Category Archives: SciFi

Blu-Ray Review: Shazam!

Shazam! (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Combo Pack)
Own Shazam! on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD Special Edition on July 16, or Own It Early on Digital on July 2.

Synopsis:
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam, courtesy of an ancient wizard. Still a kid at heart—inside a ripped, godlike body—Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.

Review:
Billy Batson is a foster kid, constantly looking for his birth mother and getting into trouble. He has a chip on his shoulder, but has a good heart… deep down. When he becomes a magical superhero in an adult body, there is a definitely learning curve. He has to learn how to use his powers… and not abuse them. But Dr. Sivana is coming for him and tries to take Billy’s power before he realizes his full potential.

This is finally a DC film that doesn’t take itself too seriously. It’s fun and exciting and loaded with laughs. It could have easily been a PG film and more family-friendly. But unfortunately, there are a couple scenes at the beginning that show how dangerous the evil entities are by getting a little gruesome as well as some language that earn the PG-13 rating. I was just disappointed as my niece and nephew enjoy Shazam! comics, as they’re geared toward a younger audience. And my 11-year-old niece had to turn her head during the violent scene.

But I still really enjoyed the movie and story. Billy discovers he has a real family, and it had a great message. Full of humor, danger, suspense, fun abilities, and heartwarming drama – this was a great addition to the DC universe. I hope the future installments continue to live up to this quality and more lighthearted feel.

Special Features Include:
– Shazam Exclusive Motion Comic
– The Magical World of Shazam
– Super Fun Zac
– Carnival Scene Study, Shazamily Values
– Who is Shazam?
– Deleted Scenes
– Gag Reel

Book Giveaway: The Hound of Justice

Courtesy of Harper Voyager, I have a copy of The Hound of Justice by Claire O’Dell 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 26. I’ll draw a name on July 27, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: The Hound of Justice

Book Giveaway: Alpha and Omega

Courtesy of Del Rey, I have a copy of Alpha and Omega by Harry Turtledove 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 26. I’ll draw a name on July 27, and notify winner via email.

ENTER DAILY TO INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF WINNING!

Good luck!

Continue reading Book Giveaway: Alpha and Omega

Received in June

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

DVD/Blu Rays:
Captain Marvel Blu-Ray

Mystery Boxes:
TeeBlox

Ace:
Salvaged by Madeleine Roux

Del Rey:
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge by Ethan Sacks
Alpha and Omega by Harry Turtledove
Salvation Lost by Peter F. Hamilton
Steel Crow Saga by Paul Krueger

Disney Hyperion / Freeform:
The Odd Sisters by Serena Valentino
#MurderFunding by Gretchen McNeil
The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake
Elizabeth Webster and the Court of Uncommon Pleas by William Lashner
Sanity & Tallulah, Book 2: Field Trip by Molly Brooks
Star Wars Who’s Who in the Galaxy by Ella Patrick
Tales from the Haunted Mansion, Volume IV: Memento Mori by Amicus Arcane
The Fire Keeper by J. C. Cervantes
Loki: Where Mischief Lies by Mackenzi Lee
The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer

Harper Voyager:
The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey
Protect the Prince by Jennifer Estep
The Hound of Justice by Claire O’Dell

Insight Comics:
Before Houdini by Jeremy Holt
After Houdini by Jeremy Holt
The Invisible Empire: Madge Oberholtzer And The Unmasking Of The Ku Klux Klan by Micky Neilson

Jo Fletcher Books:
Rotherweird by Andrew Caldecott

Little, Brown:
Rise by Ellen Goodlett

Penguin Books:
The Saturday Night Ghost Club by Craig Davidson

Scholastic:
Spark by Alice Broadway
Skyjacked by Paul Griffin

Subterranean Press:
The Best of Uncanny by Naomi Novik
A Very Scalzi Christmas by John Scalzi

Tor:
Spine of the Dragon by Kevin J. Anderson
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht
Lent by Jo Walton
The Hive by Orson Scott Card
The Red-Stained Wings by Elizabeth Bear

Avengers: Endgame Releases on Digital July 30 and on Blu-Ray August 13!

From Press Release: BURBANK, Calif. (June 26, 2019) — Marvel Studios’ “Avengers: Endgame,” the climactic conclusion to an unprecedented, 11-year cinematic journey in which the Avengers take one final stand against Thanos, delivered the biggest opening weekend in history and is currently one of the highest-grossing films of all time. On July 30, Avengers fans around the world are invited to assemble once more for the in-home release of “Avengers: Endgame” on Digital in HD, 4K Ultra HD™ and Movies Anywhere, followed by a physical release on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™, DVD and On-Demand beginning Aug. 13.

Fans who bring home “Avengers: Endgame” will gain hours of additional screen time with their favorite cast members and filmmakers who have shaped the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Bonus features include a tribute to the great Stan Lee; the tale of Robert Downey Jr.’s casting as Iron Man; the evolution of Captain America; Black Widow’s dramatic story arc; directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s experience at the helm of both “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame”; the making of an epic battle scene with the women of the MCU; the creation of Bro Thor; deleted scenes; a gag reel and more.

The must-own, final chapter of the 22-film MCU series, “Avengers: Endgame,” will be packaged several ways to ensure fans get the most out of their in-home entertainment experience.Viewers can bring home the film two weeks early on Digital 4K Ultra HD, HD and SD and gain access to an exclusive extra highlighting the love story of Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Peggy Carter. A physical copy of “Avengers: Endgame” is available as a 4K Cinematic Universe Edition (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Digital Code), a Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray and Digital Code) and a single DVD. Fans who wish to revisit all four films in the Avengers franchise may opt for a Digital bundle, which includes “Marvel’s The Avengers,” “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame.”

BONUS MATERIAL (may vary by retailer):
Digital Exclusive:
• Steve and Peggy: One Last Dance – Explore Captain America and Peggy Carter’s bond, forged in moments from previous films that lead to a momentous choice in “Avengers: Endgame.”
Blu-ray & Digital:
• Remembering Stan Lee – Filmmakers and cast honor the great Stan Lee in a fond look back at his MCU movie cameos.
• Setting The Tone: Casting Robert Downey Jr. – Hear the tale of how Robert Downey Jr. was cast as Tony Stark in the original “Iron Man” — and launched the MCU.
• A Man Out of Time: Creating Captain America – Trace the evolution of Captain America with those who helped shape the look, feel and character of this compelling hero.
• Black Widow: Whatever It Takes – Follow Black Widow’s journey both within and outside the Avengers, including the challenges she faced and overcame along the way.
• The Russo Brothers: Journey to Endgame – See how Anthony and Joe Russo met the challenge of helming two of the biggest films in cinematic history … back-to-back!
• The Women of the MCU – MCU women share what it was like to join forces for the first time in an epic battle scene — and be part of such a historic ensemble.
• Bro Thor – His appearance has changed but his heroism remains! Go behind the scenes to see how Bro Thor was created.
• Six Deleted Scenes – “Goji Berries,” “Bombs on Board,” “Suckiest Army in the Galaxy,” “You Used to Frickin’ Live Here,” “Tony and Howard” and “Avengers Take a Knee.”
• Gag Reel – Laugh along with the cast in this epic collection of flubs, goofs and gaffes from set.
• Visionary Intro – Intro by directors Joe and Anthony Russo.
• Audio Commentary – Audio commentary by directors Anthony and Joe Russo, and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely.

TCM Presents “Out Of This World: Celebrating Sci-Fi” Every Tuesday in July

From Press Release: This July, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) presents Out of This World: Celebrating Sci-Fi, an odyssey through science fiction movies from a galaxy far, far away to not-too-distant futures. Airing every Tuesday night in primetime, each evening will explore the many realms of science fiction in cinema including creature features, early sci-fi, TCM’s network premiere of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, and a special night of moon movies in honor of this month’s 50th anniversary of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s monumental moon landing.

TCM’s celebration of science fiction films will include:

July 2: A look at early sci-fi, including what is considered to be the first science fiction film ever made, 1902’s A Trip to the Moon and Fritz Lang’s influential Metropolis (1927)

July 9: Acclaimed director Frank Darabont introduces films from the 1950s, one of the most influential decades for science fiction that brought us The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951), The War of the Worlds (1953) and Forbidden Planet (1956)

July 16: In honor of this month’s 50th anniversary of the moon landing, TCM airs seminal moon movies such as Destination Moon (1950) and For All Mankind (1989). The night then continues with iconic creature features including Them! (1954) and The Blob (1958)

July 23: TCM travels into the 1960s with 1960’s The Time Machine and 1968’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

July 30: the final night of galactic travel features a TCM premiere of Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) alongside Close Encounter of the Third Kind (1977) and Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

For more information, please visit http://tcm.com/outofthisworld.

Blu-Ray Review: Captain Marvel

CAPTAIN MARVEL [Blu-ray]

Review:
When “Vers”crashes to Earth (in the mid-’90s), she begins searching for answers to her strange flashes of memories of a life she doesn’t remember. But the Skrull are also on earth and can appear as anyone. Vers teams up with a young Nick Fury to find a piece of technology before the Skrull can steal it.

As a huge Captain Marvel fan, I had very high hopes for this movie. I’m usually disappointed when the whole movie is given away in the trailers. And I try to stay away from spoilers (not fan theories though). Thankfully, they still had a few surprises for me. Some a little predictable, but still fun. But there was a big twist I didn’t see coming. Some comic fans may not like one of the bigger changes made to Captain Marvel lore, but I enjoyed it.

The cast was fantastic. Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and Samuel L Jackson have great chemistry. And Ben Mendelsohn and Annette Bening were exceptional in their roles. I only wish Agent Coulson had more screen time! The story was an origin story and a prequel. But the story was layered with a good plot and fun easter eggs. It’s definitely action-packed as well and loaded with humor and feel-good moments.

Captain Marvel is an inspiring woman. She has had to work harder to get to where she’s at – and never gives up. She has a sense of humor and can still be vulnerable – even though she’s one of the most powerful superheroes in the MCU. It’s no wonder she has become one of my all-time favorites.
There’s a lot packed into this powerful and inspiring movie. And I look forward to seeing it again.

Bonus Clips:

Author Guest Post: M.C. Planck’ Dave Duncan Tribute

M.C. Planck joins SciFiChick.com today in honor of his latest release, Black Harvest (out tomorrow), and to offer a tribute to author Dave Duncan.

AN UNDER-APPRECIATED AUTHOR

Dave Duncan recently passed away, at the ripe old age of 85 and just days after he’d finished his last manuscript. This was a loss to the SF&F literary world, and also to me personally. Dave gave me a very nice quote for my first novel, The Kassa Gambit, after having declined to give me a quote on an early version of my fantasy epic Sword of the Bright Lady. He had complained that Sword of the Bright Lady was much too slow, and of course, as a veteran and talented author, he was completely correct. I cut out a third of the novel and promptly sold the series to Pyr. His one sentence of advice was worth more than gold to an unknown and beginning writer who had emailed him out of the blue, and yet still less cherished than his praise.

So I’d like to spend this space talking about my favourite books of his and why you should read them even though you’ve probably never heard of them. I think they deserve a lot more exposure than they’ve received, and I think you’ll like them if you give them a try.

Hero!

This SF novel exhibits Duncan’s fantastic talent for convention-wrecking at its best. He takes every standard trope of “young hero saves the world from space invaders” stories and flips them so hard they shatter. I can’t even describe the plot without spoiling it a dozen times (except to say I borrowed a few parts for The Kassa Gambit – it’s okay, Dave had so much going on in this book no one will even notice). Along the way he creates a completely believable futuristic society, hard-science beam weapons, intensely sympathetic characters, and powerful moral dilemmas.

Reaver Road & The Hunter’s Haunt

These two short fantasy novels are framed by Omar, trader of tales, perhaps a god or perhaps just a wandering orator, sticking his nose into terribly interesting situations. They also almost made me give up writing, as Dave’s command of voice is so accomplished that I worried I could never reach such a bar. The Hunter’s Haunt alternates chapters as stories told by different characters, and each one is distinct and compelling. It’s one thing to get a line of dialogue right and sell a scene; Dave does it for whole chapters at a time, for half a dozen different voices, while carrying off a plot so tight it’s water-proof.

The Seventh Sword

A story about a modern engineer who goes to a fantasy world at the behest of a god and winds up changing the world at sword-point. This is literally the plot of Sword of the Bright Lady, and yet Dave’s book couldn’t be more different than mine (and everyone else who has written this genre). For one thing, he put his engineer on the other side – against the guys making gunpowder. It is also a world with distinct ranks – a common feature of fantasy games though very rare in fantasy novels – and yet again completely different than how I handled it. I will always be amazed that we could both write a fantasy series whose plot and most unique feature could be described in exactly the same words and yet create such totally different stories. But I suspect a lot of authors feel the same way, especially after reading Hero!

A Man of his Word & A Handful of Men

Stable-boy falls in love with princess. A story we’ve all heard before, but again Dave sets it in a world that looks like a fantasy game but feels like a real place, with characters that are living people instead of archetypes. The best thing about this series is there are eight thick book’s worth, so you don’t have to come up for air for a good long time. The magic system is also unique, fascinating, and deeper than expected.

The King’s Blades & The King’s Daggers

These are a series of short fantasy novels set in the same world. Again Dave has taken a classic trope – knights sworn to serve their king – and turned it over to discover the often horrifying moving parts underneath, like flipping a shiny beetle on its back only to be faced with a multitude of hairy clawed legs. I think The King’s Daggers stories are supposed to be YA, but Dave was simply incapable of writing without addressing adult responsibilities and concerns. My nephews loved them anyway.

Dave wrote sixty novels before the end (doubly impressive considering he only started when he was 50). These are my favourites; I hope you find some of your own.
__________________________________________________________

About the Author:
M.C. Planck is the author of the science fiction novel The Kassa Gambit, and the World of Prime fantasy series of novels.

After a nearly-transient childhood, Mike hitchhiked across the country and ran out of money in Arizona. So he stayed there for thirty years, raising dogs, getting a degree in philosophy, and founding a scientific instrument company. Having read virtually everything by the old masters of SF&F, he decided he was ready to write. A decade later, he was actually ready and relieved to find that writing novels is easier than writing software, as a single punctuation error won’t cause your audience to explode and die. When he ran out of dogs, he moved to Australia to raise his daughter with kangaroos.