Category Archives: SciFi

Book Review: Leviathan


Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld

In an alternate history, Europe is headed towards a Word War. The Germanic Clankers, with their advanced machinery, face off against the British Darwinists, with their crossbred animals. The Darwinists have a new weapon, the Leviathan, a flying whale ship. Deryn Sharp is new to the service and is on the Leviathan for her first assignment. But only males are allowed to be in the service, so she must hide her identity from everyone, and disguise herself as a boy.

Meanwhile, Prince Aleksandar Ferdinand is woken in the middle of the night and forced to flee his home. With only a small group of men, Aleksandar faces foes at every turn. When the Leviathan lands near Aleksandar, he meets young Deryn, and their fates intertwine.

In this latest young adult novel from Scott Westerfeld, he has created an alternate history in a steampunk version of World War I. It’s a fantastic world of elaborate machines and bizarre, unnatural animals. In addition to the unique world and fascinating story, the characters are just as absorbing and are the driving force behind the story. Aleksandar is spoiled, but very bright and capable. And Deryn is brave, talented, and humble. The two are from different worlds and seems as if the reader is viewing to drastically different stories, until the two worlds collide.

There is no lack of suspense and action in this steampunk adventure. As a growing niche in the science fiction genre, this novel is sure to be popular amidst youth and adults alike. With events culminating in a climactic ending, there is room left open for a sequel, which I certainly am hoping for. It’s a fun, fresh and decidedly unique tale. Don’t miss this one.

Leviathan releases from Simon Pulse on October 6, 2009.

Book Review: Pulse

Pulse: A Chess Team Adventure

Pulse: A Chess Team Adventure, by Jeremy Robinson

An elite team of agents, each named after chess pieces, are called in to assist one of their own in Peru. When the remains of the legendary Hydra creature are found, a ruthless entrepreneur seeks to use its genes to create a means of regeneration and immortality. But the initial tests, cause nasty side effects in their experiments, creating monstrous killing machines.

Pulse combines advanced genetics and mythology, to make a thrilling adventure of massive proportions. The story is fast-paced and action-packed. It read a bit like watching an action film, not much character depth but plenty of gun, explosions, killing, and dismemberment.

I picked this one up for a change of pace from my usual science fiction/fantasy stock, and was more than impressed with Robinson’s writing style and flare for suspense. Fans of James Rollins and similar thriller writers should enjoy this edge-of-your-seat adventure. The Chess Team is off to a great start.

Lost: Messages from the Island

Lost: Messages from the Island

Lost: Messages from the Island is a compilation of the best issues of Lost: The Official Magazine, published by Titan Books. Fans of the show get a closer look into the heart of the hit tv show. With in-depth interviews with the cast, producers, and directors; “diary” entries; a spotlight on the monsters of the island; behind-the-scenes photography, and original concept art and storyboards; this is a fantastic collection of interesting tidbits from the show and its creators.

Lost fans, make sure to check this unique book out. It is high quality in every way, from photography, design, and layout. While it may not give away any secrets of the island, it does give different perspectives. And the interviews with the producers are especially enlightening.

Lost: Messages from the Island will be released June 30th from Titan Books.

Lost: Messages from the Island
Lost: Messages from the Island
Lost: Messages from the Island

Star Trek Movie Souvenir Magazine

Star Trek Movie Souvenir Magazine

I recently read through the new Star Trek Movie Souvenir Magazine, published by Titan. I don’t remember the last time I read through an entire magazine. But this issue is nothing but in-depth cast interviews, many photos from the film, and info on the new game, so I read it cover to cover. Cast interviews include: Chris Pine (Jim Kirk), Zachary Quinto (Spock), Karl Urban (McCoy), Simon Pegg (Scotty), Zoe Saldana (Uhura), John Cho (Sulu), Anton Yelchin (Checkov), Bruce Greenwood (Capt. Christ Pike), Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime), Ben Cross (Sarek), Faran Tahir (Capt. Robau), Chris Hemsworth (George Kirk), Jennifer Morrison (Winona Kirk), and Chris Doohan (son of James Doohan, the original “Scotty”).

Each interview spans several pages, as the cast discuss how they got their role, their on-set experience, and favorite memories. My favorite interviews were actually with Hemsworth (George) and Morrison (Winona) as they discussed their relatively short parts, but that had a big impact. No pun intended. Their scenes set an emotional tone for the beginning of the film. And after I finished reading all of the fascinating and lengthy interviews, it made me want to go out and see the movie again. For a behind-the-scenes look at the blockbuster film, don’t forget to pick up your copy before they’re gone.

Here’s a link to several excerpts from the Star Trek magazine:

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Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman, by S.D. Perry and Britta Dennison

Thousands of years ago, the Greek god of war, Ares, was bound by Zeus and captured by Themyscira. Themyscira is now an isolated island of Amazon warrior women. But when Colonel Steve Trevor crashes lands on an island that appears out of nowhere, Diana’s mother decides that it’s time to reach out to the twenty-first century world. And Diana is chosen as their ambassador. But when Ares escapes and begins causing chaos and destruction, Diana dons a familiar red, white, and blue outfit and becomes Wonder Woman.

In an adaptation of the animated Wonder Woman movie, we get a glimpse of Diana’s origin story. Diana is an Amazon princess, strong, beautiful, and fearless. Steve Trevor has an instinctual attraction to her, and wants to help her adapt to the modern world. In a strange mixture of Greek mythology meeting the modern twenty-first century, there are larger-than-life gods facing realistic human characters. And it’s a lot of fun. With loads of action scenes and drama, comic book fans will not be disappointed.

As a strong, independent female, Wonder Woman is a role model for all women. And the animated film novelization is no exception.

Star Trek: Troublesome Minds

Star Trek: Troublesome Minds

Star Trek: Troublesome Minds, by Dave Galanter

Stopping an unknown vessel from destroying an unarmed one, the Enterprise unknowingly puts itself in the middle of an interstellar conflict. The Enterprise has saved a man named Berlis from death by the hands of his own people. Berlis is from a telepathic race. And according to the Isitri, Berlis can control people with a thought. To make matters worse, a nearby race is ready to commit genocide against the Isitri, if they discover a “troublesome mind” like Berlis is allowed to live.

Captain James T. Kirk must choose the lesser of two evils – killing a man who claims to be innocent, or letting him live and condemning an entire planet. Kirk doesn’t have much time to come up with a plan when Berlis escapes and leaves behind a confused Spock. The build of suspense paired with such a moral dilemma, makes for a wonderful installment of Star Trek. True to form, the crew of the Enterprise becomes absorbed in global conflict and face it with skill and creativity.

Galanter has come up with a new and exciting challenge for the original crew. And I was more than impressed. The characters are relatable. The predicament is thought provoking. And overall, the story was completely enjoyable. Original series fans, don’t miss this latest Star Trek release.

City of Glass

City of Glass

City of Glass, by Cassandra Clare, is 3rd in the Mortal Instruments trilogy.

Clary must travel to the City of Glass to find the one person who can revive her mother. And unbeknownst to Clary, the Shadowhunters have captured her best friend and imprisoned him. Meanwhile, her evil, father Valentine has plans to invade the City of Glass, overthrow the Shadowhunters, and destroy all of the Downworlders. With spies in their midst, Clary and her friends face horrible heartache, impending war, and an uncertain future.

Clare has developed the characters so much throughout the trilogy, and I’ve grown to enjoy each one immensely. The story is extremely complex, and best if the novels are read somewhat close together so information is fresh in the mind. Even the character of Valentine is wrought with complexity, as his children both love and hate him.

The author has definitely created a fantastic world of demon-hunting Shadowhunters with intriguing abilities, using runes; along with vampires, werewolves, faeries, and mages. These creatures can live in two worlds but mundanes (as average humans are called) can’t see past the veil of magic.

Written for young teens, the dialog can seem overly dramatic at times and several plot elements extremely predictable to adult readers. But, for me, this did not detract from the overall suspense and excitement of the story. In fact, there was so much going on, I wondered how Clare would be able to wrap everything up by the end of the book. It has plenty of romance, action, mystery, and magic. It’s both gripping and fun. I would highly recommend this trilogy to young urban fantasy readers.

Star Trek Movie Tie-In

Star Trek Movie Tie-In

Star Trek Movie Tie-In, by Alan Dean Foster

Based on my favorite movie of the year, the vengeful Romulan Nero has traveled back in time to the early years of Kirk and Spock. Nero is determined to destroy everything dear to Spock. In changing the past, Nero has created an alternate reality. One where destinies have yet to be fulfilled. Can Kirk and Spock, two complete opposites, work together to save their captain, the Enterprise, and the entire Federation?

Written from the original screenplay, the Star Trek novel only improves upon the original story. Giving more depth into the story and characters, giving more explanations, and additional scenes, Foster has written one of the best tie-in novels that I’ve ever read. The novel retains all of the suspense, drama, and comedy. It’s a wonderful story of revenge and destiny. As with the film, one doesn’t need to be a Star Trek fan to enjoy this science fiction success. If you enjoyed the film, love reading, and can’t wait for the future DVD release, go pick up this fantastic novelization.