Nickerbacher Review (Children’s Fiction)

Nickerbacher is a dragon and aspiring comedian who travels to La La Land to audition for The Late Knight Show. Hoping to prove to his father – and the world – that dragons can be funny. Nickerbacher befriends a prince and a princess who help him realize his dream while paving the way for equal rights of all citizens. – Goodreads
Book cover for Nickerbacher The Funniest Dragon Early Chapter Edition

Nickerbacher Review

Quite a while back, I reviewed Nickerbacher, The Funniest Dragon from Terry John Barto. It’s an adorable book filled with lots of colors, and has the basic mantra of ‘Follow your dreams’. I was surprised (and pleased) when the author contacted me out of the blue a few weeks ago and informed me that he’d made Nickerbacher into a beginning chapter reader. I agreed to review it even though I typically don’t try to review fantasy kids books anymore simply because I wanted to see what he had done to transform Nickerbacher.

The story hasn’t changed much. It’s just been fleshed out. Nickerbacher is an adorable, easy-going dragon whose life ambition is to be a stand-up comedian. His father, however, is of the mind that dragons should only do one thing. Guard princesses. Luckily, Nickerbacher’s Princess Gwendolyn is the open-minded sort of princess and encourages Nickerbacher to follow his dreams. Even if that means she has to let herself get ‘rescued’ by Prince Happenstance to make that happen. And she doesn’t need to be rescued.

The illustrations are good but not great. They have a certain charm to them but are nothing that will make you aww over the artist’s talent. Nickerbacher is a distinguished looking dragon with spots and some seriously thick eyebrows. You can tell he’s the cuddly sort of dragon just by looking at him.  There is one particular scene, taking up pages 38 and 39, that I did thing was well done. It was probably my favorite of all the illustrations within the book.Overall, Terry John Barto did a good job of making the transition from picture book to early chapter reader.

Overall, Terry John Barto did a good job of making the transition from picture book to early chapter reader. There are a few simple jokes to crack the kids up (my now 7 years old approved!) and the adults will laugh. Especially if you enjoy puns. There are a few good ones in Nickerbacher. It’s worth the read.

4 Star Rated Nickerbacher Review

Title: Nickerbacher | Author: Terry John Barto (site) | Publisher: TJP Kids | Pub. Date: 2016-12-7 | Pages: 55 | ISBN13: 9781944878276 | Genre: Children’s Fiction | Language: English | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration.

Attention: If you are interested in Sci-Fi & Scary’s educational/ non-fiction kids book reviews, I’m going to ask you to take a minute to follow another site. Starting Jan 1, I’ll be slowly transitioning the reviewing of those books over to a new site I’ve created. This site will be for non-fiction reviews, toys, and gadgets that make us geek out, etc. Please take a moment to follow: Own Your Geek


Famous Fails Review (Kids Educational)

Famous Fails: The Greatest Mistakes, Mess Ups, & Mishaps of All Time: This fun book of quirky failures and famous flops will keep kids laughing while they learn the importance of messing up in order to get it right. Science, architecture, technology, entertainment — there are epic fails and hilarious goof-ups from every important field. Silly side features help to analyze the failures: “Lesson Learned,” “It Could be Worse!,” “Losing Combinations,” and a “Fail Scale” to help readers navigate the different kinds and scope of the mistakes made. The stories will include what went wrong, what went right, and what kids can learn from each failed attempt. – Goodreads
Book cover for Famous Fails by Crispin Boyer

Famous Fails Review

Famous Fails has admirable intentions, a lot of information on interesting failures, and many lessons for both kids and adults. The fails range from definitely famous to “never heard of it.” My favorite section was Chapter Two, which dealt with famous fails in history. I had never heard of the unlocked gate of Constantinople. (Or I did and just wasn’t paying attention in history class.) That was absolutely fascinating to read about. My least favorite was the chapter on fashion. Famous Fails stretched a little too far when they ventured into the fashion arena. Carpenter pants and barefoot sneakers can’t really be called Famous Fails when that’s purely dependent on personal opinion. (For the record, I think they’re both fails.)

I like the idea behind Famous Fails probably more than I like the book itself, to be honest. Children need to know that it’s okay to mess up. That failure is an option.  And they also need to learn how to take steps to avoid failures that don’t need to be failures, too. Through their tips and tricks sections such as “Lessons Learned”, “It Could Be Worse” and “Triumphant Takeaway”, it does a pretty good job at reinforcing all those things. The way the book is put together means it’s easy to read, and as usual they did a great job with the typography and general design. It’s obvious they know what works when it comes to keeping children’s attention on a book.

Fun Fact: This book was printed just a little bit too early. The Sports Section (chapter 5) starts off talking about how the Chicago Cubs were still struggling to win another world series after winning it twice in a row in the early 1900s. Well, as we all know, this year the Chicago Cubs broke that losing streak.

Unfortunately, the overall impression I got from Famous Fails was not one of success. This book just felt like it tried too hard, and even my easy-to-please mini-reviewer was less than enchanted by the read. National Geographic Kids has produced some amazing kids books in the past, but this one just fell a bit flat for my tastes.

3 Star Rated Famous Fails Review

Title: Famous Fails! Mighty Mistakes, Mega Mishaps & How A Mess Can Lead to Success | Author: Crispin Boyer | Publisher: National Geographic Kids (site) | Pub. Date: 2016-10-25 | Language: English | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the publisher for review consideration | Purchase on Amazon |

What’s Up in Horror 10: Winding Down 2016

Greetings, fellow horror hounds. So this is the last What’s Up in Horror for the year! It’s actually going to be the last What’s Up In Horror, ever. (But don’t worry, that’s just because there’s going to be a name and banner change.) It’ll re-emerge next year as This is Horror, and the sci-fi version is going to undergo the same basic change. (There will be a couple of other small changes, too.)

I do have a question, though.  Should I combine them into a single weekly post instead of doing alternating weeks? Do you guys like having them separate? Let me know!

Horror Movies

(covers/posters go to IMDB page.)

Movie Suggestion of the Week:

End of Days - Horror Movie Suggestion for New Years

Well, with NYE coming up, this was one of the first movies that popped into my head. (Though that could be because I’ve recently watched it again.) This is pure bad-acting action-hero magic at it’s finest. A Schwarzenegger film to make you bask in the good ol’ days.

Synopsis: At the end of the century, Satan visits New York in search of a bride. It’s up to an ex-cop who now runs an elite security outfit to stop him.





Trailers to Watch:

The Mummy – An ancient princess is awakened from her crypt beneath the desert, bringing with her malevolence grown over millennia, and terrors that defy human comprehension.

Release date: June 9, 2017.

Oh look, another remake! And this one has Tom Cruise in it, so it (surprise, surprise) looks like it was shot Mission Impossible style. Because, well, it’s Tom Cruise, and lord knows we can’t dare expect him to play anything different.

Watch The Mummy trailer on Youtube.

Featured Horror Art

vore horror 1279 by MOLD666 on DeviantArt

Is that not just more disturbing the longer you look at it??

Horror Books

(Covers go to Goodreads)

New Releases – Given what time of year it is, I’m not even going to try.

New to You – This I will do!

These books are not brand new releases, but they’re probably brand new to you (and they’ve got at least 3.75 rating on Goodreads)!

Note: Sci-Fi & Scary is not affiliated with any of these small presses or publishers. We just like giving lesser known horror books a chance to shine.

Crystal Lake Publishing
Goodreads: 4.22
Sands Press
Goodreads: 4.36
Blood Bound Books
Goodreads: 4.5

Horror Games

It’s that time of the year again. The year-end Steam sale. While there are a lot of AAA titles to be had (GTAV, Dark Souls 3, etc.) there are a lot, and I mean a LOT, of horror titles that can easily be overlooked.

I did a little poking around on Steam to find some games. After an hour or two (and a lot of additions to my Wishlist) I found a good variety of games for under $10.00. Keep in mind this list is nowhere near comprehensive to all of the great horror offerings to be had right now on Steam, just a small sampling. – GracieKat

10 Steam Games Under $10

Euclidean:      Regular price- $4.99    Sale Price- $2.49

A game of geometric horror. Struggle for every second of life you have left…even knowing you’re better off dead.


 True Fear:      Regular price- $14.99    Sale Price- $9.74

Episode One in a trilogy, True Fear blends psychological thriller with fun and intuitive gameplay.



 The Music Machine/The Moon Sliver:      Regular Price- $4.99    Sale Price- $2.39

The Music Machine:  A character-driven, narrative-focused adventure game about a teenage girl and the vindictive ghost possessing her.

The Moon Sliver:  A narrative story that you uncover by exploring what appears to be an abandoned island.

(Both games are made by the creator of Fingerbones, which is free to play on Steam. It’s short, about half an hour long. It also has an interesting, if disturbing, story.)

  Fran Bow:      Regular Price- $14.99    Sale Price- $5.99

Fran Bow is a creepy adventure game that tells the story of a young girl. Throughout the game Fran Bow must struggle with a mental illness and an unfair destiny.


 Stasis:      Regular Price- $19.99    Sale Price- $9.99

Stasis is a point and click sci-fi/horror adventure played from a unique isometric perspective.



 Alpha Polaris:      Regular Price- $9.99    Sale Price- $2.99

An old-school adventure game that draws inspiration from Inuit Legends and the Cthulhu Mythos.



 The Lost Crown: A Ghost Hunting Adventure      Regular Price- $9.99    Sale Price- $2.49

An eerie ghost-hunting adventure using real evidence of the supernatural to solve the mystery.



10 Steam Games Under $10.00 Black Sails: The Ghost Ship      Regular Price- $9.99    Sale Price- $4.99

Two survivors of a shipwreck try to survive the raging sea in this point and click adventure game.

10 Steam Games Under $10.00Homesick      Regular Price- $14.99    Sale Price- $8.99

Using puzzles and clues to explore an abandoned asylum you can try to escape…in your dreams…and nightmares.



10 Steam Games Under $10.00 Depth      Regular Price- $19.99    Sale Price- $6.79

For a more action oriented game play as a shark or a diver. Be matched to team up against AI or each other. Eat or be eaten.


There are also quite a few bundles for under $10.00. Metro Redux Bundle ($5.99), Five Nights at Freddy’s ($6.38), The Blackwell Bundle ($3.99), Penumbra Bundle ($1.99), and the System Shock Pack ($4.99).

The sale lasts until January 2nd 2017 so I urge you to take advantage of it. There are a lot of indie developers out there that need a little love from the masses.


Horror on the Web


Introducing GracieKat13, Sci-Fi & Scary ‘s New Co-Host

As some of you might know, I’ve been actively seeking a co-host to work on Sci-Fi & Scary with me for some time now. But I’m picky, private, in a niche field, and…did I mention I’m picky? So, needless to say, the journey felt rather fruitless for quite a while. However, eventually I found someone I was comfortable with, and we decided to give this a go.

We’ll evaluate how things are going after three months, but I have no reason to think this isn’t going to work out just fine.

Introducing GracieKat13

GracieKat will actively start posting on her own after the first of the year. She’ll be doing three posts a week, starting out. One on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., one on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. She’ll also have a special 365/7 post on Fridays.

GracieKat formerly worked on her own site Are You Scared Yet. She will be posting under the username GracieKat13.

I have added information about her to the “Behind the Curtain” section, but thought I’d post it here for you to see a bit easier.

  Hello all! I’m new here to Sci-fi and Scary so I’d like to introduce myself. My name is GracieKat and, like Lilyn, very into the horror genre.

I’ve been into horror since I was ten years old and my mom gave me Skeleton Crew to read. Since then I’ve been in love with the horror genre ever since.  I love it’s twists and turns, it’s ability to bleed into different genres (sorry, couldn’t resist, puns are my second language) and it’s ability to blend the real with the fantastic.

It’s always hard to choose a favorite but I tend to enjoy supernatural horror over realistic horror. So some of my favorite movies are The Haunting (1963), In the Mouth of Madness, The Thing, and Ju-On.

A few of my favorite books are The Haunting of Hill House, Lovecraft, H.R. Wakefield and M.R. James.

I’m also into gaming. Especially horror. I love the Silent Hill series and the Fatal Frame series. I mostly played console but I’ve been branching out into PC gaming since the horror pickings on console have been pretty slim lately.

My son used to read with me quite a lot but now that he’s a teen he reads what he likes now (manga, mostly). I’m just happy he’s reading. Our first books were The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Then Dracula.

GracieKat will be concentrating almost solely on the horror side of things. This will free me up a bit to focus more on the science fiction side of things over the upcoming year. I’m excited about that. I love horror, but here lately my tastes have been leaning more in the science fiction direction.

She will also be contributing any Gaming sections you see on the “What’s Up In” posts.

Now, to be clear, in terms of submitting books for review, nothing has changed. You will submit following the review policy guidelines , and you will receive an email from the site if we have decided to accept or decline to review your book. If both of us decide to review your work, we will stagger the reviews, but link them up.

We endeavor to have a no later than 12-week turnaround on book reviews. Most of the time the review will happen within the first 6 weeks. 

I think that’s everything.

Welcome aboard, GracieKat, to Sci-Fi & Scary, the science fiction and horror site that’s apparently going to be exclusively run by women. May we have many good years!




The Two Faces of Temperance by Ichabod Temperance #Bookreview

Title: The Two Faces of Temperance | Author: Ichabod Temperance  | Publisher: Goldenbear Creative Works | Pub. Date: 2016-10-17 | Pages: 259 | ISBN13: 9781539554790 | Genre: Steampunk & Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration

The Two Faces of Temperance

“Oh, my Goodness, Miss Plumtartt, there is a fiendish monster at loose in London!”
“Quite so, Mr. Temperance. I say, the villain has the Great City in an uproar, sir.”
“Yes, Ma’am, Miss Plumtartt, Ma’am, there is murder at our elbow, wherever we turn.”
“The machinations of intrigue threaten to crush us in their merciless gears, eh hem? Yes, One suspects that this adventure may come to be known as ‘The Strange Case of Dr. Icky and Mr. Temperance.” 

The Two Faces of Temperance Review


The Two Faces of Temperance is an unapologetically silly revision of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It is not a book that is meant to be taken seriously. It’s best read out loud, with outlandish accents, and plenty of overly-dramatic emphasis on the words. This is the tenth book in the series, but you do not need to have read the other books first. (Thought it might help.)

There is one defining characteristic of The Two Faces of Temperance that potential readers must be aware of. It is told completely through dialogue (internal and verbalized). While the characters do sometimes describe their surroundings while talking, for the most part the settings are up to the reader’s imagination. It is very definitely a make or break, and I highly suggest potential readers check out the preview function.  I enjoyed what I was reading, but found I needed to read it in bits and pieces.

The writing style definitely lends itself to a unique way to experience a story that one is familiar with from a different point of view. The characters’ personalities shine through, and you can’t help but like them. Ichabod Temperance is an American (Alabama) fellow with ‘enhanced tinkering capabilities’. I don’t think I was ever entirely sure on who Miss Plumtart was, but she was definitely entertaining. One has to admire a lady who knows what she wants, even if you can’t understand why she wants it.

The pacing is good in the Two Faces of Temperance. It seems like something is always happening. There’s plots, shenanigans, and tomfoolery galore. The language itself has a very Victorian air to it. I may or may not have scribbled down a few insults to pull out on people that annoy me, just to see the expression on their faces.

Overall, The Two Faces of Temperance is a book that could very well have you cracking up as you read it. It definitely showcases the author’s unique style.

Purchase on Amazon

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor #BookReview

Title: Lagoon | Author: Nnedi Okorafor  | Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton | Pub. Date: 2014-4-10 | Pages: 306 | ISBN13: 9781444762754 | Genres: Fantasy & Sci-Fi | Language: English / Nigerian Pidgin | Triggers: Child Death | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Library |


When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself.

Told from multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

‘There was no time to flee. No time to turn. No time to shriek. And there was no pain. It was like being thrown into the stars.’ 

Book cover for Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor


Lagoon Review

Nnedi Okorafor’s Lagoon had the potential to be awesome and instead fell just short of even being interesting. The first seventy percent of the novel is an unorganized mess. It feels like she started writing it without having a firm idea of the direction it was going to go in. I’ve been getting back into knitting lately, so let me put it like this: It’s like she was using all her scrap yarn on a project, and then realized halfway through she wanted to make it into something awesome. Except, she didn’t want to go back and re-do the beginning with a good yarn, so she just left it as it was and prettied up the end.

I struggled to get through Lagoon. The only reason I didn’t give up on it was because it’s a planned read for book club. I couldn’t connect with the characters. The random story threads that were just in there for a particular reason left me unimpressed. And I don’t know why she felt the urge to describe certain things the exact same way without ever actually describing them at all. (Ie: Nollywood woman)

My understanding is that the author wrote Lagoon because she wanted to write about Nigeria. I can appreciate that. I didn’t think so in the beginning, but by the end of the book, I have a pretty clear impression of what the country (or Lagos, at least) is like. It’s definitely a culture much different from the one I’m used to. I do wish the author hadn’t been so heavy-handed with the pidgin-speaking. Or at least put the glossary in the front of the book. If I have to spend a couple of minutes trying to figure out exactly what your character just said, you’ve pulled me out of the story. That’s not a good thing.

Lagoon is one of those books that blurs the lines between genres. I was willing to give it a go because it was listed as a science fiction novel. That seems to be only because it included aliens. Because this isn’t really a science fiction novel. It’s fantasy, folktales, and culture, with a dash of a science fiction element to it. The mixture is not an appealing one, unfortunately. I think it would have been better served to make it definitively one or the other.

I’m sure Nnedi Okorafor has talent. I mean, the lady won a Hugo award! However, I don’t see any evidence of that talent in Lagoon.  I might give her work another try at some point, but it probably won’t be anytime soon.

Buy on Amazon

First Contact by Kat Green #BookReview

Title: First Contact | Series: Haunts for Sales Series #1 | Author: Kat Green | Publisher: The Wild Rose Press (site) | Pub. Date: 2016-6-1 | Pages: 180 | ASIN: B01EZLQV1G | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy for review consideration through YA Bound Book Tours |

First Contact

Sloane Osborne is a paranormal realtor in the business of selling haunted houses but, in truth, she’s only searching for one ghost. And her time is running out. It’s the 366th day after her fiancé’s death. Michael used to like putting things off for “a year and a day”—so tonight’s the night. Sloane will do anything to make contact with him before the clock strikes midnight. When she gets a call to check out a home in Waukesha, Wisconsin, it’s the last place she thinks Michael would contact her. Sloane is dead wrong. 

First Contact Review

First Contact Review

First Contact is a paranormal horror story with a couple unexpected elements to it. The authors that make up the Kat Green team did a good job in presenting a story that read easily and engagingly. Sloane is an interesting character that is on a quest that most people who have lost someone they love can understand. Sometimes you’re driven by grief to do things that don’t make sense.

The pacing is good and quick in First Contact. Everything happens in a short amount of time. It almost seems too short before you remember that in haunted houses anything can happen. The dialogue creepy and suitable. There was a red herring thrown in that almost got me, I’ll admit. I particularly liked near the end when Sloane had gotten in over her head. The descriptions were well done enough that everything was easy to visualize. I wouldn’t want to suffer the way many of the victims did, that’s for sure.

However, there were some problems with First Contact. Mainly, Sloane’s an idiot that’s completely lacking in common sense. The bad guy all but screams “You’re next, missy!” and she walks right into danger. Repeatedly. A person that she trusts tells her “Don’t do (x) yet, wait for me.” and she refuses to listen to him.  And at the point where she’s really being stupid, it’s no longer as much about finding the ghost of her dead fiance as it is finding out what’s going on. This takes her from a mostly believable character to one that feels like she’s written just to get into the scary situations. A tool for the authors to scare us through that feels like nothing more than that.

First Contact felt like it didn’t take me long at all to finish it, and I definitely enjoyed myself. With that being said, I can’t say I’ll be on the lookout for anything from Kat Green in the future. It was a good read, but not good enough to make me want to come back for more. It just didn’t have enough of an impact, or feel original enough, for me to want to see what they do in the future.

Overall, a good read, though.

Purchase on Amazon


Best Sci-Fi & Scary Novels of 2016

Much like last year’s list, this Best Sci-Fi & Scary Novels of 2016 is a list of the best science fiction and horror novels published (and read) in 2016. This is not my Best Reads of 2016 list. (Look for that one next week.) These books were published and read in this year, and fall under the science fiction or horror genre. They are ranked in accordance to how much I enjoyed the story, starting at number ten and working up. Title links lead to Goodreads.


Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish.

**Corrections: Please note that although I decided to keep Harmonic Resonance on the list because it was it was technically published in one format in 2016, it was originally published in Kindle form in December of 2015.  Deadlight Jack, however, has been removed from this list as – no matter how awesome it is – it was not published, at all, until Jan 3, 2017. My apologies, folks. Don’t know how I overlooked that!**

Best Sci-Fi & Scary Novels of 2016

Harmonic Resonance by Nico Laesser  – I remember when I read the synopsis I thought “This sounds okay. I’ll give it a shot.” So I started reading it, and swiftly found I could not put it down. Nico Laesser gave us a unique twist on the typical post-apocalyptic tale, a kick-ass female lead, and a dose of diversity. It was a pleasure to read. My full review is here.



Northwoods by Bill Schweigart – Can I just say again how nice is it is to read a book with a female and male pairing for leads that aren’t obsessed with bumping uglies? While Northwoods lacked some of the grounding of the first book, Beast of Barcroft, it made up for it in other ways. I cannot wait to get my hands on book three! My full review is here.



Veterans’ Affairs by Joseph Hirsch – This book stood out in my mind because of how utterly realistic Joseph Hirsch’s main character, Joey, is. Joey is a hero that doesn’t look like a hero. He breaks so many expected stereotypes. He goes through hell, and he comes out on top, and all the while he looks like someone you wouldn’t even ‘see’ when you were walking down the street. My full review is here.


On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis – A science fiction novel featuring a main (female) character with severe autism, written by an author on the autism spectrum. On the Edge of Gone is one of those novels that makes you realize how much you are missing due to the lack of diversity in science fiction. It’s a fantastic read with a main character that earns your respect on a massive level. My full review is here.



Arkwright by Steve Allen was a gorgeous read. The author does a great job of combining fact and fiction early on. So well that if you’re not huge sci-fi buff, you end up having to either google almost everything that’s said or just give up and just enjoy the read. It’s been called a love letter to science fiction, and it earns that title.  Calm, quiet, and realistic, it’s a book that will quietly entertain you and then stay with you for a few days.  My full review is here.



Top Ten Sci-Fi Books Good Morning Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton is an unusual post-apocalyptic novel in that you don’t ever witness the apocalypse or the after-effects of it. Everything is kept a complete mystery. You only see the fall-out of astronauts dealing with complete silence as they return to earth, and the survival of one grumpy old man in Antartica. My full review is here.



The Demonists by Thomas Sniegoski was a book that reminded me not to judge a book by it’s cover. I was expecting something like light and almost on the fluffy side for the horror genre. What I got was something dark and deliciously twisted. Will definitely be reading the second book in this series when I can get my hands on it. My full review is here.



The Fireman by Joe Hill was my ‘surprised to enjoy’ of the year. I’m not a big fan of Joe Hill. I’ve read some of his other works and just not been impressed. But I saw The Fireman in hardback at the library and decided to give it a shot. I loved it. The Fireman’s sense of humor kept me in stitches, it was fairly well-paced, and I loved the idea of the Dragonscale. Really is just a fantastic read. My full review is here.



We Are Legion (We Are Bob) by Dennis E. Taylor is the only book on this list where I can’t link you to a review because it hasn’t been published yet. So you’re going to have to just trust me on this. An atheist software engineer gets put in a situation where he can do what he describes as “every nerd’s dream” and explore the universe. It’s light in tone, but not in subject matter, and makes you feel free to geek out. And if you can get the audiobook version (narrated by Ray Porter) you’re definitely in for a treat. This book vied with Deadlight Jack for my best of the best Sci-Fi & Scary Novels of 2016 read before I realized that I’d made a major goof, and Deadlight Jack wasn’t actually published until Jan 3, 2017.

So, yes, We Are Legion (We Are Bob) is officially the number one pick for Best Sci-Fi & Scary Novels of 2016.

Arkwright by Allen Steele #BookReview

Title: Arkwright | Author: Allen Steele (site) | Publisher: Tor Books | Pub. Date: 2016-3-1 | Pages: 336 | ISBN13: 9780765382153 | Genre: Science Fiction | Language: English | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Library |


Nathan Arkwright is a seminal author of the twentieth century. At the end of his life, he becomes reclusive and cantankerous, refusing to appear before or interact with his legion of fans. Little did anyone know, Nathan was putting into motion his true, timeless legacy.

Convinced that humanity cannot survive on Earth, his Arkwright Foundation dedicates itself to creating a colony on an Earth-like planet several light years distant. Fueled by Nathan’s legacy, generations of Arkwrights are drawn together, and pulled apart, by the enormity of the task and weight of their name. 

Arkwright Review

Arkwright was a beautifully written novel that instantly captivated me. It was a delight to read. When I was reading reviews for the novel, and saw that it had been called a “love letter to science fiction”, I rolled my eyes. But, you know what? It is. Arkwright is a glorious, tender look back at a pivotal time for the science fiction genre. It doesn’t make things out to be all sunshine and rainbows, but it gives a soft reflection on how things developed. Told in a way that mixes true facts with clever fiction, unless you’re a true science fiction aficionado, it’s hard to tell what’s what.  It’s also a believable look into the future.

Arkwright addresses the ‘hard’ part of hard science fiction head on, without it getting boring. Many books today (including some great ones like The Last Day of Captain Lincoln) involve generation ships. But how realistic is that? Could we truly create a ship that would be able to protect enough humans to establish a colony? Not only protect it, but have enough space to grow food, to recycle oxygen, and find a way to produce more fuel? Is it possible? Well, yes, most anything is possible. but Arkwright looks at whether it’s a probable solution or not. According to Allen Steele, the answer is “No, it’s not.”

This is not an epic space opera about the lives of the people on board a ship. If you want that, then you need to go read Aurora or Seveneves. Instead, Arkwright is primarily about the people involved in bringing the ship to reality. The driving forces behind those who want to see humanity leave the planet and head for the stars. It’s very much about human interaction and the ‘minutiae’ of science. The unsexy things no one ever talks about in a science fiction survival story. The turnaround time for messages as things get further and further apart. The struggle to continue with a dream after the initial creators are long dead.

The low reviews I’d seen for this novel scared me off of it initially. I’m glad I saw it at the library and decided to give it a go though. Arkwright was a prime example of why you shouldn’t let reviews unduly influence you when it comes to reading choices. Where people called it slow / plodding, I found it perfectly paced to savor. I didn’t mind the fact that there wasn’t a lot of action involved. To me, Allen Steele gave me reality, with just a twist of fantastical at the end. And unlike many others, I rather enjoyed the science versus religion issue in Arkwright and how it was handled. Most likely this is because I’m not religious, but who can say?

Overall, I definitely enjoyed Arkwright and will be searching out further works from this author in the future. Sometimes I want epic journeys, mega disasters, and tons of action. Sometimes, though, I just want a quiet, realistic read about the future that doesn’t manage to depress me.

 Buy on Amazon


Passengers Review (Science Fiction)

Synopsis: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers. As a result, two passengers are awakened 90 years early.

Tagline: There is a reason they woke up.

Release Date: December 21st, 2016 | MPAA Rating: PG-13 | Coolthulhus Earned: 1

Starring:  Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen

PassengersOfficial Trailer.

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