Tag Archives: scifi

Guest Post: Brian Andrews Q&A

Brian Andrews Brian Andrews

Brian Andrews, author of Reset, joins SciFiChick.com today and provided his own Q&A as a Guest Post…

1. I suspect there must be an interesting backstory with RESET, where did you get the idea for this story?

Once upon a time, I was having dinner with someone who’s plugged into real life X-files investigations around the world. He made a strange comment, almost in passing that he’d heard the Army had found a bizarre piece of tech in Afghanistan in 2002 while looking for Osama Bin Laden in the Tora Bora cave complexes. I asked him what it was and he shrugged, saying only that it was determined to be very old but contained advanced technology. Intrigued, I started asking questions around my network, but I didn’t get any hits. Next, I contacted a Canadian photo journalist who embedded with the 10th Mountain Division (the shooters spelunking the actual Tora Bora caves), but he said he’d not heard anything of the sort. Eventually after hitting enough dead ends, I decided to stop digging. But the germ of the idea stuck with me, nagging my author’s brain and not letting go. I started asking myself questions like: What if the Army really did find an orb with advanced technology in a cave? What could it be? Where might it have come from? What is its purpose? In brainstorming these questions, RESET was born.

2. Let’s chat mind control and tin foil hats. This novel is almost theatrical in nature, with some “high concept” elements. You’ve pecked a lot in here: mind control, armageddon devices, the 6th Extinction, and a “men in black” style government conspiracy that could control the fate of the world. Can you speak to this?

RESET was described on TOR.com as being a genre-bending novel. I think this is the perfect description. I’m most drawn to stories with what I would call “near-term” science fiction elements—technologies that exist now, but are only in an embryonic stage of development. Artificial Intelligence is a perfect example of this; there are millions of possible scenarios that could unfold as AI matures, but we can only speculate about which will come to fruition. It is this speculation that drives my novels. Mind control technology is the core theme of RESET.

As an author, the natural temptation is always to try to “save” your best ideas for the perfect time in the perfect story so you don’t waste them—kinda the literary equivalent of not wearing your favorite shirt so it stays nice. RESET is the novel where I finally came to my senses and pulled our every cool idea I’ve ever wanted to showcase in a book: Mind Control, Parasitic Organisms, the discovery of Alien Technology, Underground Bunkers, Doomsday Preppers, a crazy old Conspiracy Theorist, and DARPA (of course).

What I ended up with is a story that pays homage to conspiracy theory lore of the past three decades while feeling both nostalgic and fresh. And yes, I even found a way to work in the proverbial “tin foil hat” into the plot, but in this case the tin foil hat is a Faraday Cage helmet designed to stop nefarious Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). Yes, mind control is real folks…just look up TMS and Duke University and you’ll find reporting on actual research that will make you shiver in your chair.

3. RESET has an incredibly strong female cast, with Army wife Josie Pitcher emerging at the novel’s true hero. Can you speak to this?.

In writing this story, I fell in love with all the characters, but probably to Josie Pitcher the most. Josie embodies the type of heroine the world needs today, someone who is compelled to action by curiosity, loyalty, and courage, rather than self-interest and ego. Josie is no Atomic Blonde or Jessica Jones throwing punches and kicks; her weapons are the ones real heroes use to fight their battles—her wits, her power of persuasion, and her courage to act in the face of impossible odds. With RESET, I wanted to take Superman saving the damsel in distress storyline and flip it on its head. In RESET, you start by meeting this tough as nails 10th Mountain Army ranger who seems like he’s unstoppable, until suddenly he’s not and the only one who can save him is his young, tenacious Army wife. Ultimately, the fate of the human race rests on Josie’s shoulders…but that’s all I can say!

4. I noticed that the audiobook was performed by the voice actor Ray Porter who also reads your TIER ONE series. Can you speak to his performance on this book?

Definitely! In my opinion, narration is storytelling in its purest form. If you think about it, the oral tradition of storytelling is at the core of human culture. We’ve been swapping stories for millennia—be it sitting around the campfire, the dinner table, or at a child’s bedside. That’s why it was so important for me to get Ray to read this novel—he is a world building narrator because he captures the nuance and emotional connection between the characters. Nobody does dialogue better than Ray. I’ve listened to the recording several times now and it is a masterwork, with over a dozen different characters performed. Please check it out on Audible, I promise you won’t be disappointed. LINK: https://adbl.co/2J81cwd

5. One final question: The ending of this book has been described as an OMG event reminiscent of M. Night Shyamalan’s early movies. Can you talk about this without spoilers?

RESET has the biggest twist of any novel I’ve ever written and yes, the reveal comes in the very last “two” chapters. I would call this a double-barrel twist, the first twist begetting a second twist that, I’m not sure has been done before. That particular comment you referenced from Charle DeLint with the comparison to an M. Night Shyamalan ending is high praise. There’s also a certain poetry to the ending of RESET. I use the symbolism of a Celtic Knot in the novel several times, an intertwining with seemingly no clear beginning and no clear ending—everything comes full circle. I can’t wait to hear reader’s reactions!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brian is a US Navy veteran, nuclear engineer, and former submarine officer. He co-authors the Wall Street Journal best-selling TIER ONE thriller series (Tier One, War Shadows, & Crusader One) with Jeffrey Wilson. He is a husband, father, coffee lover and occasional malcontent. His latest stand-alone thriller, RESET, is new for 2018. You can find him online at: www.andrews-wilson.com and @bandrewsjwilson
Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2oUCyHT

Book Giveaway: The Poppy War

Courtesy of Harper Voyager, I have an extra early copy of The Poppy War, by R. F Kuang 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 May 18. I’ll draw a name on May 19, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: The Poppy War

Box Review: Bam Box – March 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.

Bam Box

This month the box just included a simple sheet of the items included. But it’s certainly better than nothing!

Bam Box

Ghostbusters Pin – This is a fun design – I love Ghostbusters.

Bam Box

Lonestar’s Birthright Pendant – I’m glad this was referenced in the page above, or I would have never guessed! This is a nice, heavy prop replica that Spaceballs fans will enjoy.

Bam Box

Infinity War Art Print – I really like this print – though I’m trying to figure out why Thor has his eye, when the artist went to the trouble of using the most recent looks of Captain America and Black Widow.

Bam Box

Greg Berg Signed Print – Apparently he was the voice of Donatello and Bebop from the TMNT cartoon. Meh.

Bam Box

Star Wars Data Storage Unit Prop Replica – This is another strange one that I would have never guessed. It’s very heavy, but pretty simple.

Summary:
I really enjoyed the art print this time. It’s probably my favorite item in the box. I wish there was a box or something that identified the pendant. Something on the back of the pendant that said “Spaceballs” would’ve been nice as well. Regular printed handouts will be back next month, but even this black and white page is better than having to go to the website to figure out what items are. I have no complaints this time.

Fantasy Book Review: Ink, Iron, and Glass

Ink, Iron, and Glass by Gwendolyn Clare

Synopsis:
A certain pen, a certain book, and a certain person can craft entirely new worlds through a branch of science called scriptology. Elsa comes from one such world that was written into creation, where her mother―a noted scriptologist―constantly alters and expands their reality.

But when her home is attacked and her mother kidnapped, Elsa is forced to cross into the real world and use her own scriptology gifts to find her. In an alternative Victorian Italy, Elsa finds a secret society of young scientists with a gift for mechanics, alchemy, or scriptology―and meets Leo, a gorgeous mechanist with a smart mouth and tragic past. She recruits the help of these fellow geniuses just as an assassin arrives on their doorstep.

In this thrilling debut, worlds collide as Elsa unveils a deep political conspiracy seeking to unlock the most dangerous weapon ever created―and only she can stop it.

Review:
Elsa is a scriptologist, like her mother. So when her mother is taken, Elsa is the best person to fix the damaged world books and find her mother.

Ink, Iron, and Glass is the first in a unique, steampunk duology for young adults. The worldbuilding is impressive with alchemists, mechanics, and notably scriptologists who can create worlds from books. I would love to see it fleshed out even more. I would’ve liked to see some more character development. However, this debut was very enjoyable. It’s a fun, fast-paced adventure with exciting twists.

Book Review: The Art of Ready Player One

The Art of Ready Player One by Gina McIntyre (Author),‎ Ernest Cline (Introduction),‎ Steven Spielberg (Foreword)

Movie Synopsis:
Our dystopian world lies on the brink of chaos and collapse, but the people have found their salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday. When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune in the form of a digital Easter egg hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world.

Review:
Fans of the film will enjoy this deeper look into the amazing work that went into creating this immense digital world. I love to look at early artwork and sketches of characters and scenes – and this is an impressive collection.

Movie Spoilers Ahead:
Continue reading Book Review: The Art of Ready Player One

Movie News: SYFY’s Hover

SYFY FILMS RELEASES ‘HOVER’
In Theaters June 29 and on VOD and Digital HD July 3
NEW YORK – April 18, 2018 – SYFY Films today announces the release of the upcoming film HOVER, in theaters on June 29, 2018 and on VOD and Digital HD on July 3, 2018. Directed by Matt Osterman (400 DAYS, “Ghost from the Machine”), the science fiction film marks the feature screenwriting debut of Cleopatra Coleman (“The Last Man on Earth,” “White Famous”). The cast includes Coleman, Shane Coffey (“Pretty Little Liars,” “Sugar Mountain”), Craig muMs Grant (“Oz,” “Birdman”), Beth Grant (“The Mindy Project,” “No Country for Old Men”), Fabianne Therese (“Teenage Cocktail,” “Southbound”) and Rhoda Griffis (“Walk the Line,” “The Blind Side”).

HOVER takes place in the near future, where environmental strain has caused food shortages around the world. Technology provides a narrow path forward, with agricultural drones maximizing the yield from what land remains. Two compassionate care providers, Claudia (Coleman) and her mentor John (Craig muMs Grant), work to assist sick farmland inhabitants in ending their lives. After John dies under mysterious circumstances, a group of locals helps Claudia to uncover a deadly connection between the health of her clients and the technology they are using.

HOVER is produced by Travis Stevens of Snowfort Pictures (“Jodorowsky’s Dune,” “We Are Still Here”) and Claire Haley.

For more information on the film, please https://www.facebook.com/HoverMovie2018

SciFi Book Review: The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: 2 Fuzzy, 2 Furious by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

Synopsis:
Doreen Green, age fourteen, is a little too busy wiping out crime in her suburban New Jersey neighborhood to focus on her overdue homework. That’s because she also happens to be Squirrel Girl, a bushy-tailed, squirrel-powered Super Hero! After foiling the nefarious plot of an amateur Super Villain, Squirrel Girl is finally finding her groove–and group texting with the Avengers, like, all the time. Doreen, on the other hand, is still trying to navigate friendships, evil teachers, and all the pitfalls that come with middle school. (Seriously, it’s complicated.)

An announcement goes out that sends waves of excitement through the community: There’s a new mall opening on the border of Shady Oaks and neighboring town Listless Pines, and they all get to vote on the mall’s mascot! Everyone goes wild over the election . . . a little too wild, if you ask Squirrel Girl and her BHFF (Best Human Friend Forever), Ana Sofia. Soon the two towns are at war–even the trusty Squirrel Scouts are going berserk. Is there something sinister at work in Shady Oaks? Something that has less to do with quality shopping choices and more to do with world domination? And will Squirrel Girl be able to unleash the furry paws of justice in time to save the day?

Review:
Doreen, AKA Squirrel Girl, picks up not long after the last novel – she now has a best friend and even groupies. But she has a teacher who seems to hate her for some reason. And the new mall coming in seems nefarious. It even has a logo that looks suspiciously like a hydra.

This latest Squirrel Girl story is just as fun and exciting as before. The story is told from multiple points of view – Squirrel Girl, Ana Sofia, and even Tippy Toe the squirrel. The highlight is always the conversations that Squirrel Girl has with the Avengers via text and also the random chatroom rants. Squirrel Girl is incredibly powerful, but she’s also the sweetest and most innocent superhero. This story is full of humor, mystery, adventure, and crazy characters. I love the quirky, Squirrel Girl comics, and these novels make for a perfect series for middle readers on up.

SciFi Book Review: The Final Six

The Final Six by Alexandra Monir

Synopsis:
When Leo and Naomi are drafted, along with twenty-two of the world’s brightest teenagers, into the International Space Training Camp, their lives are forever changed. Overnight, they become global celebrities in contention for one of the six slots to travel to Europa—Jupiter’s moon—and establish a new colony, leaving their planet forever. With Earth irreparably damaged, the future of the human race rests on their shoulders.

For Leo, an Italian championship swimmer, this kind of purpose is a reason to go on after losing his family. But Naomi, an Iranian-American science genius, is suspicious of the ISTC and the fact that a similar mission failed under mysterious circumstances, killing the astronauts onboard. She fears something equally sinister awaiting the Final Six beneath Europa’s surface.

Review:
Leo is alone in the world after the death of his family. In fact, he has nothing else to live for, when suddenly he is chosen to compete for a chance at heading to the stars. Meanwhile, Naomi has a wonderful family that doesn’t want to leave, especially with what she knows about the chances of the Final Six who will be chosen.

The Final Six is an exciting, science fiction novel for young adults. The story is told from both Leo and Naomi’s view points, alternating chapters. The characters are well-developed and the pacing is solid. The majority of the story is the competition at NASA to narrow down the young adults to the best choices to represent humanity – with thrilling challenges a possible psychopath bent on sabotage. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel – with plenty of intrigue, danger, suspense, and a bit of romance. Events build to a surprising finale and a big cliffhanger as the kids head to space. This sequel can’t come soon enough. And it’s no wonder that it’s been optioned for film already.