Sometimes, alternate history doesn’t require telling the reader what the crisis point was that got changed. Sometimes, the reader just needs to know things are different. And that’s where The Mirage by Matt Ruff begins.
This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It is a fun, fast, grotesque read that fans of horror, action, and humor will enjoy, especially if — like me — they have the sense of humor of a 12-year-old boy (or at least appreciate a good fart joke).
It’s been a while since I’ve read any Neil Gaiman, and that’s a shame — he is one of the greatest working writers of our time, either in spec-fic or out of it. Whenever I read one of his books, I’m reminded just how good he is. If you haven’t read The Graveyard Book, now would be an excellent time to pick it up and take a look. You won’t be disappointed.
Every now and then, a book comes along with a great premise and solid execution that a lot of people like and recommend with great gusto. Ready Player One by Ernest Kline is such a book. And it is good — very good — except for the places where it can’t get out of its own way fast enough.
If you’ve seen the trailer for the film, you may already know that John Dies at the End is ostensibly about a drug called soy sauce that immensely sharpens a person’s perception of reality. But the book is about so much more than that.
The very first film I put into my Netflix instant queue was TiMER. At the time it seemed like a cute little sci-fi film. It sat there, right at the top of my queue, for… geez, must be two years now… before I finally decided that it was time to watch it.
So here’s the thing about Serpent’s Storm, the third Death’s Daughter book by Amber Benson: at first I thought she’d turned into Laurell K. Hamilton. Then I thought she was writing a madcap roller-coaster adventure. Then I got completely lost. Once I got to the end, I was really pleased with the destination… but unfortunately the journey didn’t work for me.
Following her enjoyable adventure through Hell with Calliope Reaper-Jones, Death’s middle daughter, I think it was pretty much understood that actress and author Amber Benson would return to her Death’s Daughter universe. She did so in 2010 with Cat’s Claw, a sequel that pretty much depends upon the main character making bad decisions for the story to succeed. Make no mistake, I still had fun reading the book, but there was an awful lot of narrative convenience in it.
I’m not a huge fan of military SF. But I am a fan of post-apocalyptic SF. I’m not a huge fan of augmented-humanity SF. But I am a fan of humans-aren’t-the-most-powerful-people-in-the-universe SF. So when author Jonathan C. Gillespie put out his new novel The Tyrant Strategy: Revenant Man I wasn’t sure if it was going to be my cup of post-apocalyptic, augmented humanity, military-style, humans-aren’t-so-great tea.
I think it’s safe to say that most kids — at least, most of us who had dogs — always wanted our dogs to be able to talk. Odds are good it never happened to you, but it did happen to Tyler James and Avery Jennings, the two human main characters of Disney Channel’s new show Dog with a Blog.
On the whole, Apollo’s Outcasts is a good book, a fast read, and a story that is accessible not only to the YA audience but to an adult one as well. Allen Steele has been writing for a long time, and he knows the craft of this sort of story. It’s a strong sci-fi adventure novel with a lot of good science that doesn’t get bogged down in the detailed explanations — and, honestly, even the infodumps are interesting because, unlike fantasy novels that focus on magic, most of the stuff in Apollo’s Outcasts is not only plausible but also within our reach.