REVIEW: Men of the Otherworld by Kelley Armstrong

REVIEW SUMMARY: Supernatural, urban fantasy that successfully combines a paranormal thriller with a little romance.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In this four-story anthology, Armstrong introduces readers to the flip-side of her female-centered supernatural series showcasing the American werewolf pack through three generations of Danvers men: Malcolm, Jeremy, and Clayton.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: A refreshing insight into Armstrong’s Otherworld via well-known characters who have never before narrated one of her novels.

CONS: I expected a more compelling voice from Clayton. In the other books from Elena’s point of view, Clayton practically jumps off the page. From his own point of view, not so much.

BOTTOM LINE: I found Men of the Otherworld to be a welcome addition to Armstrong’s existing series.

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The Walking Dead Opening Title Sequence (Fan Made)

Here’s a fan-made opening title sequence for AMC’s new zombie television series The Walking Dead, featuring art by by Charlie Adlard & Tony Moore. I love the look. Neat stuff. And creepy-cool tune by the Eels, too.

[via It’s Art Mag]

Trailer: I Am Number Four

Dreamworks’ I Am Number Four is based on the young adult novel of the same name about a group of young aliens, and their teachers, who flee their war ravaged planet and land on Earth. Now they are on the run from those who want to kill them, not named in the trailer, but in the book they are called the Mogadorians. The interesting conceit? The kids can only be killed in number order and for the book/movie, the first three have bit it.

An honest to good SD premise, but the movie looks like Heroes meets Twilight. The book actually sounds better to me, but then again, isn’t that almost always the case?

See also: Jason Sanford’s review.

Book Cover Smackdown! ‘Pegasus’ vs. ‘The Unremembered’ vs. ‘The River of Shadows’

Grab some popcorn! It’s time for another Book Cover Smackdown!

Here are the contenders…

Your Mission (should you choose to accept it): Tell us which cover you like best and why.

Books shown here:

NOTE: Bigger, better cover art images are available by clicking the images or title links.

Full Length Skyline Trailer (Suh-weeet!)

I know trailers are supposed to look awesome, but man, this looks Awesome. Looks like part ID4, part Cloverfield, with a dash of District 9.

Sold. I know where I’m going in November…

VIDEO: Guillermo Del Toro on Vampire Lore

Guillermo Del Toro, co-author with Chuck Hogan of the The Strain Trilogy, discusses vampire lore…

The fall is the 2nd book in the trilogy, read my review of the first book, The Strain, here.

SF Tidbits for 9/30/10


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MIND MELD: The Appeal of the Warhammer 40K Universe

[Do you have an idea for a future Mind Meld? Let us know!]

Several folks here at SF Signal are big fans of Black Library‘s Warhammer 40K universe and this week, we thought we’d ask Warhammer 40K authors about that setting:

Q: What do you find appealing about the Warhammer 40K universe as a writer and as a reader? What do newcomers to the universe need to know? Where should they start?

Here’s what they said:

Anthony Reynolds
Anthony Reynolds is an ex-Games Developer for Games Workshop and author of seven novels for Black Library Publishing. He lives in Sydney, Australia, and has a semi-to-rarely-updated blog at anthonyreynolds.wordpress.com.

It is the richness of the setting in all its darkness and horror that I find so appealing about the 40K universe. It’s very far from a generic sci-fi setting – it’s something more akin to the Dark Ages, complete with all its religious persecution, brutality, fear, and ignorance… but with added bio-engineered super-soldiers, Titan war machines as big as buildings, and daemons that like nothing better than tearing their way into the material plane to devour your soul.

As a writer, the 40K universe is a great place to work in, as while there is incredible depth of background material to draw from, there is a still a heck of a lot of room to play. The universe is a big place… if the odd planet, civilisation or solar system needs to be destroyed for the sake of storytelling, then so be it. It happens. The sheer scale of the universe is such that there is also always room for new developments, so for me, the setting has never felt restricting.

For new readers, Dan Abnett’s First and Only is a well-written and accessible entry point, but if you’re brave enough, I’d suggest just jumping in at the deep end. Pick a book that you like the look of and get reading. You might not understand every reference, but you don’t need to.

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Good Idea or Bad Idea? Star Wars Films Go 3D!

Just when you thought LucasFilm couldn’t wring any more money from the Star Wars films comes word that Episodes I – VI will be re-released in theaters in 3D!

Seriously, George? I gotta tell you, if there’s anything worse than gimmicking a film to use 3D, it retrofitting a film to use 3D.

But maybe that’s just me. I’m sure there are legions of fans who will welcome this news with eager wallets. And they can do so beginning in 2012 (the now-certain end of the world) when The Phantom Menace will rear it’s 3D head. Every year, a new episode will be re-released in 3D, meaning that in 2017 you can see the Ewoks in all their comin’-at-‘cha splendor.

Hmmm…that also means 3D metal bikini. May have to rethink my stance on this issue…

SF Tidbits for 9/29/10

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REVIEW: The City & The City by China Miéville

REVIEW SUMMARY: Police procedural, Miéville style. Dark and probing.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: In twin cities that could be anywhere, creating the illusion that they aren’t that far from the reader – there’s a murder. In the course of a deceptively simple police procedural, Miéville’s characters ask questions about the nature of what we see, what we don’t, and why.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: This book was like gold for me – a mystery by one of my favorite SF authors; the book brings up interesting questions about what we see daily, and the things we choose to see or not see.

CONS: The navigation of Besz’el and Ul Qoma can be difficult until the reader becomes familiar with the mechanics.

BOTTOM LINE: A tightly plotted murder mystery that raises some interesting philosophical and cultural questions.

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Free eBook: ‘Sixty-One Nails’ by Mike Shevdon (Kindle version)

Amazon is offering the Kindle version of Sixty-One Nails by Mike Shevdon for the low, low price of free.

Here’s the book description:

There is a secret war raging beneath the streets of London. A dark magic will be unleashed by the Untained… unless a new hero can be found.

Neverwhere’s faster, smarter brother has arrived. The immense SIXTY-ONE NAILS follows Niall Petersen, from a suspected heart attack on the London Underground, into the hidden world of the Feyre, an uncanny place of legend that lurks just beyond the surface of everyday life. The Untainted, the darkest of the Seven Courts, have made their play for power, and unless Niall can recreate the ritual of the Sixty-One Nails, their dark dominion will enslave all of the Feyre, and all of humankind too.

Tuesday Tune: ‘Han Solo’ by MC Chris

[via Distracted by Star Wars]

AUDIO REVIEW: Throne of Lies by Aaron Dembski-Bowden

REVIEW SUMMARY: Good background material for fans of Warhammer 40K‘s Chaos Marines, and specifically the Night Lords.

MY RATING: (Add 1 star if you’re familiar with the Chaos Space Marines Night Lords forces from other books.)

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The Night Lords attempt to recover a valuable artifact.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Outstanding performances by John Banks and Beth Chalmers; gripping action sequences; cinematic experience overall.

CONS: Some extra world building would have been appreciated for newcomers like me.

BOTTOM LINE: Works less as a standalone than as background filler for the apparently-rich Night Lords corner of the expansive Warhammer 40K universe.

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VIDEO: William Gibson on Characterization, Numbers, Entrepreneurs, Business Models and Science Fiction

Another video after the jump

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BOOK TRAILER: ‘The Stars Blue Yonder’ by Sandra McDonald

Check out Sandra McDonald‘s charming homemade book trailer for the paperback release of The Stars Blue Yonder.

And be sure to check out Sandra’s post that introduces it. Funny stuff.

SF Tidbits for 9/28/10

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Whatever Happened To Scary Vampires?

Whatever happened to scary vampires?

Did vampires slowly transition from creatures of horror to this romanticized ideal or did it happen over night?

I remember the conversation we had at The Functional Nerds with Mike Resnick wherein he said, “When I was growing up, Vampires were unclean things that wanted to suck your blood.” He’s not wrong.

How did we get to the point where teenage girls are swooning over them? How did vamps become what they are and when did we forget what they were?

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Intro to Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions Game

Here’s the intro movie for Spider-Man Shattered Dimensions, published by Activision:

The SF Signal Podcast (Episode 009) – Sex in Science Fiction + Interview with Brent Weeks

In the ninth episode of the SF Signal Podcast, Patrick Hester is joined by Jeff Patterson, Matthew Sanborn Smith, Jay Garmon and John DeNardo to discuss:

What is the role of sex in science fiction?

Authors Philip José Farmer, Robert Heinlein and Ursula K. Le Guin, to name just a few, have all had sex and sexuality in their stories in one way or another. Science fiction and fantasy is full of examples of blurred gender roles, cross-species sex, virtual sex – are these legitimate points to move the story forward or are they simply there to sensationalize the prose? What are some examples of sex in science fiction that, good or bad, still stick in your mind? What are some examples where you felt it was completely out of place?

Later, Patrick Hester sits down to chat with New York Times bestselling author Brent Weeks. His Night Angel Trilogy consists of The Way of Shadows, Shadow’s Edge and Beyond the Shadows. His new series, Lightbringer, has launched with the new novel: The Black Prism.

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