Category Archives: SciFi

SciFi Book Review: Dragon and Thief

Dragon and Thief: A Dragonback Novel by Timothy Zahn

Synopsis:
Jack Morgan has been framed for theft. He’s hiding on a distant planet with the virtual presence of his deceased Uncle Virge, a con man who has been his only family since Jack’s parents died. Jack knows he must clear his name before the cops catch up with him. A firefight among ships in the skies above leaves a downed ship near Jack’s hiding place, with a single unlikely survivor. It looks like a dragon, and it must join with a human host within six hours or die. The only available host is Jack.

Draycos, Jack’s new “companion,” is a K’da, a dragon-like species that lives symbiotically with the humanoid Shontine. The attackers, determined to exterminate Draycos’s people, will find them if they don’t flee; so the pair works together to escape the planet and begin a search for the truth behind Jack’s frame-up and the identity of the attackers.

With Jack’s future hanging in the balance, as well as the future of billions of Draycos’s people, the pair must track down the people who framed Jack, and prevent the destruction of the remaining K’da and Shontine. They’ll also discover whether their union was mere coincidence, or a friendship written in the stars.

Review:
Draycos is a two-dimensional being who needs a host in order to survive. When his ship is attacked, he vows to seek justice. Jack is a reformed thief on the run, after being framed. The two maintain their separate personalities and entities, Draycos simply needs to return to Jack as a tattoo to recharge. When Jack is forced to take a job for those who framed him, Draycos may be just the ally he needs.

Dragon and Thief is a reprint and first in a series. I read Zahn’s Star Wars novels years ago and loved them. The universe is creative and exciting. And the characters are fantastic. Full of mystery, action, and humor – this fun, space romp was over too soon. And I will now be picking up the rest in this Dragonback series.

SciFi Book Review: Exo

Exo by Fonda Lee

Synopsis:
It’s been a century of peace since Earth became a colony of an alien race with far reaches into the galaxy. Some die-hard extremists still oppose their rule on Earth, but Donovan Reyes isn’t one of them. His dad holds the prestigious position of Prime Liaison in the collaborationist government, and Donovan’s high social standing along with his exocel (a remarkable alien technology fused to his body) guarantee him a bright future in the security forces. That is, until a routine patrol goes awry and Donovan’s abducted by the human revolutionary group Sapience.

When Sapience realizes who Donovan’s father is, they think they’ve found the ultimate bargaining chip. But the Prime Liaison doesn’t negotiate with terrorists, not even for his own son. Left in the hands of terrorists who have more uses for him dead than alive, the fate of Earth rests on Donovan’s survival. Because if Sapience kills him, it could spark another intergalactic war. And Earth didn’t win the last one.

Review:
Donovan is a young soldier, whose body has been fused with alien technology. While investigating a lead on a possible terrorist, he is captured by the enemy. The Sapience want an Earth free from the alien presence that invaded years ago. But both sides have a lot to learn from each other.

Exo is a standalone, science fiction novel with the feel of V. The story and future Earth is captivating and fascinating. The aliens are mysterious with cool technology. Yet readers can sympathize with both sides. The aliens have brought a kind of peace and superior technology, yet the humans-only club don’t believe humanity needs them lording over Earth. Full of suspense and drama, this exciting novel also deals with morality issues. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced, surprising read.

Book Review: The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry

The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry, Creator of Star Trek by Lance Parkin

Synopsis:
This book reveals how an undistinguished writer of cop shows set out to produce ‘Hornblower in space’ and ended up with an optimistic, almost utopian view of humanity’s future that has been watched and loved by hundreds of millions of people around the world.

Along the way Lance will examine some of the great myths and turning points in the franchise’s history, and Roddenberry’s particular contribution to them. He will look at the truth in the view that the early Star Trek advanced a liberal, egalitarian and multi-racial agenda, chart the various attempts to resuscitate the show during it’s wilderness years in the 1970s, explore Roddenberry’s initial early involvement in the movies and spin-off Star Trek: The Next Generation (as well as his later estrangement from both), and shed light on the colourful personal life, self-mythologising and strange beliefs of a man who nonetheless gifted popular culture one if its most enduring narratives.

Review:
I didn’t know much about Gene Roddenberry other than the basics, so I was interested in learning more about the man and the history of my favorite futuristic universe. While Parkin didn’t have a relationship with Roddenberry, he obviously did extensive research and cited all of his information thoroughly. I was impressed with the amount of detail, all backed by other published works or recordings. This is not a book that idolizes Roddenberry or makes him a villain, but seems to be an honest look at a human man. And this is a detailed journey of the early years of Star Trek to The Next Generation. There was some jumping around, but for the most part the timeline flowed well. I appreciated this candid biography and enjoyed learning more about Roddenberry and the others who worked so hard on both the Original series and Next Gen.

SciFi Book Review: More of Me

More of Me by Kathryn Evans

Synopsis:
Teva goes to school, studies for her exams, and spends time with her friends. To the rest of the world, she’s a normal teenager. But when she goes home, she’s anything but normal. Due to a genetic abnormality, Teva unwillingly clones herself every year. And lately, home has become a battleground. When boys are at stake, friends are lost, and lives are snatched away, Teva has a fight on her hands—a fight with herself. As her birthday rolls around, Teva is all too aware that time is running out. She knows that the next clone will soon seize everything she holds dear. Desperate to hang on to her life, Teva decides to find out more about her past . . . and uncovers lies that could either destroy her or set her free.

Review:
Teva lives in fear of her next birthday, when she loses the life she knows to live hidden away, never aging. Meanwhile, her younger clone is bitter, jealous and wants her boyfriend back. As her life begins to fall apart around her, she even begins to question her sanity.

More of Me is a standalone, science fiction novel for young adults. It starts out a bit confusing, as I tried to figure out who the clones all were and why they were called different names. Teva is written in a clever way that makes the reader question everything as does Teva. The plot is twisted and clever and certainly kept me guessing. The characters are engaging and the suspense built to an exciting finale. While the story wasn’t quite what I expected, it was a lot of fun.

Book Giveaway: Tropic of Kansas

Courtesy of Harper Voyager, I have a copy of Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown for one (1) lucky winner!

Contest is open to US residents only. No PO Boxes please. To enter, just fill out the form below. Contest ends July 28. I’ll draw a name on July 29, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Tropic of Kansas

Box Review: ThinkGeek Capsule – June 2017

ThinkGeek Capsule

From the site:
“We’re ThinkGeek. We enjoy movies, books, and long space walks outside the vehicle. We want everyone to embrace their inner geek, and the ThinkGeek Capsule is our monthly mystery box that gives you the fun of a blind box with the security of knowing you’re getting gear hand-selected by ThinkGeek.

Each ThinkGeek Capsule is packed with $50 worth of collectibles. Items may include desktop replicas, stuff for your home, enamel pins, art prints, t-shirts, and more. Contents will vary by month, but you will ALWAYS get an exclusive t-shirt.”

Cost: 1 month plan starts at $24.99 plus $5 s/h

*SciFiChick.com received a box for review purposes.

ThinkGeek Capsule

This is ThinkGeek’s first Capsule, that shipped in June.

ThinkGeek Capsule

The box came with a list of spoilers that I decided to forgo until I went thru the box on my own.

ThinkGeek Capsule

Because pins seem to be the norm in most mystery boxes.

ThinkGeek Capsule

I received an BONUS The Name of the Wind Playing Card Deck. There were 6 possible themes. Goonies or Ghostbusters would have been great too. But as a scifi/fantasy reader, this was a great selection for me.

ThinkGeek Capsule

PINZ: Fantasy Edition Pins – I received the potion one.

ThinkGeek Capsule

Magical Mixing Pony Pint – My niece will get a kick out of using this.

ThinkGeek Capsule

Harry Potter Hogwarts Alumni Socks – I love socks. And these cute ones will be a lot of fun to wear in the fall.

ThinkGeek Capsule

Fallout 4: Helmet Coin Bank – I’m not a gamer, but this is a really fun design. It’s made of a nice, hard plastic.

ThinkGeek Capsule

ThinkGeek Promo Code – This is a great idea to get people to go buy more stuff from the site!

ThinkGeek Capsule

Zelda Tshirt – This is a fun design of the iconic game. Heads up for the ladies – the sizing is Juniors, so you may want to order 2 sizes larger if you’re older than a teen. My niece will love this shirt though, so all is not lost.

SUMMARY: This was a great first box! There’s a wide variety of wearables and collectibles, as well as a great variety of geek culture. I enjoyed several of the items in the box. And the bank and tumbler were fun, unique ideas. I’m excited to see what the next Capsule holds!

Received in June

The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received in June for review and/or giveaways:

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox
Bam Box
ThinkGeek Capsule
ThinkGeek Jewelry

Ace:
Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris

Avon Books:
Wildfire by Ilona Andrews

Berkley:
Ash and Quill by Rachel Caine

Del Rey / Random House / Delacorte Press / Bantam:
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo
The Waking Land by Callie Bates
Seven Stones to Stand or Fall: A Collection of Outlander Fiction by Diana Gabaldon
A Plague of Giants by Kevin Hearne
The Book of Swords by George R. R. Martin
Injection Burn by Jason M. Hough
Escape Velocity by Jason M. Hough
Besieged: Stories from The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
Armistice: The Hot War by Harry Turtledove

Disney Hyperion / Marvel:
Rise of the Isle of the Lost by Melissa De la Cruz
Miles Morales: Spider-Man by Jason Reynolds
Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne

First Second:
Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

Harper Collins / William Morrow:
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. by Neal Stephenson

Harper Voyager:
An Excess Male by Maggie Shen King
The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
Tropic of Kansas by Christopher Brown

Little, Brown:
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray
Buried Heart by Kate Elliott

Pocket Books:
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Enigma Tales by Una McCormack

Pyr:
The Genius Plague by David Walton
Raining Fire by Rajan Khanna

Quarto Publishing:
The Impossible Has Happened: The Life and Work of Gene Roddenberry by Lance Parkin

Random House Children / Delacorte Press:
Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw by Todd Calgi Gallicano

Scholastic:
The Princess and the Page by Christina Farley
Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel José Older

Subterranean Press:
Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries: The Squirrel on the Train by Kevin Hearne

Tor:
Shattered Minds by Laura Lam
The Tiger’s Daughter by K Arsenault Rivera
Perilous Prophecy by Leanna Renee Hieber
Tomorrow’s Kin by Nancy Kress
The Queen of Swords by R. S. Belcher

Tor Teen:
Roar by Cora Carmack

Vintage Books:
Amatka by Karin Tidbeck