SciFi Book Review: Vicious

Vicious by VE Schwab

Synopsis:
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

Review:
After spending years in prison, Victor is driven by revenge. While Eli considers himself on a mission from God to kill every other EO (ExtraOrdinary) super-powered individual. This is the story of how two friends became mortal enemies. Neither are “good guys” but there is moral ambiguity about how “bad” they are at times. Well, Eli’s eventual murderous nature is less gray. These characters are incredibly convincing and fascinating.

I was spellbound from page one. The narrative jumps back and forth in time, slowly introducing the reader to the relationship between Victor and Eli in the past, while leading up to present-day activities and their eventual showdown. It had the feeling of a comic book origin story. Though these two have more in common with super villains than super heroes. It’s shocking and unpredictable. Vicious is a dark and hauntingly captivating read that I couldn’t put down.

SciFi Book Review: Relativity

Relativity by Cristin Bishara

Synopsis:
If Ruby Wright could have her way, her dad would never have met and married her stepmother Willow, her best friend George would be more than a friend, and her mom would still be alive. Ruby knows wishes can’t come true; some things just can’t be undone. Then she discovers a tree in the middle of an Ohio cornfield with a wormhole to nine alternative realities. Suddenly, Ruby can access completely different realities, each containing variations of her life—if things had gone differently at key moments. The windshield wiper missing her mother’s throat…her big brother surviving his ill-fated birth…her father never having met Willow. Her ideal world—one with everything and everyone she wants most—could be within reach. But is there such a thing as a perfect world? What is Ruby willing to give up to find out?

Review:
Ruby is a sad girl, devastated that she and her father have to move to Ohio. But the worst part is living with her new stepsister, a psychotic, vindictive girl. Ruby seeks out a strange tree that leads her to alternate worlds, some just a little different than her own. Some are vastly different.

Relativity is an emotional journey through parallel worlds. This past-paced adventure leads to unpredictable worlds where Ruby searches for a perfect place to stay. Events build to an exciting and dramatic conclusion. It’s a captivating and engaging story from beginning to end.

Almost Human-(hattan) Experience!

Wishing I lived close to New York for this! Someone needs to take plenty of photos for me!

Click here for more on Almost Human.

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FOX is recreating 2048 in the middle of Manhattan with the ALMOST HUMAN-(hattan) Experience in advance of the special two-night series premiere of J.J. Abrams and J.H. Wyman’s new series ALMOST HUMAN on Sunday, Nov. 17 (8-9 PM ET/8-9 PM PT) and Monday, Nov. 18 (8-9 PM ET/PT) on FOX. Head to HERALD SQUARE BROADWAY PEDESTRIAN PLAZA on WEDNESDAY, OCT 30 (tomorrow!!) and THURSDAY, OCT 31 (Halloween!!) between 10:00-6:00. Fans will have the chance to watch the exclusive content, create sharable photos/GIFs and more.

More details:
WHAT:
ALMOST HUMAN-(HATTAN) – FOX will recreate 2048 in the middle of Manhattan with the ALMOST HUMAN-(hattan) Experience. This fun and futuristic experience will feature a build out showcasing some of the coolest elements from the series including: Kennex’s police car, two spider police motorcycles, Rudy’s lab (complete with droids hanging from meat hooks) and “the recollectionist chair,” as well as a street team of MX-34 android policemen. The MX-43s will be on hand to “patrol” the Experience and roam the city for photo ops hitting heavily trafficked areas and various Halloween events. The experience located in Herald Square will give fans the chance to watch the trailer/exclusive content on iTheater virtual glasses; create a sharable photo/GIF; and utilize Blipper – the first image-recognition app — to make the key art and other creative elements throughout the experience come to life.

WHERE:
HERALD SQUARE BROADWAY PEDESTRIAN PLAZA
Broadway between 34th and 35th Streets

WHEN:
WEDNESDAY, OCT 30 and THURSDAY, OCT 31
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM daily

ABOUT ALMOST HUMAN:
Executive-produced by Emmy Award winner J.J. Abrams (“Fringe,” “Lost,” the “Star Trek” and “Mission: Impossible” franchises) and creator J.H. Wyman (“Fringe”) and starring Karl Urban (“Star Trek”) and Michael Ealy (“Sleeper Cell,” “Common Law”), ALMOST HUMAN takes place approximately 30 years in the future – when being a cop has only become a more dangerous job than it is today. Following an unprecedented increase in the crime rate, every police officer must partner with an android. The series follows the week-to-week missions of JOHN KENNEX (Urban), a detective and sole survivor of a devastating police ambush, and his robot partner, DORIAN (Ealy), as this buddy-cop duo solve cases and fight to keep the lid on dangerously evolved criminals in this futuristic landscape.

TUNE-IN:
ALMOST HUMAN has a special two-night series premiere on Sunday, Nov. 17 (approximately 8:00-9:00 PM ET/8:00-9:00 PM PT) and Monday, Nov. 18 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX.

SciFi Book Review: TimeRiders: The Eternal War

TimeRiders: The Eternal War by Alex Scarrow

Synopsis:
Continuing the heart-pounding, time-bending action of the TimeRiders series, The Eternal War brings readers back to a pivotal time period in American history: the Civil War. Only this alternate history is one where a young Abraham Lincoln has somehow followed Liam into the present from 1831, and the entire course of American history has changed. If the TimeRiders can’t return Lincoln to the past, the country could be trapped in a dangerous state of never-ending civil war. Can Maddy persuade two colonels on either side of no man’s land to cease fire long enough to save the future?

Review:
When Abraham Lincoln meets an early demise, the team of time travelers goes back to save him and put things right. Instead, he follows them back to the future, drastically changing America so that the Civil War is still going on in present day.

This is the fourth installment in this exciting science fiction series for young adults. The majority of this story resides in an alternate America still at war, keeping the nation divided and stifling progress. There are some unique creatures developed through eugenics – creepy and straight out of the Island of Dr. Moreau. The Eternal War is a fast-paced, thrilling adventure with plenty of suspense and engaging characters. The continuing mystery that arcs over the series, keeps me looking forward to future installments as well.

Fantasy Book Review: Hero

Hero by Alethea Kontis

Synopsis:
Rough-and-tumble Saturday Woodcutter thinks she’s the only one of her sisters without any magic—until the day she accidentally conjures an ocean in the backyard. With her sword in tow, Saturday sets sail on a pirate ship, only to find herself kidnapped and whisked off to the top of the world. Is Saturday powerful enough to kill the mountain witch who holds her captive and save the world from sure destruction? And, as she wonders grumpily, “Did romance have to be part of the adventure?”

Review:
Saturday thinks she’s different from the rest of her sisters in that she doesn’t have any powers. But she turns out to be the most powerful of all. After getting kidnapped and brought to a witch’s lair, she’ll need all her wits and power to combat her.

Hero is the sequel to Enchanted, though a separate story as it follows a different sister’s adventures. Enchanted was so fresh and enthralling that I had high hopes for this one. And while I loved the characters this time around, I missed some of the wonder and excitement from the previous story, the blending of various fairy tales. The bulk of this story focuses Saturday and her love interest and their fight against an evil witch. The characters are the strength of this installment, my favorite was the shapeshifting chimera named Betwix. This fantasy is a fun read for all ages, with plenty of adventure, magic, and romance.

Guest Post: Gail Martin on Gender and Genre

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Gender and Genre
By Gail Z. Martin

There’s been a lot of discussion in various places around the Net about gender and genre, specifically about women, sci-fi and fantasy. You can find that for yourself online if you’re interested: I won’t rehash. But SciFiChick asked for my 2-cents, so I’ll preface this by saying that it’s my opinion, for what it’s worth, as someone who has made a living writing epic fantasy for several years.

Maybe some of my perspective is difference because I came out of the corporate world in the 1980s and 1990s. I’m used to being the only female executive in a room, dealing with men who hailed from the Mad Men era and holding my own. As the head of Corporate Communications departments, I often worked with the CEO and Chairman, and I learned early on to hold my ground and never let ’em see you sweat. I’ve stared down boards of directors and attorneys, as well as pushy reporters. And I can flip and pin my 90 pound dog when he gets obstreperous. Maybe it was the perfect background for coming into the genre.

I’ve never run into discourteous behavior from my publishers, editors or agents. They’ve all been wonderful to work with, collaborative, respectful and professional. I know there are some folks who keep a running tally of how many women win or are nominated for certain awards, how many sit on particular boards, and that kind of thing. Maybe it’s my corporate background, but except for when I worked for a non-profit, I have never been in a work setting that was 50-50 men to women, so I don’t notice that kind of thing unless you point it out to me. I don’t expect it, so not getting it doesn’t faze me.

I look around at my author friends, some of whom are waiting for their first big break, some who are climbing up the mid-list, some who are sitting on top of the heap and some who are navigating creative transitions. I can’t say that I’ve seen those struggles go any easier for men than for women, or that I’ve seen men rocket to the top while women slog. Sometimes, I’d say that I’ve observed the opposite. I don’t think it’s entirely a gender issue, although discrimination is real and it does exist. Many times, I think frustration can be a matter of timing and luck. Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time with the right story, and sometimes you’re not.

I think we’ve come a long way since George Sands turned out to be female and everyone got the vapors. By the middle of the Harry Potter series, everyone knew that JK was female and boys didn’t stop reading. I think publishers may be more hung up on perceived reader opinions than the readers are. After all, if people immediately see a writer who goes by initials, and assume the writer is female, it’s not much of a subterfuge! Are there individual dinosaurs out there, either on the consumer or publishing side, who think women “can’t” write a particular type of book? Probably. There were men who didn’t think women could or should hold certain types of corporate jobs. Flip the one-finger salute and keep moving on. Other people will recognize talent and not care which restroom you use.

When I was ten years old, my Great-Aunt Minerva sat me down for a talk. She was born in 1895, and she was a medical doctor, following in the footsteps of her father. She had co-habitated with her long-time partner Frank for 40 years, but they never married, the family rumor said, because they didn’t want to mingle their stock portfolios. Minerva was a force of nature. And she told me to do what I pleased with my life and to hell with what anybody’s opinion was.

I guess that stuck with me. An awful lot of people tried to tell me that I couldn’t be something or do something, and they had their reasons, that it wasn’t ladylike or that their view of God didn’t like it. Salute and move on. I don’t have time to keep tallies. Too busy doing what I do. In the long run, succeeding at what you want to do makes your point better than any argument. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

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