver Sun resembled Matt Dillon, whom I had a raging crush on at the time.)

Judith Tarr. Once again, elves! Only the elves in The Hound and the Falcon existed in history, incorporated into the chaotic time of the Crusades. They were dangerous and beautiful and more human than some of the humans they dealt with. She also wrote a series called Avaryan Rising, about empires, young kings, and magic.

Jennifer Roberson’s unique Chronicles of the Cheysuli books were about a tribe of shapechangers inspired by Celtic and Native American culture.

Sheri S. Tepper’s whimsical and darkly original world of The True Game was the setting for her tales of young Peter the shapeshifter and Jinian Footseer.

P.C. Hodgell wrote one of the best trickster anti-heroines I’ve ever read in her Godstalk series, set in a fantastical, Dickensian land of dark magic, old gods, and warring clans.

Ellen Kushner’s Swordspoint series was romantic and also very Dickensian, combining intrigue, swordfighting, and sexy, damaged characters.

Jane Yolen’s fairy-tale fantasies, like Briar Rose, some modern and some traditional, were classical and elegant.

Anne McCaffrey. Dragons! Bonding with dragons! Dragonriders! Sex! (Not with dragons.) But my favorite books were the YA DragonSong, DragonSinger, and DragonDrums.

Katherine Kurtz’s Deryni Chronicles novels were set in a world similar to England’s era of The War of the Roses, where magic is considered illegal and a magical race called Deryni must tread carefully. There were betrayals at every turn and a young man seeking to be a good king.

Barbara Hambly’s books about another world, beginning with The Time of the Dark and continuing with The Ladies of Mandrigyn and Dragonsbane, were medieval and amazingly detailed, filled with dangerous magic (I loved her scholarly outlaw wizards), horrifying creatures, and some awesome dragons. There was the added bonus of two people from our world being dragged into that fantastical realm.

Terri Windling’s classical fantasies. She also co-edited the Bordertown series about the Elflands returning to the modern world. It was brilliant, and is still being carried on nowadays. Faery and Elfland in our world was a popular theme in the ‘80’s, with Emma Bull’s War for the Oaks and Diana Wynne Jones’ Fire and Hemlock.

There was also Andre Norton, Louise Cooper, Patricia McKillip, Janny Wurtz, Joan D. Vinge and I’ve probably left out others.

I do wish more of these writers could be found in libraries and bookstores. They were the writers I spent my teen years with, lost in a variation of extraordinary worlds, with fascinating characters. They’ve been read again, and consulted, and skimmed through. They were the stories that made me want to create other worlds and the people who inhabited them. And they’ll always have a place on my bookshelf.


Katherine Harbour (author of Thorn Jack and Briar Queen)
www.katherineharbour.com

Box Review: Geek Fuel – August 2015

GeekFuel July 2015

Geek Fuel is a monthly subscription box “filled with t-shirts, toys, digital games, limited edition collectibles, and all things epic.” The box can be purchased on a monthly renewal at $23.90 per month, or discounts for purchasing several months or more upfront.

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The box comes with a monthly, mini magazine that’s really well done. I look forward to reading this.

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Deadpool T-shirt (Retail $10?) – It’s a different design – but a shirt I’ll probably only wear to the movie when it releases.

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The World According to Wolverine (Retail $24.95) – This is a really fun collectible book with inserts and a comicbook feel.
Subscribers could have received Wolverine or Spider-Man. I would have preferred Spidey, but I still enjoyed this one.

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Aaru’s Awakening Game ($15 value) – Downloadable game code for PC or Mac.
Adventure Time Pocket Pop! Keychain (Retail $7.50?) – Not a fan. So, this will go in a bin for the nieces or nephew.
TMNT Lollipop (Retail?) – My candy-crazed nieces will probably snag this.
Post Apocalyptic Currency Magnet (Retail?) – Just a little, bottlecap magnet. Guess I can always use another magnet on the fridge.

Summary: I enjoyed this box much more than last month. I signed up for a 3-month sub, so we’ll see what next month’s delivers before I decide whether or not to renew.

What do you think of August’s Geek Fuel Box?

Book Giveaway: Voyagers

Courtesy of Random House Books for Young Readers, I have a copy of Voyagers: Project Alpha by D. J. MacHale 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 September 25. I’ll draw a name on September 26, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Voyagers

Fantasy Book Review: The Nightmare Charade

The Nightmare Charade by Mindee Arnett

Synopsis:
16-year-old Dusty Everhart breaks into houses late at night, but not because she’s a criminal. No, she’s a Nightmare. Literally. Dusty is a magical being who feeds on human dreams.

Being the only Nightmare at Arkwell Academy, a boarding school for magickind, and living in the shadow of her mother’s infamy is hard enough, not to mention the crazy events of the past year. Dusty may have saved the day, but there are many days left in the year, and with an old foe back to seek revenge, she’ll need all her strength to defeat him and save her friends.

Review:
Dusty and her friends have a new mystery to solve – keeping her mother from being convicted of murder by finding the real killer. To complicate matters, Paul shows up again but claims he can help. Meanwhile, Dusty and her boyfriend are still trying to be with each other despite being told they’ll be cursed for their decision.

The Nightmare Charade is the third and final installment in the Arkwell Academy series. While each book has it’s own mystery, the overlying arc is finally tied up – and doesn’t disappoint. This story is well-paced and full of suspense, intrigue, strong characters, and fun twists. Don’t miss this unique YA fantasy trilogy. I only wish the series would continue, as I’ll miss these characters and fantastic worldbuilding.

Box Review: Boxy Chan – Star Wars Theme

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BOXY CHAN™ is the ORIGINAL THEMED MYSTERY BOX shopping experience dedicated to providing an ever growing and ever changing selection of MYSTERY BOX themed experiences for your fun and enjoyment. Our MYSTERY BOX CURATORS are always searching for new and exciting items to ensure that BOXYCHAN BOX consistently delivers on our promise of delivering the highest value in each and every box.”

Boxy Chan boxes are $25 plus shipping and handling. Subscriptions run cheaper with shipping included.

In honor of the upcoming movie, I picked a Star Wars theme for my first box! There are a lot of themes, and some change. You can buy just one box or pick a subscription of the same theme.

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Chewbacca Funko Pop! (Retail $10-12) – I had this on my wishlist, so this was a great score!

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Star Wars Power of the Jedi Lando (Retail $10-15) – This reminds me of the Lando toy I got as a child, and yes, still own. But this one has nicer detail, a gun, a cloak (my old one is long since gone), and a “Force File” detail on the character.

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Millennium Falcon Ice Tray (Retail $17.99)
Star Wars Playing Cards (Retail $5)

This was a great value for the price. I signed up for a 3-month Marvel subscription, and now am even more excited to see what’s coming!

Fantasy Book Review: Kitty Saves the World

Kitty Saves the World by Carrie Vaughn

Synopsis:
It’s all come down to this, following the discoveries made by Cormac in Low Midnight, Kitty and her allies are ready to strike. But, when their assassination attempt on the evil vampire Dux Bellorum fails, Kitty finds herself running out of time. The elusive vampire lord has begun his apocalyptic end game, and Kitty still doesn’t know where he will strike.

Meanwhile, pressure mounts in Denver as Kitty and her pack begin to experience the true reach of Dux Bellorum’s cult. Outnumbered and outgunned at every turn, the stakes have never been higher for Kitty. She will have to call on allies both old and new in order to save not just her family and friends, but the rest of the world as well.

Review:
Kitty Saves the World is the fourteenth(!) and final installment in the Kitty Norville series. Kitty and her friends decide to take down Roman once and for all. Knowing that if they don’t, he’ll bring down hell on earth. This final installment is full of fast-paced action and suspense. The characters are so well-developed, that you can jump in at any point and still enjoy the story. I haven’t read them all in order, and have no problem. But after reading about what I missed, I can’t wait to go back and catch up. The conclusion of this long-running series is bittersweet. This is urban fantasy at it’s finest. But Vaughn has done an amazing job of creating interesting characters and keeping ideas fresh and fun to read. I’ll miss this series, but look forward to what else the author has coming.

New SF/F Shows Coming This Fall 2015/16

CBS:


Supergirl Premieres Monday, October 26 at 8:30/7:30c
Supergirl is an action-adventure drama based on the DC Comics character Kara Zor-El, Superman’s (Kal-El) cousin who, after 12 years of keeping her powers a secret on Earth, decides to finally embrace her superhuman abilities and be the hero she was always meant to be. Twelve-year-old Kara escaped the doomed planet Krypton with her parents’ help at the same time as the infant Kal-El. Protected and raised on Earth by her foster family, the Danvers, Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex, and learned to conceal the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin in order to keep her identity a secret. Years later at 24, Kara lives in National City assisting media mogul and fierce taskmaster Cat Grant. She works alongside her friend and IT technician Winn Schott and famous photographer James Olsen, who Grant just hired away from the Daily Planet to serve as her new art director. However, Kara’s days of keeping her talents a secret are over when Hank Henshaw, head of a super-secret agency where her sister also works, enlists her to help them protect the citizens of National City from sinister threats. Though Kara will need to find a way to manage her newfound empowerment with her very human relationships, her heart soars as she takes to the skies as Supergirl to fight crime.


Limitless Premieres Tuesday, September 22 at 10/9c
Limitless, based on the feature film, is a fast-paced drama about Brian Finch, who discovers the brain-boosting power of the mysterious drug NZT and is coerced by the FBI into using his extraordinary cognitive abilities to solve complex cases for them. Working closely with Brian in the major case squad in New York City is Special Agent Rebecca Harris, a formidable investigator with a dark past, and Special Agent Boyle, a former military officer and Rebecca’s confidante. They report to Special Agent in Charge Nasreen “Naz” Pouran, a canny manipulator of the reins of power. Unbeknownst to the FBI, Brian also has a clandestine relationship with Senator Edward Mora (Academy Award nominee Bradley Cooper, recurring), a presidential hopeful and regular user of NZT who has plans of his own for his new protégé. Fueled now with a steady supply of NZT that enables him to use 100% of his brain capacity, Brian is more effective than all of the FBI agents combined, making him a criminal’s worst nightmare and the greatest asset the Bureau has ever possessed.


Angel From Hell Premieres in November
She may be crazy. She may be inappropriate. But like an angel, she is always there for you…whether you like it or not. Emmy Award winner Jane Lynch and Maggie Lawson star in the new comedy Angel From Hell. This Fall on CBS.

NBC:

Blindspot – Premieres Monday, September 21 at 10/9cA beautiful woman is found naked in Times Square, covered in fresh tattoos and with no idea who she is. So why is FBI Agent Kurt Weller’s name on her back?

Heroes Reborn – Premieres Thursday September 24 at 8/7c
From Creator/Executive Producer Tim Kring, who imagined NBC’s original critically acclaimed 2006 “Heroes” series, comes “Heroes Reborn,” an epic 13-episode event series that chronicles the lives of ordinary people who discover they possess extraordinary abilities.
A year ago, a terrorist attack in Odessa, Texas left the city decimated. Blamed for the tragic event, those with extraordinary abilities are in hiding or on the run from those with nefarious motives.

Coming soon to NBC (no premiere date yet):
Emerald City
Swept up into the eye of a tornado, 20-year-old Dorothy Gale (Adria Arjona) is transported to another world – a mystical land in great peril, where an all-powerful wizard has forbidden magic and rules over many kingdoms. This is the fabled Land of Oz in a way you’ve never seen it before, where lethal warriors roam, wicked witches plot in the shadows and a young girl from Kansas becomes a headstrong heroine who holds the fate of their world in her hands.

You, Me, and the End of the World
In this bold, adrenaline-fueled new comedy drama, the news that a comet is on an unavoidable collision course with Earth sets in motion the most hilariously unexpected chain of events imaginable. Set against the backdrop of apocalyptic chaos and starring Rob Lowe (“Parks and Recreation”), Jenna Fischer (“The Office”), Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”) and Mathew Baynton (“Yonderland”), the story follows an eclectic group of seemingly unconnected characters around the world as their lives start to intersect in the most unexpected ways. And when we say “eclectic,” we mean a rebellious priest, an unhinged white supremacist, a mild-mannered bank manager, a germophobic cyber terrorist and an American five-star general. Some of these misfits are destined to make it to a bunker deep beneath the English suburb of Slough, and as a result will become the hugely unlikely (and totally unsuitable) future of mankind. Wouldn’t that be a disaster!

ABC:

The Muppets – Premieres Tuesday, September 22 at 8/7c
The Muppets return to primetime with a contemporary, documentary-style show. For the first time ever, a series will explore the Muppets’ personal lives and relationships, both at home and at work, as well as romances, breakups, achievements, disappointments, wants and desires.

Coming soon to ABC (no premiere date yet):
Of Kings & Prophets
An epic Biblical saga of faith, ambition and betrayal as told through the eyes of a battle-weary king, a powerful and resentful prophet and a resourceful young shepherd on a collision course with destiny.

FOX:

Minority Report – premieres Monday, September 21 at 9/8c
Based on the international blockbuster film by executive producer Steven Spielberg and the first of his films to be adapted for television, MINORITY REPORT follows the unlikely partnership between a man haunted by the future and a cop haunted by her past, as they race to stop the worst crimes of the year 2065 before they happen.

X-Files – premieres Sunday, January 24
Thirteen years after the original series run, the next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES will be a thrilling, six-episode event series helmed by creator/executive producer Chris Carter, with stars David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson re-inhabiting their roles as iconic FBI Agents FOX MULDER and DANA SCULLY. This marks the momentous return of the Emmy- and Golden Globe Award-winning pop culture phenomenon, which remains one of the longest-running sci-fi series in network television history.

Coming soon to FOX (no premiere date yet):
The Frankenstein Code
Welcome to THE FRANKENSTEIN CODE, a modern reimagining of the Mary Shelley classic, about a man brought back to life by two scientists playing god.

Lucifer
Based upon the characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth and Mike Dringenberg for DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint, LUCIFER is the story of the original fallen angel. Bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, LUCIFER MORNINGSTAR (Tom Ellis, “Merlin”) has abandoned his throne and retired to L.A., where he owns Lux, an upscale nightclub.

CW:

Coming soon to the CW (no premiere date yet):
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

Containment

Syfy:

The Expanse – Premieres December 14 at 10/9c
One missing girl will expose the greatest conspiracy in history.

Childhood’s End – Premieres December 14 at 8/7c
Utopia…but at what cost? Childhood’s End airs on Syfy, December 14 at 8/7c.

Coming soon to Syfy (no premiere date yet):
Hunters
Hunters is based on Whitley Strieber’s best selling novel, Alien Hunters. It tells the tale of the disappearance of the wife of decorated Baltimore FBI agent – the resulting search of which leads to a secret government unit dedicated to hunting terrorists. The terrorists, however, might not be of this world.

The Magicians
Based upon Lev Grossman’s best-selling books, The Magicians stars Jason Ralph (A Most Violent Year, Aquarius) as Quentin Coldwater, a brilliant grad student who enrolls in Brakebills College for Magical Pedagogy, a secret upstate New York university specializing in magic. He and his 20-something friends soon discover that the magical fantasy world they read about as children is all too real— and poses grave danger to humanity. Stella Maeve (Chicago P.D.), Hale Appleman (Teeth), Arjun Gupta (Nurse Jackie), Olivia Taylor Dudley (Vatican Tapes, Paranormal Activity 5) and Summer Bishil (Towelhead, Lucky 7) also star in this one hour drama.

AMC:

Fear the Walking Dead – Premieres August 23 at 9/8c