The following are the books, movies, television shows, etc. I received last month for review and/or giveaways:
Barb Hendee/ND Author Services: The Hunters’ Girl by Barb Hendee
Del Rey: Malorie: A Bird Box Novel by Josh Malerman
Disney Hyperion: Hood by Jenny Elder Moke Snow Day for Groot! by Brendan Deneen Tristan Strong Destroys the World by Kwame Mbalia
Penguin / Razorbill: Goddess in the Machine by Lora Beth Johnson
Saga Press: The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones Live to Tell the Tale by Keith Ammann Savage Legion by Matt Wallace
Simon Pulse: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
Subterranean Press: The Best of Michael Marshall Smith by Michael Marshall Smith Comes a Pale Rider by Caitlín R. Kiernan Dying With Her Cheer Pants On: Stories of the Fighting Pumpkins by Seanan McGuire
Titan Books: Alpha Omega by Nicholas Bowling
Tor: Architects of Memory by Karen Osborne The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab Uranus by Ben Bova
Tor Teen: The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning
War Planet Press: Warbot 1.0: AI Goes to War by Brian M. Michelson
Synopsis: When her warrior father, King Sendoa, mysteriously dies, Princess Amarande of Ardenia is given what would hardly be considered a choice: Marry a stranger at sixteen or lose control of her family’s crown.
But Amarande was raised to be a warrior―not a sacrifice.
In an attempt to force her choice, a neighboring kingdom kidnaps her true love, stable boy Luca. With her kingdom on the brink of civil war and no one to trust, she’ll need all her skill to save him, her future, and her kingdom.
Review: The inspiration for this novel was Princess Bride. This becomes really evident at times, with quite a bit of similar dialog and events. But don’t expect the same lighthearted humor. While there isn’t much in the way of humor, there is plenty of suspense, drama, and intrigue. And in this novel, the princess does the rescuing.
The Princess Will Save You is a fun YA novel that will appeal to fantasy fans of all ages. The adventure and mystery make for an engaging read. As well as several exciting twists and surprises. This is the first in a planned series, so don’t expect all threads to be wrapped up. But I certainly look forward to the next installment.
This new picture book is basically the Captain Marvel movie told from the Flerken’s point of view. The artwork is cute, and not at all scary for young children. We never actually see the flerken’s tentacles when she eats something.
Captain Marvel fans raising a young generation of Marvel fans will all enjoy this sweet and colorful story of a cat-like flerken who likes to eat a variety of things and makes several new friends.
Synopsis: When Andra wakes up, she’s drowning. Not only that, but she’s in a hot, dirty cave, it’s the year 3102, and everyone keeps calling her Goddess. When Andra went into a cryonic sleep for a trip across the galaxy, she expected to wake up in a hundred years, not a thousand. Worst of all, the rest of the colonists–including her family and friends–are dead. They died centuries ago, and for some reason, their descendants think Andra’s a deity. She knows she’s nothing special, but she’ll play along if it means she can figure out why she was left in stasis and how to get back to Earth.
Zhade, the exiled bastard prince of Eerensed, has other plans. Four years ago, the sleeping Goddess’s glass coffin disappeared from the palace, and Zhade devoted himself to finding it. Now he’s hoping the Goddess will be the key to taking his rightful place on the throne–if he can get her to play her part, that is. Because if his people realize she doesn’t actually have the power to save their dying planet, they’ll kill her.
With a vicious monarch on the throne and a city tearing apart at the seams, Zhade and Andra might never be able to unlock the mystery of her fate, let alone find a way to unseat the king, especially since Zhade hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with Andra. And a thousand years from home, is there any way of knowing that Earth is better than the planet she’s woken to?
Review: The synopsis hooked me when a girl is woken up 1,000 years in the future instead of 100 on new planet. Andra wakes up to everyone calling her a goddess and expecting her to use her powers to save them. But she knows she’s just a girl, with everyone she’s ever known long gone.
Goddess in the Machine is the first in an inspired, new YA series. Set in the far distant future, this group of humans that Andra wakes up to are not familiar with any advanced technology. And the young man who woke her up has his own, secret agenda. Full of danger, suspense, political intrigue, romance, and betrayal – this is an impressive debut novel. It’s fast-paced and compelling. I certainly look forward to the next installment.
Tony Dean Smith (Co-Writer/Director/Co-Producer) & Ryan W. Smith (Co-Writer/Producer) join SciFiChick.com today to talk about their new film Volition!
Where did the idea come for the script?
TONY: The original kernel was something I stumbled upon in film school. I became convinced that IF clairvoyance was real and that they could see “ahead”, then it must pre-suppose that “ahead” had already happened. The story wasn’t fleshed out yet, and certainly didn’t have the character, plot or themes of Volition, but it did explore the relationship between perception and time. I almost made a short version many times, but I’m thankful that Ryan and I got our greasy paws on the material and turned it into Volition.
What was the process for co-writing?
RYAN: We’re lucky as brothers to have a lot of shared experience, so the process of writing together is very smooth. That said, we also sometimes see things from different perspectives, so we’re always pushing one another to stretch and improve. Generally, we’ll brainstorm and outline together for a long time, until we feel we have a good handle on the beats of the story. At that point, we’ll divide the outline in the middle, and each take a half to write in script form. Often new discoveries will happen for each of us in that process. Once those half-drafts are written, we’ll trade sides and each re-write the other person’s work. We repeat this over and over until we have a cohesive piece that feels like it represents us both.
What are some of the themes of the film?
TONY: At its core, Volition is ultimately about becoming unstuck. It’s about finding the courage and clarity to do what’s right, even in the face of insurmountable odds. Most of us believe something about ourselves and becomes paralyzed in that fixed idea of who we are. We feel like we’ll never write the novel, never get in great shape, etc. To overcome the feeling and fear of change, this film shows us that our perception is our primary prison – and to break free – we must do the opposite of what brought us here…
What do you hope viewers will take away?
RYAN: We hope viewers will be gripped by the film’s cerebral puzzle, but also leave emotionally charged and moved.
Would you want the ability to see the future?
TONY: I already knew you’d ask that, so… 🙂 My own personal experiences with dreams/meditation/clairvoyance have certainly shaped my worldview, enough to make a movie out of it. The human brain is almost like a quantum computer, and I’m quite sure we’re just at the beginning of understanding our place in this incredibly creative universe. Would I truly want to know the future? No. The present is where the fun is. 🙂
RYAN: Good question! Personally, I would not want that ability. It’s hard enough without clairvoyance to keep myself present in any given moment. I think if I knew how my future would turn out, I’d really struggle against apathy. I feel for our character, James. His predicament would not be easy.
What were some of your favorite moments on the set?
TONY: I think what I take away most is the incredibly passionate and family-like atmosphere we had. Movies are fun and even though we had a brutal schedule (with a near-impossible script to shoot), my favourite memory is the in-between moments with the cast and crew. The laughing, the crying, the bleary-eyed, but always smiling faces as we moved into longer and longer shooting days. 🙂
RYAN: A lot of the film was shot at night, so half of the time the cast and crew were in some level of delirium. It’s fitting, given the time-bender that is this film, that much of the shoot involved a sense that days were blending into nights, that our perception of time was off-kilter. I remember pretty much every cast and crew member, at some point, finding a nook or cranny to take a nap in.
What are some of your favorite movies or stories?
TONY: Far too many to list, but I always care and am moved by people doing the good thing. So for me, anything with a redemptive arc is what I love. As far a favorite story… go find Stephen King’s “The End of The Whole Mess.” It’s a short, but it says everything about what I want to do as a filmmaker. It has scope, epic ideas… and very grounded, flawed characters. Brilliant story.
RYAN: Children of Men is high on my list, and we thought about that film early on, for the look and feel of Volition. We both love the grounded nature of the sci-fi elements at play. Also, it’s more than just a “what if” cerebral exercise, it’s filled with complex characters that tug at your heart.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
TONY: We’d love to keep the conversation going! Ryan and I are always around on social media etc, so we’re hoping to connect with other fans, filmmakers and sci-fi lovers. We’re also excited to slowly tease what’s next for us, as we transition into making that a reality.
RYAN: We’d love to hear from anyone who checks out the film. There is lots to debate in the ending and throughout. We encourage your readers to find @volition_movie on Twitter. Tony’s at @tonydeansmith and I’m at @ryanwarrensmith. We’re excited to connect!
_________________________________________ ABOUT VOLITION: AVAILABLE APPLE TV, PRIME VIDEO & OTHER DIGITAL PLATFORMS: July 10, 2020
DIRECTOR: Tony Dean Smith WRITERS: Tony Dean Smith & Ryan W. Smith CAST: Adrian Glynn McMorran, Magda Apanowicz, John Cassini, Frank Cassini, Aleks Paunovic, Bill Marchant
SYNOPSIS: In this time-bending cerebral science-fiction thriller, a man afflicted with clairvoyance tries to change his fate when a series of events leads to a vision of his own imminent murder. Awarded as BEST FEATURE at the Philip K. Dick Film Festival, among a slew of other awards and critical acclaim, VOLITION is a tightly-wound puzzle of a ride.