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Friday, 11 November 2016 11:50

Fate and first contact - 'Arrival'

Sci-fi offering simply exceptional across the board

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 19 October 2016 12:02

Send 'Max Steel' to the scrap heap

Toy-inspired fiasco a dull, derivative, cynical cash grab

Movies and merchandising have gone hand-in-hand for a long time. The past four decades or so have seen plenty of films aimed at achieving some sort of crossover into other commercial opportunities. The most successful create merchandise based on the movie; the least successful create the movie based on the merchandise.

Published in Movies
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 12:13

Mars noir Red Planet Blues'

Sci-fi detective story a ripping good read

Science fiction is first and foremost a literature of ideas. However, without an engaging story behind them, those ideas tend to fall flat.

What makes a good science fiction writer great is the ability to infuse gripping sci-fi with ideas that are both grandiose and grounded feasible futures. Robert J. Sawyer is one of the most consistent authors out there in bringing readers that dynamic blend.

Published in Buzz

From the very earliest days of the science fiction genre, authors have been exploring the implications of moving back and forth in time. 

Author Sean Ferrell offers his own take on the genre in his newest novel 'Man in the Empty Suit' (Soho Press, $24.95). Rather than attack the concept of time travel on a macro level, Ferrell instead chooses to share a story on the micro level; it's the tale of one man the inventor of the time machine.

Our unnamed narrator is the first man to achieve time travel. However, after untold time spent traveling from the distant past to the future and back again, the outside world has begun to lose some of its appeal. So every year, he spends his birthday partying with himself.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 12 September 2012 14:12

An alternate Armageddon Slow Apocalypse'

Novel offers a gradual end of the world

When we think about the end of the world, we tend to think of it happening in a single moment. One minute here, next minute gone. But what if it wasn't like that? What if society held together long enough for us to actually bear witness to each phase of its ultimate deterioration?

We might see the world of Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author John Varley's 'Slow Apocalypse' (ACE, $25.95). It's a story about what might happen if the world as we know it ended not in one giant flash of Armageddon, but piece by piece.

Published in Buzz
Thursday, 19 July 2012 09:09

Choosing sides in Heaven's War'

Second installment in trilogy offers suspenseful sci-fi

As an avid reader of science fiction, I sometimes get frustrated by book series that extend themselves indefinitely. While some of these long-running tales remain engaging over their lifespans, many more of them become sad shells of what they once were. The once-beloved worlds and characters devolve and the epic storylines degenerate into convoluted messes.

That's why the trilogies work so well. Three books to tell one story, then just let it end. David S. Goyer and Michael Cassutt are in the midst of creating one such trilogy; the second book in their Heaven series, called 'Heaven's War' (ACE; $25.95), has arrived.

Published in Buzz
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 12:11

The end of the world as we know it

The Apocalypse Codex' a fantastic, funny sci-fi spy thriller

There are a lot of science fiction series being written out there. Scores of writers churning away, assembling trilogies and quadrilogies and what have you up to and including the ominous 'open-ended' series. There's so much that it can prove tough to cut through the noise and find a series that speaks to your personal sensibilities.

Finding that series is exciting; receiving the latest book in that series even more so. Charles Stross is one of the best authors working in the genre today; 'The Apocalypse Codex' (ACE; $25.95) is the latest in his Laundry series featuring accidental paranormal secret agent Bob Howard.

Published in Buzz
Thursday, 26 April 2012 08:24

POD' a solid sci-fi effort

Wallenfels impresses with powerful debut novel

It's always exciting to pick up an author's debut book. The sense of potential informs the experience with a high level of excitement. This first book could be the start of a wonderful writer/reader relationship. Of course, it could also be a complete dud. It's a Schrdinger's cat dilemma; an experiment in quantum literature. It's a situation where you simply can't know whether the book is good or bad until you open it and see for yourself.

In the case of 'POD' (Ace, $7.99), the debut offering from author Stephen Wallenfels, you'll be glad you turned to page one.

The aliens descended from the sky at 5 a.m. (PST), taking the entire world by surprise. They announced their presence with an ear-shattering shriek, and their round black ships dominate the skies. Any human being caught outside immediately vanishes in a flash of blue light. What survivors remained were trapped in their homes trapped without any way of communicating with the outside world. Everyone remaining in this new world is forced to come to terms with what's happening on an individual basis.

Published in Buzz
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