Category Archives: Fantasy

Box Review: TeeBlox – September 2016

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 & TV, Games, Hot Meex, or Disney!

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

TeeBlox

Star Wars The Empire Strikes Back T-shirt – It’s a simple, official, white logo on black shirt. But I love it just the same. Hey, it’s the best movie from the franchise.

TeeBlox

Planet of The Apes Comic – I love comics and love Planet of the Apes! Awesome – except it may mean I have to go collect #1 and 2 now…

Super Mario Coaster – This is a cardboard coaster with Mario Bros on the back. Fun little item if you like retro gaming.

Summary: The shirt and comic combo is fantastic. The shirt is well made, yet soft. And this is another great design! Can’t have too many Star Wars or Star Trek shirts in my opinion!

Remember, use code: SCIFICHICK24 to get 24% off your first month!

Fantasy Book Review: The Scourge

The Scourge by Jennifer A Nielsen

Synopsis:
As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive, and she is sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge — and quarantine colony — for the ill. The Scourge’s victims, Ani now among them, can only expect to live out short, painful lives there. However, Ani quickly discovers that she doesn’t know the whole truth about the Scourge or the Colony. She’s been caught in a devious plot, and, with the help of her best friend, Weevil, Ani means to uncover just what is actually going on.

But will she and Weevil survive long enough to do so?

Review:
Ani and Weevil are loyal friends that would do anything for each other. Ani is a strong and hard-headed girl with a lot of pride. Unfortunately, this gets her in trouble with authority figures; and she winds up in the Colony for Scourge victims. Weevil follows just because he’s loyal and thinks he can help.

This is a fantastic stand-alone story set in a fictional world where a deadly Scourge has the population terrified. The plot is pretty predictable, but it doesn’t make the suspense any less thrilling. The characters are vivid and the story is captivating. The pacing and excitement make it a hard book to put down. Events build to a climactic conclusion that doesn’t disappoint. The Scourge is an engaging story for young adults and adults alike.

Spotlight: Edgar Allan Poe: An Adult Coloring Book

Edgar Allan Poe: An Adult Coloring Book

If you’re into adult coloring books and classic Edgar Allan Poe stories, check this out. Artist Odessa Begay has created a clever collection of coloring pages inspired by several of Poe’s works. The pages are very thick and printed on front and back. From eerie settings to skulls and creepy imagery – this will be a very fun book to color with Halloween approaching!

Edgar Allan Poe Coloring Book

Edgar Allan Poe Coloring Book

Edgar Allan Poe Coloring Book

Edgar Allan Poe Coloring Book

Box Review: DC’s Legion of Collectors – September 2016

Legion of Collectors

This is the 2nd box from DC’s Legion of Collectors and the theme was DC TV. The Legion of Collectors offers these boxes starting at $25 plus s/h.

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Like the other mystery boxes from Funko, each box comes with an exclusive badge and pin.

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And this detailed card of everything included in the box is handy.

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DC Villains Tshirt – There was a chance of this one or a Heroes shirt. I was extremely bummed I didn’t get the Heroes one as it was the only one I liked of the two. The retro Harley Quinn outfit is so corny, I would never wear this out in public.

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Batgirl Comic #35 – I LOVE that they are include comic variants in these boxes. And the Batgirl run is great. I already read this series, so I’ll probably pass this on to my niece.

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EXCLUSIVE Hawkgirl Funko POP! – I love this retro Hawkgirl design. And it’s a character I don’t have yet, but

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EXCLUSIVE Wonder Woman Invisible Jet and Action Figure – This was an extremely fun bonus. I would have loved it even more if it was a POP style instead of just an action figure. But this way, I’ll let my niece and nephew play with it.

SUMMARY: This was a great box, despite the tshirt disappointment. It’s still better than a POP-style shirt. I would have just preferred all female heroes vs having any villains spotlighted. My favorite item in the box was the Wonder Woman and invisible jet exclusive.

The next theme is: Batman Villains – so I’ll be skipping that one.

Box Review: Comic Bento – August 2016

Comic Bento

Comic Bento is a subscription Graphic Novel Box – A surprise selection of fantastic Graphic Novels with at least $60 worth of comics in every box and mailed right to your door!

Pricing starts at $20/month plus shipping. Sign up now and save 15% with code SAVE15 and this link!

Comic Bento

This month’s theme was ANIMAL PLANETS. Each box comes with a nice card describing each of the month’s picks.

Comic Bento

This month, there was also a cute, original, card-sized print.

Comic Bento

XOC: Journey of a Great White (Retail $19.99) – This definitely didn’t interest me. Maybe children really into sharks would enjoy it. Disappointment #1.
Publisher: Oni Press (August 21, 2012)

Comic Bento

Homecoming Vol 1 (Retail $9.99) – This looks like a fun, alien invasion story. I’ll definitely give this a try.
Publisher: Aspen MLT, Inc. (September 6, 2016)

Comic Bento

Jurassic Strike Force 5 Vol. 1 (Retail $9.99) – Wow, another dud. The artwork is as corny as the story.
Publisher: Zenescope (October 22, 2013)

Comic Bento

Sam and Fuzzy Fix Your Problem (Retail $15.00) – I’m not into comic strip style, so this is disappointment 3 of 4.
Publisher: TopatoCo (2010)

Summary: Only one pick this month peaked my interest. What a waste of another good theme. Unless they get back to more mainstream DC, Marvel – even Dynamite – I probably won’t sign back up again.

Author Guest Post: Alex Bledsoe on World Building!

Bledsoe

SOME THOUGHTS ON WORLD BUILDING
by Alex Bledsoe

World-building is a cornerstone (heh; building pun) of fantasy. Starting with the assumption that something unreal exists—vampires, dragons, elves, whatever—we then expand into the ways it influences the world in which the story happens. I’ve done it in three different ways.

The most obvious way, in my Eddie LaCrosse novels and stories, is to create an entirely new world from scratch, one that has no connection with our own, either in history, culture or religion. It’s called a “secondary world” in fantasy-speak, a term coined by Tolkein to differentiate a setting from the real, or primary, world. I’ve always disliked that term, because it implies a diminution, as if the fantasy world was somehow less than the real world. Granted many times it is, but when it works, it’s as real, as primary, as the one I’m sitting in as I type this.

When I created the world of Eddie LaCrosse, I made a couple of decisions up front. People would have regular names (i.e., Eddie), they would not speak in either faux Shakespeare or cod-Bilbical (“Behold, he is the Chosen One, who will fulfill yon Prophecy!”), and that the characters would all have identifiable jobs. I chose all this because I wanted to write the series in a voice similar to the great noir writers (Chandler, Parker, Vachss). It’s hard to do that seriously with Tolkein-ish names (“Eowyn walked into my office with a stride like a prize Rohan filly”—see?).

My Tufa novels take place ostensibly in the “primary” world, but deal with a unique fictional culture that exists within it. To make that work requires a balancing act between things the reader knows (cars, farms, families, et al.) and things they likely don’t (fairies, dream time, etc.). There’s no guide for this sort of thing; it either feels right, or it doesn’t. Sometimes it feels right at first, then goes wrong as you develop it further.

This is very close to the concept of “magical realism,” a term often used by literary writers who don’t want to be classified within a genre (i.e., “speculative fiction” instead of “science fiction” [I’m looking at you, Cormac McCarthy]). It was first used to describe the work of Latin American authors such as Isabel Allende, and has an appropriately nebulous definition. But I read a great description once (don’t ask me where) that said, in paraphrase, “It takes the world as everyone knows it, except for one aspect that’s slightly askew.” Think the magical cooking in Like Water for Chocolate, or the clairvoyance of The House of the Spirits.

This approach has the beauty of maintaining the sense of wonder that sometimes get lost when “paranormal” elements are accepted as part of the world, as in much of urban fantasy. The lack of overt explanation for either the reader or the characters means that they share the surprise at any “magical” occurrences.

I wrote two vampire novels set in 1975 Memphis, and that presented a challenge not unlike building a fantasy world. Although I lived through that period as a child, I wasn’t attuned to the subtleties of it; my memories are mostly of pop culture references. I had to research events, attitudes, even Seventies clothing (AGHHH!) in order to create—or in this case, recreate—the world. And as Michael Cimino said about Heaven’s Gate, “One uses history in a very free way,” so there is one glaring (to me, at least) anachronism that so far no reader has mentioned.

I’ve written about other “worlds” in various short stories, including westerns, horror, and of course, fantasy. Through all this, I’ve learned one thing: you can’t take the world for granted. Even in an entirely contemporary, entirely mundane story, you may be creating a world that a potential reader has never seen. It’s your job to figure out the details that will conjure that world in the reader’s mind so that they can inhabit it as fully as your characters. If you achieve that, then you have built a world.

Box Review: Bam Box – August 2016

Bam Box

The Bam Box was founded in 2015 by Bloof, the same team of geeks, comic book lovers and pop culture collectors that started ComiconAuction.com. We love collecting. We love the thrill of it, the mystery of it and especially that feeling you get when you have a collectible in your hands that you are really excited about. So we set out to bring something different to everyone.

There are some great subscription boxes on the market, but we felt there was still something missing. We went to the drawing board with the goal of creating the box we would want to show up on our doorstep. After a lot of ideas and prototypes we arrived at the Bam Box. From the design of the box to the items inside to the instant winners we send out, we accomplished what we wanted to do: give you the subscription box we would be jealous of.”

Cost: 1 month plan starts at $24.99 plus $7.99 s/h

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Bam Box

There is a handy sheet included with a description of all of the items in the box and any possible 1-Ups!

This month’s theme was “Crazy”!

Bam Box

I received a pin of Ace Ventura. It’s a strange design – I wouldn’t have guessed the character ever.

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EXCLUSIVE RELEASE: Batman The Killing Joke Soundtrack – This is a 2-song 45 EP. I don’t know anyone with a record player, but it’s a fun novelty if you do.

Bam Box

Hannibal Lecter Mask – Creepy! This would make an easy Halloween costume.

Bam Box

What’s in the box?

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Ahhhh! I had a good laugh about this one. Like everyone who has seen it, scenes from Se7en are burned in my brain.

Bam Box

Harley Quinn Print by Nathan Szerdy – This is a pin-up style that obviously does nothing for me – except make me roll my eyes.

Katana Signed Photo – Signed by the actress herself, this was pretty cool!

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I was an instant winner of a hand-drawn and airbrushed sketch card from Bianca Thompson. It’s definitely not my style nor do I know who this is supposed to be. Any guesses? Weird.

Summary: This was obviously not my favorite box. But the theme was a hint that it wouldn’t be for me. Hopefully, next month’s theme will be more up my alley with items I’d be more apt to keep around.