Archive for the 'Books' Category

Aug 28 2014

Time Travel With A Twist: Pathfinder

Published by under Books

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When it comes to entertainment, books are my meat and potatoes.  Always loved them, always will.  I picked up novels at an early age and never stopped consuming them.  There are good stories in all kinds of media, but for me, the absolute best books trump the absolute best of everything else.  No matter how powerful and amazing Breaking Bad is, I was more moved by the sublime tragedy of For Whom the Bell Tolls, or the rich tapestry of family and history in The Brothers K, or the sheer raw emotive power of the writing in Sometimes a Great Notion.

This is all a lead-up to the fact that books are my real passion.  At any given time, I’m reading 3, give or take 1, at once, and I get through somewhere between 50 and 100 a year.  What sometimes happens, though, is that a story will really grab me and I’ll concentrate on just that one until I’m done with it.  A couple weeks ago, this happened with Orson Scott Card’s Pathfinder.  Let me tell you how it caught my attention and why it’s worth your time.

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Jul 29 2014

Drop Everything and Go Read The Martian

Published by under Books,Reviews

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“Actually, I was the very lowest ranked member of the crew. I would only be ‘in command’ if I were the only remaining person. What do you know? I’m in command.”

I assume you guys are all caught up on Paul’s latest books, and looking for some solid reading material to help finish out the last month or so of summer. Well, look no further than Andy Weir’s debut novel, The Martian. It’s not often that I find myself discovering great books the same year they come out, but… well, I did this time. So I’m passing the knowledge onto you.

The Martian is a rare find. It’s basically a near-future science fiction thriller. More plausible than most; it’s unsurprising to discover its author is a professional software engineer and an amateur science expert. Despite the hard science pedigree, it’s also INSANELY compelling reading material. For someone who spent his teen years reading classic Michael Crichton, this was a total home run.

Meet me after the jump for some more convincing. And don’t worry; this review is spoiler free!

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Jul 24 2014

So You Want To Write A Young Adult Series

Published by under Books

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It’s not a bad idea, really.  These days, it’s easier than ever to publish a book, and it’s conceivable that you can create an amazing novel and publicize it into the hands of readers entirely on your own.  It’s also an exciting prospect for many – creating a story from nothing, building a world all your own, and using just your pure talent and skill to create it.

But before you leap into a creative endeavor, it’s important to look at what’s out there already, and especially what’s incredibly successful – not so you can copy it, but so you can understand it.  Although, there’s no shame in copying.  After all, “good writers borrow from other writers; great writers steal outright.”

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Jul 22 2014

The League of Extraordinary Americans

EXTRAORDINARY AMERICANS

Imagine if a librarian from the Victorian era created the Justice League.

Might not sound incredibly thrilling but in 1999 comics legend Alan Moore made the concept not just work but rock in his miniseries The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Featuring a slew of characters from every corner of Victorian literature, the LOEG was a rollicking, partially demented adventure that made you wish you were a bit more well-read.

Being a proper Englishman, though, Moore of course used (mostly) characters from his home and native land. Being a young American reader I thrilled at the brief Tralfamadorian cameo and the Who Dat Ninja poster in the background, but, for the most part, the USA was MIA throughout the League’s various goings-on.

Today, though, I’m gonna get patriotic and ‘MERICA the crap outta the limey League and present the League of Extraordinary AMERICANS, using ONLY American created characters and concepts. Am I being a rampant, red-white-and-blue-tinted glasses-wearing Nationalist? You bet. But hey, at least I’m not shoe-horning in…ugh…Tom Sawyer to appeal to Americans.

Ready? For the stars and bars! Continue Reading »

3 responses so far


Jul 21 2014

Middle-Aged Harry Potter Book Covers

Published by under Books,Images

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You’ve probably heard by now that JK Rowling broke the internet when she released a 1,000 word story that reunited with a 34 year old Harry. She didn’t say much, but the internet took that to be a sign that more adult Potter books are surely on the horizon, and they’re going nuts as a result.

One artist, via SomeECards, decided to figure out what exactly Potter might be up to a few years after 34, provided JK Rowling sticks with the character that long. The results are…depressing. And also hilarious. Check them out below. Continue Reading »

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Jul 14 2014

Lesser Known Harry Potter Patronuses

Published by under Books,Images

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If you grew up reading Harry Potter like I did, chances are by the time you got to the third book, Prisoner of Azkaban, you were trying to figure out that if you had to summon a Patronus to fight off Dementors, what sort of animal it would be.

I decided on a fox, though it wasn’t very scary, but eventually all the good animals would have to be taken, right? If so, what happens then?

Artist Alicia Braumberger has a few ideas, which is what spawned the above image of “rare and unusual” Patronuses, including elephant seals, sloths, baby goats, even superheroes and Magikarp. I love the look on that girl’s face when she realizes her Patronus is a Magikarp.

So, what was yours?

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Jul 10 2014

Every Song Used in Stephen King’s Dark Tower Series

Published by under Books

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I’ve only read a handful of Stephen King books over the years, but I started with the entirety of The Dark Tower series, one of the most sprawling, absurd, amazing fantasy/sci-fi/horror….things I’ve ever come across.

A common device in the book is the use of song, pulled from our world, even in King’s various fantasy world’s that populate the pages. Some are repeated many times throughout the book (The Beatles’ Hey Jude, for one), but there are way, way more than that.

One intrepid reader decided to go through and catalog every song King mentions in the books, and the list is massive and can be seen below. So if you ever wanted to make a Dark Tower playlist, this is your chance. Read on. Continue Reading »

4 responses so far


Jul 02 2014

Authors Dress as Their Favorite Literary Characters

Published by under Books,Images

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The BBC has a rather cool photo series on display right now which you can check out here. The idea is that famous authors dress up as the characters that inspired them to write, often as children. That’s Neil Gaiman as Badger from Wind in The Willows above, and other authors picked characters from Treasure Island, the Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland, and more.

If you were doing this, what character would you choose (even if you aren’t a writer?). I had a lot of favorite books going up, but as cliche as it sounds, Harry Potter was the first series that really was a transformative literary experience for me. It helped that when I read the first book, Harry and I were both eleven, and we grew up together from there.

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Jun 12 2014

Four Classic Novels That Would Benefit From the Luhrmann Treatment

Published by under Books

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Baz Luhrmann, director of such films as Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge!, and The Great Gatsby certainly has a calling card.  His use of out-of-place dialogue, music, and settings rolls familiar stories into a hodgepodge of familiar pop culture and (when it works) gives movies a sense of spectacle and intimacy at the same time.

Anachronism is a perfectly fair way to increase an obscure story’s relatability.  And since Hollywood is always looking for the next classic novel to adapt into a near-Christmas release blockbuster, I thought I’d give them a hand by pointing out several novels that seem like they’d be poor adaptations on the surface, but would have the chance to really shine if given the full Luhrmann Treatmen.

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Jun 11 2014

Cthul-Aid: Ohhhhhh No

Published by under Books,Images

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Yes, this is a t-shirt, and yes, you should buy it immediately. From the designer.

“It’s the Great Old Ones’ favorite beverage, guaranteed to be maddeningly refreshing! Cthulhu himself enjoys kicking back after a hard day’s work in R’lyeh and pouring himself a tall cold glass of Cthul-Aid, and so should you!”

One of these days, I’m actually going to make it through a Lovecraft book. But right now I’m reading A Song of Ice and Fire over again, so perhaps next year.

[via GeeksAreSexy]

 

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Jun 11 2014

Hey, I Wrote This!

Published by under Books,News

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Alright, I apologize in advance for this quick bit of self-promotion, but I wanted to share it with you guys, my longest-running audience.

I wrote another book! It’s not the third in my Earthborn Trilogy (which is coming later this year), rather it’s an eBook for Forbes about the culture of fanboyism in video games. It focuses on all the different ways fans shape the industry, for better or worse, and includes a host of gaming controversies from the Mass Effect 3 ending, to Microsoft’s Xbox One walkback, to pretty much anything EA has ever done.

It was a lot of fun to write, and it’s a pretty quick read, so I would love it if any of you guys could pick up a copy (for Vook, Apple or Amazon) and let me know what you think. You guys have been with me the longest, and I have you to thank for everything awesome that’s happened in my life, including the opportunity to write and publish something like this.

I hope you like it, and now I will return you to your regularly scheduled cosplay, Pokemon and Disney Princesses.

4 responses so far


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