Books

Review: Unseen Demons

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Review: Unseen Demons

“Have we ever been able to conduct any kind of communication with them at all?”

“Are you kidding? We haven’t even been able to alert them we’re here.”

Long-time fans of author Adam-Troy Castro are probably already familiar with his Andrea Cort series. For everyone else (and for those of us who love getting ahold of a story that we haven’t had a chance to read yet), Mr. Castro has been releasing his individual stories in e-reader format, including just this month his 2002 novella, Unseen Demons.

The very first of the Andrea Cort stories written, it’s also chronologically one of the furthest along in her timeline, taking place just a year before the events in the two Andrea Cort novels. It finds the Diplomatic Corps Counselor trying to bring Emil Sandburg – a remorseless serial killer – to justice on a planet where he brutally murdered several members of the native population. Unfortunately the natives are completely incapable of delivering justice, because they’re not even aware that a crime took place.

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Review: It Devours! – A Welcome To Night Vale Novel

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Review: It Devours! – A Welcome To Night Vale Novel

Being great big fans, as we are, of the Welcome To Night Vale podcast, it was tough to decide which one of us would write the review for their latest book, It Devours. Rock Paper Scissors and flipping a coin didn’t work (why? It’s tough to explain. Hey look over there…) so we decided we’d both review it in the format of an instant messenger conversation (Hey, it worked for our review of Norse Mythology.)

Click the jump for a spoiler-filled discussion about the coolest parts of the book, sections that may or may not have been shout-outs, and a mild disagreement about the book’s treatment of religion.

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North Carolina Comicon: Bull City – The Panels

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North Carolina Comicon: Bull City – The Panels

NC Comicon: Bull City starts today! Are you ready? Have you finished making your cosplay? Are you interested in attending a panel on science in comics, digital illustration, cosplay tips and tricks, how to make a successful podcast (I may have to attend that one, for reasons), how faith affects our fandom (and vice-versa) or any of a number of other fascinating discussions moderated by the top creators in the comic book world?

Click the jump for a rundown of the panels at this year’s convention.

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Review: The Fifth Doll

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Review: The Fifth Doll

Matrona shook her head, mulling over Olia’s bizarre words. “What’s ‘snow’?”

“I haven’t the faintest idea” – Jaska shrugged – “but she prattles about it from time to time.”

That little exchange is the first sign you get that the small village in Charlie N. Homberg’s latest book might be a little…odd. Things aren’t completely perfect (other than the weather of course); Matrona Vistin’s newborn sister disappeared without a trace when Matrona was six years old, and her relationship with her parents in the twenty years since can best be described as “strained”. But Matrona is mostly content with being a dairymaid on her family’s farm, and she has her upcoming marriage to the handsome (if a little distant) village butcher to look forward to.

Matrona’s life might have stayed predictable and quiet, if only she hadn’t given in to a moment’s curiosity and stumbled across the tradesman Slava Barinov’s collection of nested wooden dolls. Each doll is painted to look like someone Matrona knows. In fact, there’s one for every member of her village, and trying to separate the two halves of the dolls has a nasty effect on whoever the doll is matched to.

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Review: John Dies At The End

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Review: John Dies At The End

            “Now, this is going to sound crazy…”

Picture an empty house, a terrified woman, and a deceased boyfriend threatening her from beyond the grave. Two supernatural troubleshooters – armed with only a medieval torch, a 1987 ghetto blaster, and a dog with no self-preservation instincts – are soon caught in a life-or-death struggle with a monster made entirely out of frozen meat products.

And all of that? Was just the prologue.

The third book in David Wong’s utterly bizarre trilogy came out this month, so it’s high time I finally read book one: John Dies At The End. I’d love to come up with a pithy description, but there’s just no way to summarize what this book is about in three sentences or less. Click the jump to see me flail around trying to come up with something that passes for a review.

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Review: The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, And Other Stories

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Review: The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All, And Other Stories

October is here! Time for another month of scary, horrifying, or just downright creepy books.

First up is Laird Barron’s 2013 short story collection, The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All. The title of the book is misleading to say the least, unless you have a completely different interpretation of what “beautiful” means. But something is most definitely is waiting, oh yes, and we won’t know exactly what it is until it’s far too late.

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Review: Curious Goods – Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series

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Review: Curious Goods – Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series

It’s just a few more days until the 30th anniversary of the first episode of Friday the 13th the Series. As a long-time fan, I’m kicking myself for the fact that a book about the series was released almost two years ago, and I’m only just noticing now.

When I picked up a copy of Alyse Wax’s book Curious Goods – Behind the Scenes of Friday the 13th: The Series, I expected an episode list, maybe with a rundown of writers, directors, and guest stars. But what I got was exactly what I want out of a fan book: a lovingly-detailed summary of all 72 episodes, plus interviews, photos, and tons of fascinating details about the background of the show and what went on during the making of each episode.

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Review: The Stone Sky

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Review: The Stone Sky

“…some worlds were built on a fault line of pain, held up by nightmares. Don’t lament when those worlds fall. Rage that they were built doomed in the first place.”

The world of Stillness is as good as dead. The planet is being smothered under volcanic ash by the Rifting, caused by an orogene who couldn’t stand being a slave for one more moment. But Alabaster had a plan when he cracked the planet in half, and he’s taught his former lover Essun how it’s going to work. All she has to do now is use the Obelisk Gate to tap into all the energy boiling up from the Rift.

Unfortunately Essun’s ten-year-old daughter Nassun has learned how to harness the Obelisk Gate as well. The third book in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy finds mother and daughter on opposite sides of a war that goes back centuries, each with a different goal in mind. Both of them want to stop the ten-thousand-year Season before humanity starves, but Essun wants to do it by returning the lost Moon to its orbit to end the Seasons once and for all.

Nassun plans to crash the Moon into the planet and end everything.

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Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

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Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones

The first novella in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series introduced us to identical twins Jacqueline and Jillian (or Jack and Jill, “…because our parents should never have been allowed to name their own children.”) The siblings were just two of the students at Eleanor West’s Home For Wayward Children, a school and halfway home for those who once stepped through a doorway into some kind of fairyland, and who would now do anything to be able to go back.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones is not the story about Eleanor West’s school. This is the story about how Jack and Jill ended up in fairyland in the first place.

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