Category Archives: SciFi

Received in February

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

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox
Bam Box

Amazon Press / 47North:
Secondborn by Amy A. Bartol
Traitor Born by Amy A. Bartol

BBC Books:
Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet by Douglas Adams
Doctor Who: Who-ology Regenerated Edition by Cavan Scott

Daw:
Lady Henterman’s Wardrobe by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Del Rey:
Daughters of the Storm by Kim Wilkins

Disney Hyperion / Free Form / Marvel:
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan
Star Wars: The Last Jedi Cobalt Squadron by Elizabeth Wein
Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi The Legends of Luke Skywalker by Ken Liu
City of Bastards by Andrew Shvarts
Ship It by Britta Lundin
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious by Shannon Hale
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Meets World by Dean Hale
A Wrinkle in Time: A Guide to the Universe by Kari Sutherland

Gallery Books:
Star Trek: Discovery: Drastic Measures by Dayton Ward

Harper Teen:
The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Harper Voyager:
Awakened by James S Murray
King of Ashes by Raymond E Feist
The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst
The Poppy War by R. F Kuang
Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt:
The Robots of Gotham by Todd McAulty

Kensington Books / Rebel Base:
A Choice of Crowns by Barb Hendee
Through a Dark Glass by Barb Hendee

Night Shade Books:
The Song of All by Tina LeCount Myers
The Devil and the Deep: Horror Stories of the Sea by Ellen Datlow

Penguin / Putnam:
The Hunger by Alma Katsu

Pyr:
Blade and Bone by Jon Sprunk

Scholastic / Chicken House:
The Fandom by Anna Day
Damselfly by Chandra Prasad

Simon and Schuster / Saga Press:
The Tangled Lands by Paolo Bacigalupi

St Martin’s Press:
The Coincidence Makers by Yoav Blum
Halcyon by Rio Youers

Subterranean Press:
Blood’s a Rover by Harlan Ellison
Mira’s Last Dance by Lois McMaster Bujold

Titan Comics:
Assassin’s Creed Uprising Volume 2: Inflection Point by Dan Watters

Tor:
Head On by John Scalzi
Good Guys by Steven Brust
If Tomorrow Comes by Nancy Kress
Dayfall by Michael David Ares

Tor Teen / Starscape:
Max’s Story: A Dog’s Purpose Puppy Tale by W. Bruce Cameron
To Right the Wrongs by Sheryl Scarborough
Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

William Morrow:
The Feed by Nick Clark Windo

SciFi Book Review: Star Wars: Cobalt Squadron

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Cobalt Squadron by by Elizabeth Wein

Synopsis:
Will Rose and Paige help save a planet, or will their actions lead to all-out war?

Review:
Sisters Rose and Paige Tico are a part of the resistance and the bomber group Cobalt Squadron. Paige is a gunner and Rose a brilliant technician. Cobalt Squadron assists Atterran citizens from a First Order blockade. The people of Atterra are dying from a lack of resources – a scene all too familiar for the Tico sisters.

Star Wars fans were introduced to Rose and (briefly) Paige in The Last Jedi. The sisters have a sweet relationship and unbreakable bond. This is an exciting story with plenty of drama and intrigue. However, I would have liked a bit more character development – especially from other members of the Cobalt Squadron. Not knowing some of the characters better, lessens the impact of events. This quick, fast-paced read is a just one short adventure that ties in to an event in The Force Awakens – and ends just before The Last Jedi. I can’t get enough of these new characters.

Author Guest Post: Gareth L. Powell

FIVE CLASSIC SPACE OPERAS THAT STILL HOLD UP TODAY
by Gareth L. Powell

‘Space opera’ has been around since the heyday of the pulp magazines in the 1930s and 1940s. Initially the term was one of derision, likening the genre to tacky ‘horse opera’ westerns. However, just as the hippies and punks of the 1960s and 1970s took their derogatory labels and wore them with pride, so the term ‘space opera’ came to be used for action-packed stories featuring big spaceships and weighty themes.

Looking back now, not all of those stories have aged well. Some are frankly unreadable, either due to their dreadful prose, cardboard characters, or woeful science. But if you look hard enough, there are still plenty of gems to be found.

Below, I have picked ten classic* space operas that still have much to offer the modern reader.

*For the purposes of this list, I have defined the term ‘classic’ as including books written or published before the turn of the Millennium.

1. Nova by Samuel Delany. Without doubt, one of my favorite books, Nova is set a thousand years into the future, and tells the story of Lorq Von Ray, last scion of a powerful and rich dynasty, and his quest to harvest the rare mineral illyrion from the core of an imploding sun. Filled with literary fireworks, the book relates Von Ray’s quest to tarot lore and the Arthurian Grail legends, while simultaneously using the literary ambitions of one of its characters to provide a meta-commentary on the process of novel writing itself.

2. The Centauri Device by M. John Harrison. Harrison takes the tropes of pulp space opera—starports, lone traders, and naval engagements—and gives them a cyberpunk makeover. Crews have to jack directly into their ships via sockets on their wrists. The main character deals amphetamines and is discharged from the army because he wets himself every time a gun goes off. Whether or not it was written as a criticism of the genre, it paved the way for the grittier ‘New Space Opera’ of the 1990s.

3. The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey. When I sat down to write Embers of War, I re-read this book to help get me in the mood to write about a sentient starship. I hadn’t read it since I was a kid, and I was relieved to find it just about held up. Taken at face value, it’s a fun, if episodic adventure. Unfortunately, modern readers might baulk at the idea of data held on magnetic tape, and the titular ship’s constant yearning for a man to make her life complete.

4. The Game Of Rat And Dragon by Cordwainer Smith. This is only a short story, but I decided to include it because a) it’s quite extraordinary, and b) this is my list and I can do what I want. In the far future, human starship are routinely attacked during faster-than-light travel by invisible aliens that drive their crews insane. The only way to protect against these attacks is to use cats paired with human telepaths. The cats perceive the aliens as rats and destroy them with miniature nuclear weapons. If you haven’t read it, you really should. And while you’re at it check out Smith’s other stories, such as ‘Mother Hitton’s Littul Kittons’, and ‘Golden the Ship Was-Oh! Oh! Oh!’

5. The Forever War by Joe Haldeman. Based at least in part on the author’s experiences fighting in the Vietnam War, this tale of interstellar conflict follows the fortunes of William Mandella, a physics student conscripted into the war against the mysterious Taurans. Due to the time dilation caused by interstellar travel, he finds each tour of duty—while only lasting a couple of subjective years for him—throws him further and further into the future, with the result that every time he returns to Earth, he finds it changed almost beyond all recognition.

Honorable Mentions:
Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds
Shards of Honor by Lois McMaster Bujold
A Fire On The Deep by Vernor Vinge
Consider Phlebas by Iain M. Banks
Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh
The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester
Dune by Frank Herbert
Gateway by Frederik Pohl

Embers of War by Gareth L. Powell is published by Titan Books. You can find Gareth on Twitter @garethlpowell

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Arrives via Movies Anywhere 3/13 and on 4K and Blu-ray 3/27

From Press Release:
The next action-packed chapter of the Star Wars saga – Star Wars: The Last Jedi – welcomes the return of original characters as well as in-depth looks of the saga’s newest members. This release will include a feature-length documentary from Director Rian Johnson that takes fans on an intimate journey into the creation of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The release will also include two exclusive scenes featuring Andy Serkis as Snoke prior to his digital makeover, scene breakdowns, deleted scenes, audio commentary and more. Families can bring the next chapter of Star Wars home digitally in HD and 4K Ultra HD and via Movies Anywhere March 13 and on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray disc March 27. This release will mark Disney’s first title available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in both Dolby Vision™ HDR and Dolby Atmos® immersive audio, delivering consumers a transformative viewing experience.

Box Review: Bam Box – January 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.

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This is the 2 Year Anniversary box! And we’re back to having a page of what’s included in the box – which was missing in the past couple boxes!

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Walking Dead Pin and Hand of the King Replica Pin The Game of Thrones pin/broach (for those few who, like me, don’t watch Game of Thrones and didn’t know what this was referring to) is a heavy, well-made replica. Just wish I cared about the series.

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Two-Face Coin – Batman’s nemesis Two-Face uses a coin like this to make decisions. I knew right away what this was supposed to be!

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi Signed Print – This was one of four possibilities of supporting cast members, or an even rarer one of all four signatures on one print.

Bam Box

Stranger Things Art Print – I received a 1-Up variant of this print! I’m a fan of Stranger Things, so this was really cool.

Summary:
I’m so glad we’re back to a page of item descriptions! Though, it could stand to be a little more informative. The two collectibles (I never count the small, filler pins) are very small but well-done. And I appreciate the variety of franchises that are represented. You won’t find these items in any other mystery box.

NEXT MONTH: There will be items from: X-Files, Black Panther, Ghostbusters, Smallville, and Terminator! Wow!

SciFiChick.com’s 13th Anniversary and Giveaway!

Today, SciFiChick.com celebrates 13 years of news, reviews, and interviews of SciFi/Fantasy books, movies, TV, and monthly subscription boxes!

Many thanks to my readers and visitors!

And thanks to the various publishers, authors, and media contacts who continue to send books, movies, and monthly subscription boxes for review. You help to keep my passion/addiction alive and keep me buried in books, movies, and collectibles!

____________________________________________________

Courtesy of BBC Books, I have an extra early review copy of Doctor Who: The Pirate Planet, by Douglas Adams 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 March 9. I’ll draw a name on March 10, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading SciFiChick.com’s 13th Anniversary and Giveaway!

SciFi Book Review: Black Star Renegades

Black Star Renegades by Michael Moreci

Synopsis:
Cade Sura holds the future of the galaxy in his hands: the ultimate weapon that will bring total peace. He didn’t ask for it, he doesn’t want it, and there’s no worse choice to wield it in all of space, but if he doesn’t, everyone’s totally screwed. The evil Praxis kingdom is on the cusp of having every star system under its control, and if that happens, there’ll be no contesting their cruel reign. Especially if its fanatical overlord, Ga Halle, manages to capture Cade and snag the all-powerful weapon for herself.

Cade can’t hide from Praxis, and he can’t run from the destiny that’s been shoved into his hands. So he only has one option:

He has to fight.

Cade’s not going to let destiny send him on a suicide run, though. With some help from his friends―rebels and scoundrels alike―Cade’s going to use this weapon to chart a new destiny for the galaxy, and for himself.

He just has to do so before everyone around him discovers that he’s a complete and total fraud.

Review:
Cade doesn’t have high ideals and doesn’t care about being a hero. So when the weight of saving the galaxy falls in his hands, he tries to find someone else to wield the responsibility. But Cade has a good heart and has no choice. He and his new crew have to face an evil force, even when the odds are against them.

Black Star Renegades is an exciting space opera. It has been compared to Star Wars meets Guardians of the Galaxy – and I heartily agree. There are great characters – even a snarky robot. A fast-paced plot with plenty of action, adventure, intrigue, drama, and humor round out this thrilling story. This impressive debut novel is a lot of fun. It works well as a standalone, but this creative universe and cast of engaging characters demands a series.

SciFi Book Review: Batman: Nightwalker

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu

Synopsis:
The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.
The city’s elites are being taken out one by one as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is about to become eighteen and inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Industries and all the tech gadgetry that he loves. But on the way home from his birthday party, he makes an impulsive choice and is sentenced to community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most nefarious criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.
The most intriguing inmate in Arkham is Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. A girl who will only speak to Bruce. She is the mystery he must unravel, but is he convincing her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees?

Review:
Bruce is sentenced to community service, cleaning at Arkham Asylum after angering the police with reckless behavior. While there, he meets the mysterious killer Madeleine – and feels an immediate connection to her. His fascination with Madeleine puts him in danger, but he may be the only who can get the truth from her.

Batman: Nightwalker is an exciting story set before Bruce becomes Batman. This Young Adult story is engaging and exciting. Despite being young and brash, Bruce has a good head on his shoulders and his priorities straight. The story will keep you guessing to the end. It’s fast-paced and full of mystery and drama. This was a lot fun, despite the darker setting of Arkham. Young Batman fans will enjoy this one.