The Slant Six by Christopher F. Cobb #Bookreview

Title: The Slant Six | Author: Christopher F. Cobb | Publisher: Darkwater Syndicate | Pub. Date: 2017-3-31 | Pages: 300 | ISBN13: 9781370643950 | Genre: Science Fiction Comedy | Language: English | Triggers: Child Death | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration


The Slant Six

The year is 2252 and Loman Phin is in trouble. A washed-up channelship racer turned freelancer, he hits pay dirt with his latest mission: a fortune is on the line if he can transport forty-three kilograms of human skin to a remote villa on Pluto’s moon, Nix. Little does he know his very life is at stake when he gets caught up in an ancient feud, chased by a space vampire, and forced into a death-race by the king of Ceres. Meanwhile, danger is always hot on his heels in the form of a massive space freighter out for Loman’s blood. With just his wits, his friends, and his beat-up cruiser, the Slant Six, Loman sets out on the most dangerous adventure of his life.

Book cover The Slant Six

The Slant Six Review

Hold on to your bits, folks, and keep this book away from innocent eyes. The Slant Six is an exercise in naughty, punny action fun set in outer space. This is a world that has seen all of our favorite classic cars re-imagined, proves that movie franchises never really die, and so much more. There’s even proof that one particular family drama is going to survive until the sun goes supernova and kills us all. (And probably beyond that. Somehow.) Apart from the (welcome) homages and nods to classics, Christopher Cobb’s world of commercialization, racing, and  Serverse powered by Applesoft is surprisingly believable.

Loman Phin is your classic down-on-his-luck good guy with a sad backstory that gets caught up in a situation that quickly gets out of control. There’s androids (“faxes”), grifters, d’Seussians, and egocentric snizz-faces abounding. This isn’t a story that happens in spurts and dribbles. Its well lubricated and revved up from start to finish. And of course there’s the ending. The ending for The Slant Six took me by surprise. And, to be honest, at first I didn’t particularly care for it. However, upon reflection, it was a very suitable ending. After all, not all books that are funny have to be funny all the time. 

Christopher F. Cobb’s imagination is shown off perfectly in The Slant Six. So much of it, from general feel to outright puns, will appeal to Piers Anthony fans. His more adult works, anyways. (Pornucopia, anyone?) At times it’s easy to forget that there is an actual story being told, as you’re easily distracted by all the fun (or gross) imagery Cobb lays out for you. But there is indeed a story, and a subplot you’ll root for.

It took me a few pages for The Slant Six to suck me in, but once it got me worked up, it was hard to look away. The pacing is great, the dialogue is perfect, and the action feels almost non-stop! The Slant Six is outrageous, hilarious, dirty-minded, and entertaining from start to finish. I highly recommend it (unless you’re prudish and/or easily offended).

 

The Puller Review (Horror)

Title: The Puller | Author: Michael Hodges | Publisher: Severed Press | Pub. Date: 2015-4-23 | Pages: 277 | ASIN: B00WM9SUPY | Genre: Creature Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited |


The Puller

Matt Kearns has two choices: fight or hide. The creature in the orchard took the rest.

Three days ago, he arrived at his favorite place in the world, a remote shack in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The plan was to mourn his father’s death and figure out his life.

Now he’s fighting for it.

An invisible creature has him trapped. Every time Matt tries to flee, he’s dragged backwards by an unseen force.

Alone and with no hope of rescue, Matt must escape the Puller’s reach. But how do you free yourself from something you cannot see? – Goodreads

Optioned for Film.

The Puller.jpg

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The Seventh Sun Review (Science Fiction)

Title: The Seventh Sun | Author: Kent Lester | Publisher: Forge Books | Pub. Date: 2017-4-18 | Pages: 416 | ISBN13: 9780765382221 | Genre; Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration


The Seventh Sun

In a breathtaking debut drawing on complex science and recently discovered deep-sea biology, Kent Lester has married fast-paced narrative and cutting-edge, reality-based science to produce an edge-of-the-seat thriller.

A seemingly random murder off the Honduran coast leads scientist Dan Clifford to a massive corporate conspiracy. Illegal, automated, undersea operations have unwittingly awakened a primordial organism that turns host organisms into neurotoxin factories, wreaking havoc with aquatic life and the nearby human population. This maleficence threatens to trigger a worldwide outbreak that could end in human extinction, the Seventh Sun of ancient myth.

When the CDC and the full resources of the U.S. biological threats team fail to uncover the source of the devastation, Dan and a brilliant marine biologist, Rachel Sullivan, must plumb the deeps and face an unimaginable, ancient horror in the murky depths. It’s up to them to stop this terror before a determined multi-national corporation unleashes death on an unsuspecting world.  – Goodreads

Book cover for The Seventh Sun

The Seventh Sun Review

The Seventh Sun was an interesting look at how our thoughtless raping of the environment may very well turn on us. Within pages of starting it, I was telling one of my friends about it because I had this feeling it was going to be an awesome ecological thriller. I told her “It hasn’t gelled yet, but when it does, it’s going to be great!” I was all excited for it to happen, eagerly cataloging characters, facts, etc.

But, unfortunately, The Seventh Sun never quite gelled. The pieces came together fairly well, and the story was competently told. However, it never took that step beyond ‘competently told’. It was informative, interesting, but never engaging.

One of the problems that really held the book back was the main female character, Rachel Sullivan. She was just not well-written. You could feel the whole woe-is-me act coming from a mile away, so when one of the big revelations in the book happened, it had me yawning. Actually, this happened quite a bit and not only with Rachel. It was one of those deals where the characters never got more than mildly interesting because you’d seen them so many times before. A great writer can take a typical character and still make them interesting. Kent Lester isn’t quite there in The Seventh Sun.

Another problem with The Seventh Sun was the dialogue. It was never horrible, but there were several times when I was frustrated with it. It was very methodical and unimaginative. It just felt like Kent Lester was afraid to take chances, and wrote a very ‘safe’ book as a consequence.

Safe books don’t do much for readers. This one fled my mind so quickly after I finished reading it that it was almost a day later before I remembered I hadn’t written up the review for it. The only things that really stand out in the book for me are the things I didn’t like so it’s really hard to put much positive in here. I’m sorry for that.

The Seventh Sun is not a bad book. I didn’t hate it. It just never comes close to being the ‘edge-of-the-seat thriller’ that the blurb promises.

Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love Review

Title: Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love | Author: Sarah Vaughn | Illustrator: Lan Medina | Publisher: DC | Pub. Date: 2017-6-6 | Pages: 160 | ASIN: B072HXGLHV | Genre: Paranormal Fantasy Graphic Novel | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from Netgalley for review consideration.


Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love

Boston Brand is a dead man walking. More than walking, actually—his uncanny abilities enable him to float, fly and seize control of the bodies of the living. He’s no mere ghost. He’s something more powerful, more heroic. He is Deadman! And he’s about to meet Berenice—a living woman with powers of her own.

Berenice’s complicated life and loves have driven her to the haunted halls of the sprawling mansion known as Glencourt Manor. It’s a place where the forces of darkness are known to gather—a house where a person with Berenice’s power to talk to the dead could accomplish great good…or unleash incredible evil.

Separated by the boundary between life and death, yet able to walk between both worlds, Deadman and Berenice must work together to unravel the mystery of the Manor and defeat the dark forces that threaten to erupt. Mystery, murder, resurrection and romance await. The only question is, are their hearts and souls strong enough to survive?

Unlock the answer in DEADMAN: DARK MANSION OF FORBIDDEN LOVE, from acclaimed creators Sarah Vaughn (ALEX + ADA), Lan Medina (FABLES) and José Villarrubia (SWEET TOOTH). This Gothic tale of passion and betrayal is an all-new twist on the character of Boston Brand. Collects DEADMAN: DARK MANSION OF FORBIDDEN LOVE Books #1-3. – Goodreads

Deadman Dark Mansion

Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love Review

I went into Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love completely blind. I had never heard of the character Deadman/Boston Brand before. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by either the writer or illustrator for this book. So, yeah, completely unfamiliar with all aspects of it.

The art for Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love was simple yet effective. Very straightforwardly illustrated for the most part. It served to make Deadman himself stand out that much more. The color choices went along well with the illustration style. However, one area that gave me a lot of trouble reading Deadman was the white words on the light blue background that relayed the main female character’s internal thoughts. The white on red of Deadman’s was a bit easier. Because I read this as an epub, it was hard to find a ‘just right’ setting that enabled me to easily see the character’s internal thoughts and not have to scroll inch by inch down through the pages. It made for a somewhat uncomfortable reading experience that left me with a minor headache every time I tackled the story. A more clear font might have made a world of difference.

I liked the diverse representation in Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love. Berenice is (appears to be, at least) bi/ possibly pan-sexual, and Sam is non-binary as well as African American. I also appreciated the fact that that Berenice wasn’t your typical model-looking knockout so often found in comic books. She was actually rather plain and dressed in clothes normal women actually wear.

As for the story itself, it was interesting. Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love is sort of a superhero and gothic ghost story mashup. It takes place inside an old mansion that had been closed up for over 150 years. The story is dark with a definite air of mystery to it. The interactions between Brand and Berenice are fun. The twist with one of the other characters caught me by surprise. (It was a good thing, as some of the other elements of the book aren’t exactly subtle.)

Given the headache that I suffered through to finish Deadman: Dark Mansion of Forbidden Love, I can’t say I’ll ever pick up another volume. However, fans of paranormal fantasy and superhero novels should definitely give Deadman a shot. If it wasn’t for the headache, I would have enjoyed the story a lot more than I did. It’s not the most well-written or meaningful, but it is entertaining nonetheless. And the message of acceptance is a nice one. 

 

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #20

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

05/20/2017 – 05/26/2017

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

 

The days are getting longer now. That’s good. You never know what’s lurking in the dark.
Continue reading “Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #20”

This is Sci-Fi, Issue 8: Thrawn, Avengers of the Moon, and Cyber Implants

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Sci-Fi post on Sci-Fi & ScaryThis 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

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”

― Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing

 

Science Fiction Movies

Sci-Fi Movie Suggestion of the Week:

Movie Poster for The Day After TomorrowThe Day After Tomorrow: It’s no secret that I love this movie. It’s the perfect movie to put on when you need low-key background stuff without loud jarring music and the whatnot. I’ve fallen asleep watching it probably fifty times by now. However, the reason I’m recommending it as the sci-fi movie suggestion of the week is simple – it’s cli-fi, and cli-fi is increasingly relevant. Four days ago I was wrapping up my little Japanese Maple to keep it from getting frost bitten. Two days later I was outside in shorts, weeding the garden and sweating. That’s all sorts of just wrong. But, hey, climate change isn’t real! (And if you believe that, I got a piece of ocean front property in Ohio you’d love to buy!)

Synopsis: Jack Hall, paleoclimatologist, must make a daring trek across America to reach his son, trapped in the cross-hairs of a sudden international storm which plunges the planet into a new Ice Age.

Watch The Day After Tomorrow trailer.

 

Science Fiction movies Opening This Week (April 14th):

Movie poster for Spark A Space TailSpark: A Space Tail Synopsis: Spark, a teenage monkey, and his friends, Chunk and Vix, are on a mission to regain Planet Bana – a kingdom overtaken by the evil overlord Zhong.

Starring:  Jessica Biel, Susan Sarandon, Patrick Stewart

Watch the Spark: A Space Tail trailer.

 

 

 

Still in Theaters:

Ghost in the ShellSee our review.

Power RangersSee our review.


Featured Sci-Fi Art


M.E.S.T. Convoy by St-Pete on DeviantArt

It’s a simple scene, and until you look at it twice, nothing appears out of the ordinary. Then you notice the vaguely transformer-ish looks to the convoy, and it’s sheer size against the figure in the front.


Burgess Meredith – IMDB Photo

The Sci-Fi Zone: Burgess Meredith

 

Burgess Meredith was a familiar face on the Twilight Zone. His roles ranged from the put-upon reader who only wants a little time to read, to a man rendered Obsolete by a harsh future and the Devil himself. Besides the Twilight Zone he was no stranger to science-fiction. He was very versatile and it’s easy to see why he would become a regular on Twilight Zone. Below are Burgess Meredith’s Top Science Fiction Appearances (links are all to IMDB.)

 

   Top Ten Science Fiction Roles of Burgess Meredith

 

 

  1. Lights Out: Martian Eyes
  1. Tales of Tomorrow: The Great Silence
  1. Twilight Zone: Time Enough at Last
  1. Twilight Zone: Mr. Dingle the Strong
  1. Twilight Zone: The Obsolete Man
  1. The Invaders: Wall of Crystal
  1. Twilight Zone: The Movie
  1. Night Gallery: Finnegan’s Flight
  1. Night Gallery: Room with a View/Little Black Bag/The Nature of the Enemy
  1. The Amazing Captain Nemo (movie)

 

These are just a few of his roles. My personal favorite (besides the Twilight Zone episodes, of course) is his voice work on Puff, the Magic Dragon.


Science Fiction Books

Book cover Best Science Fiction of the Year Volume 2 The Best Science Fiction of the Year Vol 2: Night Shade Books is proud to introduce the latest volume of The Best Science Fiction of the Year, a new yearly anthology compiled by Hugo and World Fantasy award–winning editor Neil Clarke, collecting the finest that the genre has to offer, from the biggest names in the field to the most exciting new writers.

The best science fiction scrutinizes our culture and politics, examines the limits of the human condition, and zooms across galaxies at faster-than-light speeds, moving from the very near future to the far-flung worlds of tomorrow in the space of a single sentence. Clarke, publisher and editor in chief of the acclaimed and award-winning magazine Clarkesworld, has selected the short science fiction (and only science fiction) best representing the previous year’s writing, showcasing the talent, variety, and awesome “sensawunda” that the genre has to offer.

 

 

 

Book cover for Avengers of the MoonAvengers of the Moon: The solar system needs a hero and it’s about to get one in an old-fashioned pulp adventure with modern sensibility.

It was an age of miracles. It was an era of wonder. It was a time of troubles. It was all these things and more . . . except there were no heroes. Naturally, one had to be created.

Curt Newton has spent most of his life hidden from the rest of humankind, being raised by a robot, an android, and the disembodied brain of a renowned scientist. This unlikely trio of guardians has kept his existence a closely guarded secret since the murder of Curt’s parents. Curt’s innate curiosity and nose for trouble inadvertently lead him into a plot to destabilize the Solar Coalition and assassinate the president. There’s only one way to uncover the evil mastermind—Curt must become Captain Future.

With the permission of the Edmond Hamilton estate, Allen Steele revives the exciting adventures of Captain Future.

 

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 Kir Heilsen’s people as a training base, Heilesen is thrilled to be invited to join the team, even though she knows it’s only because her brain is host to an AI 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?

See our review.

 

 

A conversation about fat naked cats got me thinking about Jabba the Hut, which means you lucky guys and gals get Star Wars for this Focus!

Book cover for Star Wars: Aftermath Book cover for Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire Book cover for Star Wars: Heir to the Empire

 


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