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Notes on Three Sci-Fi Titles

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The Gifts by Marcus Durham

The Gifts is a blend of many elements.  Marcus Durham writes to propel his story, and there are violent moments that serve to keep an explosive plot moving forward.  As a science fiction and fantasy reader, I found this treatment of an alternative universe readable and engaging.

Flotsam by RJ Theodore

Flotsam is science fiction and fantasy the way I like it best - creative, descriptively visual, and stuffed with interesting characters.  RJ Theodore imagines an eye-popping world that fits the category steampunk quite nicely.  Although I don’t read this sub-genre of sci-fi a great deal, I was glad I ventured here.  Worth the trip.


My Name is Agnes by Kelly Brookbank


My Name is Agnes was far funnier than I thought it would be.  Author Kelly Brookbank gives us a voice through her main character that likeable and has just the right amount of sarcasm.  Recommended for readers looking for a fantasy/science fiction read that isn't deadly serious or concerned with …

Notes on Graphic Novels - October 2017

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Notes on Graphic Novels - October 2017

Predator: Life and Death
Life and death, and it’s man and beast. I have been a long-time reader of the Predator graphic novels (saw the movie as a kid, had nightmares, you know the drill).

This book would happily sit on my shelf next to Concrete Jungle (probably the first one I ever picked up), and Alien vs. Predator (the book, not the film).

I enjoy where Dark Horse Comics takes these characters and enjoyed this book a great deal.


The EC Archives: Panic, Volume 2
Nostalgia takes over with my reading of The EC Archives: Panic, Volume 2.  I enjoyed the redistribution of the EC titles in the 1990s, and found this collection to be a demonstration of what works best about those books.

EC titles usually featured short stories, sometimes adapted from other sources, and focused on a variety of genres.  Panic, of course, used humor.

I recommend an exploration of this title, along with all of the rest of what EC has to offer in the way of mystery and horror…

A Blurb on Best Wishes by Mike Richardson and Paul Chadwick

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A Blurb on Best Wishes by Mike Richardson and Paul Chadwick
File this one under, you mean a graphic novel can do that too?  A wonderful reading experience from start to finish that, at least in the opinion of this reader, stands toe-to-toe with great literary novels.  Forget that this book works by pairing images with text...the complexity is there.
I have appreciated the work of Mike Richardson and Paul Chadwick for many years, going back to my first experiences with Dark Horse Comics and the Concrete book series in the 1990s.  This volume was like revisiting some of those books.
The art is lovely, and the story matches.  I am glad I had the chance to read this book, and I know that many other readers will feel the same way.

A Review of The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter

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A Review of The Massacre of Mankind by Stephen Baxter
The Massacre of Mankind is an attractive and professionally written follow-up to The War of the Worlds.  I would dare say it is a must for the science fiction reader, and will surely be passing my copy on to at least one sci-fi enthusiast in my circle of friends.  The book is no slim volume.

What is more, this book gives us characters as engaging (or dare I say more so?) than in the original, complete with a tense situation that matches the one created by H.G. Wells.  I found the book entertaining and engaging as a reader in general...but certainly so as a sci-fi fan.

Lastly, I am sure it says something that the book bears the approval of the H.G. Wells Estate.  This is a vote of confidence in itself.

An Interview with Author Mike Bond

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An Interview with Author Mike Bond

1.  Who are your favorite writers?

Not in any specific order: Hemingway, Irene Nemirovsky, John D MacDonald, Alan Furst, Daniel Silva, Camus, Tolstoy, Malraux, St. Exupery, and many others whose new books I read when they come out.

2.  What motivates you to write?

I have lived very hard and very well, so I have many stories to tell. I also try to tell the stories of those who cannot speak -- the victims of war and human rights violations, the poor with no way out, the seekers, those haunted by the mystery of life. I write because it's what I love best to do.

3.  What should we know about your work?

All my books are a dialogue with death, a search for the grail, an attempt to understand the infinite mystery of living, of the universe and time, of how best to live. As mentioned in 2 above, I try to speak for those without a voice, to reveal the crimes of war and evil governance, of immoral corporations and crooked politicians. Most of the events in my…

A Note on The Age of Jive by Nate Maxson

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A Note on The Age of Jive by Nate Maxson
Word leads unto word in The Age of Jive by Nate Maxon.  Most often, the words spill down the page and onto the next page, and sometimes onto other pages.  Every now and then, Maxon fills a portion of a page, but most of these verses occupy many lines.
Consider, "Conquistador's Birthday," which begins on page 11 and wraps up with many lines in between over on page 16.  Not that Maxson always needs this room.  One of my favorites in the collection, which is no slim volume, is "Ophelia Before Jumping," which wraps up much sooner than some of the other titles.
Read more about Nate Maxon and other authors (including me) at publisher Red Dashboard's website: http://www.reddashboard.com/ and follow Red Dashboard on Twitter @RedDashboard

A Note on Collisions on a Non-Existent Highway by Rosalyn Marhatta

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A Note on Collisions on a Non-Existent Highway by Rosalyn Marhatta

The poems in this collection had a unique flavor of word choice and experience.  I recently read an article by Kurt Vonnegut that recommended "piquant" language in writing...this collections seems to have followed that advice.  There is the taste that comes through in "Epicurean Love" (pages 5-6), the narrative of "Showing In The Himalayas" (pages 9-11), and the sounds of "Himalayan Tea Song" (pages 14-15).

Finally, I will point out the memory and story of "A Tale Of Teeth."  As Marhatta writes, "My mind sees/her nine-year-old self/squeezing my hand/as we wander with her uncle/and siblings."  A collection worth savoring.

Read more about Rosalyn Marhatta and other authors (including me) at publisher Red Dashboard's website: http://www.reddashboard.com/ and follow Red Dashboard on Twitter @RedDashboard

A Note on Tomb Raider: Volume 1 - Spore

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A Note on Tomb Raider: Volume 1 - Spore
An adventurous graphic novel that reaches back to the first appearances of the character, and connects to more recent iterations.

The new Lara Croft feels like a grittier edition, and this book (as well as the new film) seems to follow suit.  The result is a nice cross-branding adaptation of the popular series, and I found it quite enjoyable.


Recommended for readers who want to experience more story with the character beyond pushing buttons and moving levels.  A highly polished graphic novel.

A Note on The Escapist: Amazing Adventures

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A Note on The Escapist: Amazing Adventures

From the work of Michael Chabon comes this graphic novel, which explores some of the world he created in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. 

Like that book, there is a unique interaction of reality and fiction in this book, evidenced by scenes of day-to-day living interspersed with scenes of high fantasy.  A unique read and reflection on this literary work.  I recommend both this book and its inspiration material.

Literary, visual, and well done.

A Note on You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames

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A Note on You Were Never Really Here by Jonathan Ames

Author Jonathan Ames delivers a gut-punching narrative, which is sure to make a compelling film.

Being a novella, the book is a fast one to digest, but Ames gives us images and scenes that stick in our teeth - in the very best of possible ways, plenty to roll around in our minds for a long time after the last page.

You Were Never Really Here is a closed fist of a book, and its effect lasts.  I read this last week in one sitting and I'm still thinking about it.

Recommended.