Category Archives: SciFi

Blu-Ray Review: Escape Plan 2: Hades

Escape Plan 2: Hades

Synopsis:
Years after he fought his way out of an inescapable prison, Ray Breslin (Academy Award® nominee and Golden Globe® winner Sylvester Stallone) has organized a new top-notch security force. But when one of his team members goes missing, Breslin must return to the hell he once escaped from to save his friend from the prison’s brutal human battleground known as Hades.

Review:
When I saw that this film was available to review, I jumped at the chance as I really enjoyed the first one. However, I now know why I had never heard they even made a sequel. The film begins with an escape from what looks like a terrorist cell by individuals I’ve never seen before. In fact, I had no idea who anyone was until after the whole scenario was over. It seems Sly’s character, Ray Breslin, has a whole team of young proteges who break out of prisons. The film mostly stars Huang Xiaoming as Shu, the wooden character who hears Ray’s voice in his head throughout the movie as he tries to escape the super-prison Hades.

At some points, this felt like more of a martial arts film than about escaping from a prison. The story is convoluted and disjointed. And the special effects were laughable. Dave Bautista was wasted talent. And I never really cared whether or not Shu and the rest of them got out of the not-so-special prison. I saw that there was a featurette of the robot in the film. This was funny as it didn’t have more than a couple minutes screen time. Maybe it would have been more interesting if it was an actual character in the film. I was tempted many times to fast forward. I now wish I had.

Special Features:
– “Making Escape Plan 2: Hades” Featurette
– “Creating the Look of Escape Plan 2: Hades” Featurette
– Building the Robot of Escape Plan 2: Hades” Featurette
– Extended Cast/ Crew Interviews

Book Giveaway: Defy the Stars

Courtesy of Little, Brown, I have a paperback copy of Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray 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 July 20. I’ll draw a name on July 21, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

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Author Guest Post: Patrick S. Tomlinson on First Contact!

From an up-and-coming new science fiction author comes an entertaining tale of first contact, exploration, and desperately trying not to screw up: GATE CRASHERS (A Tor Paperback Original; $15.99; On-sale: June 26, 2018). Humankind ventures further into the galaxy than ever before … and immediately causes an intergalactic incident. A planet full of bumbling, highly evolved primates has just put itself on a collision course with a far wider, and more hostile, galaxy that is stranger than anyone can possibly imagine.

Patrick S. Tomlinson joins SciFiChick.com today to talk about First Contact!

What’s it Like Writing First Contact?

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! For real, though. All of humanity has been waiting for this moment since Giordano Bruno first infuriated the Church with the heretical notion that what we knew as stars are actually suns, and that those suns have their own Earths, with their own plants, their own animals, maybe even their own people.

It is, perhaps, the question that has most preoccupied mankind for the better part of five centuries. So it should come as no surprise that speculations and flights of fancy about the answer keep cropping up in literature, film, art, music, in all creative endeavors, really. The moment the universe coughs up its greatest secret and our place within it is finally, conclusively defined.

Of course, that’s not how it will go. At all. The answer to “Are we alone” won’t define our place in the universe if that answer is “Hell no.” Instead, it’ll throw us into a frenzied struggle to fight for our seat at the interstellar table.

I’ve written about First Contact before. In my debut trilogy starting with The Ark from Angry Robot Books, mankind got the better end of the deal, landing on a planet full of ambulatory sentient cuttlefish that hadn’t had the advantage of plentiful metals with which to move out of their Stone Age. In that series, humanity struggled and sometimes failed to avoid the mistakes of our past, colonialism, gentrification, racism, all of it.

Now, with Gate Crashers, the shoe is on the other foot. We dig too greedily and too deep and find a whole Balrog’s worth of trouble we’re not remotely prepared for. So screwed we end up being, a book called “First Contact for Dummies” features prominently in the early decision-making process of the humans present.
Because I really believe that’s about how it’s going to go down when it happens. At critical moments in history, people just… push through. No one’s ready for it. The “right” people are seldom present. And whoever is there, on all sides, just does what they can and hopes for the best.

The only real difference is, unlike other turning points that are often only recognized as pivotal moments in history after the fact, or played up by historians trying to establish a narrative, no one is going to be confused about the importance of First Contact. Whether that means everyone present will know to be on their A game, or the stress will make them even more prone to missteps that end in calamity, we can’t know until it happens.

Personally, considering the scale of the universe and the fact we haven’t already been overrun by flying saucers, I suspect anyone within our technological arm’s reach is going to be flailing about just as blindly and desperately as we are, clawing for someone to latch onto for comfort in the dark, hoping they don’t end up grabbing the monster under their bed.

I really hope to live long enough to see that moment. Until then, I’ll continue fantasizing about it on the page, and fighting in realspace to straighten out our species so we don’t end up being the monsters.
Looking around our country today, I could really use some help on the second part.

About the Author:
PATRICK S. TOMLINSON is a man of many hats. In addition to writing Sci-Fi novels and shorts, he prowls theaters, clubs, and bars throughout the midwest performing as a stand-up comedian. Between gigs, cons, and rewrites, he works as a pundit and frequent political contributor, with columns appearing in publications such as The Hill and The New York Times. In the little downtime remaining, Patrick enjoys hobbies such as motorcycling, model-building, and shooting. He lives in Milwaukee with his fiancee, two cats, a bearded dragon, and a 2008 Bullitt Edition Mustang named Susan.
You can find him online at www.patrickstomlinson.com and on Twitter as @stealthygeek.

Check out the rest of the Gate Crashers Blog Tour below:
Tuesday, June 26 Books, Bones & Buffy
Tuesday, June 26 Espresso Coco
Wednesday, June 27 Civilian Reader
Thursday, June 28 Bibliosanctum
Friday, June 29 For Winter Nights
Saturday, June 30 Just a World Away

Book Giveaway: Doctor Who: The Triple Knife

Courtesy of BBC Books, I have a copy of Doctor Who: The Triple Knife by Jenny T Colgan 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 July 13. I’ll draw a name on July 14, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Doctor Who: The Triple Knife

Book Review: Children of Exile

Children of Exile by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Synopsis:
For the past twelve years, adults called “Freds” have raised Rosi, her younger brother Bobo, and the other children of their town, saying it is too dangerous for them to stay with their parents, but now they are all being sent back. Since Rosi is the oldest, all the younger kids are looking to her with questions she doesn’t have the answers to. She’d always trusted the Freds completely, but now she’s not so sure.

And their home is nothing like she’d expected, like nothing the Freds had prepared them for. Will Rosi and the other kids be able to adjust to their new reality?

Review:
Rosi and all of the kids in Fredtown have been raised by loving, nurturing adults. But now they have to go back to their parents and the real world. And they are completely unprepared for the reality of their biological families and what life will be like going forward.

Children of Exile is the first in a science fiction trilogy for middle readers. Rosi is a sweet, likable girl who has been taught only good things from the Freds. However, since the kids were so sheltered, life is culture shock for them back in their real home – full of secrets and danger. I thoroughly enjoyed the suspenseful pacing and surprising final reveal. Though, there is plenty left unanswered. It feels like we’ve barely scratched the surface of the dark, intense world. And it’s a quick, easy read. Fans of post-apocalyptic series should check out this unique series debut.

ARC Book Giveaway: The Darkest Legacy

Courtesy of Disney-Hyperion, I have an extra early review copy of The Darkest Legacy by Alexandra Bracken 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 July 13. I’ll draw a name on July 14, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading ARC Book Giveaway: The Darkest Legacy

FearlessWomen Tour: Book Excerpt: Starless

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Starless by Jacqueline Carey

STARLESS Excerpt –

My training resumed. I squeezed rocks and hopped up and down the staircase, and bit by bit, the muscles of my wrists and forearms and legs acquired new strength. The three-pronged kopar was still too unwieldy for me to use, but I reached the point where Brother Merik deemed me capable of learning the rudiments of the yakhan and began teaching me.

There was a great deal to learn. There was a complicated series of slashing strikes one made with the curved outer edge of the blade and straightforward thrusts with the tip. In close quarters, there were reverse thrusts with the spiked pommel, though one had to be careful to avoid fouling the blade. There were backward blows to be struck with the blunt inner curve of the blade. Brother Merik made me practice each and every one of them over and over, first with my right hand, then with my left. I did so with diligence, working toward the day when I should be allowed to spar like a true warrior-in-training. Brother Hakan, who was the smallest in stature, had promised to give me my first bout as soon as Brother Merik consented.

From Brother Yarit, I learned stealth.

I learned the Shahalim ways of walking: the silent toe-rolling step he had first demonstrated to me, the back-to-the-wall crossing walk, the swift heel-toe glide, the crouching walk, the crouching frog walk with splayed fingers and toes. On Brother Saan’s orders, Brother Hakan and a few of the other young brothers studied with us, so that the skills might be preserved and passed on within the Brotherhood of Pahrkun.

No one trained harder than I did, for the other warriors were already well versed in the usage of a wind- cutter sword. They needed only to keep the edge of their skills honed, while my fledgling skills were like a blade with no edge that must be ground on the wheel. At least that was how Brother Drajan put it, for he was as at home in a smithy as a kitchen, and taught me how to sharpen and maintain a blade.

_______________________

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!

About STARLESS:
Jacqueline Carey is back with an amazing adventure not seen since her New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series. Lush and sensual, Starless introduces us to an epic world where exiled gods live among us, and a hero whose journey will resonate long after the last page is turned.

I was nine years old the first time I tried to kill a man…

Destined from birth to serve as protector of the princess Zariya, Khai is trained in the arts of killing and stealth by a warrior sect in the deep desert; yet there is one profound truth that has been withheld from him.

In the court of the Sun-Blessed, Khai must learn to navigate deadly intrigue and his own conflicted identity…but in the far reaches of the western seas, the dark god Miasmus is rising, intent on nothing less than wholesale destruction.

If Khai is to keep his soul’s twin Zariya alive, their only hope lies with an unlikely crew of prophecy-seekers on a journey that will take them farther beneath the starless skies than anyone can imagine.

About Jacqueline Carey:
JACQUELINE CAREY is the author of the New York Times bestselling Kushiel’s Legacy series of historical fantasy novels, The Sundering epic fantasy duology, postmodern fables “Santa Olivia” and “Saints Astray,” and the Agent of Hel contemporary fantasy series. Carey lives in western Michigan.

Box Review: TeeBlox – May 2018

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 and TV, Games, Hot Meex, or Disney!

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

Continue reading Box Review: TeeBlox – May 2018