My Teacher is an Alien Review (Kids Sci-Fi)

My Teacher is an Alien: Sixth grade is just out of this world!
Susan Simmons can tell that her new substitute teacher is really weird. But she doesn’t know how weird until she catches him peeling off his face — and realizes that “Mr. Smith” is really an alien!

At first no one will believe her except Peter Thompson, the class brain. When Peter and Susan discover Mr. Smith’s horrible plans for their classmates, they know they have to act fast. Only they can get rid of their extraterrestrial visitor — and save the rest of the sixth-grade class from a fate worse than math tests! – Goodreads
Book Cover for My Teacher is an Alien

My Teacher is an Alien Review

 

My Teacher is an Alien was first published in 1989. When I was little I had no interest in reading these type of books, so My Teacher is an Alien flew completely under my radar. However, from what I’ve read on Goodreads, apparently this is the book that got a lot of kids interested in reading science fiction. After reading it, I can see why.  My Teacher is an Alien is one of those books that retains a timeless appeal. There is basically no technology mentioned in the book, so you don’t really notice anything feeling ‘dated’.  (Except for the fact that kids were actually playing together on the playground instead of texting.)

My Teacher is an Alien is one of those books that retains a timeless appeal. There is basically no technology mentioned in the book, so you don’t really notice anything feeling ‘dated’.  (Except for the fact that kids were actually playing together on the playground instead of texting.)  It’s written so that children can easily identify the children mentioned with their real world equivalents. The bully. The goody-two-shoes. The nerd that’s always reading. (I resemble that remark!) 

Let’s face it, My Teacher is an Alien is always going to be relatable. Because, whether its teacher or coworker, there’s always “aliens” amongst us. Those people that act so different you find yourself giving them the side-eye and wondering what they look like when they take off their mask. It’s a look in their eyes, the way they phrase things, or their unusual distaste of wonderful things (like reading!) that set them apart.  So, yes, imagining them going home, taking off their mask and exposing the lizard men underneath is ultimately entertaining. I mean, there’s at least one congressman I’m positive comes from a frog world!

The story in My Teacher is an Alien is told through the eyes of a sixth-grade girl named Susan. However, Susan being a girl basically never enters into the equation, and I really liked that. (In fact, when I was reading it with my child, she stopped me halfway through a chapter and said, “Susan is a girl’s name, right?”) Boy or girl, anyone who picks up this book is going to be able to enjoy it. Definitely an entertaining read, and still worth picking up years after it was published.

4 Star Rated My Teacher is an Alien Review

Title: My Teacher is an Alien | Series: My Teacher is an Alien #1 | Author: Bruce Coville | Publisher: Aladdin | Orig. Published: 1989 | Pages: 128 | ISBN13: 9781439112281 | Genre: Kids Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited | Purchase on Amazon

Horror Comes to Dare to Discuss (and more!)

As some of you might be aware, every other month we’ve been holding a science fiction book club called “Dare to Discuss”. Its been an awesome thing, especially as we get more participation, because the opinions are varied and the questions can really make you think. Its a friendly environment where opinions are respected and the give and take is quick and fun.

The Sci-Fi Book Discussions are always held on the third Wednesday of every other month at 7 PM EST. (So this year’s sci-fi months are Jan, March, May, July, September, November.)

On March 22nd, at 7 PM EST, we’ll be discussing:

Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin R. Kiernan

Agents of Dreamland

(I can tell you that there’s not going to be a lot of fangirling during this one. It’s not exactly been a hit amongst us.)

I’ve talked about that one quite a bit, so here’s what I want to get straight to. For some time my cohost and I have also punted around the possibility of doing a horror version of Dare to Discuss on the alternate months. We finally got off our butts and organized it!

So, on April 19th, at 8:30 PM EST, we’ll be discussing:

Whispering Corridors: A Ghost Story by Ambrose Ibsen

Whispering Corridors.jpg

Whispering Corridors: There’s something in the house on Kenwood Drive, and it only comes out at night…
College students Eric and Lydia are looking for a novel way to spend Halloween. They decide to put together a documentary about the supernatural and take a camcorder into the long-abandoned house on Kenwood Drive. It’s said that a vengeful spirit lives there, and Lydia thinks it the perfect location.

Eric, though, has his reservations. Having grown up in the area, he’s familiar with the stories of the spirit they call the “Upside-Down Man”, and as their trip to the house draws near, his fear begins to mount. According to the rumors, once you go into the house, you bring the Upside-Down Man out with you. And in three days’ time, you disappear.

When the two of them begin to see and experience strange things, they launch into a frenzied search for truth, attempting to separate the myth of Kenwood House from the reality. But it turns out that untangling the threads of local legend is more difficult than it appears.

Especially when you’ve only got three days. – Goodreads

Whispering Corridors is available on Amazon for $2.99.

And at only 164 pages, it’s not exactly a massive time commitment! 

So we gleefully invite all horror hounds to join us, right here at the newly set up Sci-Fi & Scary Forums, on April 19th at 8:30 PM EST!

And, by participating in one, you get a voice in what the next book we discuss for June will be!

If you’re interested, all you need to do is click on the ‘forums’ tab at the top of the screen, then register. (Its free to register and I don’t share your information.) Then join us at the appropriate time for the discussion! (Or mosey over to the science fiction and horror movie section and make your feelings known on the recent visual offerings the genres have given us.)

 

Pandora: End of Days Review (Horror Manga)

Book cover for Pandora: End of DaysPandora: End of Days: The most amazing archaeological discovery of our time– a sarcophagus from an ancient civilization that predates the Egyptian Pyramids by more than fifty thousand years–is being broadcast as a live public exhibit on national TV.

But in their haste to reveal a glimpse of what could be the origin of mankind, the scholars of the OBARI Foundation instead unleash an ancient plague upon the modern world.

This is the age-old story of the curious–and of those who must race to close the door on what should never have been opened . . .

This is PANDORA, the End of Days…


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Ararat Review (Horror / Thriller)

Book cover for Ararat by Christopher Golden

When a newly engaged couple climbs Mount Ararat in Turkey, an avalanche forces them to seek shelter inside a massive cave uncovered by the snow fall. The cave is actually an ancient, buried ship that many quickly come to believe is really Noah’s Ark. But when a team of scholars, archaeologists, and filmmakers make it inside the ark for the first time, they discover an elaborate coffin in its recesses…and when they break it open, they find that the cadaver within is an ugly, misshapen thing…and it has horns. A massive blizzard blows in, trapping them in that cave thousands of meters up the side of a remote mountain…but they are not alone.- Goodreads


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Grimm House Review (Children’s Dark Fantasy)

When Hadley’s parents leave on a cruise and then are reported lost at sea, her perfect world is turned upside down. In a flash, she is whisked away to a new life of drudgery at Grimm House where she waits on not one but two persnickety old aunts. As she grudgingly fulfills their commands of cooking, cleaning, and even after-dinner-dancing, she comes to suspect the aunts are really witches who are scheming to take the thing she loves best. With only her wits and the help of some unlikely new friends, Hadley makes a plan to escape Grimm House and find her way home before it’s too late.-Goodreads

Book cover for Grimm House

Grimm House Review

 

Grimm House was a great, creepy kids dark fantasy. Karen McQuestion used several familiar elements from fairy tales and added a few twists of her own. She does a good job of keeping it right on this side of being too creepy or sad for a kid’s book. There are definitely dark elements, but nothing that’s truly scary. The ending also nicely resolves an ‘ashes’ problem that could have worried kids later.

Hadley is a good character. She’s a budding ballerina who pretty much has it all. Her parents have the money to enable her to reach for the stars. They love her, and each other. She lives in a nice house and has best friends. Things seem pretty much perfect for her. She doesn’t know hardship. Not until the Grimm sisters show up. And then her life gets turned upside down.

The ‘lessons learned’ in Grimm House are timeless. Someone or something stepping in to give a ‘favored’ character an appreciation for what they have. Making them understand how good they really have it. The only difference is that in Grimm House, Hadley never comes across as the bratty character we want to see get her comeuppance. Instead, right from the beginning, she’s just a sad kid missing her parents. Still, she learns the lesson she’s meant to learn and is presumably all the better for it. And then, of course, there’s Hadley learning to depend on herself. To shore up her insides and become a confident little girl who realizes she has the power to help herself.

The ‘unlikely new friends’ mentioned in the synopsis really are unexpected. Their introduction made me giggle. Adults who have seen the old movie Joe’s Apartment are going to get a laugh out of this book. (And if you haven’t seen that ridiculous movie, you need too!) Help definitely does come from unexpected places.

Grimm House is well-paced and easy to lose yourself in. It is a children’s book, but a surprisingly enjoyable one for adults to read too. I found myself invested in how Hadley was going to escape the situation.  Karen McQuestion is a talented writer. Grimm House is suitable for ages 7+, I believe.

4 Star Rated Grimm House Review

Title: Grimm House | Author: Karen McQuestion (site) | Publisher: Nightsky Press | Pub. Date: 2015-12-1 | Pages: 202 | ISBN13: 9780986416460 | Genre: Children’s Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited | Purchase on Amazon

This is Sci-Fi, Issue 6: Atomica, New York 2140, They Call Me Jeeg

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Sci-Fi post on Sci-Fi & Scary
This is Sci-Fi is a sampling of science fiction news across the mediums. From movies to books, to real life, and any bits in between that I can think of to list. This is by no means a comprehensive list of what’s happening, but it should whet your appetite!

This is Sci-Fi’s Quote to Consider

 

“Science Fiction: Any scientific acclaim that omits God.”
― Johnny Hart

Science Fiction Movies

Sci-Fi Movie Suggestion of the Week:

Movie cover for Starship Troopers Starship Troopers was released in 1997 and is a movie that you can either watch at face value, or delve a bit deeper into it. Personally, I watch it for the cheese, and nothing but the cheese, so help me bug. Its based on the Robert Heinlein novel by the same name. Lots of gigantic bugs, lots of bad lines, and if Casper Van Dien floats your boat, you’ll be extreeeeeeeeeemely happy.

Synopsis: Humans in a fascistic, militaristic future do battle with giant alien bugs in a fight for survival.

Watch the Starship Troopers trailer.

 

 

Opening this week (March 17th)

Atomica Synopsis: In the near future, when communications go offline at a remote nuclear power plant isolated in the desert, a young safety inspector, Abby Dixon, is forced to fly out to bring them back online. Once inside the facility, mysterious clues and strange behaviors cause Abby to have doubts about the sanity, and perhaps identities, of the two employees onsite.

Starring:  Tom Sizemore, Sarah Habel, Dominic Monaghan |

Watch the Atomica trailer here.

Side Note: My review for this movie will be coming out on Monday. I watched it a couple weeks ago and it was very well done, absent of cheese, and interesting. I’d definitely recommend it.

 

Movie cover for They Call Me JeegThey Call Me Jeeg Synopsis: Enzo, a lonely and misanthropic small time crook, uses the superpowers gained after falling in the Tiber river to chase down a crazy gangster called “The gypsy”.

StarringClaudio Santamaria, Luca Marinelli, Ilenia Pastorelli

Watch the They Call Me Jeeg trailer.

 

 

 


Featured Science Fiction Art


Underwater Robot Doodle + daily sketch update by Emoonya on DeviantArt

Just generally a well-done drawing that caught my eye.


Science Fiction Books

Book cover for New York 2140 by Kim Stanley RobinsonNew York 2140: A new vision of the future of New York City in the 22nd century, a flooded, but vibrant metropolis, from Kim Stanley Robinson, the New York Times bestselling author of science fiction masterworks such as the Mars trilogy, 2312, and Aurora.

The waters rose, submerging New York City. But the residents adapted and it remained the bustling, vibrant metropolis it had always been. Though changed forever. Every street became a canal. Every skyscraper an island.

Through the eyes of the varied inhabitants of one building, Kim Stanley Robinson shows us how one of our great cities will change with the rising tides.

And how we too will change. – Goodreads  — Amazon | B&N

 

Book cover for Pilot X by Tom Merritt

Pilot X:  What would happen if a time traveler lived in a world where time could not easily be changed and if it was changed, it might destroy everything but himself?

Pilot X just wants to fly a time ship. Specifically the Verity. But the Guardians of Alenda, rulers of his people, throw him in the middle of a time war. When he makes peace they don’t seem pleased. In fact, his own people treat him like the enemy. – Goodreads

Amazon | B&N

 

 

 

The Return: During a live television broadcast on the night of a lunar eclipse, renowned astrophysicist Andrew Leland is suddenly lifted into the sky by a giant spacecraft and taken away for all to see. Six years later, he turns up, wandering in a South American desert, denying ever having been abducted and disappearing from the public eye.

Meanwhile, he inspires legions of cultish devotees, including a young physics graduate student named Shawn Ferris who is obsessed with finding out what really happened to him. When Shawn finally tracks Leland down, he discovers that he’s been on the run for years, continuously hunted by a secret organization that has pursued him across multiple continents, determined to force him into revealing what he knows.

Shawn soon joins Leland on the run. Though Leland is at first reluctant to reveal anything, Shawn will soon learn the truth about his abduction, the real reason for his return, and will find himself caught up in a global conspiracy that puts more than just one planet in danger.- Amazon  — Amazon | B&N

Coming Soon: Flames of the Rebellion, The Beachhead, Nemesis, Infinity Engine, From Ice to Ashes

 


The Sci-Fi Zone: Science Fiction Songs

I was listening to my player in the car the other day and got to thinking just how many songs have a sci-fi theme to them. So, here is my list of the top sci-fi songs. They are in no certain order. I’m starting with Rush’s 2112 simply because it has the longest explanation to it. So let’s rock on with our bad selves!

  • 2112 – Rush – The song is set in the year 2112.  In the year 2062 several planets came under control of the Red Star of the Solar Federation. The story of the song is told through an unnamed Protagonist’s point of view. The peace and happiness of their ‘utopia’ is meely an illusion as everything is controlled by the Priests of the Temples of Syrinx.

I. Overture: The song is made up of several different movements. Overture is mainly instrumental with a sung “and the meek shall inherit the earth” at the end.

II. The Temples of Syrinx: The Priests of the Temple control every aspect of the population “we’ve taken care of everything, the words you hear, the songs you sing, the pictures that give pleasure to your eyes”. They do this with the help of “our great computers, fill our hallowed halls”. Their ‘equality’ is illusory.

III. Discovery: The Protagonist finds an old guitar in a cave behind a waterfall. He teaches himself how to tune and play it. He can’t wait to show it to the Priests, thinking they will be amazed and pleased with his discovery.

IV. Presentation: The Protagonist performs before the Priests but they are not as pleased as he’d hoped they’d be. They dismiss the guitar as “another toy which helped destroy the elder race of man”.The Protagonist tries to convince them otherwise “listen to my music, hear what it can do, there’s something here that’s strong as life, I know that it will reach you”. They crush the guitar and dismiss the Protagonist.

V. Oracle: The Dream: The Protagonist wanders hme and has a vision that he at first passes off as a dream, yet it seems so vivid and real. An oracle shows him what life was like before the Solar Federation took over. A society where individuality and creativity flourished. He also learns that the “elder race of men” was not destroyed but “left our planets long ago” intending to return home and “tear the Temples down”.

VI. Soliloquy: The Protagonist returns to his cave to brood and think. His spirit and soul are oppressed, thinking of the bland life under the Solar Federation. The movement ends as the Protagonist takes his own life.

VII. Grand Finale: The closing movement is an instrumental with the Solar Federation being attacked and conquered by an unknown entity. It closes with the words – “Attention all planets under the Solar Federation: We Have Assumed Control”. And that, friends, is the end of the song. In the actual song the unknown entity is ambiguous as to whom is taking control and what their intentions are. However, in a later interview, Peart (songwriter) states that he intended it to be a good ending. The attacking entity is the elder race of men returning and successfully deposing the Solar Federation.

 

  • Children of the Sun – Billy Thorpe – Benevolent aliens, The Children of the Sun, take the people of Earth aboard their spaceship and into space with them.
  • In the Year 2525 – Zager and Evans – A song about the future and possible repercussions of the advances of technology. For a song written in 1969 it’s predictions are scarily accurate.
  • Godzilla – Blue Oyster Cult – It’s Godzilla. What more can I say? Godzilla’s awesome. The only thing I’ll add is if they do another movie…Less people, more Godzilla bad-assery!

“Oh no! There goes Tokyo! Go, go Godzilla! History shows again and again, how nature points up the folly of men.”

  • Twilight Zone – Rush – Yup, Rush is back again. This time with a song about (you guessed it) one of my favorite shows of all time – The Twilight Zone.

“A pleasant-faced man steps up to greet you. He smiles and says he’s pleased to meet you. Beneath his hat the strangeness lies. Take it off, he’s got three eyes. Truth is false and logic lost, now the fourth dimension is crossed.”

“You have entered the Twilight Zone. beyond this world strange things are known. Use the key, unlock the door, see what your fate might have in store.”

 

  • Endgame – Megadeth – A very bleak look at one of many possible futures for this world. You can always count on Megadeth for a good dose of Dystopia.

“Attention! Attention! All citizens are ordered to report to their

District detention centers!

Do not return to your homes,

Do not contact anyone!

Do not use any cellular or G-P-S devices!

Surrender all weapons at once!

Attention! This way to the camps!”

 

  • Blood Gulch Blues – Trocadero – I tried not to include theme songs from shows but this (and the one below) are just too excellent to ignore. So, I give you Blood Gulch Blues, theme song of Red vs. Blue.

Roses are red

And violets are blue.

One day we’ll cruise down Blood Gulch avenue

It’s red versus red

and blue versus blue

It’s I against I

and me against you…

  • Iron Man – Black Sabbath – A man who traveled through time to save the future of mankind and was forgotten and discarded by those who sent him. And now he wants revenge.
  • The Great Unknown – Iron Maiden – I hate to do another dystopic song but the title fits so perfectly with the world as it is right now and hey, you can never go wrong with Maiden.

So, those are my choices. If you have any other suggestions I’d love to hear them! I’m always on the look out for new music.  – GracieKat


Science Fiction on the Web

Science Fiction Book Club Meeting!!

Do you Dare to Discuss Science Fiction? It’s not too late to join us, right here on Sci-Fi & Scary, on March 22nd at 7 PM EST when we discuss Agents of Dreamland by Caitlin Kiernan.

Agents of Dreamland is 4 bucks on Amazon, and its less than 125 pages long, so it’s a very quick read. Feel free to register for the forums (it’s free!) and join us for an hour-long discussion on the book.  I can tell you right now that opinions on the book are very mixed amongst the group that’s agreed to participate already, so it’s definitely going to be interesting!!

 

Proof of Concept Review (Sci-Fi Drama)

Book cover for Proof of Concept by Gwyneth JonesProof of Concept: On a desperately overcrowded future Earth, crippled by climate change, the most unlikely hope is better than none. Governments turn to Big Science to provide them with the dreams that will keep the masses compliant. The Needle is one such dream, an installation where the most abstruse theoretical science is being tested: science that might make human travel to a habitable exoplanet distantly feasible.

When the Needle’s director offers her underground compound as a training base, Kir is thrilled to be invited to join the team, even though she knows it’s only because her brain is host to a quantum artificial intelligence called Altair.

But Altair knows something he can’t tell.

Kir, like all humans, is programmed to ignore future dangers. Between the artificial blocks in his mind, and the blocks evolution has built into his host, how is he going to convince her the sky is falling? – Goodreads


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Our 2017 Spring Sci-Fi & Scary TBR

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it. This Tuesday we’re revealing our 2017 Spring Sci-Fi & Scary TBR (To Be Read) list. This list is ever changing, ever growing, but always filled with good books. If you’ve read any of the ones on our list, feel free to rave (or rant) about them below.  These books are all books that have already been released in 2017, but didn’t hit our radar immediately.

Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of www.brokeandbookish.com


Our 2017 Spring Sci-Fi & Scary TBR

Book cover for The Golden GateThe Golden Gate by Robert Buettner

Release Date: January 3rd, 2017

Synopsis: LIVE FOREVER—OR DIE TRYING. When the world’s richest man is the victim of a car bomb and literally blown off the Golden Gate Bridge the attack is attributed to terrorists and the world moves on. But some still wonder. Was Manuel Colibri targeted because, as Silicon Valley rumor has it, he was about to make the dream that people alive today can live to be one thousand come true?

Two people are pursuing the truth. Tech journalist Kate Boyle and recovering Iraq war veteran Ben Shepard race through the Bay Area chasing the only clues the reclusive Colibri left behind. They discover not only each other but a cosmic secret that can change human history—and may cost them their lives.

Thoughts: Reviews have compared it favorably to the DaVinci code, and have said that even though the narrative seems a bit meandering, it pays off in the end. While I’ve never read Buettner before, this one is looking steadily more appealing.

Amazon | B&N

 

 

Book cover for Lotus Blue

Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks

Release Date: March 7th, 2017

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Star and her sister Nene are orphans, part of a thirteen-wagon caravan of nomadic traders living hard lives travelling the Sand Road. Their route cuts through a particularly dangerous and unforgiving section of the Dead Red Heart, a war-ravaged desert landscape plagued by rogue semi-sentient machinery and other monsters from a bygone age.

But when the caravan witnesses a relic-Angel satellite unexpectedly crash to Earth, a chain of events begins that sends Star on a journey far away from the life she once knew. Shanghaied upon the sandship Dogwatch, she is forced to cross the Obsidian Sea by Quarrel, an ancient Templar supersoldier. Eventually shipwrecked, Star will have no choice but to place her trust in both thieves and priestesses while coming to terms with the grim reality of her past—and the horror of her unfolding destiny—as the terrible secret her sister had been desperate to protect her from begins to unravel.

Meanwhile, something old and powerful has woken in the desert. A Lotus Blue, deadliest of all the ancient war machines. A warrior with plans of its own, far more significant than a fallen Angel. Plans that do not include the survival of humanity.

Thoughts: Reviews are generally favorable for  Lotus Blue, but there are several complaints/concerns about the fact that there are too many characters. This makes me a bit reluctant to buy Lotus Blue, but it’s definitely listed as a library-read for me.  || Amazon | B&N

 

Book cover for The Hangman's Daughter

The Hangman’s Daughter by Gavin Smith

Release Date: January 6th, 2017

Synopsis: Four hundred years in the future, the most dangerous criminals are kept in suspended animation aboard prison ships and “rehabilitated” in a shared virtual reality environment. But Miska Storrow, a thief and hacker with a background in black ops, has stolen one of these ships, the Hangman’s Daughter, and made it her own. Controlled by explosive collars and trained in virtual reality by the electronic ghost of a dead marine sergeant, the thieves, gangsters, murderers, and worse are transformed into Miska’s own private indentured army: the Bastard Legion. Are the mercenaries just for fun and profit, or does Miska have a hidden purpose connected to her covert past?

Thoughts: Reviews say its classic military sci-fi (Yay!), the main character is crazy (likened to Harley Quinn), and it sounds like utter madness with a great narrator for the audio book. …………. I’m sold. Amazon

 

 

 

Book cover for The Keeper of Portals

The Keeper of Portals by VS Nelson

Release Date: January 28th, 2017

Synopsis: Everything in the universe is maintained by its own keeper, from the most insignificant insect to time itself. When 15 year-old Martin moves into a stately home that’s dangerously overhanging a cliff, he meets the Keeper of Portals and learns of the mysterious door at the end of his bedroom.

One morning, Martin wakes to discover the Keeper of Portals is missing and the door at the end of his bedroom is open. Martin steps through the door to find himself in the 17th century where he meets Isabel, the house’s maid. Upon discovering two imprisoned keepers, Martin and Isabel gain the ability to control time and travel through portals.

After being attacked by hordes of brainwashed villagers, Martin and Isabel learn that the master of the house has a devious plan, one the keepers are powerless to stop. Martin and Isabel must jump between the present day and the 17th century in order to hide from the twisted master, avoiding past versions of themselves, as powerful keepers thwart them at every turn. But as items from the future begin to bleed into the past and the present day is plagued by malfunctioning portals, Martin and Isabel’s only option is to confront the master – the Keeper of Questions.

Thoughts: Even though this is sci-fi/fantasy, which is not a line I like to cross much, it’s a middle-grade sci-fi/fantasy book. That’s enough to make me sit up and pay attention. I know I’d looked at this book before, but I had never caught the middle-grade thing. I have now, and now I need to read this. Reviews are generally positive, stressing that you keep in mind that this is not a book for adult readers. || Amazon | B&N

Book cover for Memento Mori

Memento Mori (Anthology)

Release Date: January 23rd, 2017

Synopsis: Memento Mori: A Digital Horror Fiction Anthology of Short Stories
If you’re looking for an array of Horror stories to sink your teeth into, look no further than Memento Mori…pay the Ferryman, and prepare to take the ride of your life.

The title, Memento Mori, is Latin and literally means: “Remember you too must die.” An ominous-sounding phrase, the saying derived from Puritan settlers who would often display tokens of death as a reminder to the living of the fragility of life…not to mention the eternal punishment awaiting those who wallowed in wickedness.

Death has always been a fascination to the living, meaning different things to different groups of people. Edgar Allan Poe nailed it when he said: “The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?”

Thoughts:  The cover is creative, I like the title and I really, really like themed anthologies – GK

Amazon 

 

Book cover for The Folcroft Ghosts

 The Folcroft Ghosts by Darcy Coates

Release Date: January 10th, 2017

Synopsis: Tara and her brother Kyle are sent to stay with their estranged grandparents when their mother is hospitalised. May and Peter Folcroft are warm and charming at first, and the house, hidden in the base of the mountains, seems idyllic.  But strange things start happening.  The swing moves on its own. Peter paces around the house at night and is obsessed with the lake where his sister drowned. Doors slam. Indistinct figures glide through the fog.

When a storm cuts the phone line and blocks the only road to town, May shifts from doting to obsessive. Tara and Kyle try to keep up the pretext of a happy family, but an empty journal and locked room provide clues to the unforgivable lies, secrets and decades-old murders entwined with the Folcrofts’ history.  Worse, the ghosts are growing agitated. Tara must confront the restless spirits if she and her brother have any hope of leaving the house alive.

Thoughts: I love the sepia-toned cover and the story features two of my favorite things: locked rooms and creepy journals.- GK  ((Lilyn: In the interest of full disclosure, I *have* already read Folcroft Ghosts but did not review it on the site. It was a good read!)) || Amazon

 

Book cover for Black Feathers

Black Feathers (Anthology)

Release Date: February 7th, 2017

Synopsis: Birds are usually loved for their beauty and their song. They symbolize freedom, eternal life, the soul.

There’s definitely a dark side to the avian. Birds of prey sometimes kill other birds (the shrike), destroy other birds’ eggs (blue jays), and even have been known to kill small animals (the kea sometimes eats live lambs). And who isn’t disgusted by birds that eat the dead—vultures awaiting their next meal as the lifeblood flows from the dying. One of our greatest fears is of being eaten by vultures before we’re quite dead.

Thoughts: The cover is beautiful and Ellen Datlow usually puts together a pretty good collection

Amazon | B&N

 

 

Book cover for Hekla's Children

Hekla’s Children by James Brogden

Release Date: March 7th, 2017

Synopsis: A decade ago, teacher Nathan Brookes saw four of his students walk up a hill and vanish. Only one returned – Olivia – starved, terrified, and with no memory of where she’d been. After a body is found in the same woodland where they disappeared, it is first believed to be one of the missing children, but is soon identified as a Bronze Age warrior, nothing more than an archaeological curiosity. Yet Nathan starts to have terrifying visions of the students. Then Olivia reappears, half-mad and willing to go to any lengths to return the corpse to the earth. For he is the only thing keeping a terrible evil at bay…

Thoughts:  This was actually just mentioned on this site, in our last “This is Horror” issue. I love a mix of creepy and history so this seemed very interesting to me (and you gotta love the creepy ‘the well’ cover).

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The Last Machine in the Solar System Review

The Last Machine the Solar System – Nearly three billion years into the future, the solar system is a very different place. Earth is long gone, and the sun is a gray, shrunken dwarf. All that remains of humanity and conscious thought is Jonathan the last machine.
Created to survive Earth’s destruction by our ever-expanding sun, Jonathan witnessed the end of life on Earth. This is his story and that of his creator, Nikolai. It is also the story of the human race, which failed to disentangle its destiny from the star that gave rise to all life-forms on Earth.” – Goodreads


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Writer’s Block: Tales from the Front Lines

This Sunday’s Guest Post is from Joseph Helmreich.  Joseph reached out to Sci-Fi & Scary a few weeks back, and we were more than happy to feature a piece from him. I think lots of people will appreciate this topic. Enjoy!

Joseph Helmreich is the author of The Return (2017, Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press) and co-author of Warring Parents, Wounded Children and the Wretched World of Child Custody (Greenwood Press, 2008).  In addition to his writing, he is a member of alternative folk duo, Honeybrick. He lives in New York City and works in film distribution.  Find him on Facebook or at http://josephhelmreich.tumblr.com.

WRITER’S BLOCK: TALES FROM THE FRONTLINES

by Joseph Helmreich

You’re driving down a wide and scenic highway.  On one side of the road lie enormous snowcapped mountains, lush greenery, shimmering crystal lakes.  On the other side, in the far distance, you can make out a stunning metropolis, shiny glass skyscrapers stretching high into the clouds.

Soon, however, the mountains and buildings give way to desert.  Not the romantically rugged wilderness of the Mojave or the sleek and endless gold of the Sahara, but a world of drab and dusty lifelessness, the monotony broken up only by the occasional cactus or ox skull.  You continue to drive.  There’s nothing much up ahead, but that’s okay because you can’t remember where you were going, anyway.  You had a destination at some point, you’re sure of that, but you probably took a wrong turn long ago.  Now you’re all alone in the desert and you start to wonder if you’ll ever find your way back out.

Fiction writers know this feeling well.  Their story, once filled with so much promise and vitality, is suddenly stalled.  The well has run dry.  This can happen at the early stages of a project when the writer is first coming to terms with the infamously paralyzing Blank Page.  It can happen midway through, when the story is spiraling in so many different directions that the writer can’t keep them tied together.  It can happen later, in the face of pressure to deliver a killer ending, or barring that, one that will at least resolve the story.  Whenever it occurs, the result is the same: the writer is stuck.

Or, to use the universally favored term, blocked.

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