Category Archives: SciFi

FearlessWomen Tour: Book Excerpt: The Fated Sky

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The Fated Sky Excerpt

Now I faced the wall, running a Fibonacci sequence to try to calm down. At least I didn’t throw up anymore. Usually.

1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 . . .

Behind me, Parker paced in tiny circles, shaking his hands as if he were trying to get blood back into them. An assistant with a clipboard waited by us, one ear covered with a giant earphone, as if he were at Mission Control.

. . 233, 377, 610, 987, 1597, 2584, 4181, 6765 . . .

The man with the clipboard leaned next to me and whispered, “You’re on.”

Onstage, Jack Paar said, “Please welcome my next guests, Colonel Stetson Parker and Dr. Elma York.”
I turned away from the wall in time to see Parker snap his genial smile into place. He gestured for me to lead the way. “Ladies first.”

My smile felt brittle and plastered on. Crinoline shushing against my legs, I strode out into the lights and the wall of applause. Beyond the banks of lights and cameras, real people sat in the auditorium. Beyond them, millions of people sat on the other side of television sets.
. . 10946, 17711, 28657 . . .

Mr. Paar shook my hand and then Parker’s, and we went through the requisite smiling and waving to the audience before we were seated on matching leather chairs next to his. A silver microphone stood on the floor between Parker and me, and I had to cross my legs carefully to keep from hitting it with my pumps.

With a tug on one of his signature ties, Jack Paar leaned over to us as if we were the only people in the room. “Thank you both so much for joining us. I tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever gotten over being five years old. I know it’s obvious, but I just need to say it . . . You’ve both been to the moon?”

Parker laughed. He really does have a good laugh. “I can’t believe it either. There are days when I have to pinch myself.”

“And, Dr. York . . . You live on the moon, is that right?”

“Yes, I live in the lunar colony about six months out of the year.”

“That must be fascinating.” Jack Paar leaned closer, smiling with all the fidgety interest of a child. “What’s it like?”

“More like Earth than you might think. I pilot one of the transport ships, ferrying geologists and miners out to various sites. I have a regular route, so it’s not much different from being a bus driver, really.”

Beside me, Parker chuckled. “Don’t let Dr. York sell her-self short. Piloting one of these ships requires a lot of skill because of mascons.”

Jack Paar raised his eyebrows almost to his hairline. “Mass cons? Is that a convicted mascot?”

Bless him for making me laugh, even if it was a poor joke, or I would have gaped at Parker’s compliment. “Mascon is short for mass concentration. There are local heavy spots on the moon where the rocks have more density, so it causes the ship to dip unexpectedly.”

“Wait—there are really spots where there’s more gravity on the moon?”

I nodded. “Here on Earth, too, but it’s so slight that you wouldn’t notice it. It’s one of the reasons we can’t automate a ship around the moon, because the math is too complicated for a mechanical computer that’s small enough to fit on the spacecraft.” Not that anyone wanted to hear about math. My job was to extoll the virtues of the Mars program. “But the lunar colony does give a taste of what our Mars colony will be like. It’s much the way living on the frontier must have felt for early Americans.”

THE FATED SKY Summary:
Mary Robinette Kowal continues the grand sweep of alternate history begun in The Calculating Stars, The Fated Sky looks forward to 1961, when mankind is well-established on the moon and looking forward to its next step: journeying to, and eventually colonizing, Mars.

Of course the noted Lady Astronaut Elma York would like to go, but there’s a lot riding on whoever the International Aerospace Coalition decides to send on this historic—but potentially very dangerous—mission? Could Elma really leave behind her husband and the chance to start a family to spend several years traveling to Mars? And with the Civil Rights movement taking hold all over Earth, will the astronaut pool ever be allowed to catch up, and will these brave men and women of all races be treated equitably when they get there? This gripping look at the real conflicts behind a fantastical space race will put a new spin on our visions of what might have been.

About Mary Robinette Kowal:
Mary Robinette Kowal is the author of the historical fantasy novels Ghost Talkers and the five books in The Glamourist Histories series. She is also a multiple Hugo Award winner. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncanny, Tor.com, and Asimov’s. Mary, a professional puppeteer, lives in Chicago with her husband Robert and over a dozen manual typewriters.

About #FearlessWomen:
Women are shining in every genre of speculative fiction, and it is no longer enough to say “Women are here.” Instead, #FearlessWomen everywhere are taking a stand to say “Women will thrive here.”
Highlighting major titles from bestselling authors V.E. Schwab, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Jacqueline Carey as well as titles from acclaimed and debut authors such as Mary Robinette Kowal, Tessa Gratton, Sam Hawke, and Robyn Bennis, #FearlessWomen will be a coordinated social media celebration encouraging fans to start a dialogue about women in publishing, their worlds, their voices, and their unique stories.
Tor Books’ handles across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@torbooks) will be using the hashtags #FearlessWomen (and #FearlessFantasy and #FearlessSF) to promote excerpts, exclusive content, quizzes and giveaways beginning in May. There will also be exclusive giveaways at BookCon, San Diego Comic-Con, and New York Comic Con. Follow Tor Books online, join the conversation – and get reading!

ThinkGeek Review: Star Wars Han Solo Movie Lounge Pants

Star Wars Han Solo Movie Lounge Pants

These Han Solo Lounge Pants are perfect for laying around, watching Star Wars films on the weekend. They also come in Chewbacca and Lando styles! These are super soft and look great!

Here’s a close-up of the Han Solo silhouette.

These lounge pants only come in men’s sizing. But as a very tall woman, I appreciate the longer inseam. These are 100% cotton and are machine washable (inside out). There are also side pockets.

Star Wars fans need to grab these comfortable and great-priced lounge pants!

Star Wars Han Solo Movie Lounge Pants are priced at $19.99.

** SciFiChick.com received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.**

SciFi Book Review: Record of a Spaceborn Few

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

Synopsis:
Hundreds of years ago, the last humans on Earth boarded the Exodus Fleet in search of a new home among the stars. After centuries spent wandering empty space, their descendants were eventually accepted by the well-established species that govern the Milky Way.

But that was long ago. Today, the Exodus Fleet is a living relic, the birthplace of many, yet a place few outsiders have ever visited. While the Exodans take great pride in their original community and traditions, their culture has been influenced by others beyond their bulkheads. As many Exodans leave for alien cities or terrestrial colonies, those who remain are left to ponder their own lives and futures: What is the purpose of a ship that has reached its destination? Why remain in space when there are habitable worlds available to live? What is the price of sustaining their carefully balanced way of life—and is it worth saving at all?

A young apprentice, a lifelong spacer with young children, a planet-raised traveler, an alien academic, a caretaker for the dead, and an Archivist whose mission is to ensure no one’s story is forgotten, wrestle with these profound universal questions. The answers may seem small on the galactic scale, but to these individuals, it could mean everything.

Review:
The Exodus Fleet has a culture all its own. An alien records her stay, complete with commentary on unfamiliar traditions of this human culture. A young man from a planet decides to try something new and looks for work. And the stories of seemingly-regular people raised in the fleet. They all have unique stories. Each are intriguing. And as their lives begin to intertwine, the unfolding drama becomes chilling and emotional. This was a surprising science fiction novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. It wasn’t action packed, but hard to put down just the same. The novel makes you think and feel and is certainly inspired.

ThinkGeek Review: Captain Marvel Vegan Leather Wallet

Captain Marvel Vegan Leather Wallet

This stylish wallet is perfect for Captain Marvel fans!
It’s a trifold design that snaps closed. The coin pocket is on the outside, which is nice for easy access. This is simulated leather that feels real, and well-made.

There are seven slots for cards and three large, bill-sized pockets. And the interior is a cool, starburst pattern.

I’m a big Captain Marvel fan. And with the upcoming movie in 2019, I’m collecting all the memorabilia that I can. This wallet is a must for me!

Captain Marvel Vegan Leather Wallet is priced at $34.99.

** SciFiChick.com received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.**

Box Giveaway: July Bam Box

Bam Box

Courtesy of Bam Box, I have an extra July’s Bam Box! 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 31. I’ll draw a name on September 1, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Box Giveaway: July Bam Box

Box Review: Bam Box – July 2018

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.

There’s a nice, full-color sheet with plenty of details about what’s in the box.

Bill and Ted Pin – One of 3 possible designs.

“Dino Crunch” Fan Art – This cereal box design is a cartoonish Chris Pratt from Jurassic World. 1 of 2 very similar designs.

Bradley Pierce “Peter” Signed Print – The cute kid from the original Jumanji is now in his mid-thirties. Doesn’t that make you feel old? There were 1 of 4 possible prints.

Blade Runner 2049 Memory Orb – I saw the movie, but I barely remember this. The orb is about the size of a large marble.

Harry Potter Prop Replica – This was an awesome item to find in this month’s box! I just have to brush up on my magical spells now.

Summary:
I LOVE the Harry Potter wand. And the items from Jumanji and Blade Runner were pretty fun too. I’m a huge Bill and Ted fan, though I don’t really do anything with pins. Overall, this was a solid box. It didn’t seem like much when I opened it, but I was pleasantly surprised.

I also received an extra box this month that I will giveaway tomorrow!

ThinkGeek Review: Star Trek TNG Corridor Door Cover

Star Trek TNG Corridor Door Cover

This door cover turns any standard inside door into the corridor on the Enterprise! The cover feels and looks like a small, fitted sheet. It slips easily over the door, and removes easily as well. You can machine wash and tumble dry on low.

It looks fantastic, as you can see! I put it on my utility room door in the basement, where we don’t have to open and close it much – as it does cover the door handle as well.

Star Trek TNG Corridor Door Cover is priced at $24.99.

** SciFiChick.com received this product for free in exchange for an honest review.**

Blu-Ray Review: Counterpart Season 1

Counterpart: Season 1 [Blu-ray]

Synopsis:
Howard Silk (JK Simmons) is a lowly cog in the bureaucratic machinery of a Berlin-based United Nations spy agency. When Howard discovers that his organization safeguards the secret of a crossing into a parallel dimension, he is thrust into a shadow world of intrigue, danger, and double cross… where the only man he can trust is his near-identical counterpart from this parallel world. The show explores themes of identity, fate, and lost love, posing the eternal question, “what if our lives could have been different?”

Review:
Howard Silk is in a dead-end job and lives a seemingly sad, dull existence. But when his double from an alternate world arrives, Howard’s life is turned upside down. The company he’s been working for has been hiding a huge secret since the Cold War. And Howard’s counterpart is nothing like him.

Counterpart is a STARZ original that I had never heard of until I received the promo. Blending science fiction and a spy thriller, this was a surprising series that I binge-watched in one weekend. I was completely hooked. It’s Fringe meets The Americans. Since it’s on a premium network, they (of course) had to throw in unnecessary nudity that otherwise would have made it a show I’d recommend to friends. It’s a pulse-pounding, suspenseful series with plenty of intrigue and drama.

JK Simmons does an amazing job of playing the same man as two distinctly different characters. They look exactly the same, but it’s obvious who’s who. It’s a slow build at times, but completely unpredictable. There are a lot of questions still lingering. And a bit of a cliffhanger ending, left me wanting more. I look forward to seeing the story unfold in future seasons.