The Last Colossus Review (Sci-Fi Thriller)

Title: The Last Colossus | Author: Michael Hodges | Publisher: Severed Press | Pub. Date: 2017-5-28 | Pages: 186 | ASIN: B072C7MH7T | Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: Sharks | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited


The Last Colossus

Rugged adventure guide and “player” Ron Combs leads a group of thrill-seekers to an island off Washington’s coast. But when devastating lava flows destroy their boat and overtake the island, Ron and his clients are forced one-by-one into the sea, where a gigantic prehistoric predator awaits. 

Trapped between the lava-covered island and the huge jaws of an ancient shark, Ron teams up with his client Rachel to devise a way to keep everyone safe…even if it means sacrificing himself in the process, and finally changing his ways. – Goodreads

Book cover for The Last Colossus

The Last Colossus Review

I love books like Michael Hodges’ The Last Colossus It gave me all the cheese, blood, guts, and fiery threats of death a girl could want. But it also gave me a couple of characters that I couldn’t help but like. I was actively rooting for them to have a happy ending halfway through the book.  That always makes it strange for me. I mean, I’m the girl who wants to watch the world (in literature and film at least) burn, so wanting a happy ending is always just weird.

When the Captain of this particular adventure is named Ron, it’s kind of inevitable that in my mind he would morph into a floofy haired Kurt Russell in my mind. And, indeed, some of the feats of quick-thinking and pure balls this man pulls off are definitely worthy of He-Who-Rocked-The-Phallic-Tummy-Tattoo.  Ron Combs is a quick-thinking guy who wants nothing more than to make money and shag a pretty girl or ten, but at his core, he’s a good guy. When his Party Island group finds their plans gone Overboard, he rises to the occasion. He is determined to protect his clients, but if it’s not one Thing, it’s another…  Eventually, it seems like it’ll take a Miracle to see any of them get out of this alive.

Hodges’ is a solid writer. I discovered him when I first read The Puller, and it was the memory of that book that hooked me into reading The Last Colossus. The man just knows how to write battles of man against monster, whether it be tricky tentacly ones, or massive megaladons. He proves it in this book. It’s a group of (mostly) young adults who have to use their wits (or Ron’s at least) to try and survive not one but two We’re Screwed scenarios.  Death by lava, or death by shark?

Now, if it had been a truly bad-movie-worthy book, the megaladon would have been made of lava, or something. Still, nobody is perfect, and even though the author’s imagination didn’t quite stretch to those epic levels, it was a fin-tastically fun (and yes, thrilling) read.

 The Last Colossus was one of those books that you ‘saw’ instead of read.  Each word seemed perfectly chosen, and there are several scenes in there that you won’t want to read before bedtime. (Especially if you have a thing about the ocean. I, for the record, have a thing about the ocean.)

Very happy with this latest read from Michael Hodges. While it’s not exactly a literary masterpiece, it is a pleasing mega-chunk of sci-fi horror cheese.

Fiery, shark-flavored cheesy floof.

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This is Sci-Fi, Issue 16: The Dark Tower, Noumenon, and Acadie

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

This is Sci-Fi, Issue 16  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 Weekly Quote:

“A writer is very much like the captain on a star ship facing the unknown. When you face the blank page and you have no idea where you’re going. It can be terrifying, but it can also be the adventure of a lifetime.”
― Michael Piller

Science Fiction Movies

Opening This Week (August 4th):

Movie cover for The Dark TowerThe Dark Tower Synopsis: The last Gunslinger, Roland Deschain, has been locked in an eternal battle with Walter O’Dim, also known as the Man in Black, determined to prevent him from toppling the Dark Tower, which holds the universe together. With the fate of the worlds at stake, good and evil will collide in the ultimate battle as only Roland can defend the Tower from the Man in Black

Starring: Idris ElbaMatthew McConaugheyTom Taylor

Runtime: 1 hr 35 minutes

Rating: PG 13

Watch the trailer on Youtube.

 

 


 

In Theaters Now

Spiderman: Homecoming

War for the Planet of the Apes (review)

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

Wonder Woman (review)

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Science Fiction Books

3 New Releases (July 19th – August 4th)

Book cover for A Man of Shadows

A Man of Shadows – Jeff Noon – August 1st, 2017

The brilliant, mind-bending return to science fiction by one of its most acclaimed visionaries

Below the neon skies of Dayzone – where the lights never go out, and night has been banished – lowly private eye John Nyquist takes on a teenage runaway case. His quest takes him from Dayzone into the permanent dark of Nocturna.

As the vicious, seemingly invisible serial killer known only as Quicksilver haunts the streets, Nyquist starts to suspect that the runaway girl holds within her the key to the city’s fate. In the end, there’s only one place left to search: the shadow-choked zone known as Dusk.

Book cover for Noumenon

Noumenon – Marina J. Lostetter – August 1st, 2017

In 2088, humankind is at last ready to explore beyond Earth’s solar system. But one uncertainty remains: Where do we go?

Astrophysicist Reggie Straifer has an idea. He’s discovered an anomalous star that appears to defy the laws of physics, and proposes the creation of a deep-space mission to find out whether the star is a weird natural phenomenon, or something manufactured.

The journey will take eons. In order to maintain the genetic talent of the original crew, humankind’s greatest ambition—to explore the furthest reaches of the galaxy—is undertaken by clones. But a clone is not a perfect copy, and each new generation has its own quirks, desires, and neuroses. As the centuries fly by, the society living aboard the nine ships (designated “Convoy Seven”) changes and evolves, but their mission remains the same: to reach Reggie’s mysterious star and explore its origins—and implications.

Book cover for Children of the Divide

Children of the Divide – Patrick S. Tomlinson – August 1st, 2017

No matter how far humanity comes, it can’t escape its own worst impulses…

A new generation comes of age eighteen years after humanity arrived on the colony planet Gaia. Now threats from both within and outside their Trident threaten everything they’ve built. The discovery of an alien installation inside Gaia’s moon, terrorist attacks and the kidnap of a man’s daughter stretch the community to breaking point, but only two men stand a chance of solving all three mysteries before the makeshift planetary government shuts everything down.

Goodreads Science Fiction Giveaways: (Some may be ending soon, so make sure you enter now if you’re interested.)

Book cover for Acadie

Book cover for Afterlife

The Empress

 

 

 

 

 

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The Sci-Fi Zone

Those Crazy, Crazy Kaiju

Kaiju are very cool, very big monsters. Looking up the literal translation it seems to translate as either “massive rock formation” or “strange beast”. I think the latter version is the particular translation we’re looking for. Strange Beasts are certainly what the traditional Kaiju are. Not only in size but in plot and their powers. Some are just downright weird. They’re fun, usually bizarre monsters that can either help or hinder (and by hinder I mean ‘squish’) humanity. So, I’ve picked a few of my favorites to share with you!

1. Godzilla: Probably one of the most famous of these monstrosities, literally having the title of ‘King of the Monsters’ and having fought most of the other big monsters. sometimes his actions are a bit ambiguous. Sometimes he’s the terror of Japan while later he’s more often portrayed in a protector role. American remakes have not been kind to poor Godzilla. To future Godzilla movie makers – More Godzilla! Less people. He is also the only one with the honour of having his own song: ‘Godzilla’ by The Blue Oyster Cult (“Oh, no, there goes Tokyo, go, go Godzilla! History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man, Godzilla!”).

2. Gamera: Truly the first Mutant Ninja Turtle, Gamera has a few…odd abilities. Abilities which include a blast from his stomach and the ability to pull his extremities into his shell and fly like a demented, deadly Frisbee. On one hand I’d love for my turtle to be able to do that. On the other hand I’m not sure how I’d like a careening, laser-shooting turtle flying about the living room. He also has fought his fair share of enemies but we have yet to see a Gamera vs. Godzilla match-up outside of a YouTube video.

3. Rodan: A flying pterodactyl type creature that looks like a cross between a pterodactyl and a dragon. His main features are his sonic waves and windstorms from the beating of it’s gigantic wings. He also made an appearance in Stephen King’s ‘IT’ as Mike Hanlon’s fear. This version of Rodan is a lot more bird-like.

4. Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster – A golden three-headed dragon from space. It’s evil presence propels Mothra into trying to negotiate peace between Godzilla and Rodan, in order to protect Earth. They’re quite uninterested. So, Mothra bravely faces the golden beast alone but eventually Godzilla and Rodan put aside their differences (temporarily) to help Mothra out. Combined, they overwhelm Ghidora and save the world. While I can’t remember Ghidorah’s exact abilities but he’s pretty cool looking and that makes up for a lot!

5. Mothra: One of the few outright stated female Kaiju, Mothra awakens because an evil villain has kidnapped the tiny little women who sing to Mothra to lull it to sleep. After they are kidnapped, despite their warnings, Mothra awakens from it’s cocoon. Godzilla also shows up briefly near the end.

Tiny singing women, golden three-headed dragons, Godzilla and a princess whom is possessed by a martian. How can you not love these movies? Yes, they’re cheesy. But at least you can actually see the monsters. Because really, in regards to giant monster movies, the latest Godzilla was a cut-off, dark, disappointment. Next time we want to see the monsters. I’d even pay more for an excellent (well-lit) Ghidorah movie with the three (or four if they decide to include Gamera)monster brawl without all of the unnecessary human drama.

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Science Fiction on the Web

Press Release: STASIS (Sci-Fi Thriller)

 

Movie cover for Stasis

STASIS – a Sci-Fi Thriller

STASIS – XLrator Media

AVAILABLE ON VOD AND iTUNES: August 29, 2017

DIRECTED BY: Nicole Jones-Dion

WRITTEN BY: Nicole Jones-Dion

CAST: Anna Harr, Mark Grossman, Phyllis Spielman, Tiana Masaniai

SYNOPSIS: After a night out partying and being left behind by friends, Ava sneaks back home to find that she’s already safe in bed.  But that’s not Ava… it’s someone who looks like her.  A time-traveling fugitive has stolen Ava’s body, which makes Ava a virtual ghost, who is silent and invisible to the world. But Ava is not alone. There are other body snatchers secretly living among us, plotting to alter the future. Ava realizes she can stop these body snatchers and put the timeline back on course.

GENRE:  Sci-Fi, Thriller

DISTRIBUTOR: XLrator Media

Sci-Fi & Scary interviewed Nicole Jones-Dion in the past. You can find that interview here. In fact, we actually addressed Stasis in the interview!

S&S: Tell us a bit about Stasis, your upcoming movie, if you can? IMDB is not very helpful at the moment!

Nicole Jones-Dion: The producers are being pretty secretive, but I found this synopsis elsewhere online so I think it’s safe to share: “After a night out of partying and left behind by her friends, Ava wakes up and sneaks back home only to find that she’s already safe in bed. But that’s not Ava… it’s someone who looks just like her. A time-traveling fugitive has stolen Ava’s body, her identity, and her life. What’s more — she’s not alone. There are others, hiding in the past, secretly living among us, plotting to alter the future. Without her body, Ava is a virtual ghost, silent and invisible to the world. And, as far as she knows, she’s the only one who can stop them and put the timeline back on course.”

Nicole Jones-Dion is an LA-based writer/director who specializes in genre films. She is currently in pre-production on a YA fantasy that begins shooting this spring. Her first feature film, a YA sci-fi called STASIS, was from one of the executive producers of CLOUD ATLAS. Her writing credits include THEY FOUND HELL for the SyFy Channel; DRACULA: THE DARK PRINCE starring Academy Award-winner Jon Voight, which was distributed by Lionsgate; and TEKKEN 2, based on the best-selling series of video games. She also has several projects in development with her mentor, Sean Cunningham (creator of FRIDAY THE 13TH).

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.

Press Release: SYFY Films Releases ‘Realive’

SYFY FILMS RELEASES ‘REALIVE’ 

In Theaters September 29 and on VOD and Digital HD October 3

NEW YORK, NY – July 12, 2017 – Syfy Films today announces the release of the upcoming sci-fi film REALIVE, in theaters on September 29 and on VOD and Digital HD on October 3.  The film is written and directed by Mateo Gil (“Vanilla Sky,” “The Sea Inside”). The cast includes Tom Hughes (“About Time,” “London Town”), Charlotte Le Bon (“The Walk,” “The Hundred-Foot Journey”), Oona Chaplin (“Taboo,” “Game of Thrones”) and Barry Ward (“The Fall,” “The Journey,”). REALIVE premiered at the 2016 Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal followed by official selections of the FrightFest Film Festival in the U.K. and Sitges International Film Festival in Spain.

In REALIVE, Marc Jarvis (Tom Hughes) is diagnosed with a disease and given a short time to live. Unable to accept his own end, he decides to freeze his body. 60 years later, in the year 2084, he becomes the first cryogenically frozen man to be revived in history. Marc discovers a startling future, but the biggest surprise is that his past has accompanied him in unexpected ways.

REALIVE is produced by Ibon Cormenzana and Ignasi Estapé of Arcadia Motion Pictures, in coproduction with Jérôme Vidal of Noodles. Marina Fuentes of Dreamcatchers acted as associate producer.

For more information on the film, please visit https://www.facebook.com/RealiveMovie/

 

Realive still starring Tom Hughes
Tom Hughes as Marc Jervis Photo Courtesy of Syfy Films

About Syfy

SYFY is a global, multiplatform media brand that gives science fiction fans of all kinds a universe to call home. Celebrating the genre in all its forms, SYFY super-serves passionate fans with original science fiction, fantasy, paranormal and superhero programming, live event coverage and imaginative digital and social content. The brand is powered by SYFY Wire (www.syfywire.com), the premier portal for breaking genre news, insight and commentary. SYFY is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

 

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Binti Review (Sci-Fi Short Story)

Title: Binti | Series: Binti #1 | Author: Nnedi Okorafor | Publisher: Tor.com | Pub. Date: 2015-9-22 | Pages: 96 | ISBN13: 9780765384461 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Library


Binti

Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs.

Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti’s stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach.

If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself – but first she has to make it there, alive.

Book cover for Binti for African American Science Fiction and Horror Authors

Binti Review

My first experience with Nnedi Okorafor was her novel Lagoon. To say that I wasn’t impressed would be to put it mildly. That book made lots of promises that ended up feeling empty to me. So, needless to say, it wasn’t the best first impression that an author could make. I didn’t know after reading it if I would ever be willing to give her another try. But then I saw Binti sitting on the shelf at the library. And I saw how tiny of a book it actually was (length wise and actual size as well). I figured at most I’d be wasting an hour of my time if I hated it.

I didn’t hate it.

I wish Binti had been my introduction to Nnedi Okorafor’s work. I really do. 

Binti hammers home what it’s like to be different. To be an alien amongst your own race. To be alien even to those in your own family. I think where Binti succeeds is that Nnedi Okorafor speaks those of us that are different in ways that don’t begin with the color of our skin or our gender. She speaks to the ones whose minds shine with a rare brightness. Binti is someone that fellow outsiders can connect with. She is that fellow soul that simply can’t be what her society expects her to be. And while she’s giving us a way to connect with her even if we can’t in other ways. Its a connection that is seamlessly made, even while her surface otherness is kept front and center as well.

I am that white girl that’s skin is so sensitive to the sun it can almost only be exposed to it through tinted glass. I wear the darkest possible sunglasses because I reject bright sunlight instinctively. I am so pale you can easily trace the blue of my veins underneath my skin. I don’t know what it’s like to face the racism that African Americans do on a daily basis, and I’ll never claim to. Because of that Binti surprised me because of the way it made me feel. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I had this sudden great insight about white people being toerags or anything like that. Collectively, we are. I’m aware of that and I don’t think that’s what this short story was all about. No, Binti  surprised me because Nnedi Okorafor made me step into the shoes of someone other in ways I could and could not identify with, and then she took it a step further. It’s hard to even put it into words, especially without spoiling anything. Let’s just say that when she becomes aware of the change that has occurred, that bereftness resonated through me. I felt invaded. I wanted to scream with her because it’s one thing to be different by circumstance of birth or mental makeup. With the first, you have a community to support you, that will understand. To the second, you generally have the ability to find a way to deal with it, because on at least some level you are choosing to display your uniqueness.

But to have any choice taken away? To have part of you altered against your will? To have never even been given the opportunity to say no?

That is terrifying. That is heartbreaking.

And that is the power of Binti

Oh, and the ship was very neat as well.

I wouldn’t have any other way.

This is Sci-Fi, Issue 14: Spiderman, The Silence, and a Whovian Poll

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

This is Sci-Fi, Issue 14  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!

Your Weekly Science Fiction Inspired Quote:

“I was attracted to science fiction because it was so wide open. I was able to do anything and there were no walls to hem you in and there was no human condition that you were stopped from examining.”
― Octavia E. Butler

 

Science Fiction Movies

Your Science Fiction Movie Suggestions of the Week:

New Science Fiction Releases This Week (July 7th):

Movie poster for Spiderman Homecoming

Spiderman: Homecoming

Spiderman: Homecoming Synopsis: Several months after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Peter Parker, with the help of his mentor Tony Stark, tries to balance his life as an ordinary high school student in Queens, New York City while fighting crime as his superhero alter ego Spider-Man as a new threat, the Vulture, emerges.

Starring:  Tom HollandMichael KeatonRobert Downey Jr.

Watch the trailer here.

Oh, lookit, another Spiderman movie. This makes how many in the last ten years? It’s like a scratched disk in an old cd player. It just keeps rest—restar—-restarting. 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Movies In Theatres Now:

Transformers: The Last Knight

Wonder Woman (review)

 

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Science Fiction Books

3 New Releases 

Book cover for an Oath of Dogs

An Oath of Dogs – Wendy W. Wagner – Release Date: July 4th, 2017

Kate Standish has been on Huginn less than a week and she s already pretty sure her new company murdered her boss. But extractions corporations dominate the communities of the forest world, and few are willing to threaten their meal tickets to look too closely at corporate misbehaviour. The little town of mill workers and farmers is more worried about the threat of eco-terrorism and a series of attacks by the bizarre, sentient dogs of this planet, than a death most people would like to believe is an accident. When Standish connects a secret chemical test site to a nearly forgotten disaster in Huginn s history, she reveals a conspiracy that threatens Standish and everyone she s come to care about.”

Buy links: Amazon | B&N

Book cover for The Silence

The Silence – The Six #3 – Mark Alpert – July 1, 2017

Transformers meets The Terminator in the epic conclusion to this action-packed trilogy

When Adam acquires a mysterious new power that connects his electronic mind with the complexity of atomic physics, he quickly learns how hard it is to control. Desperate for someone to talk to, Adam strikes up a friendship with the newest Pioneer, Amber. Except Amber’s software has been warped, and Adam can’t figure out exactly what she’s become. But he—and the world—is in danger, unless he can unravel the mystery.

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N

Book Cover for Generation One

Generation One – Pittacus Lore – Release Date: June 27th, 2017

The first book in a pulse-pounding new series that’s set in the world of the #1 New York Times bestselling I Am Number Four series. The war may be over—but for the next generation, the battle has just begun!

It has been over a year since the invasion of Earth was thwarted in Pittacus Lore’s United as One. But in order to win, our alien allies known as the Garde unleashed their Loric energy that spread throughout the globe. Now human teenagers have begun to develop incredible powers of their own, known as Legacies.

To help these incredible and potentially dangerous individuals—and put the world at ease—the Garde have created an academy where they can train this new generation to control their powers and hopefully one day help mankind. But not everyone thinks that’s the best use of their talents. And the teens may need to use their Legacies sooner than they ever imagined.

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N

3 Sci-Fi Book Giveaways on Goodreads: (covers go to Goodreads pages)

Book cover for Proof on Conept Book cover for The Tourist Book cover for Monster
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The Sci-Fi Zone

Since there are only five seasons of the Twilight Zone this will be the last list of Best of Twilight Zone. However, since no show is perfect there were a few clunky ones so on the next issue of This is Sci-Fi I will be starting a Worst Episodes of the Twilight Zone. Without further ado, let’s cross the sign-post up ahead and journey into the Twilight Zone.

1. The Encounter: A very psychologically intense episode and well-acted.

2. Mr. Garrity and the Graves: I read a version of this once in one of Alvin Schwartz’s Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and once in an urban legend book. And I still love it.

3. The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross: A great story with an interesting moral in it.

4. What’s in the Box? : Ok, if you can read that without hearing Brad Pitt say, “What’s in the box?!” you have more self-control than I. A very interesting story. Is it guilt or the supernatural?

5. Night Call: A cool little story by Richard Matheson and well-adapted to television.

6. The Masks – This one creeped me the heck out.

7. Stopover in a Quiet Town: After a late night party two people find themselves in a deserted town with a car that won’t run. It’s mentioned in Rush’s ‘Twilight Zone’ song. You can find others in this issue of This is Sci-Fi

8. The Bewitchin’ Pool: Two children, unloved by their parents find an escape through their pool.

9. Number 12 Looks Just Like You: A creepy foreshadowing of the future of plastic surgery. It is possible that it’s the basis for Scott Westerfield’s  ‘The Uglies‘.

10. Living Doll: dolls are creepy. Dolls that walk and talk? Creepier still. Dolls that say charming little phrases like, “I’m going to kill you”? Those should be burned in a fire. Or melted in a microwave.

Bonus Episode: I wanted to list this one but it’s not an ‘official’ Twilight Zone episode. It is an adaptation of Ambrose Bierce’s ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge‘ and the short was shown at Cannes where it had won the Palm D’or in 1962.

 

 

 

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Who was the best Dr in Dr. Who since reboot:

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Join us in discussing Ender’s Game on July 19th!

Date: July 19th

Time: 8 PM EST

Location: The Sci-Fi & Scary Forums

Book: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

If you want to participate, and need a reminder, click the green tabby at the top of the page, and sign up for Sci-Fi & Scary’s Newsletter.

Phaethon Review (Urban Fantasy/ Sci-Fi) #RBRT

Title: Phaethon | Author: Rachel Sharp | Publisher: Pandamoon Publishing | Pub. Date: 2016-12-20 | Pages: 224 | ISBN13: 9781945502170 | Genre: Urban Fantasy & Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy of this book from the author for review consideration as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team

Phaethon

Hacker couple Jack and Rosie crack technology, but the newest device, the Phaethon, isn’t like other phones. The parts are junk, yet it can do the impossible. Though gentle prodding and data theft, they learn it’s powered remotely…by a living creature.

Cracking the Phaethon enters them into a war. Some, like Calthine, the bitter Bogle, are on their side. Others are controlled by ​a new type of fae; the bosses of the Phaethon corporation, who have steel for eyes and iron for souls. Now, the hackers have to fight creatures they’ve never heard of to save the friends they’ve just made.

Book cover for Phaethon

Phaethon Review

Phaethon was one of the better books I’ve read this year. It’s a simple, uncomplicated story. The main characters are friendly, caring, relatable, and pleasingly snarky. Even the bogle. (Maybe especially the bogle?) What can I say? I love an honest smartarse. It’s also fast-paced, contains an interesting adventure, and doesn’t require anything from the reader except enjoyment.

I loved the easy mixing of fantasy and science fiction in Phaethon. I was able to very easily suspend disbelief and sink into the story the author was wanting to tell. When certain LED-laden individuals got introduced into the story, I might have had a small flash of Transformers. (However, considering I rather like them, that wasn’t exactly a bad thing.)

Rachel Sharp has a way of putting things that states the truth and makes you snicker at the same time. Like the following statement about horses.

“People could be assholes, too, but when horses were assholes, one had roughly a half a ton of asshole to contend with.”

Of course, her insults in Phaethon could be pretty good too.

“Get with the times, you bloody nuisance fish-hags! The iron bastards will make calamari out o’ ye! CALAMARI!”

 

I actually recommended this book to one of my best friends shortly after I finished it. (She’s a fantasy fan and hates dark stuff and most sci-fi, so we often don’t have any books to mutually adore.) It was nice to be able to toss another book recommendation her way. As I told her: “Phaethon is so light, it’s practically floof. BUT it’s entertaining floof with a side of good versus evil!”

I will say that while I might be willing to read more in this series, I don’t see a lot of potential in it. It was a fantastic stand-alone novel, but I’m not sure how it would work if she tries to draw it out. Still, she’s obviously talented, so if anyone can make it work, she can.

If you’re looking for an undemanding read that will entertain you and lift your spirits, look no further than Phaethon by Rachel Sharp.

The Burning Years Review (Cli-Fi Speculative)

Title: The Burning Years | Series: Until This Last Quartet #1 | Author: Felicity Harley | Pub. Date: 2017-2-14 | Pages: 220 | ASIN: B06X3W39S5 | Genre: Speculative Fiction / Cli-Fi | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy free from the author in exchange for an honest review.


The Burning Years

In the year, 2060, Sophie, a top female scientist, dismantles the government weather modification program and steals the male and female trans-humans who hold the promise of extended life.

While the remaining inhabitants of Earth are forced to design new underground habitats in order to survive a harsh, overheated world, Captain Rachel Chen, takes the worldship Persephone to Proxima Centauri, hoping that this new star system will provide a refuge for the survivors of the human race-Goodreads

Book cover for The Burning Years

The Burning Years

If you like climate fiction,The Burning Years is right up your alley. This book revolves around the fact that mankind has seriously screwed the earth up. And now humans are forced to retreat underground and reach for the stars. The author has done a great job of looking into the near future and giving a sobering view of the destruction climate change has wrecked. She also pulls no punches in making it clear that is mankind that has done this. That too little was done too late. That our current status of being ruled by people who care more about the money in their pockets than anything else is going to destroy everything. It has already started.

The aforementioned aspects of The Burning Years make me want to cheer initially. I love it when an author doesn’t bother to mince words. Felicity Harley sets out to educate and entertain at the same time. It’s obvious the author knows exactly what she wants to do with this series. She also has some fantastic ideas (I can’t say that I believe they’re feasible, but they are cool.)The Burning Years moves at a steady pace and is very well explained. Unfortunately, this precision in examining the situations the characters find themselves in, as well as indulging in explaining the scientific concepts being utilized means that it feels like very little actually happens. From about two-thirds on, the story is told in snapshots where we check in with the characters at various points. This is a very detached relation of facts that may not appeal to everyone.

The Burning Years didn’t work for me for a few reasons. The first is that the author wrote in present tense. There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing in present tense, but reading it makes me twitchy. I found it ridiculously hard to get into the flow of the story, and it was mainly due to the strangeness of reading in present tense. Specifically third person multiple present tense. It threw me off my game right off the bat and I never really managed to adjust to it.

The second reason is the author’s tendency to format her book in a very formal, almost instructional manner.

“As part of this particular experiment, Persephone’s living spaces are interwoven with algae bioreactors, anaerobic digesters, bioluminescent light sources, heat absorbing and emitting substances, and even hygroscopic materials, such as calcium chloride” – Felicity Harley, The Burning Years.

Again, there’s nothing particularly wrong with this. Also, the fact that she defines these words in the back of the book is very handy. However, it did tend to pull me away from the story and make me feeling like I should be learning the words instead of absorbed in the plot. Similarly, she frequently puts slang in single quotation marks. This was something that was completely unnecessary and, to be honest, made me giggle a bit.  Also, the author’s straightforward layout of climate change and implementation of technology and scientific concepts doesn’t always play well with the somewhat mystical beliefs about life and death that she espouses.

Overall, I admire what the author is trying to do in The Burning Years. I do think the book has potential. However, it needs some work to make it a more reader-friendly experience.

Female Sci-Fi Authors Part 1: Canada and Australia

When I was working up my post for Juneteenth (African American Science Fiction and Horror Writers), I was pleasantly surprised by how many on the list were female. I honestly wasn’t expecting it to work out that way. So, it’s obvious there are some notable females writing in science fiction and horror. But one list just isn’t enough. So today we’re revisiting a segment of this, with a slight modification.

Every female in this list is from (or has chosen as her permanent residence) a country that isn’t the USA or Britain. There are lots of fantastic authors from both the US and Britain, but, let’s face it, they get 99 percent of the attention. Time to shake that up a bit.

This is the first in a planned series where I take some time to highlight notable female science fiction authors from around the world. It’s just too bulky of a piece to post all at once.

To be clear: This is an introduction to these authors, nothing more. While I have referenced some book lists and whatnot, I’m not qualified to do a full write-up on these talented women. I’ve given you the information, and at the bottom I’ve linked you to a database where you can visit their websites when available (wikipedia when not). I hope you take the time to investigate some of the names and hopefully find some new authors to check out!

Canadian Science Fiction Authors

Canada has given us some fantastic female science fiction authors, and some stories to really sink our teeth into. You may recognize one of Canada’s leading ladies of SF right away. Her name is Margaret Atwood, and she’s best known at the moment for her book The Handmaid’s Tale.

Book cover for The Handmaid's Tale

But she’s definitely not the only Canadian writer of note. They also have Candas Jane Dorsey, Esther Rochon, Joan D. Vinge, Tanya Huff and Madeline Ashby. Candas Jane Dorsey is the founder of SF Canada. Esther Rochon won the Quebec Science Fiction Fantasy Grand Prix four times. Joan D. Vinge’s novel, The Snow Queen, won the Hugo Award for best novel in 1981.

Book cover for The Snow QueenThey had Nalo Hopkinson until 2011. Then we lured her to the dark side. But considering she lived there from the time she was sixteen until fairly recently, I’m counting her as Canadian. Nalo Hopkinson won a Locus Award for Best First Novel for Brown Girl in the Ring.

And not forgetting the ladies who have passed on, but made their mark: Phyllis Gotlieb, Monica Hughes, Edna Mayne Hull (published under E. Mayne Hull).

Looking for specific book suggestions? You can start here.

Canadian Science Fiction Awards: The Aurora Awards, The Constellation Awards (Film and Televison), The Sunburst Award (Spec. fic)

Australian Science Fiction Authors

Australia is another country with a solid double handful of talented female science fiction writers. What young adult science fiction fan doesn’t know the name Amie Kaufman? Kaufman partnered with Jay Kristoff to produce the Illuminae series, which has received recognition not only for its unique formatting but for the stories the series tells. Though maybe not quite as familiar as Amie Kaufman, Kim Westood is also rather notable. She’s a name those with a penchant for darker works should pay attention to, and has won awards for both her science fiction and horror work. I’m sure readers are probably familiar with Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks as well. Lotus Blue is hardly Spark’s first work, though it is her firstBook cover for Illuminae novel. She has been nominated multiple times for awards for her short fiction (and won more than a few.) She also co-owns Agog! Press.

Marianne de Pierres has won 2 Aurealis awards for Best Science Fiction Novel, as well as Ditmar for Best Novel. (The Ditmar’s like the Hugo, but for Australia only.) Rosaleen Love has been nominated for the Ditmar award 6 times and won the Chandler Award in 2009 for her work.  If you like Dr. Who, you might be familiar with the name Kate Orman, who is well-known for her Dr. Who related novels.

Book cover for Dark Space

Majorie Barnard and Flora Eldershaw formed the team called M. Bernard Eldershaw, and produced one of the earliest recognized works of Australian Science Fiction.  Flora Eldershaw became the first woman president of the Fellowship of Australian Writers. Alison Goodman’s debut novel won an Aurealis for Best Young Adult Novel. She won a second Aurealis for a fantasy novel, and has also received the James Tiptree, Jr. award. Norma K. Hemming is considered to be Australia’s first significant female science fiction writer.  There is now an award given out by the Australian Science Fiction Foundation under her name. It is “given to mark excellence in the exploration of themes of race, gender, sexuality, class and disability in a speculative fiction work (e.g. science fiction, fantasy, horror) by an individual author, produced either in Australia or by Australian citizens” (from ASFF.org.au)

And I have to give a nod to author D.L. Richardson who does sci-fi, fantasy, and horror and is just a lovely person.

Australian Science Fiction Awards: Aurealis Awards, Ditmar Awards, and the Chandler Award

These two countries have, by far, the most female science fiction writers of any of the posts that I will do. I almost feel like I’m cheating because a lot of these names are well-known. I assure that will change as we work our way further down the list! Also, I know that I didn’t include every single female science fiction writer. That’s just not plausible. This would be nothing more than a list of names. (Though, if you want that, click here for my little database of female science fiction writers)

Sources not mentioned in links in text: