Category Archives: SciFi

Book Review: Star Trek: Inception

Star Trek: Inception

Star Trek: Inception, by S.D. Perry and Britta Dennison

Young doctor Carol Marcus is researching an exciting field that could terraform barren planets and end hunger. But this latest project will take her away from her beau in Starfleet, Jim Kirk. The two are in love, but their career comes first for both of them. Meanwhile, botanist Leila Kalomi meets Starfleet officer Spock, while trying to find direction in her life and decides to join Marcus’ team. But there are some that do not want the terraforming research to continue. And those with a grudge may be a danger to the project and the scientists themselves.

Star Trek fans are familiar with the events in the film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, where we are introduced to Carol Marcus and Jim Kirk’s son that he never knew, as well as a project known as Genesis. This story takes us back to the relationship between Carol and Jim and what happened between the two, years before Jim becomes captain of the Enterprise. The authors bring new light to events only hinted at in the movie. Here, we are able to see a moving but fated love story. Though I knew the eventual outcome of the lives of several of the characters, it didn’t lessen the intensity or feeling.

Inception is an interesting story of love, loss, ambition, and the impact of scientific advancements. The characters are vivid and their stories poignant. This novel is quite different than others in the various series, but I found it wonderfully written and captivating. The story focuses more on personal interactions and drama than action and adventure, yet I found it very engaging and a quick read.

Book Review: Malice

Malice

Malice, by Chris Wooding

When Luke and Heather decide to read a comic called “Malice,” Luke decides to try out an urban legend. He calls for the character Tall Jake to take him away. And Luke disappears. Luke’s friends Seth and Kady decide to track down a copy of the mysterious comic book, but soon find themselves in danger. For the world within “Malice” is real.

Told in an incredibly creative way, Malice goes back and forth from novel format to comic. The world within Malice is creepy and foreign, with dangerous machines and desperate, trapped children. Seth is a brave friend, who seeks adventure and excitement. Kady is a bit more reserved, but has surprising secret of her own. The characters involving the Malice world are eerie and larger than life, just as the world itself.

Malice is an extremely fast-paced and gripping read. Written for Grade 7 and up, it is a bit dark, as some children do die. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the story flowed between the novel and comic. The suspense had me captivated. With plenty of surprises along the way and a cliffhanger ending, I’m looking forward to the sequel coming later this year. Teen and adult fans of comics and fantasy will enjoy this spine-chilling tale.


Check out the interactive website here:
http://www.scholastic.com/malice/

Malice

Book Review: Gone

Gone, by Michael Grant

In the middle of a seemingly-normal day in Perdido Beach, CA, suddenly everyone over the age of 14 vanishes. One second they’re there. The next, they’re simply gone. In the midst of the ensuing chaos, bullies immediately begin taking over. Older, wiser children see to the immediate needs of younger ones. And some children seem to be developing strange powers.

Character development is certainly the strength and focus of this novel. Reluctant heroes emerge. Cruel bullies flourish with no authority. And a bad situation grows worse with the surfacing of dangerous powers in certain children. Since the oldest kids are only 14, they are forced to grow up quickly and problem-solve as best as they have been taught. It’s a startling realistic and brutal account.

I recommend this for older kids, because of the darker themes of violence and death. And the book is fairly long and drawn-out. But the story also contains so many unique characters and vivid events that more than makes up for the length. By the time I got to the highly intense cliffhanger, I wasn’t ready for the book to end. The story of the children left behind continues in Hunger, which I’ll be jumping into eagerly.


Check back later this month for a chance to win Hunger, courtesy of Harper Teen!

Book Review: State of Decay

State of Decay

State of Decay, by James Knapp

Nico Wachalowski is a FBI agent investigating a conspiracy where zombie-like revivors are being programmed to murder. Revivors are reanimated corpses, typically used in battle. An old flame, an alcoholic psychic, and a tough cage fighter all become involved in Wachalowski’s investigation. With their help, he must uncover his dangerous plot before all the evidence is erased.

The story is told from each of the four main characters’ point of view, in first person. At first, these complex characters seem random, but it isn’t long before their paths connect in different ways. Knapp has created a strange and eerie world where quality of life is determined by whether or not you serve in the military or donate your body to become a revivor after death – how much you are willing to give of yourself to the government to live a comfortable life.

This impressive debut incorporates a futuristic technology, fantasy, zombie-like creatures, mystery, danger, and intrigue. It’s a dark and gritty, complex story, full of intense excitement and suspense. With the creepy feeling of zombie horror, this fantastic mystery thriller will satisfy any genre fan.


State of Decay will release from Roc Books on February 2, 2010.

Book Review: Star Trek: Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire

Star Trek: Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire

Star Trek: Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire, by David Mack

After returning from a mirror universe, where Earth and Starfleet is ruled by a peaceful democracy, Spock makes a decision to change his universe. Formulating a plan, along with the help of Kirk’s former consort and a secret weapon, Spock wants to overthrow the current tyrannical Empire and pave the way for democracy.

The story of Spock’s rise to power is told over the course of almost 30 years. The mirror universe Spock is similar to the original in that he is just as logical and brilliant, plotting out a seemingly-impossible dream that won’t come to fruition until years later. But this Spock is also brutal, willing to kill to justify a free society for future generations. For him, the “needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or one” and plenty suffer for his ideals. Unfortunately, he seems to feel little remorse for all of the atrocities that are done in his name. He literally becomes the thing he hates most. It’s certainly an interesting take on a parallel Spock -one we barely have a glimpse of in the original series show.

Mack has done a wonderful job of showing us an expanded Mirror Universe, where Starfleet is a harsh and feared military regime and Earth is governed by a cruel Empress. It’s a gripping story, full of suspense, danger and intrigue. A surprisingly quick read, I finished it all in one afternoon. You may not agree with everything that Spock does, but it will certainly make you think about how he rationalizes that the ends justify the means. Is he a brave idealist? Or a single-minded murderer that should have found a less costly way of paving the way for freedom? The challenge that is set forth is certainly compelling.

SciFiChick’s Best of 09

In 2009, I read a total of 143 books – some old, some new. This made narrowing down favorites very difficult! So, instead of a simple Top 10, I’m listing by category.
All favorites listed below were published in 2009.

The Stats:
143 books consumed in 2009.
58 authors never read before.
120 scifi/fantasy novels read.
12 graphic novels read.
42 were young adult or children’s books.
79 book reviews written.

18 tv/movies received in 2009.
317 books received in 2009.

Favorite Debut Novel:

Tempest Rising, by Nicole Peeler

Favorite Space Opera:

Diving into the Wreck, by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Favorite Dark Fantasy Novel:

In Shade and Shadow, by Barb and J.C. Hendee

Favorite Urban Fantasy Novel:

Doppelgangster, by Laura Resnick (technically published January 5, 2010)
Dresden Files: Turn Coat, by Jim Butcher

Favorite Horror Fantasy:

Nekropolis, by Tim Waggoner

Favorite Time Travel Novel:

The 13th Hour, by Richard Doetsch

Favorite Super Hero:

City of Souls, by Vicki Pettersson

Favorite Tie-In Novel(s):

Star Trek Movie Tie-In, by Alan Dean Foster
Star Trek: The Next Generation: Losing the Peace, by William Leisner
The 4400: Promises Broken, by David Mack

Favorite Series Debut/Standalone:

Death’s Daughter, by Amber Benson
The Calling, by David Mack

Favorite Graphic Novel:

Runaways: Dead End Kids, by Joss Whedon

Top 10 YA and Children’s SF/F Books:

1. My Soul to Take, by Rachel Vincent

2. Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, by Brandon Mull

3. Ice, by Sarah Beth Durst

4. Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld

5. Incarceron, by Catherine Fisher

6. Vampirates: Black Heart, by Justin Somper

7. Adventurers Wanted: Slathbog’s Gold, by M. L. Forman

8. Curse of the Spider King, by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper

9. Starfinder, by John Marco

10. The Hourglass Door, by Lisa Mangum

What were some of your favorites?


Graphic Novel Review: The Field on the Edge of the Woods

The Field on the Edge of the Woods (Volume 1)

The Field on the Edge of the Woods (Volume 1), by Michael Weber, Gary Morgan, and Loran Skinkis

When film producer Gary falls asleep, he wakes up in the middle of the woods. But when the Grim Reaper pitches a script idea to Gary, the real story begins.

Impressive artwork accompanies a story that begins to unfold, in this first of four planned books. The characters are fantastically drawn. Though, some of the wording is cut off and a bit hard to read. At just 48 pages, this graphic novel is a fast and easy read. Infused with fantasy, mystery, and humorous characters, this is a highly entertaining debut with a promising start.

For more info, check out http://FilmsandComics.com

Book Review: The 13th Hour

The 13th Hour

The 13th Hour, by Richard Doetsch

When Nick Quinn is held for questioning at the police station, it seems the police are convinced that Nick killed his own wife. Someone has framed Nick for her murder. But then, a stranger arrives with a bizarre opportunity for Nick. The stranger gives Nick 12 hours to save his wife and prevent her death. Each hour he will travel back in time to the previous hour in hopes of unraveling the plot around her death. But everything he does in the past, will affect the future, for better or worse.

The plot seems a bit confusing at first. I thought it might be hard to read. Instead, we live hour-by-hour with Nick and experience his race to uncover clues to his wife’s murderer. Nick makes occasional mistakes that have serious repercussions. But each hour, he is able to learn from the previous one and try to stop events from happening in the past.

Not only is the plot and design unique, but the story is incredibly fast-paced and impossible to put down. The suspense is intense, caught up in drama and fantastic characters. There are twists and turns in each hour that unfolds, leading to a surprising climax. This is a must for mystery and science fiction fans alike. But simply put, I loved this book and would recommend it to anyone.


The 13th Hour releases from Atria on December 29, 2009 in bookstores everywhere.