Author Archive

TOC: The Enormous Book of Uncanny Creatures

The contents of The Enormous Book of Uncanny Creatures (SF Signal Irregular Press; cover design by Dange R. Gal) have been posted:

  • “I Have No Robot Zombie Vampire Ninja Unicorns and I Must Scream” by Reggie Sterd Trademark
  • “Fender’s Game: Wasted Days, Wasted Nights” by Tony Orlando Calrissian
  • “The Three Gymkata of Palmer Eldritch” by Lee O. Tard
  • “The Nine Billion Names of Mod Squad” by Peter Julian Linc
  • “Night Mare at 3×10^5 Nanometers” by Bill Um Shatnur
  • “Rukhbeak’s Statio” by Rob Silvermountain
  • “A Meeting with Mechamedusa” by Author See Clerk
  • “The Bagel Apocalypse Codices” by Chuck Roast
  • “Flameless, an Alex Biscotti Story” by Shale Derringer

With this inaugural publication, the SF Signal Irregular Press endeavored to create a multi-volume, shared-world, cross-platform SF/F e-book megathology. Any genre trope was accepted, but we specifically looked for the elements of all successful books: pirates, ninjas, vampires, zeppelins and zombies. Book ships with special collector’s edition bagel pack.

Submissions will soon open for a roleplaying game supplement to TEBOUC. We are specifically looking to expand the mythos of the leprechaun vampire hunters, psychic robot werewolves and the uber-evil My Little Ponies.

‘Nine Lives of Chloe King’ – Pilot Recap

In the span of two days, 16-year-old Chloe King sprouts claws, kills a man with her kiss and dies after being pushed out of a tower. This Buffy 2.0 potential has eight more lives to go, however, when she discovers that she’s the descendant of an ancient feline-human race called the Mai.

[Warning: Spoilers follow…]


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So Long, Stargate Universe…We Hardly Knew Ye

This week, the Syfy Network aired the series finale of Stargate Universe with the episode “Gauntlet.” Since the show’s mid-season return and the news that only ten more episodes would be shot and aired, the writers and producers took the story in a new direction, an arc that might have been the planned all along.

Now that the show is over, let’s parse out what worked and what didn’t.

BEWARE…spoilers ensue if you haven’t yet watched the final episodes!

(Eli goes blip! and turns into a god at the end…#SGUFakeSpoilers)


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A ghost, a werewolf, and a vampire walk into a bar. . . oh, sorry got that wrong. In the SyFy Network’s American version of the British show Being Human, a trio of otherworldly characters move into an apartment together like some supernatural remake of Three’s Company. They might have the gifts of immortality, mind control, and teleportation, but at the end of the day they just want to remember what is was like being normal, being human.

[Warning: Spoilers follow…]


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The Cape Recap: ‘Kozmo’

In this week’s The Cape episode “Kozmo,” viewers got an in-depth look at Vince’s “freaky peeps,” Kozmo the Unkillable was reincarnated from Russia with love, and Dana Thompson Faraday proves she has a killer breath spray and isn’t afraid to use it. On top of it all, Vince Faraday faces off with his mirror image when Max’s former protégé comes back to town.

[Warning: Spoilers follow…]


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REVIEW: All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka

REVIEW SUMMARY: I couldn’t put this fast-paced story down. The combination of anime mecha “Jackets,” time-loops, the main character’s attitude, and a kick-ass character like the Full Metal Bitch reeled me in.

MY RATING:

SYNOPSIS: All You Need Is Kill is the story of green recruit Keiji Kiriya fighting an epic battle against aliens called the Gitai determined to terraform Earth for themselves, even if that means turning it into a wasteland for its current inhabitants. To save the planet, Keiji must figure out the secrets of the Mimics, but first he encounters the legendary Full Metal Bitch — a woman with a crimson mecha “Jacket” named Rita Vrataski. Humans have outfitted themselves with “Jackets,” mecha suits equipped with numerous weapons onboard, none of which have much impact on the aliens. Nicknamed “Mimics” because they mimic the appearance of the first creature they came in contact with — starfish — the Gitai stand about four feet tall, possess multiple limbs, a hard exoskeleton, and shoot razor-sharp “javelins” from their bodies in battle. Only one soldier has made a difference against the Mimics, taking out about half of all the Mimic kills humans have made overall. They call her the Angel of Death, Valkyrie Incarnate, or Mad Wargarita and the “two-metre-long behemoth” of a battle axe she’s attached to her Jacket instead of a regulation pile driver makes all the difference. Stuck in an unexplainable time-loop, Keiji gives in to his fate and decides to become a warrior to rival Rita. After all, he has all the time in the world. On his 158th iteration, Keiji receives a message from Rita with the key to his escape and the secret of defeating the Mimics.

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The Cape Recap: ‘Pilot’ and ‘Tarot’

thecape.jpgIn the new NBC series The Cape, cop turned crime fighter Vince Faraday plays dead to protect his family as he goes after corporate kingpin Peter Fleming. The muckraking blogger Orwell calls Faraday to this adventure just as he is about to take a job for Fleming’s privatized police force under the Ark Corporation. When captured by the super villain Chess after discovering Fleming’s illegal import of the deadly explosive L-9, Faraday is framed for the murder of Palm City’s new police chief and believed to be Chess himself. Faraday must let the world believe he’s dead in order to clean up Palm City as The Cape.

[Warning: Spoilers follow…]


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Stargate Universe Canceled: What’s Your Take?

Via a tweet from SyFy’s Craig Engler, we learned on Thursday that Stargate Universe has been canceled. There are still ten more episodes to air, but there will be no more after those are broadcast. Show consultant John Scalzi confirmed the cancellation as well.

I have to admit that in the beginning I was not a fan of the show, but as I started covering the episodes for SF Signal I saw a definite improvement. I always enjoyed the other shows in the Stargate franchise and appreciated what Joseph Mallozzi and his team were trying to accomplish with Stargate Universe. I don’t have a problem with the dark and gritty approach and, despite the criticism surrounding this aspect of the show, I don’t think it was the source of its downfall. Instead, I think it really hurt the show that the long emotional arcs didn’t start paying off until the middle of season two.

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Stargate Universe Recap: ‘Visitation’ and ‘Resurgence’

This week’s action-packed Stargate Universe episode “Resurgence” takes the series in a whole new direction from last week’s ephemeral “Visitation.” Last week the ghosts of Caine’s group — who had previously been left off on the “Eden” planet — haunt the ship, but in contrast the mid-season finale reveals some double-crossing aliens, brings back Telford, and shows us a new and improved Chloe.

[Warning: Spoilers follow…]


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Stargate Universe Recap: ‘Malice’

Stargate Universe trots out the classic revenge scenario in “Malice” when Rush chases Simeon onto a desert plant after Ginn and Perry are killed in the middle of a stones connection. Lt. Scott gets to channel Admiral “It’s a trap!” Ackbar and, oh yeah, there be Dragon Tales in this episode…

[Warning: Spoilers follow…]


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Stargate Universe Recap: ‘The Greater Good’

In the last episode of Stargate UniverseThe Greater Good,” we watched Rush and Young finally clear the air. With Dr. Perry’s help, Rush revealed the secret of Destiny‘s true mission. Eli and Ginn turned up the Barry White while Simeon continued to creepily skulk the corridors of the ship.

The emo roller-coaster that is Stargate Universe continues.

[Warning: Spoilers follow…]


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Stargate Universe Recap: ‘Trial and Error’

In this week’s Stargate Universe episode “Trial and Error” we watched Colonel Young meet his Kobayashi Maru and Rush take the final step into turning into a megalomaniac who shall heretofore be known as Megamind. And, oh yeah, Lieutenant Scott loves Chloe. Yes, indeedy he does.

[Warning: Spoilers follow…]


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Stargate Universe Recap: ‘Cloverdale’

Stargate Universe’s episode “Cloverdale” finally provides something so many viewers have been asking for from the Destiny crew: teamwork. While season one episodes depicted a crew fracturing rather than pulling together to obtain basic resources, this week’s episode showed us a crew pulling together to save Lt. Scott after he was infected by a sentient plant bite on an away mission.

Much of the episode took place in a hallucinatory world of Scott’s where he is preparing to marry Chloe in the town of Cloverdale. Evidently, this episode was actually shot in the town of Cloverdale, British Columbia where much of Stargate is taped. This tactic portrayed Scott in a much more dynamic way than we’re used to seeing him. Instead of the monolithic duty-driven soldier, viewers got to see that Scott is actually a little conflicted over his relationship with Chloe. At one point he wonders if they’re truly compatible because they come from very different worlds. If not for being stranded on Destiny, these two probably would not have become a couple. The hallucination also showed us that Scott considers Greer to be a close enough friend to be his best man — and that, LOL funny, Greer likes trance music. No surprise, the hallucination also confirmed that Scott looks at Young as a father figure and is well aware of his current alcohol problem.

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Stargate Universe Recap: ‘Pathogen’

This week’s Stargate Universe episode, “Pathogen,” portrayed the toll being stranded on Destiny is having not only on the crew, but on their loved ones as well. In this episode, we learned more about Eli’s mother’s illness and also about the stress Wray’s partner has been dealing with. It’s discovered that Chloe has been experiencing blackouts and seems to be channeling, or possibly turning into, a Blueberry Alien. We did not yet get to see the scene with Chloe’s alien skin in this episode, though, and I wonder how long we’ll have to wait.

[Warning: Spoilers follow…]

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Stargate Universe Recap: ‘Awakening’

[Warning: Spoilers ensue.]

Tell the truth now. Who wasn’t squicked out by the scorpion clicking sound the new Seed Ship aliens made as they closed ranks on Telford in Tuesday night’s SGU episode “Awakening?”

Telford is now stranded with the aliens! Awesome. This development has opened up a new exciting avenue for the show. Since we’ve been privy to Telford’s point of view before, I hope we get to see some development of this storyline. I’d rather not have him disappear for half a season only to show up later to wreck havoc on Destiny. Sure, I hope he wrecks a lot of havoc, but I also hope we get to see some sort of transformation leading up to that. They’ve established that Telford has been brainwashed once, so it stands that he’s ripe for that kind of manipulation again. Or not. Maybe these are geeky scientist aliens who come in peace. (Mmm, ok, sure.)

One question though: Can the seed ship gate back to Earth? Is the seed ship the ticket home for Telford and the road to Destiny for other characters?

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Stargate Universe: Likes, Dislikes, Dos and Don’ts

I’ve been struggling to watch Stargate: Universe. I keep tuning in because, well, I’ve watched and loved all the other Stargate TV shows and to not watch Universe makes me feel like I’d be missing out on an important chapter of a story — even if that chapter makes me repeatedly want to throw the book at the wall. I’ve always appreciated that the Stargate shows were light fare and looked forward to them for that reason.That doesn’t mean that I have an aversion to dark and gritty science fiction. I was a huge Battlestar Galactica fan girl and the evidence of that is in my blog archives. So, it’s not the dark and sometimes violent aspects of Universe that bother me. In fact, Universe could be a great counterpoint to the rest of the Stargate world.

However, when I switched Universe off during the “Aftermath” episode, and then turned it back on as Young started bashing a Lucian Alliance soldier’s head on the floor, I decided to finally figure out why this program was frustrating me so much.

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REVIEW: Ravenous by Sharon Ashwood

REVIEW SUMMARY: Ravenous sets up a vast new supernatural world rife with inter-species conflict and the potential for some very compelling characters.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: A society where all manner of supernatural beings have come out of the broom closet backdrops Sharon Ashwood’s romance between a magically-wounded witch and a vampire wanting more than to be eternally undead.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Ashwood’s world-building goes beyond just the typical vampires and werewolves and, in fact, opens up all sorts of possible paranormal creatures as characters in future books; the heroine’s arc of moving from powerlessness to power was compelling.

CONS: The pacing at times dragged and aspects of the hero were derivative of other well-known vampires;

BOTTOM LINE: Readers looking for lighter fare urban fantasy will likely enjoy this book.

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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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Award-winning actor, writer, and producer Connor Fox has played opposite Jude Law, Josh Gadd and Cillian Murphy. His current role is in the TV movie Mothman alongside Jewel Staite, which will be airing on the SyFy Channel on April 24, 2010. Connor loves science fiction and grew up watching the original Twilight Zone on the SyFy Channel, a show he calls “the eighth wonder of the world”. Connor’s films include Watching the Detectives, Descent, Kin of You, Invisible Man, and Blood Night. He also won Best Young Actor at the Downbeach Film Festival for his lead role in the indie film Ice Grill USA. In addition to the big screen, Connor also works in television and recently shot two pilots: one for Comedy Central (Evan and Gareth) and the other for FOX (Have You Slept With Me?).

When Connor is not acting, he’s busy writing for both the stage and screen. His newest original work, Sintax, is now in pre-production. He’s also currently writing a Science Fiction feature film comedy/adventure called The Chest, a SciFi pilot and series concept inspired by the original Twilight Zone, and an science fiction comic book series entitled The Last Planet.

SF Signal had the opportunity to ask Connor about Mothman, his writing, and his love of science fiction…


Lisa Paitz Spindler: Thanks so much for agreeing to an interview at SF Signal. Your bio says you “grew up on the SyFy Channel” and that Science Fiction is your favorite genre. What’s the appeal of Science Fiction for you?

Connor Fox: No limits. I have always found that really exciting.

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REVIEW: Covet by J.R. Ward

REVIEW SUMMARY: Covet (Fallen Angels, Book 1) combines Urban Fantasy with Paranormal Romance, is related to the author’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series, and takes Ward’s world of Caldwell, New York, in a new, darker direction.

MY RATING:

BRIEF SYNOPSIS: The fate of the world is in the hands of tough-talking former assassin Jim Heron who teams up with Harley-riding angels against a demon temptress in seven battles for seven souls. In this first installment of the Fallen Angels series, Heron must convince Vin dePietro, a “silk-suited, M6-driving” real estate magnate who loves no one and owns just about everything to make the right choice when he faces an important crossroads. When Vin meets a woman with her own darkness who makes him yearn for more than just a moneyed life, he must first undo a deal with a demon he made years ago to purge his dark side.

MY REVIEW:

PROS: Covet introduces a whole new angle on Ward’s Caldwell, New York, world of vampires — and now the home also of fallen angels, demons, and undead former assassins. After seven books about vampires that shows no signs of stopping, I’m eager to learn even more about this paranormal world. While aspects of Covet act like a Romance, the character of Jim Heron ushering readers through this new series gives it more of an Urban Fantasy feel.

CONS: Despite this series being labeled Fallen Angels, none of the point of view characters were, in fact, actual fallen angels. We meet four honorable angels and two fallen angels, but don’t learn much about the latter. I assume later books will follow a similar format with Heron as the main point of view character along with a romantic couple as secondary point of view characters, but I wonder how actual fallen angels will play into the series.

BOTTOM LINE: Covet builds on the already established Black Dagger Brotherhood world-building and was an equally-engaging read especially for existing Ward readers.

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