Author Archive

Review: Doctor Strange – The Way of the Weird

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Review: Doctor Strange – The Way of the Weird

Elizabeth over at Binary System Podcast has been trying to get me to read the latest Doctor Strange series almost since it first came out last October. I finally ran out of excuses when I stumbled over the gorgeous hardback graphic novel Doctor Strange – The Way of the Weird, collecting the first five issues of the series written by Jason Aaron (Star Wars, The Mighty Thor, Avengers vs. X-Men), with art by Chris Bachalo (Uncanny X-Men, plus a couple dozen other X-titles).

Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with the character; Aaron gives you a quick history of the surgeon-turned-Sorcerer-Surpreme on the first page, and then throws you into a gloriously insane world of magic and monsters that’s hidden from most “normal” humans.

Ever since starting his new life as a sorcerer, Doctor Strange has been operating as something of a supernatural troubleshooter, driving out magical infestations from his home in Manhattan. But there are rumors that there’s something out there worse than alien parasites or demonic nightmares. And whatever it is, it’s getting closer, right when Strange is starting to realize that the price of using magic may be a lot higher than he can pay.

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Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

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Review: Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet

Charlie N. Holmberg – author of The Paper Magician series – is working with a new type of magic in her latest book Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet (due out June 28). Instead of paper or metal or glass, the magician in this book works with food.

Maire is a magical baker who can infuse her treats with emotions and abilities. She can give someone a sense of love with a slice of cake, or a downtrodden worker new strength with a sugar cookie. She can even make baked goods do things they were never intended to do, like, say, making gingerbread strong enough to be used to build a house. Sounds like the makings for a whimsical, fun book, right?

Wrong.

Maire’s fanciful magic powers are just the backdrop for a book that’s almost relentlessly dark in places. The reader is quickly thrown into a story of Maire attempts to survive being kidnapped by marauders and sold to a lunatic, all while trying to recover her forgotten past. It’s also a story of love (lost and found), and little tidbits about what type of cake works the best for each kind of magic. The book is an intriguing mix of the cute and the dire, and none of my initial guesses about Maire’s origin ended up being right.

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Binary System Podcast #40 – WTNV #89 “Who’s A Good Boy, Part 1”

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Binary System Podcast #40 – WTNV #89 “Who’s A Good Boy, Part 1”

“Who’s a good boy?” Not really a question that you’d expect to strike fear in the hearts of podcast listeners. But it does.

Once we shook off the Welcome To Night Vale heebie-jeebies we talked about Daredevil and The Fall, and then about the final seasons of Hannibal and True Blood, which we haven’t watched yet because some streaming platforms are biding their time. And by biding their time we mean stingy and by some we mean Amazon Prime.

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Review: Just Over The Horizon – The Complete Short Fiction of Greg Bear

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Review: Just Over The Horizon – The Complete Short Fiction of Greg Bear

I’ve been meaning to read more of Greg Bear’s short stories, especially after reading Blood Music (my review can be found here), a groundbreaking novel that was originally based on one of his earlier stories. Fortunately his short-story collection Just Over the Horizon caught my eye right when I was looking for something to read over my vacation. This collection is volume one of what I hope will be several more books, and it features some of Bear’s earlier works from the 1970’s and 80’s, when he was already showing a dazzling skill at taking a concept that’s very tricky to understand, explaining it in a way that a non-scientist can at least start to understand, and then wrapping a story around it.

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Binary System Podcast #39 – Alice Isn’t Dead #6 “Let’s Break Into A Police Station”

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Binary System Podcast #39 – Alice Isn’t Dead #6 “Let’s Break Into A Police Station”

This week we recap the latest episode of Alice Isn’t Dead and ask the question: if you’re not a criminal mastermind, how do you break into a police station? (Answer: loudly. Before you can change your mind.)

We also discuss how season two of Hannibal is just amazing, and how season six of True Blood is just godawful.

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Review: Crimson Peak Movie Novelization

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Review: Crimson Peak Movie Novelization

A long weekend is a good chance to finally catch up on some books I’ve been meaning to read for a while: Dante’s Inferno, another Allison Weir history book on the Tudors, maybe even a re-read of Edith Hamilton’s classic book from the 1940’s on Greek Mythology.

Or I could pour myself a glass of wine and read a movie novelization. That would probably be an even better idea.

It’s been over two years since I last read one of these (see my review here) and I talked then about how writers of novelizations have to walk a fine line between slavishly writing down every bit of dialog, or changing things so much that the story no longer resembles the movie. Nancy Holder (author of the Wicked series and many many TV and movie tie-ins) manages to walk this line with ease with Crimson Peak. Keeping in mind that I loved the film and am hypersensitive to any changes, I still think this is one of the best novelizations I’ve read.

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Review: Moth and Spark

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Review: Moth and Spark

Anne Leonard’s debut novel isn’t just a fantasy epic, it’s a story of discovery. The main characters, Corin and Tam, discover their place in their kingdoms, their hidden talents, and a blossoming and impossible love for each other, while at the same time the reader discovers the author’s intricate world and its magic, all acting as the backdrop to a tale of plots, betrayals, marauding armies, and hidden agendas.

And also there are dragons.

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Binary System Podcast #37 – WTNV #88 “Things Fall Apart”

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Binary System Podcast #37 – WTNV #88 “Things Fall Apart”

The title to this week’s Welcome To Night Vale episode sums it up: things in Night Vale are falling apart. It’s bad enough that the gas, electricity, and water is out, but now the surveillance cameras aren’t working? Everybody panic! (Quietly. Where the Sheriff’s Secret Police can’t hear you.)

(Kidding. They can always hear you.)

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Review: Marvel’s Captain America – Civil War Prelude

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Review: Marvel’s Captain America – Civil War Prelude

The new Captain America movie is doing really well, and I’ll most likely go to see it in a week or so, once the initial crush dies down a little. While I wait, I decided to check out Marvel’s new graphic novel Captain America – Civil War Prelude, collecting all four issues of the Civil War Prequel comics, plus the first issue of the 2006 Marvel Civil War storyline that inspired the movie.

If you’re a diehard fan of Captain America and Iron Man and/or you’re a completist who’s dedicated to having everything Marvel’s released for those two characters then this is a graphic novel for you. Everyone else? You’re better off just seeing the movies again.

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