Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Highway to...

Ok yes I may be going against type here talking about someone that is getting a lot of press right now but with how much I loved this novel I have to...

Joe Hill is just that good; this book sets its hooks into me with the opening scene and wormed it way into my heart in ways I least expected. Like Heart Shaped Box, Locke and Key and his short fiction, this story is wildly and convincingly conceived; the knife knife of Joe's imagination cuts through disbelief as if it were tissue.

Nos4a2 is a novel that I sped through considering its near 700 pages. It will make you read late into the night and give you chills when the lights are off. Joe Hill does not go for cheap gore horror or simple shocks; he deftly foreshadows the events and revelations so that as the reader you never feel that he's cheating and sometimes you get the reveal just before he shows you. I loved his first novel Hear Shaped Box, and his graphic novel series Locke and Key that pays right into my enjoyment of HPL influenced horror but this one really hit in all the right spots and occasionally in some painful places. In addition to the roller coaster ride and tense chase scenes he throws in seveal good emotional gut punches, to borrow a comment from the SFSqueecast a couple of episodes back. NOS4A2 is more then just a well told weird suspense tale that breaks the walls of reality a bit there is so much real about the feelings and moments Joe conjures up that it would be just as affective without all the weird. He brought me to tears unexpectedly with the way he wrote one scene that even though I knew what was coming the hurt was still very bright.

As a short story writer Joe is deft at creating character in a few lines painting a person fully in a simple brushstroke. The bigger story may be the conflict between Charlie the spooky sociopath with the NOS4A2 license plate and Victoria (Vic or the Brat) spry and foul mouthed biker chick but Joe never forgets to give hints of the stories of the other players and give them just as much weight in their moment. Just after finishing the book I wanted to start it again just to re-encounter the fictional friends I almost instantly missed.

Vic we meet as a headstrong pre teen who's home life is less then ideal given unstable parents and see her grow up into a loveable but very flawed and broken person, creative, witty, vulgar and headstrong but very broken. Her story collides after a particularly bad family blowup with that of the sociopathic child"saving" Manx. Many chance events lead to this moment that changes her life and his really and leading to the dramatic sad hard and spooky years that follow between their first encounter the the climactic one. The other characters drawn into the gravity of this conflict include family friends and children and no one leaves unchanged even those who never really encounter them in the flesh.

NOS4A2 as I said was a wildly creative novel, a world that some can bend or influence in powerful subtle and twisted ways but it was wild in other senses. In terms of pacing Joe sculpted some of the tensest series of scenes into a form that spread my pulse and left me just as jittery or shaken as his characters; he effectively created the visceral experience of the event though I did not move at all. He did more then create a maniac thrill ride, there are tender and tense family scenes that though not fast paced drew me in just as much wanting to see if the foreshadowing was as bad or worse then I feared.

Other reviewers have written about the plot and and love to discuss it and reveal things or hint at this but since this novel for me was a visceral experience I've focused on that. Joe's writing, his ability to convey the contents of his head, clearly enough to make my heart race, fear for incoming injuries and cry and laugh openly makes this a pretty great novel. Also, though out it has illustrations, imbedded magazine adds, bits do dental that could have been left only as words and a brilliant map that hints.... hints at more things related to the novel. Perhaps he's hinting that well be seeing more of this crazy world, hey one can only hope.

So now some links...

Joe Hill can be found here and post lots on twitter and tumblr

Trailers and videos related to the novel can be found there too here and here

There is also a cool illustrations of a couple of the characters from the book on Joe's site along with a list of his tour dates (the one at Powells that I sadly miss due to some horror called work) and some promos for more Locke and Key....

Here is a link to the mentioned SF Squeecast its a great group of writers sharing the SFnal things they dig...

As always I invite comments if you found my review helpful or fun or well whatever you think of it...


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Comics 28 April

So this week I have a couple comics from this last Wednesday and a reminder that next Saturday is Free Comics Day and I've got some suggestions for people of comics to grab.... I'll be going to More Fun Comics to get me a few.....

I missed mentioning this last week among others but Jeff Parker is one of the oft overlooked heroes of comics I'm totally loving. He is the guy that's been doing the writing on both the under appreciated Dark Avengers, Red Hulk and Red She Hulk and often he entertains me. Actually Jeff often matches the truly entertaining Rick Remender who was awesome with Uncanny Xforce; he's kind of the sleeper hero f the superhero genre much like Gail Simone on Secret Six here.

Dark Avengers took over its numbering from Thunderbolts and has continued the awesome that was Thrunderbolts from the days of the late nineties and when is was the best Avengers title on the stands starring Baron Zemo, the Beetle, Screaming Mimi to name just a few of the villains come heroes that star in this title. The old Avengers villain Moonstone is still around and is the femme fatale version of Captain Marvel.

The current storyline takes the protagonists of this book (Moonstone, Skaar the son of the Hulk, Ragnarock the replacement Thor, the six armed Spider-Man, and Trickshot) are in a twisted alternate New York rules by various parallels to 616 marvel universe heroes. Its a wickedly twisted version of gang war superhero style and is as fun as the Thor and Avengers films from the last few years. Cheers and applause to Jeff Parker Dark Avengers is something that should be around a long time....

Red She-Hulk 64 is a couple weeks old but I have to mention it again because as above Jeff Parker is a writer that people should be reading. For the uninitiated Red She-Hulk is Betty Ross from the old Hulk title who is finally in the spotlight she deserves and has now teamed up with the Machine-Man Aaron Stack. Like Dark Avengers above this great out of another Parker title Red Hulk which also deserved a bigger readership.

I have to give Marvel NOW much kudos in that lesser selling titles are given the chance to go on a practice not followed in another big comics group now a days. The writing and plotting in this and Dark Avengers above is thoughtful and plays into the history of the Marvel Universe building from what came before. These stories are longer in scope and take issues to build and grow much like Buffy and Firefly and the characters are deftly crafted and I selfishly want these stories to be around for a while so I can still read them.

Betty is a woman who cares about her world and is willing Togo to the wall to defend it. Few fans are writing about this. Title but it is worth your 2.99 a month.....


FF by Fraction and Allred I've mentioned before but I have to do so again...

FF has a huge cast both long standing and new and I have to give Fraction kudos for handling that and adding more to the mix and making the histories of these long standing people weigh and them no matter who told the tale. Some comics writers throw pasts to the curb when it doesn't suit them but seems like Antman, She-Hulk, Medusa all have the weight of the past on them Antman the most of all of them. Of the kids Alex Power seems the most tortured for his age and is really trying to be a hero, he is not in this issue but I have to mention the depth of Fractions knowledge of these characters he did not create.

This issue features Darla and her dealing with being thing girl and the Yancy Street Fallout of this. I bow to Matt's knowledge of Marvel History and his respect for it. The art for this handled by Allred and Quinones is so damn cool I think the beauty of the storytelling is reason enough along to grab it... Dragon man and the various kids of the Freedom Foundation shine in this story too right there with the adults. Great addition to the FF lexicon and by that I mean the fourty plus years of stories....



New Avengers 5 finally gives us some past for the Black Swan from the first issue of this highly tension filled book and one that has way too much testosterone for me all told. I like the tone of this series overall a bit more then the big Avengers title but they are really telling one continuous tale overall I think. The tension between Namor and Black Panther as well as the conflicts that the inclusion of Cap caused was so well played I almost forgot this book had no distaff presence.

This issue tells the past of the Black Swan and though she is still very much their prisoner its way obvious she is totally in their power level and though she likes them she holds these dick measuring fools in some personal contempt. I get a feeling her inclusion as a real player in the story will make this 3.99 title a must have as the story grows for this issue. Hickman tells a great story here maintaining the tension in this trust less team and Steve Epting proves again he is under appreciated as a solid artist these days. Dig it if you read the first issue and let it go because of cost like me grab this one and I think it may get you back....


So the last book for this week is by one of the women super heroine writers I mentioned last week, Kathryn Immonen. Journey into Mystery is no stranger to my list here at Sunday Comics and this is an issue that focuses on the secondary cast. I've long been a fan of the Warriors three and am as happy with this issue as I was with the Thor film in respect to Hogan, Fandral and Volstag. This issue expands this to their significant others making it an even bigger story.

Katheryn is someone who can tell a complete tale in the space of 22 uncluttered pages and this is heat another example of this.

I may miss the days of Balder and Beta Ray Bill but this is storytelling worthy of an Irishman ....








For Free Comics Day I've got some suggestions and I'll leave it at a few comments and images ....



The first two relate to the same mythos.... 2000AD is not all Judge Dredd but good ol Dredd is the center piece of mostly shared universe story that is England's comic sci fi fantasy magazine. If your not a follower grab up the IDW version since its all Dredd and if you like anthology collections grab up the 2000AD version. British comics tend to have a mix of totally serious and strait faced comedy with much wordplay that its a really different comics experience. I love 2000AD and have been a long time fan; I loved Zenith and Nemisis, Dredd and ABC Robot... Its an odd mix of sci fi fantasy and dark EC comic comedy... Well that's the way I'd sell it... 2000AD is available on apples magazine marketplace weekly at somewhere near 2.99 and that's the best coffee drink to skip as a comic reader..... And this one is free....



Atomic Robo has been running a good number of years now and as an action adventure scientific adventure comic that embraced the spirit of steampunk stories without the cogs and imperialism that comes with the genre.... Atomic Robo has spawned multiple comic series including multiple free self contained issue and an up comics FATE based RolePlaying game... Atomic Robo is pulp action told in four color format....


Arcana has published many books I wish I had or have has the luck to be able to grab so this is definitely on my list of should look at. Yes I'll probably go for the 2000AD comic but this is a close second or third.... I'd say if your up for Steampowered adventure you should take a look... What the hell its free.....



There is more coming that is free including a Dark Horse Anthology including a RIPD story, a DC and a Marvel issue, and a bunch of other great and worthy comics hat my appeal to you more then my limited choices... Go to your friendly local comics shop, buy something and get some free fun entertainment....

Chat up the owner and the locals.... Comics fans are a diverse and mostly accepting supportive community... Its one of the reasons I still love them..... Take care, read and share your thoughts.....


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Wanted Dispatch April 27

So in honor of this being the last week of Women in SF and F month I'll be letting the ladies shine first...

Bronze Gods by AA Aguirre (Ann Aguirre)

If you have been reading dead wood awhile you know my love for Steampunk, cogs gears and magic so this one seems pretty much right up that foggy Victorian alley even if that alley may be in the America's or on some second world. From the description I get a bit of and X-files vibe with the with the man and woman agent paring with respectively an uncanny sixth sense and no nonsense logic. I'll leave the rest tot this here description...

Danger stalks the city of steam and shadows.

Janus Mikani and Celeste Ritsuko work all hours in the Criminal Investigation Division, keeping citizens safe. He’s a charming rogue with an uncanny sixth sense; she’s all logic—and the first female inspector. Between his instincts and her brains, they collar more criminals than any other partnership in the CID.

Then they’re assigned a potentially volatile case where one misstep could end their careers. At first, the search for a missing heiress seems straightforward, but when the girl is found murdered—her body charred to cinders—Mikani and Ritsuko’s modus operandi will be challenged as never before. Before long, it’s clear the bogeyman has stepped out of nightmares to stalk gaslit streets, and it’s up to them to hunt him down. There’s a madman on the loose, weaving blood and magic in an intricate, lethal ritual that could mean the end of everything…


Read an exerpt here on her blog.


Wicked as She Wants by Delilah S Dawson

Though I liked the sound of Wicked as they Come I overlooked it at my peril since once I did check out Delilah's novella The Mysterious Madame Morpho I scrambled around to find a copy of the novel. Her particular take on vampires, steampunk, carnies, magic and tropes from UF paranormal romance and the aforementioned -punk is a truly delicious treat. The novella, which you should really go check out if you like any of the above genres, is told through the eyes of a woman on the run and is an excellent introduction to her setting and players. The promise of this novel takes an altered history look at the death/assassination of the Romanov's through the lens of vampirism. Here is the quote from goodreads about the this second Blud novel.


The second book in the darkly tempting Blud series, featuring a vampire princess who embarks upon a dangerous journey to claim what is rightfully hers.

When Blud princess Ahnastasia wakes up, drained and starving in a suitcase, she’s not sure which calls to her more: the sound of music or the scent of blood. The source of both sensations is a handsome and mysterious man named Casper Sterling. Once the most celebrated musician in London, Sangland, he’s fallen on hard times. Now, much to Ahna’s frustration, the debauched and reckless human is her only ticket back home to the snow-rimmed and magical land of Freesia.

Together with Casper’s prickly charge, a scrappy orphan named Keen, they seek passage to Ahna’s homeland, where a power-hungry sorceress named Ravenna holds the royal family in thrall. Traveling from the back alleys of London to the sparkling minarets of Muscovy, Ahna discovers that Freesia holds new perils and dangerous foes. Back in her country, she is forced to choose between the heart she never knew she had and the land that she was born to rule. But with Casper’s help, Ahna may find a way to have it all

Here is a link to Delilah's blog where you can read an exerpt.....

In addition cover gives a little balance to the standard cheesecake urban fantasy coming later in today's dispatch.

Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Amanda Carlson's first novel Full Blooded is one of the UF novels I'd wanted to read and did not get a chance to before it came out. At the moment (for the next few days) it is for sale electronically for 2.99. Reading some bits and pieces about the novel its seems recognizable with the usual unnatural suspects like vampires and werewolves and our heroine is the only female werewolf. You can check here for a little preview chapter via the Orbit website.

Here. Is the blurb that is up on goodreads... I do like the sound of the story... Seems a bit Buffy like...

It hasn't been the best week for Jessica McClain.

Her mate has been kidnapped by a Goddess hell-bent on revenge --- but Jessica is playing for keeps.

Because she's the only female werewolf in town...it comes with its own set of rules...and powers.

Aided by two vamps, two loyal Pack members, and one very reluctant human, Jessica must rescue her man while coming to terms with what being a wolf really means.

All in a day's work for a girl.

The second novel in the Jessica McClain series is a full on action adventure featuring one angry Goddess and plenty of monsters, demons, and a few newly risen beasties...(less)


Graveyard Child

Graveyard Child by MLN Hanover (Daniel Abraham)

Ok I did kind of out Daniel here but everything of his I've tried has been pretty brilliant wether it was his unique epic fantasy Seasons quartet, his more conventional epic fantasy that starter with the Dragons Path or his co authored space opera that began with Leviathan Wakes. This is book five in the series Black Suns Daughter series and I have to be honest here to say I have yet to start it but still very much want it. My faith that its worth to be here come from how much I've loved his other fiction and trust him as a writer. Here is the blurb from the publisher...

After years on her own, Jayné Heller is going home to find some answers. How did the powerful spirit calling itself the Black Sun get into her body? Who was her uncle Eric, and what was the grand plan that he devoted his life to? Who did her mother have an affair with, and why? What happened to her on her sixteenth birthday? And the tattoo—seriously—what was that about?

Jayné arrives amid preparations for her older brother’s shotgun wedding, but she’s not the only unexpected guest. The Invisible College has come to town to stop the ceremony. And the more she learns, the more she uncovers a darkness that runs deeper than generations and stronger than blood. A missing bride and wizards bent on vengeance may be the least of her problems.

Because in the shadows of Jayné’s childhood home, a greater threat awaits that didn’t die with her uncle. It calls itself the Graveyard Child.

Here is a link to the publishers site where you can read several of the book previews and here is the authors site for you to see these books and maybe take a look see around for the rest of his work.

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

NOS4A2 is one novel on this weeks wanted list I can say I have read and this is definitely one to own. I will be hitting this up with a review on the day of release but I will say this here this here that Joe continues to send chills down my spine with his fiction wether its his comic Locke and Key, his short fiction or a 600+ page doorstop like this. I could compare this to a certain King novel but I will not since that is just my gut reaction to this one. There are some videos and book trailers kicking around for this one and you can go see one of those here. The characters in this book wether they are incidental or major ones all get their hooks into you one way or another. Of all the books I have read lately this one has me with the first lines and has not let go since.

Vic, Maggie, Lou and Wayne really worked their way into my heart and I'm worried as to where these roads will take them. Joe hints at much more to the world in the novel too and I have real hopes for more.

Here is the text from goodreads for you to read...

Charlie Manx burned a man to death in his black 1938 Rolls Royce Wraith, but that’s not the worst of it. Rumor has it that he kidnapped dozens of children, taking them to a place he calls “Christmasland.” The only child ever to escape was a very lucky girl named Victoria McQueen.

Vic has a gift – she can ride her bike through the Shorter Way bridge and she’ll come out the other side wherever she needs to be, even if it’s hundreds of miles away. Vic doesn’t tell anyone about her ability; no one would understand.

When Charlie Manx finally dies after years in prison, his body disappears...after the autopsy. The police and media think someone stole it, but Vic knows the truth: Charlie Manx is on the road again...and he has her kid. And this time, Vic McQueen’s going after him...(less)

Here is a link to Joe's blog and I suggest following him on twitter or Tumblr too since he's actually pretty active and fully worth following. I also love his Locke and Key series which is just as crazy imagined and geek culture connected....

Necessary Evil by Ian Tregillis

Here I am doing it again spotlighting a later book in a running series but this on hits on my love of alternate history and "superheroes" and magic. Its also a series that the writers on my favorite SF fan podcast have Squeed about (the SFSqueecast); Paul Cornell I believe brought it up but I could be mistaken. This series starter with Bitter Seeds which was set in world war 2 the second jumps to the 1960's and the Cold War between the Brits and the USSR and this the third in the Milkweed series goes back to the early days of WW2 so they all seem to stand kind of on their own.

You can go the the Macmillan website to check out the books and read excerpts frm each (in the UK and Downunder they are published by Orbit). Here is the blurb about the book from Macmillan.

12 May 1940. Westminster, London, England: the early days of World War II.


Raybould Marsh, one of “our” Britain’s best spies, has travelled to another Earth in a desperate attempt to save at least one timeline from the Cthulhu-like monsters who have been observing our species from space and have already destroyed Marsh’s timeline. In order to accomplish this, he must remove all traces of the supermen that were created by the Nazi war machine and caused the specters from outer space to notice our planet in the first place.

His biggest challenge is the mad seer Gretel, one of the most powerful of the Nazi creations, who has sent a version of herself to this timeline to thwart Marsh. Why would she stand in his way? Because she has seen that in all the timelines she dies and she is determined to stop that from happening, even if it means destroying most of humanity in the process. And Marsh is the only man who can stop her.

Necessary Evil is the stunning conclusion to Ian Tregillis’s Milkweed series.

Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu

No I know very little about this, its author but I know Angry Robot Books chooses books that are usually to my tastes much like Pyr, Solaris and Abaddon. I'll leave you with the blurb from their website about it and you can see what you think....

When out-of-shape IT technician Roen Tan woke up and started hearing voices in his head, he naturally assumed he was losing it.

He wasn’t.

He now has a passenger in his brain – an ancient alien life-form called Tao, whose race crash-landed on Earth before the first fish crawled out of the oceans. Now split into two opposing factions – the peace-loving, but under-represented Prophus, and the savage, powerful Genjix – the aliens have been in a state of civil war for centuries. Both sides are searching for a way off-planet, and the Genjix will sacrifice the entire human race, if that’s what it takes.

Meanwhile, Roen is having to train to be the ultimate secret agent. Like that’s going to end up well…




That's all for the Dispatch till next month - looks like one hell of an expensive week to me....


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Comics....

Its still April which is Women in SF and F month, celebrating the writers in the field, so I will be dong a bit of that here with comics. If you like genre history and wonder whatever happened to those attempts to make a Wonder Woman movie, you recall the one Joss Whedon was working on before Avengers, you might like go check out this documentary on PBS Independent Lens called Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines. I knew some of the history having been a comics fan for so long but some of the interesting social and historical issues make the overall story much more interesting. Now on with some current women writers in comics you definitely should be reading.... For a more complete list go here for the Wikipedia article on women creators in comics.


Gail Simone has an excellent comics writing history including a run of Deadpool for Marvel, Action comics, Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman and the current Batgirl comic for the new52 at DC. My favorite of all her works I have read is Secret Six but I have yet to read some of the current Batgirl run.

Secret Six ran as a continuing series for three years leading up to its end shortly before Flashpoint. It showcased a collection of wonderfully twisted anti-heroes, well villains, including Deadshot, Catman, Scandal Savage, Bane, King Shark, Jeanette, and Knockout and Ragdoll among a larger cast of nere do wells. In many ways it was an adult counterpart to the writing of the eighties New Teen Titans; personal drama and infighting abounded along with all the witty, quick paced advetures of these miscreants that for all their faults were amazingly supportive and respectful of each other. Gail brought a great amount of humanity to these villains and I really miss reading about them.

Here is a link to the full Wikipedia article that covers all the titles that bore the name Secret Six and its the final incarnation I'm speaking about here. I missed the Six so much that when I saw that Simone and Jim Calafiore enough that when their Kickstarter for Leaving Megalopolis appeared I had to jump in and back it.

I have yet to read Gail's acclaimed run on the current Batgirl comic but was one of the comics fans that called for her to be returned to the title after her being mysteriously let go for a very short period. She is one of the writers that always peeks my interest in books when her name is attached to them.


Marjorie M Liu has been writing comics around the marvel universe for a while now including the Xmen spinoff Nyx, X-23, and Dark Wolverine, in addition Black Widow and the ongoing Astonishing Xmen (beginning with issue 48). People have been kind of making a big deal of the upcoming Xmen, by Brian Wood, with an all female team starting next month but as far as my recollection goes Marjorie is pretty much the only woman given the reigns of a mainline Xmen series. She is a New York Times Bestselling author with several different series to her credit in the paranormal romance and urban fantasy genres and has been writing up a storm in Astonishing.


Marjorie has taken and married Northstar to his longtime life partner in an event that drew some media attention; she pulled together an odd group of characters including Wolverine, Iceman, Karma, Gambit and Warbird and is proceeding to expand these characters into more then the mutant badasses they have been. Having a woman writing what has been pretty much a boys club is a good and refreshing thing and I hope to see more diversity like this in the industry. Not only is Marjorie a woman writer but she is a mixed race writer and who better to see the "marvel" world from an outsider kind of perspective. This is one series that because of cost I have fallen behind on but I liked what I had a chance to read.

In terms of Marjorie's writing I read the majority of the X-23 series and I did like the developments in the lives of Gambit and the series lead that came about in the short 21 issue series. I've also read some of her Urban Fantasy and the short story she had in the Masked superhero short fiction anthology. She has a strong and unique style and writes women who are anything but a damsel in distress. Here is a link to her website.

Kelly Sue DeConnick is probably my favorite writer in the Marvel stable at the moment and that is due in total to the current Captain Marvel series which I have spotlighted at least once and will probable do so again. Now Carol Danvers is not the only character Kelly Sue writes she's also been writing the Avengers Assemble title in addition to a lot of single issues and stories including the Castle comic adaptation and 30Days of night. Her name is attached to a lot of different projects on her website but based on the coolness that is Captain Marvel I'd be interested in looking into them and look forward to the crossover that is coming next month. Looks like the website will be updated but there is a link at the top to her social networking links right up there at the top.


Her take on Carol Danvers is much like the approach Kelly's husband comic writer Matt Fraction has taken on another favorite of mine Hawkeye. This comic may just have more of the whiz bang zap superhero action then Clint's but overall this is a story about Carol and how she is dealing with her life and the people around her. The book has involved alternate history stories, time travel, giant robots, dinosaurs, meetings with IronMan the other Captain Marvel's (yes plural). My first encounter with Carol was in her appearances in the Uncanny Xmen and her eventual transformation into Binary.

She is a much abused character and deserves the respect that Kelly has given her and though she's going through lots of drama now its all good, really, since she is no wilting violet and can totally take it an be her own heroine. She loves and supports her friends as much as the aforementioned Clint is taking care of his own to his own detriment. The feel of these characters and their stories calls to mind the old marvel stories; heroes with problems and real life issues and problems. Carol likes and knows her neighbors. Kelly knows how to write and even writes kids that are cute and endearing without being diabeties inducing. Though I have not read Batgirl yet I still stay Marvel is my favorite currently.



So for the final woman in comics this week spotlight is the wife of one of my favorite artists for years, she is Kathryn Immonen and is the author of another of my spotlight comics - Journey into Mystery. She is currently writing the adventures of the woman adjunct to the warriors three in the past, Sif. Sif has been the companion to the heroes Thor and his cohort, the lover of the replacement Thor, Beta Ray Bill, oh so my favorite Norse marvel cosmic comic hero. Journey into Mystery is one of my proud pleasures; I love this book and the berserkers here are so much more real characters then the ones in the Vikings series on History Channel that I really don't like anyone on the series then the guy named for Loki.

I leve you with a cosmic image of Beta Ray Bill and Sif in the issues to come in the next few months, if you've never read the old..... Oh sorry this is a month about women writers so I will leave it at this Gail Simone, Marjorie M Liu, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kathryn Immonen do something different and unique with these existing creations; the promise of diversity in the writing stable for comics is a good thing. I love these books and ones I have yet to cover and ones I have yet to read most likely. If you check the women in comics link above you can see how many writers there are out there. Check them out and check back next week and I'll have more women writers I hope.... There are the first that occure to me... Love their work...


In addition to my endorsements of the comics I in courage you to check out Marjorie M Liu's urban fantasy novels....give them a go if your a comics fan....


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wanted Dispatch April 23....

Just realized this week my thought that there were a lot of last week releases (as posted by Tor.com) was really for this week and next week... And they are good overall... Here is the first half of my huge "last" week post....

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

Most likely store well be shelving this in the regular fiction section but make no mistake this is something that could easily share shelf space with China Mieville and Jeff Vandermeer based on the little of the preview I have read. I personally love that writers are exploring the little tapped mythologies of the middle east and blending them into the well near modern day. You can go here and see what the Canadian publisher has released for people to read and see if it intices you.

Its going to be out in hardcover first so I may be waiting for soft cover or possibly an ARC but with it being imminent it may be awhile till I get to read this one...


The Grail of the Summer Stars by Freda Warrington

I read a lot of good things about Elfland, the first novel in this series, and was interested but never got around to grabbing the copies I saw and totally missed the second somehow. I know little of the novel other then the fact that authors I love have good hints to say about it.

Here is the synopsis:

The climactic concluding novel in the spellbinding magical contemporary fantasy Aetherial Tales trilogy

A painting, depicting haunting scenes of a ruined palace and a scarlet-haired goddess in front of a fiery city, arrives unheralded in an art gallery with a cryptic note saying, “The world needs to see this.” The painting begins to change the lives of the woman who is the gallery's curator and that of an ancient man of the fey Aetherial folk who has mysteriously risen from the depths of the ocean. Neither human nor fairy knows how they are connected, but when the painting is stolen, both are compelled to discover the meaning behind the painting and the key it holds to their future.

In Grail of the Summer Stars, a haunting, powerful tale of two worlds and those caught between, Freda Warrington weaves an exciting story of suspense, adventure and danger that fulfills the promise of the Aetherial Tales as only she can.

At this link you can find links to reviews and blog coverage towards the bottom of the page.


Unnatural Creatures selected by Neil Gaimen

This is a fiction collection I have to mention. Here is a link to the Harper Teen site that has a preview you can view that will give you a look at the contents and the introduction.

Sales of Unnatural Creatures go to benefit a nonprofit dedicated to supporting the creative and expository writing of students and helping teaches inspire kids to write. Seems like a great project and an excellent selection of authors. Here is the blurb...

A griffin, a werewolf, a sunbird . . .

These are just some of the fantastical creatures you'll encounter within these pages. From the cockatoucan, whose laugh rearranges an entire kingdom, to the roving shapeless Beast that lurks in a forest, herein is a collection of rare and magnificent species. Each one will thrill, delight, and quite possibly unnerve you.

Selected by master storyteller Neil Gaiman, the sixteen stories in this menagerie will introduce you to a host of strange, wondrous beings that have never existed anyplace but in the richness of the imagination.

With stories from Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne Jones, E. Nesbit, and many more, Unnatural Creatures will benefit the literacy nonprofit 826DC.



Hot Blooded Book Cover

Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson

Yes I'm kind of a fool for urban fantasy especially ones written by women; I love the work of Seanan McGuire really want to read Faith Hunters and Amanda Carlson has been on my list too. The first novel in this series, Full Blooded, is currently on sale as an eBook for 2.99 because of the imminent release of Hot Blooded. Here is the blog page that Amanda has set up, scrolling through it lookes like she has been doing lots of promotion, blog tours and give always of swag for the series.

Here is a link to the sample chapter posted on the Orbit Books website and here is a bit of the blurb from the book

It hasn't been the best week for Jessica McClain.

Her mate has been kidnapped by a Goddess hell-bent on revenge --- but Jessica is playing for keeps.

Because she's the only female werewolf in town...it comes with its own set of rules...and powers.

Aided by two vamps, two loyal Pack members, and one very reluctant human, Jessica must rescue her man while coming to terms with what being a wolf really means.

All in a day's work for a girl.

The second novel in the Jessica McClain series is a full on action adventure featuring one angry Goddess and plenty of monsters, demons, and a few newly risen beasties...(less)

So this week beings a bit of action adventure with some literature and a benefit book.... Next week will be a bit longer...have a good week....


Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Comics April 14th

So this may be kind of long compared to my other Sunday Comics posts (this will be posted at dead wood comics also)

The first series I'm posting about earlier this week due to a non-travercy that happened on Wednesday. Saga has been running for the last year from Image Comics by Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Stapes.

To the right is an image of The Will (the romance novel cover type guy without the shirt), a mercenary in this story, he's my favorite from the story, who is one of the many background characters from the love, escape, romance sci-fantasy drama that is Saga.

The story is narrated by Hazel,the child of the main characters, talking about her parents and the trials and tribulations in escaping from the powers that want them dead. Its a setting in which two disparate species are at war Marko and Alanna are from separate sides of this generations long conflict that really should be settled and people could live lives separate from war. Its a sad setting so much like the real world with small minded politicians and real people caught in lives that could be so much better without all the BS that politics creates. The characters are so relateable because the situations though extreme to us are so familiar in that its the powers that be that cause the crap getting in the way. Brian writes characters that are relateable no matter their form wether they be winged, horned, covered with furr of ephemeral and Fiona is such a great expressive artist that even the incidental characters are effective. Issue 11 of the series was totally heartbreaking; I say this as someone raised partially by my grandparents and my grandfather was the father figure in my life.

No matter how extreme and unfamiliar the physicality of the character the players in this drama they are are relateable. Mr. Vaughan has a long history in comics and has written for DC's vertigo line, I liked his run on Runaways at Marvel and am sad to have never read Y the Last Man or his political superhero story Ex-Machina and hope to remedy that soon.

Saga involves both science and magic, politics and ritual. During the corse of the first twelve issues Marco Alanna.and Hazel,their daughter, the narrator, encounter ghosts, giants, soldiers, living ships, the grandparents and that is just the major characters. Saga includes characters with televisions for heads, talking lie detecting cats and all kinds of deviants that Lucas would have been afraid to include in Star Wars. Make no mistake this comic is for consenting adults. It is one of the best comics for the money out there right now; I never feel giped picking this one up at 2.99

Here is a link to the first issue on Image's website there is a collection available of the first six issues that is a bargin at under a tenner. Here is a link to that collection and there is a second collection in the works. Earlier this week there was lots of posts about issue 12 because of something a bit adult in the issue and I fell into the conversation. I have to say sorry for pointing a finger at apple when they were not the ones that made a choice. The comic is still as good as ever and I look forward to my real copy of issue twelve soon.

In my Wanted Dispatch post on dead wood reviews on the 13 th I mentioned a novel by Paul Cornell and today I'll be mentioning that name again with Wolverine #2

Wolverine #1 by Paul was on my list a month ago and I liked the issue but was not flored by it. Issue 2 pictured here justified my love of issue number one. In terms of action its good and kinda standard for marvel being mostly a protracted chase scene with Logan chasing the alien weapon wielding child from the end of issue one. The art by Alan Davis is as good as ever recalling his runs on Captian Britian and Excalibur; the illustrations really pulled me into the issue and made the story fly by.

Paul in this story, helped by the artistry of Alan, brought a humanity to Logan that for me he's been lacking in many stories. I felt the re was a man behind that mask and one that gave a crap about and was affected by the actions he has taken. On the letters page Paul writes a letter to readers telling them of his reasons of taking the job, his respect for Chris Clarmont, and his intent for the book. Paul also plans to answer and read fan mail. I was on the fence till the missile of the issue and now it will be on my pull list monthly. Paul brought me a new view on Logan and I really like it, he's a bit of a mystery again and that is a great thing. Grab yourself a copy you'll hopefully be as surprised as I was.




Issue two of Fearless Defenders was good but Issue 3 really lived up to the promise of Issue one. Characters who you might not expect get pulled into the fray as heroines and no one here is waiting for the big strong male to save them. As with Katherine Immonen in Journey into Mystery the women of Fearless Defenders are the story. Women is fantasy fiction hardly get to play the leading role particularly in fantasy comics (excepting Red Sonija) and its so cool to see females not looking to the men to save the day. Along with Captian Marvel and JiM this is again fresh air right up there with Gail Simone's Batgirl and the Secret Six that I so sorely miss.

Valkyrie is so damaged and easy to relate to Misty is so tough and ready to go Fearless Defenders is one of those third teir titles I so want to survive much like Demon Knights and Frankenstein Agent of Shade and Dial H.







Today I'm going to give you the link to one of my favorite free online comics too. Howard Taylor is the creator, writer and artist on this series and its been running daily since early 2000. All the archives are free to read, yeas you can buy dead paper versions which I totally support and endorse, but you can read all of it to today on your computer, or your mobile device free.

Howard has developed a unique art style and you can see it develop over the years. He has built a business selling collections, calendars, coffee mugs and recently a kickstarted boardgame. You can go read the entirety of Schlock Mercenary here it will take a while since its a decade plus of comic strips. The is a iPod/iPhone/iPad app you can get for free that not only ca you read the archives but notifies you of new strips daily. Howard podcasts on the weekly Writing Excuses podcast with Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells and the amazing Mary Robinette Kowal. The series is one of the better space opera stories around following Alistair Reynolds and Neal Asher. Go check it all out and check out my book reviews too for more spec fic reviews.


Saturday, April 13, 2013

Wanted Dispatch April 13

Ok me fellow genre readers this is yet another spare week as far as new books go but it is oh such a good one.

London Falling by Paul Cornell is imminent here in the US... Hell I'm so exited about this one ill post both the covers for it. Why you may want to know I'm wanting this one so much; Paul Cornell has written for the reborn series of Doctor Who as well as for the Doctor Who novels, he has written some great British influenced comics for DC and for Marvel (including a well respected run of Captain Britian a few years back). He's also one of the genre loving authors on the excellent and award willing podcast the SFSqueecast and in addition to having a marvelous voice his taste in all things genre lines up pretty well with mine ( I've long been a 2000 AD reader and fanboy)

So enough of the gushing about Paul, this novel promises to be an urban fantasy police procedural and I have hopes to love it as much as I love the UF police procedural of Ben Aaronovitch's, Rivers of London (retitled Midnight Riot in the US). UK writers tend to write crime dramas that appeal to me like Like on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Luther, and the likes of Inspector Lewis, Prime Suspect and Inspector Morse.

Here is the link to the SF Squeecast go listen its so damn good.

Paul tends to write stories that are complex and many layered with characters that hold their cards close to their chest. He is subtle where other writers are brash but has lacks nothing where it comes to story telling. Here is the link for the exerpt on Tor.com. Its coming out hardcover but I think it will be worth it. I have a ARC to read and review and though its Women in Sf and F month I have to read this now.


And here is an apology from me though I want to give you more today in terms if the nebulas I have house guests and will have to leave the teat till a Sunday or dispatch supplement.







Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Saga's saga...

Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples' science fantasy drama comic Saga is one I plan to write about in my article about Science Fiction comics but I have to mention this excellent comic read today. It came to my attention yesterday and has been mentioned around the Internet today that Apple has banned the sale of issue 12 out today from sales on its platforms (iPhone, I touch, iPad....). This is over a couple of scenes of homosexual content in the pages of the issue and considering that this is a mature audience title that has shown panels of heterosexual intercourse and several of what might be deemed scandalous or deviant practices in others a bit odd a time to try to put the horse back in the coral. Brian and his partner have made a statement in reaction here and the issue is available still in digital format here and is also out in its physical form at local comic shops. Here is the article I read yesterday.

Saga is the story about a Romeo and Juliet like couple in a science fiction setting where magic exists and set against the backdrop of a generations long war between two distinct factions. Most of the story is about the drama and love between the couple and the characters surrounding them and others drawn into the situation because of their cross breed child. Its the kind of wild storytelling that you'd expect to find of the better image and vertigo comics and most buyers interested in this story are adults. Apple could have filtered purchases to adult customers only if their censors were offended but honestly considering past content I'm surprised at this puritanical action.

Saga is about much more then the violent and sexual images that crop up.

Please note that images linked to in my links are most likely NSFW and you have been alerted to that right here. I'll be getting my issue of this in its real form tomorrow and will likely comment this weekend in my Sunday Comics column on Dead Wood Reviews....and on Dead wood comics

As an update I found this article on IGN and the comic is apparently not banned or censored and is available on the comixology store AND it was not Apple that made the decision to do anything with the issue. It was a misunderstanding about the content rules and was made by Comixology to keep with the guidelines of in app sales. Anyway I will leave this up and apologies for freaking out anyone or confusing anyone. Saga is still a great comic andi will be covering the series this week.... Sorry again..


Help out if you can.....

I spotted this call for help last night on SF Signal last night. Ben Wolverton (16) son of Science Fiction and Fantast writer David Farland was seriously recently and like many people in the US (like myself) has no health insurance. To raise the funds to pay for the care and treatments he will need there is a "Book Bomb" going on today asking readers to buy copies of either Davids's YA thriller Nightengale or his book called Million Dollar Outlines. David is known for both his fiction and his mentoring of other writers including Brandon Sanderson among others. Go to the above link for more information and the links to the book sales sites. If you want to give money directly here is the direct link to the gofundme site where they are funding his medial care.


As the SF Signal post about the book bomb asks if you can't donate money to spread the word about David Farland's need as far as you can. Thanks for your time and any help you can give.


Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Comics

This week I read a lot of Marvel comics #1s I missed during the last ten years because of that free e comic day a few weeks back. I will say that the best thing I read this week was this and its from this week...

Indestructible Hulk is one of the 3.99 titles that I'm really interested in reading and with Walt Simonson back on as artist it was a must. I'll be honest here I picked up the first issue of this and loved it but with so many books coming out at the 3.99 price mark I opted to wait to read more of it. So jumping in on issue 6 was no problem you could easily get on now if you know a bit of marvel lore. The issue introduces some of the support cast chosen by Banner and the third person boxes in this issue are a hoot. Really great mix of science fiction and sword and sorcery fantasy here. Love the issue best for the week.

Look at the awesome of the above cover.... Tell me you don't want some of that....


Red She Hulk was the other cool read of the week and its another that I paid for as a real comic. The adventures of Betty Ross have been a pretty great mix of superhero punch outs and science fantasy weirdness... totally out of the pages of the pulps if they were in technicolor. This is one of the comics I really enjoy monthly but is kind of under the radar till its in my hands. This to me taps into that fringe of speculative fiction that gets called the weird that includes authors like The progenitor HP Lovecraft and the modern artists of the genre like Jeff Vandermeer, China Mieville and Mark Hodder. It's great pulp adventure filtered through the lens of authors like Hunter Thompson.

Next week I'll be doing my sci fi comics feature along with the Sunday comics column, till then excelsior ...